April 9, 2019 Newsletter

The flurry of democracy legislation this term has made us grateful for the crossover week lull, but, democracy warriors, your break is over! Both chambers of the New Hampshire State House passed significant bills in the first three months of the year, and are now landing in the corresponding House or Senate committees.

SB 8 Heard in House Election Law Tuesday, April 9

House Election Law committee takes testimony on Tuesday on SB 8, the Senate's nonpartisan redistricting commission bill. Open Democracy will be testifying, though we expect that SB 8 will be killed in preference to the similar HB 706, which is coming before the Senate mid month. The hearing is 2 pm, LOB 308. Supported by ODA

SB 7 SMART Act Heard by House Elections Law Tuesday

The Senate's voting rights bill, the SB 7 SMART Act, funds changes to the New Hampshire DMV's software to allow voter registration when obtaining a driver's license or other business at the state agency. The SMART Act is sponsored by Senator Melanie Levesque, and passed with amendment along strict party lines, 13-10. Supported by ODA

Skark labed Dark Money Pacs with a \Senate Takes on HB 297 Disclosure Bill on Political Ads

Mailers surfaced in recent elections from a single address, but had multiple group names associated with them, a shell game by donors to LLCs trying to dodge New Hampshire disclosure laws. Open Democracy testified when the bill was in House Election Law and showed examples of this con. The full House passed the bill on a voice vote, and passage of recent transparency bills in the Senate make it likely HB 297 will pass. Supported by ODA

House Considers SB 206 Bill Sheltering Ratepayers from Lobbying Costs

SB 206 would prevent public utilities from passing on to customers some of their costs for lobbying and other political activity. On big, controversial projects like Northern Pass or pipelines, this amount can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. SB 206 passed the Senate 24-0, and will be heard in House Election Law on Tuesday. Supported by ODA


Red = Open Democracy Action Priority Bill

Tuesday, April 9


1 p.m. SB 206, excluding the cost of lobbying and political activity from the rates of public utilities. Supported by ODA

1:30 p.m. SB 283-FN, relative to post-election audits of electronic ballot counting devices.

2 p.m. SB 8, establishing an independent redistricting commission. Supported by ODA


Wednesday, April 10


10 a.m. SB 7 -FN-L, establishing the secure modern accurate registration act (SMART ACT). Supported by ODA

1 p.m. SB 45, relative to electioneering at polling places.

1:15 p.m. SB 66, relative to political contributions by candidates for certain offices.

1:30 p.m. SB 44, relative to election procedures, delivery of ballots, and assents to candidacy.

2 p.m. SB 104-L, relative to the postponement of city, town, village, and school district elections.

2:30 p.m. SB 70, relative to vacancies among primary candidates and prohibiting a candidate from

receiving the nomination of more than one party



Sen. Levesque (C), Sen. Sherman (VC), Sen. Morgan, Sen. Birdsell, Sen. Gray

9 a.m. HB 297, relative to political advertisements on behalf of political committees or

advocacy organizations. EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW Supported by ODA

Thursday, April 11

The House will meeti in session Thursday, but order of the day is to move budget proposals to the Senate. The full Senate also meets on Thursday, but there are no Elections Law & Municipal Affairs bills up this week.


Smiling woman leans against treeHear National Book Award Finalist Nancy MacLean,

Author of Democracy in Chains, April 26

Register now to hear author and professor Nancy MacLean on Friday, April 26, 6 p.m. at the Puritan Back Room in Manchester. Tickets are $60, and proceeds benefit Open Democracy's mission.

Prof. MacLean is the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University and author, most recently, of Democracy in Chains. Published this past June, Democracy in Chains was a finalist for the National Book Award, and the winner of the Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Current Affairs, and the Lillian Smith Book Award. The Nation magazine named it the “Most Valuable Book”of the year.

Register by April 12 and you'll receive a copy of Democracy in Chains with your registration.

Your Letters to the Editor are Needed ASAP to Support HB 706 and SB 8 Nonpartisan Redistricting Commission Bills

Photo of a stack of envelopes with Letters to the editor stamped at the topThank you for the letters to the editor you've been writing to support HB 706, coming before the Senate in mid April. But we need MORE letters from you. Don't wait! Do it now!

Here's a great example of a letter from Jim Howard, a supporter of Open Democracy, that appeared in the Concord Monitor, and Brian Beihl added his voice in the Keene Sentinel last week.

One thing we do ask you include is a request for readers to call & write their Senator and state representatives. Once you've sent your letter to the papers, make sure to send a copy of it to Governor Sununu, who has signaled that he doesn't



For updates and descriptions of the other important democracy legislation this session, click on the links below.

Click here arrowPublic funding

Redistricting and ending gerrymandering

Campaign reform

Money in politics


Questions? Want to Help?

Olivia Zink: olivia@opendemocracy.me; (603) 661-8621 (cell)

Rick Bourdon: rick.bourdon@gmail.com; (603) 795-2818; (603) 759-1888 (cell)

Brian Beihl: Brian@Beihl.org (603) 620-8300 (cell)

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  • Brian Beihl
    published this page in State House 2019-04-13 12:15:54 -0400