The HB 706 nonpartisan redistricting commission bill hit the airwaves this week, as the Senate Elections Law and Municipal Affairs gets ready to vote this Thursday morning. Prime sponsor Rep. Marjorie Smith spoke on May 8 on New Hampshire Public Radio's The Exchange, explaining her bill and the recent amendment to attract more Republican support.
We've incorporated changes into a bill which I believe we have a bill that does everything possible we can do to include the legislature at the start of the process, and at the end of the process, and in the middle have a competent group of people working in the public eye --not behind close doors, but in the public eye-- with hearings in each county, to make sure that we end up with the best possible redistricting.
Open Democracy's Olivia Zink also participated in a discussion in Concord with WKXL's Chris Ryan on May 6, along with Lucas Meyer, to hit the highlights of the bill in an 11-minute segment. Zink said,
“This is really about fundamental representation. Voters really want to know that they're going to the poll and picking their representatives and know that the system has not been rigged by the party in charge.”
HB 706 gets a vote in the Senate Election Law & Municipal Affairs committee this Thursday at 9 a.m., Room 102 of the Legislative Office Building.
Executive Session 9 a.m. Thursday on HB 706 Nonpartisan Redistricting Commission
It's likely that HB 706 will clear the Senate Election Law & Municipal Affairs committee this week, but we anxiously await the positions of the committee's Republican members on the proposed amendment giving the legislature a heavier hand in the process. Once approved by the full Senate, it will return to the House for its approval of the amended bill. It is crucial that Republican members of the rest of the Senate hear your comments.
A correction for last week's New Hampshire Democracy Report. We noted that from the application pool, the majority party leaders nominate 10 majority party picks, and the minority leaders pick their 10. Incorrectly we said that “the minority party picks five of the majority party's nominees, and the majority party would pick five of the the minority party's nominees.” That is not accurate. In fact, the majority & minority leaders strikes five nominees from the opposing party's picks, similar to impaneling a jury. The remaining five are to be unaffiliated members, which need to be chosen by a bipartisan vote of the parties' chosen commissioners.
HB 706 is expected soon in the full Senate, but if the amendment passes, it must return to the House for a confirmation vote. Open Democracy Action has testified for the original bill and supports the amendment. Supported by ODA
LLC Loophole Bill SB 156 Gets House Election Law Vote Thursday
House Election Law votes Thursday on the SB 156 bill to close the LLC loophole. While it does not stop the flow of campaign donations, SB 156 would force donors using a limited liability corporation to make campaign donations to disclose who is making the donation and how much. Open Democracy Action testified for the bill in both the House and Senate, and SB 156 passed the Senate by a 13-11 margin. Supported by ODA
Utility Lobbying Bill Passes but Bounces to a Second Committee
SB 206 would prevent public utilities from passing on to customers some of their costs for lobbying and other political activity. In sending the bill on to the House, the vote was 24-0 in the Senate, and the House Election Law committee concurred, endorsing it 18-0 in a nonpartisan vote. A late change to the bill expanded the definition of lobbying and political activity, but the bill was still passed on a voice vote. As a two-committee bill, it now pinballs to the House Science, Technology and Energy committee for a hearing for 10 a.m. Wednesday, Room 304, LOB, followed by an executive session vote at 10:30. Supported by ODA
UPCOMING HEARINGS & COMMITTEE VOTES
Red = Open Democracy Action Priority Bill
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
HOUSE SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND ENERGY, Room 304, LOB
10:00 a.m. SB 206, excluding the cost of lobbying and political activity from the rates of public utilities. An executive session is scheduled for this bill at 10:30. Supported by ODA
Thursday, May 16, 2019
HOUSE ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on
SB 71, relative to the election of delegates to party conventions;
SB 105FN, relative to contributions to inaugural committees;
SB 156, to close the LLC Loophole, passed the Senate along party lines, 13 Democrats supporting ans 11 Republicans opposing. The LLC Loophole is exploited by donors who want to anonymously make donations to exceed federal donations to candidates. SB 156 would require disclosure of donors and amounts, but due to the Citizens United decision, can't limit the amounts. Supported by ODA
The committee will also continue work on SB 70, relative to vacancies among primary candidates and prohibiting a candidate from receiving the nomination of more than one party.
SENATE ELECTION LAW AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS, Room 102, LOB
Sen. Levesque (C), Sen. Sherman (VC), Sen. Morgan, Sen. Birdsell, Sen. Gray
9:00 a.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PENDING LEGISLATION, including the HB 706 nonpartisan redistricting commission
10:30 a.m. HB 588, relative to presidential nominations.
11:00 a.m. HB 593, relative to updating official voter checklists.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW
This Week's Legislature Sessions
The Senate meets this Wednesday, May 15, 2019, at 10 a.m. A number of democracy bills this week, including the previously mentioned HB 429 civic engagement committee bill. The bills coming to the floor from the Election Law and Municipal Affairs committee include:
HB 345, relative to certification of devices for the electronic counting of ballots, Ought to Pass, Vote 3-1.
HB 415, relative to the official ballot referendum form of town meetings. Ought to Pass, Vote 4-0.
HB 429, establishing a committee to study ways to improve civic engagement in New Hampshire. Ought to Pass with Amendment, Vote 4-0. Supported by ODA
HB 452, establishing a commission on the first-in-the-nation presidential primary. Inexpedient to Legislate, Vote 3-0.
HB 539-FN, establishing a committee to study the implementation of the One4All ballot in municipal elections. Ought to Pass with Amendment, Vote 3-0.
The next House of Representatives session will be a week from Thursday, May 23, 10 a.m. We expect SB 206 to return for another full House vote after its second committee vote, as well as the SB 156 LLC Loophole bill.
Don't Let Up - Tell your Senator to support the HB 706 Nonpartisan Redistricting Commission
Upcoming Open Democracy Events
Screening of Dark Money., Monday, May 20, Canaan, NH
This award-winning political thriller examines one of the greatest threats to American
democracy; the influence of untraceable corporate money on our elections and elected officials. The film follows an intrepid local journalist working to expose the real-life impacts of the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Through this gripping story, DARK MONEY uncovers the shocking and vital truth of how American elections are bought and sold.
There will be a panel discussion following the film.
Free and open to the public, this is event is sponsored by Open Democracy, Take Back Our Republic, American Promise, Wolf-PAC and Rights and Democracy.
Monday, May 20, 6 pm. Mascoma Valley Reg. High School, Canaan. Please RSVP HERE.
LEGISLATION WE'RE WATCHING THIS TERM
For updates and descriptions of the other important democracy legislation this session, click on the links below.
Questions? Want to Help?
Olivia Zink: email@example.com; (603) 661-8621 (cell)
Rick Bourdon: firstname.lastname@example.org; (603) 795-2818; (603) 759-1888 (cell)
Brian Beihl: Brian@Beihl.org (603) 620-8300 (cell)