New Hampshire Democracy Report: June 11, 2019

Cartoon showing moneybag-headed man with grocery cart of government officials

NH Becomes the 20th State to Call for a 28th Amendment Addressing Citizens United & Redistricting

The New Hampshire Senate passed HB 504 in a roll call vote along party lines Thursday. HB 504 compels our Congressional delegation to call for a 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving Congress the power to regulate money in politics, and exempting such regulation from violating free speech.

Governor Sununu has not signed the bill, but technically, he doesn't need to. According to the Council of State Legislators, resolutions like HB 504 serve to inform our federal representatives of the wishes of the state legislature, and the governor's signature is not needed. However, Congress must craft it's own language, have it passed by 2/3 majority of each house, then have that language ratified by 75% of the states with no changes to the language. The U.S. Constitution does not contain a provision requiring Congress to submit a proposed amendment upon request by some requisite number of states. It's a high bar, but it's been done 27 times before.

Congratulations to all the legislators, supporting organizations and to the many voters who wrote letters and made phone calls. Granny D is smiling.

Table showing votes on HB504


HB 706 Passes House Committee – Again - Tuesday, Full House Amendment Affirmation Vote Thursday

The House Election Law committee voted Tuesday to concur with the Senate's bipartisan amendment compromise to HB 706, making the bill more acceptable to Republicans in the House & Senate, and hopefully, Governor Sununu. HB 706 creates a nonpartisan redistricting commission, but the Senate's wholesale changes to the bill needed review by the House Election Law after it passed by voice vote on May 23. A positive vote of the House sends the bill to Governor Sununu, where it is still unclear whether the governor will embrace the bipartisan bill. Supported by ODA.

It's Up to Governor Sununu to Shine a Light on Dark Money LLCs 

Two spotlights on empty stageIn the 2016 gubernatorial election, both Governor Chris Sununu and his opponent, Colin Van Ostern, received donations from LLCs. At that time, and as it remains, individuals could contribute unlimited funds to an LLC, and the LLC would make campaign donations it the LLCs name. Amounts were disclosed, but not the individuals making the donations. SB 156 would change this, requiring that both the individual donors and the amounts they contributed, would be disclosed to the Secretary of State. The bill passed in a full house division vote 212-139 last Wednesday and now awaits Governor Sununu's signature or veto. Supported by ODA

The University of Seattle Law Review published an excellent article by Brendan A. O’Neill about the New Hampshire governor's race and the LLC Loophole. It will add to your understanding of how this type of sleazy Dark Money works and how to fix it.

House Adopts Ban of Ratepayer Money for Lobbying

As expected, HB 206 passed the full Senate last week in a voice vote. The bill would prevent public utilities from passing on to customers some of their costs for lobbying and other political activity. Despite the almost universal support for the bill through the legislature, the Sununu family's close ties to the energy industry raise a question as to whether he'll sign the bill. Supported by ODA

House Passes SB 105 Inaugural Committee Bill Wheelbarrow filled with cash

SB 105 passed in a bipartisan voice vote last Wednesday, setting new guidelines for reporting for inaugural committees. The bill tightens regulations for donors to inaugural committees, limiting maximum donations to $10,000, and requires receipts for money dispersed to family members – a response to questionable payments made to family members and campaign insiders in the last election. The Governor's office has since released a conflict of interest policy for the inaugural committee.



Red = Open Democracy Action Priority Bill

After Tuesday's Election Law vote on HB 706, there are no remaining hearings on Democracy bills in the New Hampshire House or Senate.


The Senate will meet in session Thursday, June 13 at 10 a.m. in Senate chambers. The House will meet June 13 at 10 a.m. The last remaining significant democracy bill is HB 706, which faces a vote to concur with the Senate's amendment.



Dear Governor Sununu . . .”

HB 706 should be heading to the Governor in the next few weeks. Send a postal letter now and ask him to sign HB 706! Remind him that in the big picture, both parties benefit from a level playing field, and more importantly, New Hampshire voters benefit from having sensible representation, not gerrymandering.

Governor Christopher T. Sununu, Office of the Governor, State House, 107 North Main Street, Concord, NH 03301.


Have you Heard?

OOpenDemocracyMinuteLogo.jpgver the last six months, Open Democracy has been producing the Open Democracy Minute, a radio segment which runs on WNHN 94.7 in Concord. Each week, we update listeners about current democracy legislation, and try to explain complex issues like gerrymandering and ranked choice voting in 90 seconds. Each week's Open Democracy Minute can be found on the Open Democracy Minute page. Take a listen to this week's segment!


Upcoming Events

Film: "Dark Money," Nashua

Poster for \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

The movie is free to attend, and is sponsored by Open Democracy and the League of Women Voters, Nashua. It will be held at the Nashua Public Library, 2 Court Street, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. RSVP here, and contact Joan Emus with any questions.·

Films: "Legalize Democracy" & "The Story of Citizens United"

Poster advertising two moviesWe the People - Mount Washington Valley cordially invite you to cookies and conversation about corporate personhood and what you can do about it. We will show two videos, The Story of Citizens United from the Story of Stuff Project, and Legalize Democracy from Move to Amend. The first show will be Tuesday, June 18, at 6:00 pm at the Conway Public Library, 15 Greenwood, Ave, Conway, followed by a Saturday matinee June 22 at 3:00 pm.




Have you heard?Open Democracy Minute logo

Over the last six months, Open Democracy has been been producing the Open Democracy Minute, a radio segment which runs on WNHN 94.7 in Concord. Each week, we update listeners about current democracy legislation, and try to explain complex issues like gerrymandering and ranked choice voting in 90 seconds. Each week's Open Democracy Minute can be found on the Open Democracy Minute page. Take a listen to this week's segment!



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: [email protected]; (603) 661-8621 (cell)

Rick Bourdon: [email protected]; (603) 795-2818; (603) 759-1888 (cell)

Brian Beihl: [email protected] (603) 620-8300 (cell)

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