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Petition, complaints target House members who voted to repeal N.H.’s “stand your ground” law

Republicans upset with the House’s vote last month to repeal New Hampshire’s “stand your ground” law have filed a formal petition and criminal complaints against the 189 representatives who voted for the bill.

The “Emergency Petition for Redress,” filed Tuesday with the House clerk, alleges the 186 Democrats and three Republicans “breached the public trust” and violated their oaths of office by voting for House Bill 135, which would reverse a 2011 change to the state law governing the use of deadly force in self-defense.

(The bill passed the Democratic-controlled House on March 27 by a five-vote margin. It’s now awaiting action by the Senate, where Republicans hold a 13-11 majority.)

The petition seeks “the immediate removal from office of these 189 disqualified members” and “the immediate nullification of any of the votes these 189 members have cast during their current term in office.”

It’s sponsored by three Republican representatives – Rep. John Hikel of Goffstown, Rep. Lenette Peterson of Merrimack and Rep. Al Baldasaro of Londonderry – and will likely be debated when the House meets next on April 24.

“The goal is to identify that people are voting against people’s constitutional rights,” Baldasaro said.

House Majority Leader Steve Shurtleff, a Penacook Democrat, sponsored the repeal bill.

“It’s their right to file a petition, and we’ll see where it goes,” Shurtleff said. “But this has no merit to it.”

House Minority Leader Gene Chandler, a Bartlett Republican, said yesterdayFriday he hadn’t read the petition, but said he and other House GOP leaders aren’t involved.

“It has nothing to do with the caucus leadership in any form,” he said.

In addition to the petition, former state Republican Party chairman Jack Kimball announced on Facebook that criminal complaints were filed Thursday with the Hillsborough and Strafford county sheriffs’ offices against Shurtleff and the 188 other representatives who voted for HB 135.

“All of the state reps (Democrat & Republican) that voted to repeal the ‘stand your ground’ law have violated their oath of office and should be removed. . . . We the people have had enough!” Kimball wrote.

Hillsborough County Sheriff James Hardy confirmed yesterdayFriday that he’d received the complaint.

“After taking a look at it, I do not anticipate taking any action,” Hardy said.

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

Legacy Comments13

I am surprised that Rep. Baldasaro backs this effort as he more than anybody knows the potential for Stand Your Ground to turn a tense situation into a deadly one instead of defusing it. Several years ago, two men attempting to repossess a vehicle were held at gunpoint by the vehicle owner, until the police arrived and arrested the vehicle owner. Since the repo men were engaged in lawful activity, under Stand Your Ground they could legally have shot the vehicle owner dead. Is that what Rep. Baldasaro (or anyone) wants? More generally, it would seem that this petition is somewhat premature as until a court finds this law unconstitutional it would be hard to prove supporters are violating any oath. And are we prepared to toss those Supreme Court judges voting in the minority off the court for supporting unconstitutional laws?

This bill these Tea Party types are so worked up over is unlikely to pass. As these yahoos would know if they actually bothered to read their beloved state constitution, we have a bicameral legislature. HB 135 still has to pass the Senate. By my count, all 13 Republicans and 2 out of 11 Democrats will vote against HB 135. That's 15 out of 24, which is more than half. The governor could also theoretically veto the bill, and I don't want to get too far into the details of the arcane mathematics of the veto override process (which are somewhat beyond what a Tea Party type could be expected to understand easily.) Suffice it to say that the House majority was not big enough to override a veto.

Tea Party types? Yahoos? I would say that there are some colorful and odd folks in our legislature but I am not sure that hard working Tea Party folks would appreciate being called "yahoos". We have many diverse folks in the legislature from lawyers to farmers to hunters to entrepreneurs and we have folks who hop job to job and can't seem to hold down a steady job. We have folks who have a high school education and have accomplished many things to folks with Ivy league degrees and multiple degrees who have accomplished very little. Suffice to say, I would probably believe that we have people on both sides of the spectrum who are emotionally motivated towards one issue or another. It is difficult to serve in the legislature whether you are a census worker, a Toys 'R Us clerk, a bus driver or someone who has a more demanding and responsible job. I think that the variety of opinions (whether you agree with those or not) is what makes our legislature unique.

I wonder if the democrats will lock the doors to the legislature and pull the power cord on the official clock and force a vote? Thats all legal right?

Thats right Timothy, this is grandstanding at its best. Kind of like Senator Ayotte, much ado about nothing to get their name in the paper...

A really good writer needs to spend a year inside the NH Legislature. That would make a great read.

Que the calliope.

The NH General Court is nothing but a huge playpen for these dolts..

Unbelievable, but not much different than when O'Brien and his bullies tried to get judges impeached if they didn't like their rulings.

Oh Puh-leeze! Take your balls & go home.

At first I found this article disturbing if not mind numbing. However upon reading further and finding Reps. Peterson, Hikel, and Baldassaro behind it, I saw it for the parody it really is. As for Jack Kimball, well what else needs to be said - even his party didn't want him. This just highlights the underlying issue we have with our legislature. We have a general lack of understanding and respect for the legislative process. No longer are the true needs of our State being addressed. More time is being spent "fixing" the misdeeds of the previous group. This is not a productive way to govern a State.

This is a ludicrous action and a slap in the face to the constituents who elected these 189 people to represent them in the House. Because Reps. Peterson, Hikel, and Baldassaro disagree with one vote (a vote which reinstated the same castle doctrine that had worked for decades), they would disenfranchise the voters by removing their legally elected representatives and nullifying every vote they have cast. This outrageous hissy fit shows that Reps. Peterson, Hikel, and Baldassaro understand neither the constitution, the law, nor how representative government works.

So the new rule is either vote our way or we will a) nullify the votes of all your constituents who elected you to office; and b) file criminal complaints against you in hopes that you'll be thrown into jail! And this is the self-identified "liberty" crowd. Amazing.

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