Editorial: Here’s how to avoid a repeat of 2010 election
The election of 2010 inadvertently swept into office a considerable number of New Hampshire House members who would not have been elected had their true positions, agenda or ideology been known. They, and the inimitable Speaker Bill O’Brien, contributed to a legislative body that won national attention as a laughingstock for its antics and willingness to embrace extremes.
Even at this late hour, concerned voters can help safeguard the reputation of the state by spending a few minutes to check the record of their incumbent representatives and decide whether they merit another term. The website of the New Hampshire Legislature makes doing so easy.
A good place to start: See how your representative voted on bills that Gov. John Lynch found reason to veto. Some of those vetoes were overturned, and the state is worse off for every successful override vote. Lynch vetoed 13 bills in 2011 and at least 15 this year. Among them are Senate Bill 372, the law that shunts tax revenue from businesses away from the state toward private schools, parents who home-school and religious schools, a policy that robs public schools of resources. Lawmakers in the House and Senate overrode that veto. Unless the next Legislature repeals it, the misguided law is destined to be challenged in the courts.
Lynch also vetoed House Bill 1666, the right-to-work bill, a law pursued not at the behest of New Hampshire’s business community but of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a national organization funded by billionaires and big business. The law infringes on the collective bargaining rights of employees and employers alike and its passage would help make New Hampshire the Mississippi of the north. Lynch’s veto was sustained, but be assured, another assault on collective bargaining will be made and the outcome next year will depend on tomorrow’s election.
Lynch vetoed Senate Bill 318 which, despite a near-complete absence of any evidence that voter fraud exists in New Hampshire, calls for citizens to present a state-approved photo ID before casting their ballot. The bill is another example of legislation filed at the behest of a national conservative organization whose goal is to suppress the vote of those who might cast their ballots for Democrats. Under the alleged cover of ensuring the sanctity of elections, lawmakers overrode Lynch’s veto. Those who supported, with no basis, measures to disenfranchise the young, the poor, the old and minorities do not deserve reelection.
Need some help finding the information you want? Search the House website, and with a few clicks you will find a way to search by town to determine who your representatives are and an alphabetical list of the House roster. Click on the representatives’ names and a link to their voting records will appear. So will a list of the bills sponsored by that particular lawmaker. Look at the list and think about whether that’s what you sent your representative to Concord to do.
Start by going to the Legislature’s website at gencourt.state.nh.us. On the left is a tab that says “House of Representatives.” Click that, then go to “Find a Legislator.” Find your representatives on the roster, click their names and tabs will lead to the bills they sponsored and each lawmaker’s vote on individual bills.
To see how your representatives voted on bills Lynch vetoed, go to gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_Status/default.aspx. That will bring up the Advanced Bill Status Search. On the top right, click “General Status” and then “Codes.” A drop-down menu will appear whose choices included “Vetoed by Governor.” Submit that and a list of all the bills Lynch vetoed will appear. Next, click “Roll Calls” on the left and go to “Details” of “Shall Bill Become Law.” The next screen that appears lists every representative and his or her vote Yea to override or Nay to sustain the governor’s veto.
Please take the time to be an informed voter so the next session of the Legislature won’t be a repeat of the last one.