My Turn: A disappointing meeting of the rules committee

For the Monitor
Published: 7/24/2019 9:15:30 AM

Last Thursday’s meeting of Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR) was a huge disappointment for two major reasons.

First, the opposition to the Learn Everywhere program missed the point of the importance of offering students another way to learn and receive credit toward graduation. This is an innovative program that helps students involved in the arts and trades receive credit for learning that takes place outside of the classroom setting. Those who oppose this program and advocate for the status quo are robbing students of alternative learning options and causing missed opportunities for success.

Second, the hearing on the water quality rules relative to PFAS/PFOAs was even worse. This was a hearing intended to discuss new rules relative to water quality standards set by the Department of Environmental Services. There was a large crowd of people who came out to give their input on the impact of these new rules. This included state agencies, stakeholders and municipalities that were seeking to postpone a ruling to the next meeting in August to better understand how these new rules would impact communities throughout our state.

Instead of allowing these public comments, a motion was made and quickly seconded to adopt these new rules without any public input. This is not how we do things in New Hampshire, and JLCAR has always held itself to a higher standard. The committee should have had the opportunity to listen to the comments from the public in attendance to better understand how these new water quality standards were decided and what the health impact of these new standards would be, as well as the fiscal impact to municipalities.

After the meeting I heard from attendees who were angry and frustrated at what took place. Listening to constituents, having an open and transparent process and public input is the right way to legislate. Last week at JLCAR, it was done wrong.

Nobody listened.

(Ruth Ward of Stoddard represents District 8 in the N.H. Senate.)


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