Today the New Hampshire House of Representatives met for our 2023 Convening Day.
Hard to believe it has already been 4 weeks since we re-elected Speaker Sherm Packard as Speaker of the New Hampshire House for the 2023-2024 term.
To start the day of work, we quickly formed a joint session with the New Hampshire Senate in order to certify the election results for Governor Chris Sununu and the five Executive Council races held in November of 2022. The Governor and the Executive Council are sworn in tomorrow as they start their new terms of office.
After the joint session with the Senate adjourned, the New Hampshire House of Representatives quickly got to work on finalizing our House rules package for the next two years by bringing forward amendments to existing House Rules.
Many amendments were bipartisan and agreed to upon by both Republicans & Democrats and were discussed at our House Rules Committee meeting two weeks ago.
However, Democrats decided to introduce three floor amendments they did not bring to the Rules Committee for prior discussion and deliberation.
Their first floor amendment would have brought proxy voting to the New Hampshire House. Luckily, Democrats joined Republicans in defeating that destructive rule amendment.
Their second floor amendment would have brought back the disaster of hybrid committee work that caused nothing but headaches and frustrations last term and hampered the ability of House members to work together regardless of party affiliation.
The third floor amendment they brought forward today after not bringing it to the House Rules Committee two weeks ago was their usual attempt to limit the rights of Members and the public from carrying in the chamber. House Republicans and a few House Democrats united to rebuff the attempt and protect the Constitutional Rights within the legislature and gallery.
I had brought an amendment up in the Rules Committee two weeks ago that would allow the Chair of a Committee, or the Vice Chair if the Chair is absent, to make the first motion on a piece of legislation if the committee produced no recommendation one way or another. The Democrats, the very same Democrats who attempted to introduce proxy voting and remote committee work during today’s session, decried my amendment as an attack on the very institution and traditions of the House of Representatives (the very institution and traditions they are happy to throw out when it pleases them). I withdrew my amendment under the guise that Democrats would work with us over the last two weeks on a compromise as to how we deal with legislation that comes out of our policy committees with no recommendations - Democrats did not discuss it further after the Rule Committee adjourn, so I brought forward my amendment again today to the Floor of the House. Unfortunately, we did fall short of passing my amendment, and for the next two years all bills without recommendation will be defaulted to “ought-to-pass” out of their committee process automatically.
Overall, it was a very good day for the New Hampshire House Republicans and the people of New Hampshire. We’re ready, eager, and excited to get to work fighting for all Granite Staters during this upcoming budget process and the entire two year term.