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First In The Nation
New Hampshire is well known for its first in the nation primary. This gives voters a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with Presidential candidates like no other state in the country. In the 2020 election cycle, Belknap County hosted over 20 Presidential hopefuls and our annual Summer Blue Bash drew a crowd of over 500! To see what’s happening in Belknap County, please visit our events page!
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Thank you, Representative Coker, for taking the time to explain your votes and for keeping to your promise of transparency!Weekly Update: week of March 5thWe had a very busy session day on Thursday including firearms bills, education funding, and environmental bills. On the firearms front, we had four bills:HB-32 which would basically mimic federal law and limit the possession of firearms within 1000ft of a school. I voted ITL (no) on this bill because I feel we need to focus on the true issues around gun violence in schools and not limit law-abiding citizens from exercising their 2A rights. None of the school shootings would have been prevented by this law, which in my view would do nothing to solve the core issues. This bill failed 200-173.HB-78 is a bill to repeal an act prohibiting the state from enforcing any federal statute, regulation, or Presidential Executive Order that restricts or regulates the right of the people to keep or bear arms. Basically, this doesn’t allow state law enforcement to enforce federal laws, which sounds scary, but in reality, state agencies enforce state law, and federal agencies enforce federal law. I voted to ITL (No), and the bill failed 199-174. I believe if we agree with a federal law, we should make it a state law. If the federal government decided tomorrow to ban something you cared about, would you want the state agencies you fund through your tax dollars funding that?HB-59 and HB-106HB-59 focused on expanding background checks and HB-106 on red flag laws. Both bills failed by about a 200-170 margin. I voted to not kill these bills as I believe the strategy of keeping guns out of people’s hands who shouldn’t have them for criminal, mental health, or other reasons is where we should focus versus banning guns in general and places you can have them. I wouldn’t have passed these bills as they were, but I’d love to have them on the table to keep the discussion going- given there’s no trustbetween the two sides, I see 100% why they were killed.Education:There were three bills concerning the school voucher program that gives parents state funds for private school and homeschooling. HB367, HB440, and HB446. Two of them increase the number of students eligible. HB367 would bring the income limit to 350% of the federal poverty line, and HB446 would waive the income limit for parents of kids in groups such as foster care, migratory children, homeless children/youth, students in poorly performing districts, and children who are bullied aka our most vulnerable children. The third bill, HB440, allows our state education trust fund to be used for school programs such as Eduction Freedom Accounts (EFAs). All of these bills passed by a fairly narrow margin, and I voted against all of them. This voucher program is new, and I think expanding it so quickly before we see the results and the financial ramifications is not the best idea. I’d like to see more about its impact before we agree to expand. I also worry about our state’s most vulnerable children being in a program with so little oversight. Qualified Immunity:HB 647 would create new avenues for lawsuits against state and local governments that currently do not exist, adding new costs for government entities and taxpayers. It would change the limited protections that all public employees currently enjoy, which allow for the public’s business to be served adequately. This bill received extensive opposition from both public sector employees and employers, including the NH Police Association, NH Troopers Association, Professional Fire Fighters of NH, State Employees Association, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, NH Association of Chiefs of Police, NH Municipal Association, NH Association of Counties, as well as numerous state agencies. I voted to table it along with 333 of my colleagues.Environmental Bills:HB 92 requires the adoption of innovative vehicle emissions standards pursuant to section 177 of the Federal Clean Air Act. In a nutshell, adopting this would make us adopt California’s emissions standards for some vehicles and eventually, in about 15 years, ban selling vehicles powered by a combustible engine. The free market is moving in that direction, and I do not believe we need to mandate it. I voted to ITL (kill) this bill, and so did about 300 of my colleagues.HB251 as amended, adds more transparency to the electric bill on the yearly cost of the Renewable Portfolio Standard at no additional cost to the ratepayer. I believe in investing in renewable energy, but I also believe that people should know how much it is costing, which is about $80 a year. I trust people to make the right decision, and I voted yes to this bill, and it passed. … See MoreSee Less
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