"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Proposed House Rule to Make it More Difficult to Request a Roll Call Vote

The first NH House session of the year will be next Wednesday, January 7th. One of the main agenda items is to vote on the House rules for 2015-16. One of the proposed new rules will require 20 Reps to stand to request a roll call vote. For as long as anyone remembers it has been 10. The new House leadership wants to make it more difficult to have votes recorded for each House member roll call voting. 
If you believe in holding Reps accountable for their votes and transparency in government, please email our NH House Reps. Glen Cordelli and Karel Crawford 

In addition, please add the following email address which automatically sends the email to every NH House Rep. :hreps@leg.state.nh.us

I don't often agree with NH House Rep. Bill Obrien, but I do agree with his OP-ED piece in the Union Leader advocating to keep the traditional 10 person rule.  

Another View -- Bill O'Brien: Ask your state rep. to vote for transparency in the House

INCREASINGLY over the years, the public has demanded greater transparency in government. They understand that government deliberations, including legislative proceedings and votes, must be as open as possible so that they, as a vigilant citizenry, can assess and reverse policies that serve only private interests.
As Justice Louis Brandeis observed and the public has come to understand, “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.” Conversely, secrecy breeds filth.

Now there have arrived in the New Hampshire House of Representatives those, including both the current Democrat leader and Democrat-elected Speaker of the House, who think that they know best. They see no reason to allow the public to be the final arbiters. They see no merit in having their deliberations subject to the cleansing light of public scrutiny.
They believe themselves the most brilliant among us and that the consequences of their brilliance can only be slowed by such “arcane” measures as legislative roll call votes telling each citizen how his or her legislator votes.
In pursuit of this convenience and contrary to all recent trends toward openness, House Minority Leader Steve Shurtleff and Speaker Shawn Jasper have proposed an extraordinary break from tradition. They are proposing greater government secrecy and legislators hiding their votes from the public.
For decades, indeed going so far back that no one in Concord remembers otherwise, it has taken 10 legislators in Representatives Hall when a bill comes up for a vote to “second” the request for a roll call vote. While those among us who think the public should know of all votes have viewed this as a substantial limitation, it has worked relatively well to ensure that the most important votes are known to the public.
Now, however, Leader Shurtleff and Speaker Jasper have proposed to substantially limit the number of roll call votes by requiring that not 10, but 20 legislators have to join in a call for recorded vote. They have also said they will only honor such requests from legislators who are in their seats, and not standing or merely in Representatives Hall when they second the request.
These legislative leaders defend this proposed rule change by saying the result will be faster and save thousands of dollars. As House Speaker from 2010 to 2012, I looked into this claim of time and cost savings, and don’t you believe it for a moment. We found, for example, that each roll call doesn’t cost hundreds or thousands of dollars extra, as claimed by the government secrecy crowd.
Each roll call, and there aren’t that many, costs at most about $80 extra, or 20 cents for each state representative. This is a small price to pay to learn whether your representative votes one way in Concord and talks another way at home.
If this rule change passes on Jan. 7, you, the citizens of New Hampshire, will see fewer roll call votes. What you won’t see are as many of the votes that are supposedly cast on your behalf. 

Many of my colleagues in the Republican Majority caucus will be opposing this change. Can you join us by calling your representatives and asking them to do the same? Let them know you will know how they vote on this proposal. We will make sure it will be a roll call vote.
Rep. Bill O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, is recognized by the New Hampshire Republican Party Executive Committee as the party’s caucus leader in the House.


Joe Cormier/jcormier2@myfairpoint.net said...

Thank you, State Reps., for your service. Sounds contrite, but is heartfelt!

Also, ...

The MoBo BoS, like 'em or not ... put in (not Putin) a lot of time and effort.

You don't have to agree or ... disagree with 'em ... but they do put in a lot of productive time. Pretty good mix ... they don't agree on everything, all the time!


Town BoS Elections are coming up in March (2 vacancies, but hopefully, only 1 voluntary retirement).

Who knows what 2015 will present ... assuredly ... not the PRESENT!

Let the fun begin!

Off the Neck said...

This proposed change in Concord should not represent party lines but likely a group of reps forcing we citizens out. We are, after all, the stupid American public. I did send an email to the reps expressing opposition to this rule change. Some interesting responses have come back. Thank you Blogger for sharing this.