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One Person CAN Make a Difference

You might think that being just one person in the 400-member New Hampshire House would be a pretty powerless position, but there were at least two examples this past session where the outcome of an issue was changed by just one or two Reps.

The simplest case was a vote that passed by the slimmest possible margin. The governor had vetoed SB 365, which increased subsidies for biomass plants (thus raising electric rates).  Unfortunately, the spenders in the legislature had their way with a 226-113 vote to override the veto, exactly the necessary 2/3rds.

An even better example on the plus side came on HB 1673. This bill was put in by Rep. Scully. The state and the IRS charge delinquent taxpayers a variable interest rate, currently 6%, but towns are allowed to charge 12% or 18% (depending on circumstances) for delinquent property taxes.  This bill would lower those rates to the state rate.  It was rejected by the House Ways and Means Committee 23 to 0.  It was thus put on the consent calendar, which means it would have no debate.  Such bills are usually impossible to rescue because even if they are taken off the consent calendar, the debate gets put at the end of the day when everyone wants to go home. Reps don’t want to waste their time on something that no one thinks has any merit. In this case, Reps. Burt and Bates got together, removed it from the consent calendar, debated it on the floor, and gave such a masterful speeches that the whole House went their way. The bill then passed the Senate and was signed by the Governor.