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.
We’ve updated our endorsements for the State Representative and Senate. This update includes liberty rating and survey data received through August 1st, 2018.
Welcome to the new NHLA website! This change modernizes the underlying website technology, provides better support for back-end operations, and allows more scope for future growth. All the major pieces required for operation are in place, but, it is a work in progress, so if you notice anything missing or wrong, or, want to add something, please let us know via email at email@example.com.
In addition to the fresh new interface, the following features have been added or improved:
- Advanced membership management, with auto-renewal, membership levels, and improved back-end functionality for our membership director.
- Better support for financial transactions for memberships and donations, including a familiar shopping-cart metaphor, and on-site credit card acceptance via Stripe.
- Improved content management tools, opening up a path to communicate better and more often with our membership and the public.
- Separation of the website and the bill review system – using the right tool for the job at hand.
What remains to be done?
Apart from fixing the inevitable gaps and bugs, the following still has to be done:
- Some content, especially the “Resources” from the old site, needs to be transferred to the new site.
- Publishing bill text and reviews on the website, sourced from the bill review system.
- It would be great to generate more, interesting content in a steady stream.
- The site “theme” is fairly standard, and it would be great if someone with a better eye for design picked a new off-the-shelf theme and customized it.
- Active management of the “Events” section.
- It would be totally awesome if we can get a volunteer who can oversee website content production and publishing. Editorial control, rather than content production, that includes pushing content to social media channels, etc.
Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are willing and able to help.
Why did you pick X?
Given the many choices of platforms and technologies out there, we tried to pick the ones having broad support (i.e. easy to find volunteers to support it), and, covers all, or most of, our requirements. There’s no one right answer of course, and different people will arrive at different answers, but here’s where we landed:
- WordPress for content management. It is the most widely used general publishing platform, with the widest range of plugins and support available. There may be better platforms for pure publishing purposes, but then we’d lose what we need for our other requirements.
- WooCommerce for donations and membership payments. It comes as a plugin to WordPress, and is one of the major e-commerce systems out there. The prime reason for picking WooCommerce above stand-alone competitors is its membership management plugins, but it also is a solid e-commerce system, supports virtual currencies better than most, and, integrates with the WordPress site.
- WooCommerce Memberships + WooCommerce Subscriptions for membership management. An out-of-the-box solution like Shopify or Magento might have been easier, but to get the level of functionality WooCommerce provides would have required major outlays on special plugins.
- Moving bill review to a separate system based on Django/Python: The bill review system is a proper web application now, and building it using a content management system would have added unnecessary overhead and complications.