They Said It!
There was plenty to say this week about RGGI, federal health care reform, private prisons, and payday loans.
On Wednesday, the House defeated a bill to re-allow a variation of so-called “payday loans” — short-term, high-interest loans — that lawmakers banned in 2009. The vote on Senate Bill 160 was narrow at 186-179, and the issue generated passion and contrasting views on the role of government.
“What have we come to? We were elected to get government off our backs and no more nanny states. I’m really disturbed,” said Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R-Manchester).
“This will make loan sharking an acceptable business,” said Rep. Donna Schlachman (D-Exeter). “It’s state-regulated usury.”
Stuck in the middle
A Senate committee has voted to kill a House measure that would withdraw New Hampshire from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Sen. Jeb Bradely (R-Wolfeboro) is trying to keep RGGI alive, but make it a whole lot different.
“There are people who want to keep the program exactly as is, and there are people who want to repeal outright. We’ve got a long way to go with this,” Sen. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) told the Concord Monitor about the amendment to House Bill 519 he plans to introduce on the Senate floor next Wednesday.
The article says his plan would lower the cap for the price of carbon from $9 per ton to $1 per ton (it’s currently $1.86). It would also turn that money back over to utilities, rather than use it to fund a state-administered grant program for renewable and efficient energy projects.
The House voted 261-104 to pass its version of Senate Bill 148, which would return any federal grant money for health care reform and force the state Attorney General to join the multi-state lawsuit against the law. The debate on the House floor was pointed and sharp.
“We don’t want to do anything, anything that will allow this federal law to plant its poisonous seeds in our state,” said Rep. Andrew Manuse (R-Derry).
“I urge you to read article 37 (of the state Constitution), use your common sense, deny this lust for power and defeat this amendment,” said Rep. Gary Richardson (D-Hopkinton).
Sen. Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester) was puzzled by a Senate Finance Committee amendment to House Bill 635. It would cut the Department of Corrections budget by $10.5 million by sending 600 prisoners from the state prison in Concord to an as-yet unknown location run by private companies.
“I really didn’t see any materials that indicated we could save $10.5 million. I didn’t know where they were going, how they were going to get there, what the costs would be,” said D’Allesandro, who was the only Finance Committee member to vote against the bill.
On Wednesday, the full Senate did not take up the amendment and the bill was returned to the Finance Committee.
This Daily Briefing was written by Michael McCord.