Myriad Meetings This Week
Instead of a full House session, committees are holding extra meetings today. It’s part of a mid-season push to get bills out of committee and up for votes.
House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) has decided to have no full House sessions this week, allowing more time for committees to make their annual mad rush to beat the legislative calendar. In particular, there’s the March 10 (tomorrow) deadline to report all bills (except those in their second committee, like Finance). Meanwhile, the Crossover deadline of March 31 — when all House bills cross over to the Senate and vice versa — is creeping closer by the day.
This week’s meetings aside, beginning next Tuesday morning (March 15), O’Brien will crack the proverbial whip and keep lawmakers busy with three straight full House sessions, all beginning at 9:00 a.m. In that spirit, today we turn the spotlight on three of today’s executive session committee votes on bills we have followed this season.
Election Law Committee
Last month we highlighted the debate over two controversial bills: House Bill 176, which would not allow college students to vote in local or statewide elections if they weren’t originally residents of the town they live in for college; and House Bill 223, which if passed would disallow election day voter registration. We recommend listening to the audio files from the public hearings of both bills (HB 176 and HB 223).
>> Executive Session, House Election Law Committee, Legislative Office Building, Room 308, March 9, 10:30 a.m.
Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs
We highlighted House Bill 228 last month and today the full committee will vote on the measure to eliminate all state funding to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. The organization provides family planning services and other health care programs and if the measure passes, it will save the state an estimated $365,000.
>> Executive Session, House Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee, Legislative Office Building, Room 205, 10:00 a.m.
Criminal Justice and Public Safety
Back in December we initially reported that Speaker O’Brien had sponsored a measure to expand the state’s death penalty statute. House Bill 147 proposes to include a capital murder provision that reads “a person is guilty of capital murder if he or she knowingly causes the death of another, while in another’s residence, while attempting to enter another’s residence, or as a consequence of having been in another’s residence, without invitation or right.” O’Brien’s home town of Mont Vernon was the location of an October 2009 home invasion murder of a 42-year-old mother, whose 11-year-old daughter survived the same attack.
>> Executive Session, House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, Legislative Office Building, Room 204, 10:00 a.m.
This Daily Dispatch was written by Michael McCord.