They Said It
Today we start a new, semi-regular feature called “They Said It.”
Our goal is to capture a sampling of legislative and state government quotes that we hope illuminate, educate, entertain and reflect the tone of the current legislative session.
Here are our Top Six of recent vintage.
Gov. John Lynch was none too pleased on Tuesday that the House approved House Bill 429 by a 210-134 vote. The proposal would return the high school dropout age to 16, repealing one of Lynch’s top priorities in office.
“Today’s action by the House of Representatives sends absolutely the wrong message to our young people and threatens our ability to maintain a skilled and educated workforce, which would limit future economic development,” Lynch said in a statement after the vote. “The people of New Hampshire would be justified if they asked themselves, ‘Just what is our House of Representatives thinking?’”
They were thinking about mom and dad, according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. James Parison (R-New Ipswich). “This bill is not about the dropout age. This bill is about parents,” Parison said during the floor debate.
Boardwalk for Sale
House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R-Salem) took offense to Lynch’s criticism that the House Finance Committee’s budget cutting strategy was taking too much from essential government services.
“This isn’t a game of Monopoly — this is taxpayer’s money,” Bettencourt said. “Governor Lynch has lost all credibility to lecture Republicans on the difficult choices that must be made in our economy.”
Senate Democrats (and one Republican) opposed Senate Bill 129, the voter photo ID measure, which passed the Senate 18-6. Sen. Amanda Merrill (D-Durham) said the bill was unnecessary because as far as anyone knows, there has been only one case of proven voter fraud in the state in the past ten years.
“We don’t have voting fraud,” Merrill said. “We do have citizens for whom this bill creates obstacles to the most basic civic right.”
House leadership gave a strong thumbs-down to a so-called “birther” bill amendment that would have required presidential primary candidates to submit their birth certificates proving American citizenship. Amendment supporter Rep. David Bates (R-Windham) was not pleased when opponents said such a measure would undermine the state’s hallowed first-in-the-nation primary status.
“The hysterical claims that we are going to jeopardize the first in the nation primary, it’s just utter nonsense,” Bates said in an interview with Talking Points Memo.
The measure the amendment was attached to, House Bill 421, was set aide, or “laid on the table.” Sponsored by Rep. Robert Kingsbury (R-Laconia), it would have required not voters but lawmakers to nominate U.S. Senate candidates to the New Hampshire primary. Voters, though, would still be able to write in candidates.
After the House Legislative Administration Committee ended the two-month-long process to remove him from office on alleged ethics violations, Rep. Michael Brunelle (D-Manchester) had this to say:
“I am grateful to attorneys Paul Twomey and Bob Backus, House Democratic Leader Terie Norelli, my Democratic colleagues in the House, and to the hundreds of people of both political parties across the state who were supportive of me during this outrageous attempt to have my election by the voters of Manchester’s Ward Three overturned,” Brunelle said in a statement. “I consider this unfortunate waste of taxpayer resources completely concluded and I am happy to be able to continue working for the people of Manchester.”
This Daily Dispatch was written by Michael McCord.