By GARRY RAYNO, InDepthNH.org
CONCORDE – Before heading home for the summer, lawmakers decided to change the date of state primaries, make religious services an essential service during the state of emergency, and allow loaded weapons on recreational vehicles.
Meeting Thursday to finalize the final bills for the 2021 session that the Senate and House negotiated last week to deal with changes to the other agency’s bills, the House decided not to pass a Senate bill that would require law enforcement in New Hampshire not to enforce federal ordinances, laws or regulations restricting gun rights.
Although the supporters have said they believe SB 154 would withstand a constitutional challenge, House leaders decided there were differing views on whether that was true and wanted it to come under close scrutiny this fall.
House Deputy Speaker Steve Smith, R-Charlestown, said, “We would love to have the opportunity to meet the spirits and resolve differences. “
He said a new proposal could be put on a successful bill or another bill tabled for the next session.
But Max Abramson Representative R-Seabrook said the Biden administration – less than 24 hours ago – announced “another round of supercharged, zero-tolerance gun control.”
Opponents said the bill would have unintended consequences that could prevent federal, state and local collaborations for public safety.
The gun lobby rejected the proposed provisions in Senate Bill 154 because they did not go far enough, said Zandra Rice Hawkins, director of Granite State Progress.
The bill was tabled on a 354-19 vote, effectively killing him for that session.
The House and Senate have both approved a bill that would make religious gatherings an essential service during the state of emergency. During the pandemic state of emergency, Governor Chris Sununu ordered all non-essential businesses or meetings closed.
Supporters of Bill 542 noted that Home Depot was allowed to remain open but religious services were prohibited.
“During the state of emergency, we found ourselves in a situation where churches and synagogues were closed while liquor and hardware stores remained open,” said Representative Keith Ammon, New Boston. “Even during a state of emergency, places of worship must continue to be promoted for the essential role they play in promoting spiritual, mental and physical health in our communities. “
The House passed the measure on a 205-158 vote, while the Senate passed it along party lines on a 14-10 vote.
The House and Senate have approved an amended bill that would allow a loaded weapon to be carried on an RV or all-terrain vehicle, something sponsors say was overlooked when the legislature agreed to remove the permit requirement. concealed weapons.
Bill 334 also contained a provision on ending its state police gun line for background checks when someone is looking to purchase a pistol and instead using the Federal Bureau of Investigation database which, according to supporters, is much faster.
But Representative David Meuse, from D-Portsmouth, said the state gun line had filled cracks and loopholes in the federal system.
“Forty to fifty percent of all homicides in New Hampshire are linked to domestic violence and this can only increase with the passage of a bill that cuts back on the safety measures in place to ensure that a person with a history of domestic violence cannot achieve a death. armed. Passing this bill only puts the Granite Staters at risk and gives guns to people who intend to use them to harm, ”Meuse said.
The House approved the bill on a 212-159 vote, and the Senate approved it on a voice vote.
The House and Senate have approved a bill that would change the date of state primaries from the second Tuesday in September to the first Tuesday in August.
Supporters of Bill 98 say this will allow more time between primary and general elections, noting that the current system gives incumbents a significant advantage.
The House passed the bill on a 192-183 vote, while the Senate approved it on a voice vote
Sununu said he was inclined to veto the bill because he liked the timeline of the current system.
The House and Senate approved the $ 127.5 million capital budget by voice vote.
Bill 25 House contains construction and rehabilitation projects for the state but does not include highway and bridge construction projects.
The total investment budget for the next two years will be $ 346 million in all funds, but $ 127.5 million in general state fund bonds.
The bill requires the Department of Administrative Services to report quarterly on the progress of projects funded by the US federal bailout law.
Cancellation of veto
The House did not overturn Sununu’s veto on Bill 184, which would ban the use of personal watercraft around the marshes of the Rye Estuary and the back channel of New Castle.
Sununu said the bill creates a barrier to public access to solve a non-issue in its veto message.
The House vote was 173-181 and failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed for a waiver.
Garry Rayno can be contacted at [email protected]