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Legislative Action Alert Week of May 16, 2011

Legislative Action Alert Week of May 16, 2011

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Published by Doug Grant
Jackie Cilley's May 16 Report on the NH Legislature
Jackie Cilley's May 16 Report on the NH Legislature

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Published by: Doug Grant on May 19, 2011
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Legislative Action AlertWeek of May 16, 2011 Jackie Cilley jcilley@aol.comOn Mowing and Meditation
Bruce and I “took the weekend off” at our rustic little cottage in Maine. ForBruce at least, there’s really no such thing as down time. For reasons I can’texplain or understand (and, frankly, have stopped trying), raking in Maine issomehow different from raking at home for him. He can mow, trimshrubbery, weed-wack, move plants around, paint trim, and get generallydirt streaked and nasty-smelling and appear for all the world to be havingthe time of his life.I, on the other hand, sit protected from black flies on the screened porchcontemplating the ways of the world. I suspect Bruce is more productivethan I am but I haven’t chipped a fingernail at my pursuits. The world was a different place politically when we were here last summer.Sure there were some heated debates among friends about the direction of the country, fiscal policies, healthcare policies and so on. The mood seemedrestive and there was plenty of talk of change. Candidates for state andfederal offices here, in New Hampshire and in states across the countrytalked endlessly about the economy, jobs and budgets needing to betrimmed. The Tea Party was on the rise and the media accommodatingly amplified itsvoice, making it seem numerically much larger and stronger than it was or is.Its candidates served as the butt of numerous jokes and who, many politicalobservers contended, would not garner the votes to win office. No doubtsome seats would change hands, but reasonable people would be electedwho would find reasonable solutions to the problems facing each state andthe country.Voters would never elect extreme candidates such as Sharon Angle of Nevada, Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, Allen West of Florida or even RandPaul of Kentucky.
Except in many instances they did.
Voters certainly didn’telect all of their approved candidates, but on the whole the Tea Party hadamazing success with 65% of their endorsed candidates for US congress
winning election and significantly shifting the balance of power and thedirection of the country. The relevant question now is did voters get what they bargained for? If NewHampshire, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois and even Maine are any indication thereseems to be considerable buyers’ remorse. Instead of focusing on theeconomy and job creation, these legislatures have fast-tracked gun bills of allmanner, elimination of worker rights, dismantling women’s reproductivehealthcare and pushing draconian budgets that leave thousands of ourcitizens behind. The local dineah owner’s sentiments are telling. A Republican and initialsupporter of recently elected Gov. Paul LePage, Norm’s pretty uncomfortablewith his new Governor. Among LePage’s first acts was removal of murals of workers from the Department of Labor (because they showed favoritism of workers over big corporations!) and support of expanded child labor(allowing kids to work more hours below minimum wages). Norm wishes foran electoral do-over. I’ve met a lot of folks like Norm here in Maine and inNew Hampshire. There’s a difference in Maine – one I hope we import to New Hampshire.Here there is a critical mass of influential Republicans who are standing upagainst the radical Tea Party agenda and most especially the assault onworkers. In an unprecedented opinion piece by eight Republican Senators,LePage (a member of their own party) was taken to task for his abusiveattitude and tone toward those who disagree with him (can anybody outthere say Speaker O’Brien??) as well as his attitude toward labor (again,does this sound familiar in NH?).
We may find ourselves on opposite sides of an issue or vote, but we are allworking to achieve what we feel is best for our great state. We are not theenemy of labor and labor is certainly not an enemy to us
,” state theseSenators in the op ed and subsequent interviews with newspapersthroughout Maine and they go on to say “
How we do things is as important as what we do
.”Maine’s politics have long been moderate on most big issues, not so differentfrom the New Hampshire of a short time ago. These Senators are certainlydefending that tradition. It may also be they’re feeling the early winds of aserious backlash that polls are just beginning to pick up on. It was
something to think about as I sipped my coffee and watched Bruce re-stackhis wood pile.
 Thought for the Week: On Mowing and Meditation1Breaking News Daler Wins Special Election2On the Senate FloorNHs Minimum Wage Tradition Out the Window5How Many Avenues to Union Busting?6Pesky Federal Grants Safe for Now7Sending Messages to Congress7Senate Hearings on Select BillsDeath Penalty Expansion7Banning Utility Companies from Using Eminent Domain 8On the House FloorWinnepesaukee Speed Limits Upheld8 Thorny Issue of 
Compensation9Pressure to Override Gov’s Veto on Right to Work9Ethics by Any Other Name Just Aint 10Update on the Folks Behind the Curtain 11How Committees of Conference Work 12
Breaking News
As I was wrapping up this week’s Alert, the results of the special election inHillsborough, District 4 were released – and they were stunning. In the 16
(of 103) most Republican district in New Hampshire, Democrat Jennifer Dalerswept her opponent by 59% to 41%. Daler, a former legislator, replacesformer Rep. Bob Mead who took the position as Chief of Staff to Speaker BillO’Brien.

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