Randomly Bad

HB 1285
AN ACT repealing the state art fund.

SPONSORS: Rep. D. McGuire, Merr 8

Apparently Dan McGuire doesn’t want any tainted National Endowment for the Arts money coming into NH, and doesn’t want NH tax dollars invested in art. Undoubtedly he wants us to think this is a heroic money saving measure. Some of us remember that last year he cosponsored a bill that called for NH taxpayers to spend millions diverting the Suncook River so that his property would have riverfront footage once again.  It’s all about priorities.

AN ACT abolishing the department of cultural resources.

SPONSORS: Rep. Vaillancourt, Hills 15

This bill abolishes the department of cultural resources, transferring the division of libraries and the division of historical resources to the department of state, and transferring the New Hampshire film and television commission to the department of resources and economic development.

Given that Vaillancourt wanted to eliminate the inter-library loan program because the books arrived too fast in his library, it’s unsurprising to see him taking another run at libraries. Vaillancourt is obviously well read, and quite literate – but like many fauxbertarian types, he benefitted from libraries and education, but now wants to pull the ladder up after him. It’s clear that this crowd of parvenus lacks any appreciation for history, unless it’s the Magna Carta or the Constitution of their imagination, and has even less appreciation for culture. NH literature and art are of no consequence to these barbarians.  

HB 1148:
AN ACT requiring the teaching of evolution as a theory in public schools.

SPONSORS: Rep. Bergevin, Hills 17
Theory of Evolution. Require evolution to be taught in the public schools of this state as a theory, including the theorists’ political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism.

Big Christian Daddy is Watching You! No room for freedom of (or from) religion with this guy. As I’ve said before, Bergevin is his own best proof that evolution IS only a theory.

HB:1451
AN ACT establishing a statewide property tax credit for a resident maintaining a personal vegetable garden.

SPONSORS: Rep. Malone, Belk 5; Rep. Cohn, Merr 6

I. Any person owning residential property who maintains on his or her property, within the period of the property tax year, a vegetable garden of at least 100 square feet consisting of vegetables grown for personal or local consumption, shall be entitled to receive a credit to be deducted from his or her tax bill in the amount of $75.

II. In order to qualify under this section, the vegetable garden shall not be intended as a business venture, except that produce from the vegetable garden may be sold at a farmer’s market or farm stand.

So, if you grow vegetables and sell them at a farmer’s market or farm stand, the operative word is SELL. That means money changing hands – and isn’t that a business venture? Representatives  Cohn and Malone give no reasoning as to why gardeners merit some sort of welfare program. Perhaps because you can’t grow bootstraps?

And  now, a moment of silence for the bill requiring quotes from the Magna Carta, which brought national attention to our state, during the first in the nation primary. As this story in the Concord Monitor reveals, this brilliant bit of legislation went down in flames.  

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  • victoriap

    Key Free Stater Rep Dan McGuire also sees the opportunity to get rid of regional planning commissions with HB1561. He is for some reason against long term planning for NH – last year, he tried to get rid of the NH Rail Transit Authority – but am glad to say he failed.

    He also is a co-sponsor of HB1607, the anti-public education bill that establishes an education credit against the business profits tax.

    He’s the sponsor of HB1220, which would eliminate the check the State does for arrests and domestic violence orders when someone buys a gun. He said there is no reason for this because there is a federal check, but didn’t realize that the federal check doesn’t capture all of the arrests and orders.

    He’s up to his neck in all kinds of bad bills this year. Apparently he knows what is best for  NH.

    • TimothyHorrigan

      Dan McGuire and other followers of Ayn Rand led the fight to get rid of passenger rail in New Hampshire.  But ironically, her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, was all about a heroic railroad CEO and one of her suppliers.

  • elwood

    Some scientists haven’t bothered to announce “political and ideological viewpoints and position on atheism.” They just write about fossil records, or the geographic distribution of species, or fruit fly experiments or some such.

    For our teachers to do their job we need to pin these labcoated troublemakers down. Friar Mendel and Darwin are reasonably well documented, but there are thousands of others whose unexpressed thoughts must be captured.

    I will just be a faceless bureaucrat in the taxpayer-funded BTP. My ideological viewpoint, as I crank the rack another notch or shine the light more brightly on the tired scientist, will be irrelevant.

    No one expects the Granite Inquisition!

  • SethCohn

    Representatives Cohn and Malone give no reasoning as to why gardeners merit some sort of welfare program.

    Those who were present for the testimony I gave would have heard that I did, in fact, explain why we need this.  And if this bill had gone to Environment and Agriculture (which understands the issue much better), it might have passed, based on conversations with both Democrats and Republicans on that committee.  But it went to Municipal and County, due to the words ‘tax credit’, and they didn’t understand the core problem: our food crisis, that we currently import 96% of our food here in NH, and we need to take strong and immediate steps to improve that number, before it’s too late. (Fuel costs, factory farms, financial collapses and the like are all going to raise our food prices through the roof)

    My more libertarian colleagues disliked my using a tax credit (which everyone could potentially qualify for, including with some discussed refinements, condos and apartments), to help achieve this goal, and they felt it was “social engineering through tax policy,” but I’m surprised a progressive like Susan didn’t like it either.  

    $75 is hardly welfare, it would help pay for tools/seeds/etc and function as an voluntary incentive toward solving a pending public policy problem.  Sadly, that got lost and the discussion focus of the committee became ‘veggie police’ tax credit enforcement (spending more than $75 on enforcing a $75 credit?  It was sadly absurd to listen to, especially when I’d discussed the neighborly social pressures (free) that would likely limit abuses.)

    Feel free to criticize what I agree are silly bills like those ones Bergevin has put in, or the Magna Carta one (The Monitor story shows that I agree with you, and I voted to ITL it), but don’t let your partisan leanings blind you to the fact that sometimes we might even AGREE on things.

    • susanthe

      how selling produce isn’t a “business venture,” Rep. Cohn.

      And thank you so much for telling me what I’m “free” to write. I always enjoy that kind of finger waving from the male gender.  Of course if you Republicans have your way, I won’t be free to make decisions about my reproductive decisions, but at least I’ll still be free to write.

      For now.  

      • Chuck Townsend

         

        except that produce from the vegetable garden may be sold at a farmer’s market or farm stand.

        While I have no idea what recommendation would have come from E&A, the exception from other business ventures represented by on-farm stands and farmers’ markets would have been understood and supported, as would the need to encourage home food production.

    • elwood

      What a principled libertarian thing to do.

      • Dean Barker

        who lives in another state tells me that one can get a property tax break if you have some sort of agriculture on one’s land.

        Apparently the tax break is widely abused and near impossible to authenticate.

        And those who raise livestock, keep bees, grow clover, etc… are out of luck, I guess.

        You know who’s in luck?  The 1% who enjoy our pledge politics.

        • SethCohn

          We have current use, for one thing, which is an agri tax break. (And far far more than $75 off in most cases)

          And I’d be 100% in favor of similar credits for bees, and the like (ie small scale_ personal/local ag).

          And Yes, elwood, some of my friends scoffed the same way as you.  I know it’s almost… progressive thinking… this place must be rubbing off on me (grin)
           

          • elwood

            I’m not “scoffing.”

            And using the tax code for social engineering isn’t “progressive” – it’s simply wielding government power when you have it. Right-winger use it all the time to promote their favorite polluting industries, for example.

            I’m not scoffing – I’m just pointing out what a dishonest hypocrite you are.

      • susanthe

        Jason Sorens works at a public college, it’s easy to see how serious our Free Stater pals are about their principles.

        Cohn and the rest of the freebaglican tribe are hastily doing all the damage they can to our state during this session, because they’re going to get their asses handed to them in November.  

        • Jennifer Daler

          really sticks in my craw. That is a plumb job, desired by many excellent scholar/teachers. It comes with an excellent New York State salary, benefits, including state sponsored health care and pension. Also he gets  paid sabbaticals.

          And Sorens sends his minions to another state where they proceed to cut that state’s university system by half! They come to take away other public employees pensions and benefits, while Sorens is a public employee himself!

          I hope SUNY Buffalo is aware of this all. A hypocrite of this magnitude shouldn’t be training dogs, let alone educating students at a university.

  • TimothyHorrigan

    HB 1285, as introduced, still allows the state to accept NEA funding to buy art.  It just doesn’t allow  the state to maintain the art fund which for many years has been used to buy art for public buildings.  HB 1285 also eliminates the funding mechanism for that fund as well as the organization which selected and curated that art.

  • hannah

    and “incentivized” to do things and why is it the role of agents of government to do that?  Is it because they are fearful sloths themselves have to be prodded to carry out their duties?  Or is it just that they like to manipulate other people?

    Of course, it is hard for the NH legislature to appreciate that they’ve been hired to work since they don’t get paid.
    You get what you pay for.

  • GreyMike

    have the precisely the same mentality and motivation as a group of juvenile delinquents with BB guns shooting out panes of glass in a building. Why do they keep writing and passing idiotic bills?

    Because they can, that is why.

    It’s not about the substance, it’s about the power inherent in the act.  

  • victoriap

    Free Staters and some other Republicans gathered to hear Jason Sorens speak at the Legislative Office Building early last summer. Speaker O’Brien was there, but had to leave before the presentation began. It appeared to be a bit of a celebration, based on the legislation that had just passed.

    They all learned about a study Mr. Sorens and a colleague had done, which found that NH is indeed the free-est state in the nation. There were only one or two areas Sorens and his colleague recommended changing, based on this study.

    One would never know this, from the deluge of bills that Free Staters have co-sponsored this year. Over the past several years, they’ve put in place the political machinery to crank out these bills, through the NH Liberty Alliance, Republican Liberty Caucus of NH, and Natural Rights Council.

    If FSP candidates do suffer in November (assuming we are able to recognize them), they will not be going away. They are in this for the long haul.

    • susanthe

      was very clear in the beginning of the FSP about their intention to take over and dismantle our state government. He’s tried to walk back from that since then.

      Once we’ve taken over the state government, we can slash state and local budgets, which make up a sizeable proportion of the tax and regulatory burden we face every day. Furthermore, we can eliminate substantial federal interference by refusing to take highway funds and the strings attached to them. Once we’ve accomplished these things, we can bargain with the national government over reducing the role of the national government in our state. We can use the threat of secession as leverage to do this.

      That’s their REAL plan, and it behooves us to keep that in mind when dealing with these people.  

    • SethCohn

      No, it was part of a multi-state tour that Sorens and Ruger (who is from NH, btw, now lives in Texas, and his uncle is a State Rep currently) did to promote the report they authored.  We weren’t the only stop on that tour, and newspapers reports followed much of the tour stops across the country.

      In conversation with them, it was quite funny to hear that they’d almost wished that NH hadn’t been #1, because they were both concerned that people would assume some sort of pre-existing bias that didn’t actually exist.  They’d looked at a large variety of issues using predetermined statistical methods to correlate them all, and while other states were clearly better in various areas, and NH was not #1 in any of the 4 group rankings they compiled, adding up the scores, NH was overall #1, same as in the previous report (when Democrats controlled the entire legislature.)

      I recall you, Chaz, and others protesting, but not having read the report first.  Have you read it yet?  The report recommended improvements for NH, all of which myself and others had independently filed (prior to the report coming out and with no input from Sorens at all.)  The report just validated we were already paying attention to areas needing improving… “Radical crazy ideas” like:

      Fixing marijuana laws (more like Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont) (various bills this year)

      Fixing homeschooling testing/reporting requirements (currently some of the worst in the country, according to many observers)
      (various bills last year and this year as well)

      Fixing asset forfeiture laws (making them more like Maine and Vermont, two much freer states in that regard). (HB 1682 – filed by me)

      [In Full Disclosure - I worked with the Institute for Justice (the Kelo case folks, anti-eminent domain, being the thing most know them for..) on this bill, using some work they'd done beginning with Maine's laws as a starting model. Also, I approached THEM for help, not the reverse.  
      After the final bill was drafted up here in NH (by the same state house lawyers who draft our bills, with some input from national AF experts and myself), the final bill text was deemed by IJ to be an improvement over their previous model language, and guess who else decided to embrace this new bill language? Those folks at ALEC (I am not a member, nor have I attended any meetings).
      So please don't think that ALEC gave it to me, if/when you discover that (shocker!) their text matches my bill, when the reverse is actually true: they took our NH bill language, and realizing that it was good legislation on the issue to share with other state legislators, they adopted it themselves in late 2011/early 2012, long after my bill was finalized.]

      And btw, those three were the ONLY report recommendations for NH, all 3 of which I’m sure I could find many Democrats supporting. (I’ve met a number of Democratic homeschoolers, they aren’t that hard to find actually if you look. 3-5% of NH children are homeschooled, they aren’t all Republicans by a long shot)

      And yes, with nearly 1000 movers already here, and seeing more moving all the time, we are in this for the long haul.  I agree with you on that point.

      • susanthe

        From Soren’s initial manifesto:

        Once we’ve taken over the state government, we can slash state and local budgets, which make up a sizeable proportion of the tax and regulatory burden we face every day. Furthermore, we can eliminate substantial federal interference by refusing to take highway funds and the strings attached to them. Once we’ve accomplished these things, we can bargain with the national government over reducing the role of the national government in our state. We can use the threat of secession as leverage to do this.

        Representative Cohn is working overtime to sound quirky and nonthreatening. The agenda of the FSP is to turn our state into the US version of Somalia.  

        • GreyMike

          Harrrrr!

        • SethCohn

          I don’t have to work overtime to be quirky and nonthreatening… That comes naturally to me.

          • susanthe

            Rep. Cohn. You’re part of the O’Brien junta. You’re a Republican. Your party is trying to take my reproductive rights away, ruin public education, ensure that women are beaten and killed by abusers with impunity, repeal marriage equality, teach creationism and Biblical literacy in our schools, and ensure that convicted felons and abusers can have all the guns they want. You’re also part of the effort to dismantle the NH judicial system, and ensure that even fewer tax dollars grace the empty NH coffers. You are part of the effort that is ensuring that we continue to live in a state with a 19th century infrastructure, in the 21st century. You and your party have made our state a national laughingstock, over and over again, with the actions your party has engaged in, and the bills your brethren have filed.

            You are a member of this legislature. You are a Republican. You lacked sufficient principle to run as the libertarian you claim to be. Kinda like Jason Sorens, who rails against all things public, but conveniently puts his principles away to hold down a cushy job in a public university. `

            That makes you absolutely threatening. You can pretend to be a quirky libertarian all you want – but it’s an act. You’re a Republican. You’re part of the most damaging legislature in our state’s history.  I believe that when the damage you and your cohorts are doing becomes known, the voters will hand you all your respective asses.  

            • SethCohn

              It was clear to the Democratic reps on the 18th, that I was willing to stand up for what is right, even against O’Brien.  Perhaps you can ask one of them what happened, as I’m not going to rehash it here.  

              BTW, that same day, I voted against HB228 (the “anti-Planned Parenthood” bill)

              Public education is already ‘ruined’, in that no matter how much money we’ve spent on it, the results are horrible.  It’s time to realize that the answer is to get parents involved in their child’s education, and all of my votes have been in that light, and to solve the problems that clearly exist.  Parents have the right, according to the Supreme Court (in many decisions over ALL of the last 100 years) to decide their children’s education, and just because you or I disagree with them, too bad for us, they are the final voice, not us.  I believe in Evolution, and the Bible as one book of many texts that contains truth and not-so-truth, but it’s NOT my choice to decide what someone else’s kids learn.

              I’m already on record, and will be when it hits the floor again, that government needs to get out of marriage, and both sides need to grow up and stop this nonsense of deciding other people’s lives.  But when push comes to shove, if the question is repeal or not for same sex marriages, I vote not to repeal.

              I’ve voted consistently for self-defense, as a basic human right, and that includes both abused women, and non-violent felons (should Martha Stewart lose the right to defend herself, just because some government bureaucrats decided to go after and she was convicted of a felony?)

              I’m convinced that the court system is broken, because of examples over and over, in many many ways… so yes, I consistently vote to reform it.

              I’m convinced that individuals, especially the poor among us, make better decisions than their governments about how to spend their own money, and so, taxes should be as small as possible.  So yes, I vote to reduce them.

              I ran as a Republican, despite the differences I might have with them at times, for the same reason Steve Vaillancourt is a Republican (and he’s run and won as each of all 3 parties, uniquely in the country): Given the tendencies to get involved in either wallet or bedroom, the wallet is attacked much more than the bedroom is, so pick the side more likely to be defending the wallet, but continue to defend the bedroom. (Running as a L, you start from behind so far back that it’s a waste of time under our current election system, which I also have attempted to reform, for that reason.)

              No pretending here, Susan.  I am a quirky libertarian sort, and I’ve always been honest about that.  I know many libertarians who have tried to work within the Democratic party and they are soundly rejected by you and those like you, so if you don’t want to whine about how I’m a Republican, then make space in your party for folks like me, and I guarantee you, we’ll come over there as a result.  There is no space at your inn right now, despite that I agree with you at times.  

              You and I both support the Occupiers, for example.  I stood in Manchester many times, perhaps before you got involved, and supported their efforts, because I know they are correct in many of the views they expressed, and things they want fixed.  And when I asked for a Petition of Grievance to be allowed to give the Manchester 19 a space voice their grievance against the city for stopping their peaceful assembly, arresting 5 of them, not ONE person on the Rules Committee voted in favor of letting… including all the Democrats.
              Both sides like the status quo, and neither wants to listen to the Occupiers.  So maybe you and I have more in common than you might think, or worse, want to admit to yourself.

              • susanthe

                I’m not a Democrat. Sorry to bust up your attempt to stereotype. The Democratic Party has moved too far to the right for me. I’m a mostly a pinko, registered as undeclared. But then, I’m not here to take over the state and destroy the government. You are.

                I point out what you are trying to weasel around: YOU ARE A REPUBLICAN. You are a Republican in the most destructive administration to ever be voted in to our state. You can pretend to be as quirky as you want – but you are part of it, in fact you are pushing it.

                Public education should be fixed not destroyed. Jobs should come here that can pay a living wage. That will never happen while you people destroy what little revenue comes in to our tax coffers. The infrastructure of the state will continue to deteriorate as you people crow about not paying taxes. That’s stupid and short sighted, and as far as I can tell that’s a disease shared by Republicans and Freebaggers.

                We have very little in common, Seth, and that isn’t likely to change, no matter how many times you say that it is so. My vision for the world, the nation, and this state is in direct contrast with  the wretched vision you have for the state I’ve called home for nearly 30 years.  I’m not part of a sort of toy cult that waves guns around to prove their manhood.

                It’s amusing that you are desperate for me to admit something (that isn’t so) to myself, when you, as a glibertarian/Freebagger are in complete denial about what you’re doing to our state, and how much you people are hated right now. You’ll be finding out in November, I expect.

                Oh, and this time, Seth? Put the fact that you’re a Free Stater on your campaign literature, and I might gain a modicum of respect for you.  

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