Cornerstone Action is calling on the state of New Hampshire to repeal the so called Buffer Zone Bill which prevents citizens from exercising their First Amendment rights within the vicinity of an abortion clinic. According to Cornerstone, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recently agreed to pay one point two million dollars in legal fees to the plaintiffs who successfully sued to overturn the Massachusetts Buffer Zone Bill, which served as the model for the one passed in New Hampshire. You’ll recall that the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the Massachusetts law in June.
While New Hampshire has delayed enforcement of its law, it remains on the books and Cornerstone is urging legislators to sign on to a bill filed by Manchester State Representative Kathleen Souza, Republican from Ward Four. Cornerstone’s also urging residents to contact their state reps and senators to support repeal. We’ve listed the bill’s Legislative Services Request Number (#2015-H-0075-R) and linked to contact information for state representatives and senators from this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.
Frankly, we agree with Cornerstone that the choice by Governess Margaret Wood Hassan and Attorney General Joseph Foster to defend the law against a lawsuit filed by New Hampshire citizens will leave our cash strapped state on the hook for the plaintiff’s legal fees, just like it did in Massachusetts. You can look up the contact information for your state representatives at this link and for your state senator here.
In what can only be described as an unfortunate case of timing, given the story we just shared on the Buffer Zone Bill, the Republican Caucus in the State Senate released an outline of its priorities for two thousand fifteen. The caucus that saw several of its members actually vote for the Buffer Zone Bill says it will quote “protect the Constitutional rights of all New Hampshire citizens and ensure open and transparent government.” End quote. How nice. While we trust Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Sharon Carson, Republican of Londonderry, to whom that quote was attributed, we’re not ready to trust the caucus as a whole on that one.
Nor are we ready to blindly accept their statement on Health Care, which is quote “Bringing competition and transparency to NH’s health care industry will not only bring down health care costs, but improve health care outcomes for NH families and businesses.” Maybe if they’d joined that quote’s author, Health and Human Services Committee Chair Andy Sanborn, Republican of Bedford, in opposing the expansion of Medicaid in the last session, we’d be willing to believe them.
Call us skeptical about the promise made by Senate Energy Committee Chair Jeb Bradley, Republican from Wolfeboro, to bring market based reforms to our energy sector to bring down energy prices. It’s thanks to him and guys like him and their support of things like ReGGI, the Regional Green House Gas Initiative, that quote “NH families and businesses continue to pay among the highest electric rates in the nation.” Virtually everything Concord’s done for the past thirty years has driven our energy prices higher.
Finally, and frankly, we scoff at the statement made by Education Committee Vice Chair and immediate past chair, Nancy Stiles, Republican of Hampton’s claim that the caucus, who caved into the demands of the federal Department of Education and passed Senate Bill Forty Eight and rejected the pleas of parents on numerous bills that the G O P Caucus will quote “continue to support excellence in public education by empowering local control of schools and ensuring that parents and students have the greatest opportunities.” On education issues, we can only hope that newly appointed Chair John Reagan, Republican of Deerfield, will do what Stiles did not, listen to the people instead of state and federal bureaucrats.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The fun continued at last week’s meeting of the Timberlane Regional School District School Board. Turns out that Danville representative Rob Collins claimed authorship of the proposed change to the formula that determines what each of the district’s four towns pay for tuition. It went down to ignominious defeat in the face of strong opposition from the representatives from Atkinson and Plaistow, the two communities that would have seen sharp increases in their tax rate so Danville and Sandown could see big drops in theirs.
Sandown representative Donna Green got an earful for making the public aware of the proposal before the meeting. Between her blog and our coverage, Timberlane school board members got lots of phone calls. The fact that board members complained about the public discussion of items pending the public meeting of a public body is simply dumbfounding. Plaistow member Sue Sherman agreed with Green that the board had not voted to close Sandown Central Elementary School. Green’s bid to have the board actually discuss the matter and take a specific vote on whether or not it should be closed and the policies for such an undertaking followed went down in flames again anyway. It appears as if the district will proceed with the closing, their failure to take a dedicated vote and follow their policies notwithstanding. Note: They still haven’t produced a plan that oulines all the associated costs and savings of such a move and have left, unanswered, questions about how the district wide special education programs operating at the school will be handled. Don’t worry, though. It won’t cost a thing, probably.
Oh, and Board Chair Nancy Steensen’s email telling Green she couldn’t tour the school during the day with the principal was a lie laid bare after it was disclosed that three board members had done that, including Atkinson member Jack Sapia, who toured Sandown North with the principal on Friday. The board also waived a policy or two to allow employees and themselves to take advantage of discounts offered by area businesses and defeated Green’s bid to eliminate the hiring of police extra details during their meetings. On that note, you’ll no doubt enjoy this little fun fact: The cop working the details is none other than Lt. Bill Baldwin, the guy who investigated Superintendent Earl Metzler’s false complaint against Green and quickly closed the investigation after receiving a letter from Green’s lawyer detailing his violations of her procedural and constitutional rights. Nope, just can’t make this stuff up!
The Bedford Police Dept is advising motorists that the annual Nativity Scene is scheduled for Tuesday December 23rd at 6 p m. There will be a significant amount of vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the area of Bedford Center Rd. and Church Rd. between the hours of 5 and 7. If you are traveling in and around the area during this time please drive slowly and cautiously. They’ve been sending notices everyday for almost a week about this, so I guess they really want people to take notice. So, take notice already!
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.