Saturday, February 26, 2011

RidleyReport Addresses Weare PD Abuses

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Is the NH GOP Aware It HAS a Platform...?

A curious theme appears to be emerging in the Granite State with regard to the NH Republican Party and its stated objectives. The NH GOP's platform specifically states that the party supports expressly acknowledging the right of jury nullification (find some historical opinions on the matter here). Just as the NH GOP's platform specifically states that the party supports the right to record cops, thereby holding public servants accountable (which also resulted in some recent confusion).
The Legal System
The Republican Party believes that the New Hampshire Advantage is, in part, secured and promoted by a legal system that upholds the safety, values and freedoms of law-abiding citizens. We will work to maintain a legal system that provides every citizen prompt and impartial justice by: ...
* Support jurors being instructed on the right of jury nullification
And yet somehow the GOP-dominated House Judiciary Committee nevertheless managed to unanimously recommend killing HB146, 'relative to the right of jury nullification,' NH's 2011 "fully informed jury" bill. Here's the majority opinion blurb published in the House Calendar, where it was placed on the Consent Calendar, with other "non-controversial" bills:
HOUSE CALENDAR
CONSENT CALENDAR
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 23

JUDICIARY

HB 146, relative to the right of jury nullification. INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE.
Rep. Gregory M Sorg for Judiciary: This bill would require judges in all court proceedings to “instruct the jury of its inherent right to judge the law and the facts and to nullify any and all actions they find to be unjust.” The committee concluded that, as drafted, this bill would incorrectly instruct the jury to put the law on trial rather than the application of the law in the case actually before it. The committee further concluded that the so-called “Wentworth” instruction, by which the judge instructs the jury that if it finds that the prosecution has proved all of the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, it should find the defendant guilty, adequately informs the jury of its unquestioned right of nullification without misleading it. Vote 15-0.
By all indications, much party chaos, embarrassment and hysteria ensued, as it discovered the transparently tenuous nature of its own allegiance to principle, on display for all to appreciate. Here is the subsequent floor debate, mere days later, to salvage both intended citizen control over government, and Republican self-respect, 2/23/2011. The result? Back to Committee. We're gonna keep doin' this until you get it right...! Thank you, Speaker O'Brien.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beer, Glorious Beer...!

The NH House Commerce Committee hears testimony on HB262, 'relative to beverage manufacturers,' 2/22/2011. Less vaguely, "This bill establishes a nano brewery license for businesses that manufacture up to 2,000 barrels of beer or specialty beer annually. This bill also eliminates the quantity restriction on sales by beverage manufacturers to the general public." A new industry could flourish in NH.

Is it just me, or does the Committee come off as more authoritarian and micromanaging than the Liquor Commission (starting at about 28:30)...?



And as a special bonus: why it's so gorram important. From the Discovery Channel, so you know it's righteous, right? 'How Beer Saved the World'...


How Beer Saved The World from College Curb on Vimeo.

Son of REAL-ID

How the hell do we KILL this thing...? HB455, 'authorizing optional enhanced drivers' licenses and optional enhanced nondrivers' picture identification cards,' before the NH House Transportation Committee, 2/22/2011. More history here.

But first, The Man, NH's channeler of Patrick Henry, our primary champion on nullifying REAL-ID in NH already, my own Rep. Neal Kurk, dissects -- eviscerates? -- the bill line by line...



Friday, February 18, 2011

Scenes from a Big Day at the State House

Many big bills addressed in hearings by NH House Committees this day, 2/17/2011. Education, parental rights, 'freedom to marry' (you can still "enjoy" some of the last go-round on this topic, which ultimately resulted in NH becoming the first state to recognize gay marriage without a court order, here -- it's unlikely the arguments have changed much...). Far too many to hit even many of them. So, here's a selection.

First up, this year's version of 2009's HCR6 -- NH's first 'sovereignty' bill. HCR19: 'affirming States' powers based on the Constitution for the United States and the Constitution of New Hampshire,' heard by the House State-Federal Relations Committee.

Here, co-sponsor freshman Rep. George "On the Job Means On the Record" Lambert speaks truth to power. Then the whole hearing, including the non-typical step (at least in the House) of an immediate 'Executive Session,' where the Committee votes on its recommendation to the whole House. The result was 'Ought to Pass,' 10-2. At about 0:42, Rep. Theberge exhibits some character when he protests voting to recommend a bill he professes he isn't "well-versed" on. More of the People's representatives -- especially at the federal level -- should show such honor, IMHO. However, as you can almost hear, he commences writing the "minority opinion" before the session even concludes! Now, if that opinion will be simply that House members should actually understand bills before they vote to pass them, shouldn't there be sufficient time to become educated by the time the House reads it? Surely he's not rendering judgment on the substance, on which he admits he's not "well-versed"... I'll be interested to learn his official objection, which will be printed in the relevant House Calendar for the scheduled floor vote, which is currently slated for 2/23.






Next, while I'm waiting for the 'Obamacare opt-out' bill, I sit in on HB225: 'relative to the return of personal property confiscated by law enforcement agencies from a person charged with a crime,' before the House Criminal Justice Committee. It would seem a non-controversial concept, wouldn't it? Surprisingly, the tone while I was there reflected that rational perception. The AG's office is there purely informationally? What else should they be there for? Isn't their job to enforce the laws we tell them to?




Finally, here we go. HB126: 'prohibiting interference with access to medical services and health insurance of New Hampshire citizens' -- Obamacare nullification, effectively -- before the House Commerce Committee. Don't miss the final speaker, who regales us with this revelation, from a government employee: force-based government thinks government is good. Presumably, more force-based government is good-er.

But let's lead off with co-sponsor freshman Rep. Andrew Manuse speaking more truth to power.



Thursday, February 3, 2011

NH House Leadership Addresses State Budget

I braved the increasingly unacceptable Concord parking situation (only made worse by the snow) this day, 2/3/2011, to record the Republican-dominated NH House Criminal Justice Committee's scheduled Executive Session (to finalize its recommendation to the entire body) for HB145: "permitting the audio and video recording of any public official while in the course of his or her official duties" -- you know, the bill that's faithful to the GOP's own platform -- only to learn it was already preordained for a study committee where, presumably, it can be quietly separated from its teeth.

On the way out, I ran into this press conference by House leadership on the state of this biennium's nascent budget process. I'm reminded of a quote the intended meaning of which I've never considered I fully understood: "Hope is like a dose of spiritual clap." We shall see...