Wednesday, September 17, 2014

When Is A Work Session Not A Work Session?

When it turns out it's a session to discuss scheduling work sessions. This is the billed-as interim study work session of the NH House Criminal Justice Committee, 9/17/2014, addressing:
  • HB1550, "permitting the audio and video recording of a public official while in the course of his or her official duties," (10/8)
  • HB1204-FN, "relative to perjury by a law enforcement officer," (nope -- or...?)
  • HB1607-FN, "relative to limited driving privileges after revocation for certain financial obligations," (10/7)
  • HB1575-FN-A, "requiring state police to wear a camera when interacting with the public," (10/1)
  • HB1485-FN, "relative to vulnerable users of highways, (10/7)
  • HB1566-FN, relative to warrant requirements," (10/1)
  • HB645-FN, "relative to an extended term of imprisonment for persons with 2 prior convictions," (uh-uh)
  • HB1580-FN, "repealing mandatory minimum sentences" (10/8)
The work product was if and when they'll actually have work sessions (parenthetically appended to the above bills that made the cut, if you're interested). But as the Chair reminds the assemblage, pretty much all that can come of a bill consigned to "interim study" (over the interim in which an election is held) is a recommendation from the Committee that, well, somebody next session should sponsor such a bill. Wonderful. Although, a representative so inclined and paying attention can certainly glean some idea of what aspects might or might not win the Committee's coveted "Ought To Pass" recommendation. 'Course, the Committee might well have an entirely different make-up following the intervening election, so...

So utterly banal and pointless, I almost wasn't going to bother posting until Rep. Vaillancourt and Chair Pantelakos favored us with some of their trademarked, delightfully combative repartee near the end. After several reps in attendance specifically inquired as to my plans, I decided I couldn't just keep it to myself. And it is mercifully short. Comparatively...

A few historical notes to enhance your viewing pleasure:
  • "Recording of a public official while in the course of his or her official duties" is, at this point, settled law in NH. You're welcome -- not remotely that I did it alone, of course...
  • While even the notion of just state police SWAT teams wearing cameras was laughed out of its committee hearing just 2 and a half years ago, the zeitgeist has clearly shifted, particularly following the law enforcer horror show that has been Ferguson, MO. And driven in part by the previous note, Weare PD, at least, is now wearing chest cameras.