See part one for disclosures and background on the legislative process in New Hampshire.

For the week of March 1st through 5th, the House had only committee hearings.  For that week, the Senate had both committee hearings and a single session day.  Only the House considered legislation during the week of the 1st through 5th which pushed back on the Governor and his emergency powers.

I found the youtube channel where the NH House of Representatives uploads committee hearing videos.


The House Legislative Administration Committee held a hearing on March 1st on HCR 2 .  I attended the whole two hour hearing via Zoom.

HCR 2 is a concurrent resolution to end the state of emergency.  In New Hampshire, unlike in Pennsylvania, there is no requirement for the Governor to sign a concurrent resolution for the concurrent resolution to take effect. Therefore, if HCR 2 passes both the House and the Senate, the state of emergency ends and all of the Governor’s emergency orders go away.  Passing this resolution is one of Reopen NH’s top priorities.

The hearing began with the prime sponsor, Rep. Melissa Blasek, describing the motivation behind the resolution.  To summarize her testimony, RSA 4:45 was never intended to give the governor unlimited power or allow the governor to usurp the powers of other branches of government.  NH Hospitals were never overwhelmed.  There is no need to have a state emergency in order to receive Federal money.

Two cosponsors, Rep. Tony Lekas and Rep. Leah Cushman, spoke next.  Each covered different aspects of the fall-out from the Governor’s emergency orders.

Rep. Lekas talked about increases in suicide, drug overdoses, unemployment, and worsening of overall health.

Rep. Cushman presented statistics showing that most deaths due to COVID-19 in New Hampshire were in long term care facilities.  The risk of dying from COVID-19 in New Hampshire has overwhelming fallen on the elderly.  Other causes of death, such as heart disease and cancer, kill far more people in New Hampshire than COVID-19 has killed.  She presented more statistics showing that hospitals were not overwhelmed.

Rep. Blasek had invited experts to speak.  These people spoke for most of the rest of the hour.

We heard from Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, who is involved with The Great Barrington Declaration, and Tammy Clark, both of whom spoke at Reopen NH’s Legislative Summit.  Both of their testimony sounded to me like a shortened version of their presentation at the summit, except that Dr. Bhattacharya talked about the vaccine.  He described why he thinks that the vaccine plus existing natural immunity are bringing New Hampshire close to herd immunity.  He also thinks vaccines should never be mandatory.

Bob Clegg, the author of the legislation that brought RSA 4:45 to its current form, spoke.  He talked about how the legislation was never intended to allow a governor to renew a state of emergency endlessly so that he can cling to power.  He asked that the committee give an “Ought to Pass” recommendation to the resolution and also to legislation before the committee which rewrites RSA 4:45 to limit the Governor’s power during a state of emergency.

Andrew Manuse, a former state representative and chairman of Reopen NH, spoke.  He was critical of the effects of the lockdowns and Governor’s emergency orders on businesses.  He was also critical of the lack of rule of law due to the Governor’s actions.  He was critical of democracy and using popularity as a test of what is right and wrong.

There were other experts talking about Constitutional law issues and other issues.

Here is a two minute compilation of the sponsors’ and experts’ testimony.  The channel also includes a video of the full sponsor and expert testimony, which is about an hour long.

Eventually the committee started hearing testimony from members of the public.  During this part of the hearing, I developed a new appreciation for the NHLA’s instructions on testifying at a legislative committee.  Keep your testimony to three minutes or less.  Don’t ramble.  Don’t repeat what others have said.  Stick to three points.  My mind wandered at many points during the hearing.

Remember, freedom is messy.   One of the people who spoke in support of HCR 2 spoke about how the Germ Theory of disease is wrong and SARS-CoV-2 has never been isolated.

Only one person spoke in opposition to HCR 2.  Rep. Timothy Horrigan spoke last and spoke against HCR 2. He thinks the state of emergency is necessary.  He also thinks that Gov. Sununu should have cracked down harder.

After the committee chairman recessed the hearing, he announced the numbers from the sign-in sheet.  Approximately 290 people signed in to support the resolution, and about 90 people signed in to oppose the resolution.

The committee will hold an executive session on Tuesday, March 9th.  At that time the committee will determine its recommendation for HCR 2.

Bills Rewriting RSA 4:45

I did not attend any of the hearings about the bills rewriting RSA 4:45, and I did not watch any of the recordings on youtube.  According to legislators I know, the committees involved are going to work on new legislation which includes ideas from all the bills submitted.

HB 439

This bill repeals the part of state law which municipalities have relied on to pass mask ordinances.  This is a hearing I neither attended nor watched the recording of.  Legislators I know say this bill received a OTP-A (Ought to Pass with Amendment) recommendation.  The committee report is not public at the time I write this.  The legislators I know didn’t tell me anything about what the proposed amendment is.

HB 493

This is another bill that I neither attended the hearing for nor watch the recording of the hearing.  This is the bill making it a crime to assault, threaten to assault, or to disobey a business employee asking you to comply with public health orders.  Legislators I know say the committee issued an ITL (Inexpedient to Legislate) recommendation for this bill.  The committee report and recommendation have not been published at the time I write this.

HB 440

The House Judiciary Committee cancelled the executive session that I mentioned for HB 440 in my previous article.  Instead the committee will hold an executive session on March 10th.  The committee will make its recommendation on HB 440 at that time.

HB 63

20 Republicans voted against HB 63, and one Democrat voted for it.  The Legiscan website for the bill says there will be a hearing by the House Finance Committee for the bill on March 9th.  The Finance Committee’s website, at the time I write this, says the next hearing will be on January 27th, 2021, which makes no sense.

Getting this bill passed is the other top priority for Reopen NH.

HB 187

The next hearing for this bill will be on March 15th in front of the Executive Departments and Administration Committee.

Updates From the Governor

The Governor issued a new emergency order.  He has issued 86 emergency orders over the past year.

The Governor extended the state of emergency for another 21 days.

The Governor appeared on NH-PBS.  Part way through the interview, the Governor answered a question about the bills restricting his emergency powers.

News Coverage for the Week of Mar. 1st through 5th

Several news outlets covered this week’s committee hearings.  They are:

NH Journal ran an opinion piece on the attempts to push back on the Governor.

In other news, House Democrats are appealing their loss of a case against the House Speaker.  The case is an attempt to force remote sessions claiming that holding in person sessions during the pandemic violates the ADA.  The lower court ruled that the Speaker is immune to lawsuits related to decisions he makes about conduct of legislators.

Upcoming Business For March 8th through 12th

At this time, there are no session days scheduled for the House.  Only committee hearings are scheduled.

There is a session day scheduled for the Senate on March 11th.  The session day packet, which lists the bills the Senate will vote on, was not ready at the time I finished this article.  Like the House, the Senate also has several committee hearings scheduled.

Reopen NH is planning to send an e-mail update on bills the group is watching over the weekend.

I will write more next week.