FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2012
New Hampshire State House Introduces a Shocking 7 ALEC Corporate-Written Pieces of Legislation in One Week Alone
CONCORD, NH - The New Hampshire State House and Senate heard public testimony on an alarming seven pieces of model legislation this week crafted by the corporate-funded ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), which allows corporations to write and then vote on which pieces of legislation to send to legislators.
"This is an incredible illustration of how the current leadership of the New Hampshire House and Senate are selling our state out to the highest bidder," said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Director of Granite State Progress. "Corporations already funnel unlimited money into our political system but to hand them the pen and paper to craft legislation is just plain wrong."
ALEC model legislation heard in committees this week range from repealing new consumer protections under the Affordable Care Act to creating specialized tax credits for businesses and privatizing education to limiting voter access at the ballot box.
"Each of these pieces of legislation benefit special interests at the expense of everyday, hardworking Granite Staters," Rice Hawkins said. "We need to reject corporate-written legislation and focus on ways to ensure New Hampshire state laws benefit New Hampshire state residents."
Using the website ALEC Exposed.com, which exposes ALEC's model legislation and allows users to see for themselves the influence in their home state, Granite State Progress identified several ALEC model legislation bills heard in New Hampshire this week:
HB 1607 "Education Tax Credit"
SPONSORS: Rep. Bettencourt, Rock 4; Rep. Hill, Merr 6; Rep. W. Smith, Rock 18; Rep. D. McGuire, Merr 8; Rep. O'Brien, Hills 4; Rep. Tucker, Rock 17; Rep. Bates, Rock 4; Rep. Silva, Hills 26; Rep. Chandler, Carr 1; Sen. Forsythe, Dist 4; Sen. De Blois, Dist 18
This bill - including SB 372 heard on Tuesday - creates a tax credit for businesses specifically designed to divert funding for public education to private schools. Neither of these bills will save the state or school districts money; rather it is new way to introduce a voucher system that encourages private education over a strong, functioning public education for all New Hampshire children. An online for-profit school company was the corporate sponsor of this bill in 2011.
Prime Sponsor and New Hampshire House Majority Leader DJ Bettencourt's testimony in favor of this corporate-written legislation can be found here. Testifying alongside Rep. Bettencourt were Alan Schaeffer of The Alliance for the Separation of School and State - who testified as a small business owner and did not indicate his organizational affiliation - and Adam Schaeffer (no relation) of an ALEC favorite: the Cato Institute.
HB 1560 Health Care Compact
SPONSORS: Rep. Bettencourt, Rock 4; Sen. Morse, Dist 22
The interstate health care compact would allow states to jointly opt out of all federal health rules, now and in the future. This would include everything from the Affordable Care Act to Medicare and Medicaid. If passed, New Hampshire could drop seniors from Medicare coverage, eliminate our Medicaid and CHIP protections for vulnerable children, end Medicaid-sponsored long-term care services for elders and people with disabilities, terminate protections for children with pre-existing conditions, and stop the enforcement of laws protecting medical privacy. The state would be free to replace any and all of these previous federal programs and protections with risky and/or inadequate state-based schemes or - worse - not replace them at all.
CACR 6 Super Majority Act
SPONSORS: Rep. Ulery, Hills 27; Rep. Renzullo, Hills 27
Senator President Peter Bragdon offered a flashback amendment to turn New Hampshire into a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) state, limiting state spending based on a rigid and flawed formula that will result in deep cuts to schools, health care, senior programs and other vital services. Colorado, the only state to institute such a proposal, had cuts so devastating that residents and the business community voted to suspend the law for a period of time. The legislation is lock-and-step with ALEC model bills.
SB 372 "Education Tax Credits"
SPONSORS: Sen. Forsythe, Dist 4; Sen. Bradley, Dist 3; Sen. Bragdon, Dist 11; Sen. Carson, Dist 14; Sen. De Blois, Dist 18; Sen. Gallus, Dist 1; Sen. Groen, Dist 6; Sen. Lambert, Dist 13; Sen. Luther, Dist 12; Sen. Sanborn, Dist 7; Sen. White, Dist 9; Rep. Hill, Merr 6; Rep. Bettencourt, Rock 4; Rep. B. Murphy, Rock 18; Rep. Groen, Straf 1
[See information from Monday's HB 1607]
SB 289 and SB 318 Photo ID to Vote
SB 289 SPONSORS: Sen. Prescott, Dist 23; Sen. Bradley, Dist 3; Sen. Carson, Dist 14; Rep. Itse, Rock 9; Rep. Tucker, Rock 17
SB 318 SPONSORS: Sen. Carson, Dist 14; Sen. Barnes, Jr., Dist 17; Sen. Bradley, Dist 3; Sen. De Blois, Dist 18; Sen. Groen, Dist 6; Sen. Lambert, Dist 13; Sen. Rausch, Dist 19; Sen. White, Dist 9
New Hampshire legislators have repeatedly tried to pass ALEC model legislation restricting the rights of voters to participate in elections. The Senate heard two versions of bills this week, each proposing photo identification and other measures despite widespread consent by election law officials and experts that so-called voter fraud is virtually non-existent and that these measures would disenfranchise millions of voters across the country.
HB 1658 Eliminating Support Services for Newborn Children
SPONSORS: Rep. Kurk, Hills 7
This legislation would eliminate support services for newborn children whose parents are utilizing TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families). ALEC has a long history of promoting bills that minimize support for low and moderate income families, in keeping with their track record of promoting bills that instead support special corporate interests.
*SURPRISE MOVE* HB 1220 Repealing Criminal History Record Checks for Gun Sales
SPONSORS: Rep. D. McGuire, Merr 8
In a surprise move, current ALEC member legislator Rep. Dan McGuire1 sponsored a bill this week to rollback one of the few stronger public policy bills ALEC has backed - a piece of model legislation from 1999 that called for criminal history record check as a routine part of firearm sales (bill was passed in accordance with the Brady Act).
Previous Legislation from 1999:
Granite State Progress has a vested interested in exposing corporate-written legislation in our state and protecting the rights of New Hampshire residents to have a transparent and accountable state government. Past press releases and research on ALEC can be found at http://www.granite.hoeferweb.com and http://alecexposed.com/wiki/ALEC_Exposed.
Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.