Why did Senate OK conference if they wanted HB1069 dead? 'We're polite'

Comment     Print
Related Articles
NH Senate President Jeb Bradley (NHPR/Dan Tuohy)

CONCORD - It took less than an hour for a Committee of Conference to learn that HB1069, which allowed for digital delivery of Right to Know documents and changed the definition of bona fide requesters from "every citizen" to "any person," wasn't going to make it, at least not this year.
Senate President Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, rang the death knell, himself, explaining that soon after the Senate passed the bill he was deluged with emails from town officials and the New Hampshire Municipal Association claiming this would wreak havoc with municipal governments.
Bradley had little to say during the brief meeting, but toward the end of the discussion he laid down his concerns regarding the bill.
"I can't agree with this," he said. "Town managers (and) local officials say this is opening up a Pandora's Box. I don't know if we know the ramifications of this, and I'm not sure I'll be able to agree with this. I''m not ready to say this is a good idea."
"Why did the Senate agree to a Committee of Conference if there might be a belief that the Senate does not want this to go ahead?" asked House Rep Marjorie Smith, a Democrat representing Strafford 10.
"We're polite," Bradley said dryly.
Sen. Sharon Carson, a Republican who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said soon after the Senate passed the bill she, too, got a slew of requests from municipalities asking her to to kill the bill.
"This does show the difficulty we have as to how we make these decisions, and to my knowledge, actually, we weren't elected by the (NH) Municipal Association," Smith said a few moments later.

Instead of looking for a compromise Senators settled on a copout

Soon after that exchange Carson asked for a break so the Senators could confer.
When they came back in session 10 minutes later Bradley laid out what he had inferred earlier.
"The number of towns that have contacted us since the Senate passed the bill ... I could not have supported it at the time knowing the implications of it,' he said. "So I think all of us are better off waiting ... until next year to move forward."
"Are you saying the Senate will nonconncur" asked Committee of Conference Chair Bob Lynn.
"I think that will be the best outcome," Bradley replied.
None of the Senators on the HB1069 Committee of Conference, however, noted objections to the bill with the Clerk of the Senate, the Senate Clerk's Office told The Rochester Voice today.
As the meeting wound down, Lynn mused aloud that the City of Rochester's case against The Rochester Voice could easily wind up in New Hampshire's Supreme Court.
"I wonder if the situation in Rochester will end in a Supreme Court decision, where at least the definition of a citizen will be decided," he said. "I can't imagine that they (the Supreme Court) would say that Rochester paper couldn't get (Right to Know) documents because the owner lives in Maine. That would be mind boggling if they were to say that."

Read more from:
Comment      Print
Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: