Scott Brown’s Die Young and Broke Campaign Launch (A Statement By Granite State Progress)

Scott Brown in 2010
Image by Wiki Commons
Scott Brown in 2010 Image by Wiki Commons

Scott Brown in 2010
Image by Wiki Commons

Brown wants New Hampshire families to forgo benefits he used himself

CONCORD, NH – Scott Brown will formally announce his campaign bid for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire tonight with a hypocritical ‘Die Young and Broke’ campaign theme – otherwise advertised as Live Free or Log On. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Scott Brown had no problem logging on when he was collecting health care from the federal government for his own family. Brown even told his hometown paper the Boston Globe that he was keeping his younger daughter on his health plan through age 26, a popular provision available to all families thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Yet, Brown is encouraging Granite State families to forgo health care coverage with a misleading campaign slogan. He might as well be saying die young and broke from lack of health care coverage or medical bankruptcy because that’s what he’s endorsing.”

“Scott Brown’s failed Massachusetts talking points don’t jive with the real benefits tens of thousands of Granite Staters are experiencing thanks to Obamacare. Like Scott Brown’s daughter, 10,000 New Hampshire young adults have remained on their parent’s health insurance plan thanks to the Affordable Care Act. In the last month New Hampshire exceeded expectations for marketplace enrollment and passed Medicaid expansion with a bi-partisan coalition because true Granite Staters know that access to quality, affordable health care coverage means living free from a lifetime of health care problems or escalating medical debt.”

Scott Brown’s campaign also released a press release earlier this week that stated that health care premiums in New Hampshire have risen 90%. WMUR debunked the number, reporting that the flawed figure was based on the opinion of a single New Hampshire broker and that New Hampshire premiums will actually decrease by 8% this year.

“Perhaps Scott Brown’s formal campaign launch will mean that he’ll finally invest in a campaign researcher instead of just the staff he hired to pick out popular New Hampshire venues for his staged photo ops,” Rice Hawkins said.



Boston Globe: Brown says daughter, 23, insured under health law, May 1, 2012

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, How the Health Care Law is Making a Difference for the People of New Hampshire, Updated August 1, 2013

Scott Brown: Study Showing Rising Insurance Premiums a Sad Reminder of Obamacare’s Consequences

WMUR: Hear the one about NH health insurance rates going up 90 percent? April 9, 2014

NH Senate Vote On Mentally Ill And Guns Could Put Public Safety At Risk


NH Senate Votes to Loosen Public Safety Laws, Advance Dangerous Annulment Process to Restore Gun Rights to Mentally Ill

CONCORD, NH – The entire Senate Republican caucus and four Senate Democrats voted today to erode the quality of SB 244’s original relief from disabilities (RFD) program to restore gun rights for people whose mental health treatment has ended—the appropriate formula—and replace the bill with a dangerous and untested “annulment” process that doesn’t take into account mental health history. The 17-7 vote means the bill moves to the House.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“SB 244’s original goal was to report the names of those who are prohibited purchasers of firearms due to mental health to be reported to the NICS background check system, and to establish a relief from disabilities program for people whose mental health treatment has ended so that they can restore their gun rights. Granite State Progress supported these original goals, but the gun lobby amended version of SB 244 jeopardizes public safety.”

“The annulment process that passed the Senate diminishes the state’s ability to determine when a person should get relief, and does not provide judges with appropriate evidence to consider when making these determinations. Unlike the original bill, the amendment does not require any consideration of the person’s mental health history, the person’s reputation as developed through character evidence or character witnesses, and changes in the person’s condition. No documentation is required regarding documentation of the commitment or treatment resolution, nor does it require releases allowing mental health providers to provide opinions about the person’s dangerousness and suitability to possess firearms.”

“SB 244 will likely not meet federal standards for a relief from disabilities program, meaning the State of New Hampshire cannot apply for federal funding to help implement a process to submit mental health records. The striking irony is that SB 244 originally set out to make sure New Hampshire was submitting mental health records to the background checks system, and instead this gun lobby amendment narrowed the bill to only how to remove records we aren’t even adequately reporting. We are beyond disappointed that Senate Republicans, aided by four Senate Democrats, chose to undermine public safety and establish an untested and unstable annulment process that could put guns back in the hands of those who should not have them. Following tragedies such as Newtown and Virginia Tech, we expect more.”

“On a better note, the Senate rejected a skewed study commission that focused solely on how to keep records out of the background checks system. That commission membership was heavily tilted towards gun groups and sought to undermine the current background checks system.”

More background:

SB 244’s annulment process doesn’t meet best practices and jeopardizes federal funding opportunities should New Hampshire start to report mental health records in the future.

The ATF form, wherein states apply for their Relief from Disability programs to be certified in order to receive federal funding, makes it clear that the state program must “receive evidence concerning and [must] consider…the circumstances regarding the [prohibition]; applicant’s record, which must include, at a minimum, the applicant’s mental health and criminal history records; and applicant’s reputation, developed, at a minimum, through character witness statements, testimony, or other character evidence.” The amendment’s process doesn’t require mental health records be submitted, doesn’t require any character evidence, and doesn’t require consideration of the circumstances surrounding prohibition.

Even red states that pass these laws require that mental health professionals weigh in: South Carolina passed a law last year that requires: 1) examination of the circumstances surrounding the prohibition, 2) the petitioner’s mental health and criminal history records, 3) character evidence, and 4) a current evaluation by either the state Department of Health or a licensed physician addressing whether the petitioner poses a threat to self or others.

The amended version also lowers the judicial standard for restoring rights, making it more likely that people who are still dangerous will have their rights restored and be able to buy guns. Under the original bill, the petitioner had to show “by a preponderance” that he is not dangerous. Under the amendment, the other side has to show “by clear and convincing evidence” (a higher standard) that he is dangerous, and that the “danger” would have to be “potentially serious.”

TONIGHT: Koch Bros AFP-NH to Supply UNH Students with Free Alcohol to Oppose Obamacare, Not Sign Up for Health Coverage


Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity Part of National Campaign to Discourage Young Adults, Others from Getting Health Coverage; Dartmouth Stop Scheduled for Next Week

Concord, NH – Billionaire Koch brothers funded groups Americans for Prosperity and Generation Opportunity are supplying University of New Hampshire students with free alcohol tonight to encourage them to oppose Obamacare and not sign up for health coverage.

The “Thirsty for Freedom” event will be held at the Dover Brickhouse just off campus. It provides students with two free drink tickets to hear about “big governments war on youth” and is hosted by Koch-funded AFP, Koch-funded Generation Opportunity, Young Americans for Liberty, and the College Republicans. A boozy tailgate event hosted by some of the same sponsors at the University of Miami last fall included a fleet of Hummers, paid models as “brand ambassadors” and beer pong tables as part of an effort to discourage students from using new benefits and financial assistance available under the Affordable Care Act.

See photos:

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Young adults are more likely to be uninsured than any other age group. Under Obamacare, young adults can stay on their parent’s plan until age 26, and they have options for premium assistance to help them afford private coverage on the marketplace. Americans for Prosperity is encouraging UNH students to go without affordable health coverage and in doing so they are playing politics with the health and well-being of New Hampshire’s young adults. UNH students should look elsewhere for information instead of listen to a group that would encourage them to pay a fine and still go without adequate health care coverage. Covering New Hampshire is the official, free resource for Granite Staters to learn about the Health Insurance Marketplace and the new, affordable health insurance plans that are now available to them.”

“Americans for Prosperity has hit a new low with this alcohol-fueled campaign to entice New Hampshire’s young adults to go without health care coverage. Medical bankruptcy is no way for a new graduate to start their life. Being able to count on health insurance when you have an accident or access routine preventive care to catch a health problem before it grows is an important resource for our young adults, but Americans for Prosperity wants to take that away.”

*** Note: A similar event targeted at Dartmouth students is scheduled for March 25th. ***

More info:

Tampa Bay Times: Chugging beers with Creepy Uncle Sam

Think Progress: Koch Group Throws Boozy Anti-Obamacare Tailgate Party At College Football Game

Yahoo News: Creepy Obamacare ad hits college campuses and your nightmares
Note Generation Opportunity quote telling young adults not to get health coverage, period

Americans for Prosperity event announcement

Much Rejoicing As NH Senate Unanimously Passes Paycheck Fairness Bill

sylvia larsen

“This definitive, bipartisan action by the full Senate affirms that both Republicans and Democrats agree we must act to close the wage gap in New Hampshire,” said Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen.

Senate Bill 207 has been cited by Senate and House Democrats as a top priority for the 2014 legislative session. All Senate Democrats have sponsored the legislation with House Speaker Terie Norelli serving as the leading House sponsor along with co-sponsors Rep. Shannon Chandley (D-Amherst), Rep. MaryAnn Knowles (D-Hudson), and Rep. Marjorie Porter (D-Hillsboro).

sylvia larsen

Senator Sylvia Larsen

“The New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act will give the more than 60% of women working in today’s economy, as the primary or co-breadwinners for their families, the much needed tools they need to combat the wage gap,” stated Larsen.

“It’s distressing that, in the year 2014, women in New Hampshire, who are working full-time jobs, still earn only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. National studies have found that a pay gap exists between men and women in nearly every occupation. However, with this bipartisan, unanimous vote, we are sending a crystal clear message that the Legislature is on the side of all workers guaranteeing fair and equal paycheck, without fear of retaliation.”

Senator Larsen concluded her statement by saying, “I look forward to a quick House action, so New Hampshire can renew our commitment to the fundamental principle of, an equal day’s work deserves an equal day’s pay.”

“Today’s unanimous Senate vote to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act is an overwhelming, bipartisan affirmation of the principle that an equal day’s work deserves an equal day’s pay,” stated Governor Maggie Hassan. “This common-sense measure to help eliminate the pay gap between women and men will strengthen our economy and the financial security of working families across our state. I applaud the Senate for today’s bipartisan vote and encourage the House to pass this critical legislation in order to help all of New Hampshire’s workers earn a fair and equal paycheck.”

“We commend members of the Senate for voting unanimously to remove a remaining barrier to pay equity in New Hampshire,” stated Mark MacKenzie, President of the NH AFL-CIO. “Passing SB207 was the right thing to do for fairness and equality, and the right thing to do for the majority of Granite State working families who depend on women’s earnings to get by.”

“We commend the Senate’s unanimous adoption of the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act,” stated Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “This law would give employees the tools they need to challenge wage gaps. Data shows that New Hampshire women make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. Coupled with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act already in law, these two acts can help to create a climate where wage discrimination is no longer tolerated.”

Along with the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate, community groups helped push legislators to pass this Paycheck Fairness bill.  Below are statements from some of the other organizations celebrating today’s vote.

Kary Jencks, Executive Director, NH Citizens Alliance for Action: “The Senate recognized today that ensuring equal pay for equal work is important to protecting New Hampshire working families.  A woman’s earnings, whether she is married or not, are crucial to family support. Closing the wage gap is the right action for New Hampshire to take for the economic security of Granite Staters.”

Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union: “We applaud the Senate’s bipartisan approval of the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act. In approving this critical legislation, the Senate has taken an important step towards eliminating unfair gender paycheck inequities in the state of New Hampshire.”

Dawn Andonellis, Public Policy Chair for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of New Hampshire: “We applaud the New Hampshire State Senate for passing the Paycheck Fairness Act in a bipartisan fashion and for taking this important step toward closing the wage gap and ending gender discrimination in the workplace. Moving this bill forward would give the women of New Hampshire a reason to actually celebrate Equal Pay Day on April 8. Finally, women are closer to achieving equal pay for equal work.”

Mary Jo Brown, Chair of the New Hampshire Women’s Initiative: “The New Hampshire Women’s Initiative applauds the Senate’s unanimous adoption of SB 207. SB 207 is a great step toward reducing the wage gap and promoting pay equity for all Granite Staters. The bill, which includes provisions towards paycheck transparency, honors NHWI’s agenda and findings from our 2013 statewide listening sessions with NH citizens. We are proud to thank Senator Larsen and her cosponsors for the bipartisan support of the bill. We are excited that the Senate has passed this important piece of legislation and look forward to working with the House.”

Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment at the National Women’s Law Center: “This bipartisan vote reflects the simple fact that giving women tools to combat pay discrimination and close the wage gap is a common sense solution that everyone should be able to get behind.”

The NH Senate was realistically the only hurdle this bill faced in getting passed in New Hampshire.  The GOP controlled Senate was the only truly unknown in this bills likelihood of passing.  The bill will now moved to the Democrat controlled house, where I should pass with ease.  I expect the Governor could be signing this bill before May first.


Statement on NH House Democrats & Republicans Decision to Allow Corporate Special Interests to Write State Law Behind Closed Doors

NH House-2

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire House voted HB 1207, disclosure of model acts, inexpedient to legislate today. The bill would have simply required model bills to list their origin. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Drafting legislation is the most fundamental act of lobbying, yet New Hampshire has a huge, gaping hole for reporting and disclosure of this lobbying activity. Corporate and other special interests are allowed to write state laws behind closed doors, often without any disclosure or transparency as to who is writing them and why. Knowing who is writing our state laws is an important part of having an open and transparent government. We are disappointed by the House’s decision. Otherwise strong public servants, who rally at length against special interest influence in their campaign speeches, missed a key opportunity to act on those values this week.”

“This law would have applied equally to conservative and liberal groups, to Democrats and Republicans, to partisans and non-partisans. Good government should be a shared democratic value regardless of political party or persuasion, and no one should shy away from identifying who is drafting our state laws and why. We appreciate that the committee that heard this bill agreed, but their recommendation to put this into House rules instead of law means bills originating in the Senate will not have the same disclosure, and House Rules also change with administrations. This policy needs to be law.”

Background on HB 1207:

Right now national cookie-cutter model legislation, designed to promote a particular interest, has no disclosure requirements. This allows special interests to unduly influence laws behind closed doors. In the 2011-2012 session, Granite State Progress identified 30 model bills from one national organization alone, 16 of which became law. Many of the bills had no visible involvement from the entities who designed them meaning, often, legislators and constituents didn’t even know who was originally behind the bill or why – a key part of understanding the intent and potential impact of a policy.

HB 1207 would have simply required bill sponsors to let the Office of Legislative Services know when they were using a model act, and OLS would note that in the bill analysis. To be considered a model act, the legislation has to be national cookie-cutter legislation that is officially voted on and adopted by an organization or corporation, then distributed in more than one state. Home-grown New Hampshire bills would not be impacted. Laws from other states are not formally distributed by those states and, thus, are not considered model acts. Model legislation is not inherently bad, but the special interests promoting it – regardless of political persuasion – should be disclosed as part of an open and transparent legislative process. Granite State Progress supported having this disclosure on all model legislation to lessen the corruption of our legislative process.


Bill Text:


Great News: The New Hampshire Senate Passes Healthcare Expansion

Summer interns Aislinn (NHCA) and Chris (NARAL) stood up for Medicaid expansion at the State House on June 6th.

“This is a momentous day in New Hampshire,” said Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen after the New Hampshire Senate passed SB 413, the healthcare (Medicaid) expansion.  “Today’s bipartisan vote for a Medicaid Expansion compromise in New Hampshire is a tremendous step forward for our state.  Governor Hassan worked with leaders of both parties to reach a compromise that placed hard working Granite Staters ahead of partisan ideology,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley.

Today vote almost ensures the passage of this ‘healthcare expansion’ with a Democratic majority in the House, and Governor Hassan chomping at the bit to sign it.

“Today’s Senate vote in support of SB 423 brings New Hampshire one step closer to providing affordable health insurance to thousands of low-income residents,” said Deb Fournier, policy analyst for the NH Fiscal Policy Institute.

“This is also an important boost for our economy and our state budget, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars into the New Hampshire economy and giving us the opportunity to save millions in the state budget,” added Fournier.

SB 413 creates a three-stage Health Protection Program to extend affordable health insurance to low income Granite Staters: the Health Insurance Premium Program, the Bridge to Marketplace Premium Assistance Program, and the Marketplace Premium Assistance Program. Federal funding will cover 100 percent of the costs associated with the Health Protection Program, which will be repealed at the end of 2016 unless future legislatures vote to extend it.

(More information about how the new program works by the NHFPI, here)

This new healthcare expansion will help more than 50,000 hard working low-income Granite Staters acquire healthcare.  This commonsense compromise is not only good health policy; it is good economic and fiscal policy too. Economists estimate that expansion will inject $2.5 billion into the New Hampshire economy, create new jobs, and save hard working Granite State taxpayers millions of dollars.

“With expansion, 50,000 Granite Staters will no longer have to fight cancer and bankruptcy at the same time. Instead they will have the economic security that only comes with health insurance coverage,” continued Buckley.

Senator Larsen worked with Senate President Morse to find a commonsense solution that helps the people of New Hampshire, while keeping costs in check.

“This is a momentous day in New Hampshire,” said Larsen. “This legislation will strengthen our state’s economy, prevent the sort of cost-shifting that drives up health care costs on businesses, and improves the lives of 50,000 hard-working Granite Staters. This is right thing to do for New Hampshire.”

“Our action on Senate Bill 413 shows the people of New Hampshire that we are committed to working together to solve our problems with common sense solutions. I thank the Senate President and Republican Majority Leader for working closely with us to pass this important bill,” continued Larsen.

Granite State Progress has been one of the many outspoken non-profit groups pushing for the expansion of Medicaid.

“We praise the Senate for its bipartisan vote to expand health coverage to 58,000 lower income Granite Staters who need it,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granit State Progress. “Democrats and Republicans worked together to make this program available. A small group of GOP State Senators like Andy Sanborn and John Reagan voted to leave money on the table instead of covering New Hampshire families because they kowtowed to special interests instead of representing their constituents.”

“Policymakers heard loud and clear from constituents, health policy experts, and consumer advocates that expanding Medicaid was a win-win for New Hampshire families, hospitals, community health centers, and our overall budget and economy,” continued Rice-Hawkins.

Labor unions like the State Employees Association have been behind the expansion of Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act from the beginning.  Beth D’Ovidio, spokeswoman for the State Employees’ Association (SEIU 1984) released the following statement.

“Today, the NH Senate achieved a balance of caring for the well-being of NH families and maintaining fiscal prudence in passing SB413. We applaud them for their commitment to bringing access to affordable health care to all NH families and in so doing moving the state forward. Healthy families generate healthy and productive workers; healthy children who do better in school; and healthier seniors who will lead fuller and happier lives during their retirement years.

Under the Affordable Care Act, everyone was supposed to have a way to get affordable health insurance. People with low incomes would get low-cost or free health insurance so long as their state leaders accepted the federal funds set aside for this purpose. Today, I proudly thank our Senate for fulfilling this promise to all the hard-working people who make too little money to get discounted health insurance in the ACA Marketplace and too much to qualify for Medicaid under the current criteria. Accepting this federal funding is essential to provide them with access to low-cost insurance. It’s time to pull people out of the coverage gap.”

This is a big step for the NH Senate, showing that they can work through the partisanship and do what is best for Granite Staters.  Will they be able to use this new found bipartisanship to push for a higher minimum wage? Only time will tell.

Americans for Prosperity Obamacare TV Ads Leave Out Key Details, Stretch Truth


Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity forgets to mention Republican activist ties, anti-Obamacare sentiments of women featured in ads, among more egregious errors

Concord, NH –Billionaire Koch brothers funded group Americans for Prosperity released new TV ads in New Hampshire today that share the story of two New Hampshire women who purportedly lost their health insurance because of Obamacare. What the ad and accompanying press materials don’t do is provide enough information for reporters and the public to determine whether the ad message fits reality. AFP has already been under fire in other states for its misleading ads. In “More Obamacare horror stories: Do they add up?” The Washington Post writes about the AFP ad fiasco in Michigan which was quickly debunked by Glenn Kessler, and draws potential parallels to the latest ad targeting New Hampshire leaders today. (Article below.) A starter look at the New Hampshire ads already reveals inconsistencies and loose rhetoric. Here’s more on each specific ad:

AFP-NH Ad on Rep. Shea-Porter

Helen DePrima of Bedford states she lost her secondary health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, and that her cost for prescription drugs increased.

  • Did DePrima’s overall health care costs go down because of the Medicare provisions in the ACA? It appears that DePrima is likely primarily covered by Medicare; the ad does not mention the many ways that DePrima and other seniors will benefit under the Affordable Care Act – such as how  Medicare now covers certain preventive services, like mammograms or colonoscopies, without charging for the Part B coinsurance or deductible. It also provides a free yearly “Wellness” visit.
  • Is the increased cost in her new plan off-set by the lowered cost overall? The ad only discusses that DePrima’s cost for prescription drugs has increased, but it doesn’t say if her premium has gone down. It also doesn’t mention that the ACA works to close the Medicare donut hole and that seniors who are in it now get a 50% discount when buying Part D-covered brand-name prescription drugs.
  • Why does the ad punt on whether DePrima’s medications are covered? The ad has DePrima state that “some of my medications may not be covered” but it doesn’t say whether or not that is actually true. If DePrima has already selected a plan or reviewed them enough to assert that her cost for prescriptions has spiked, then it is questionable why the ad can’t also say whether those medications are covered.
  • About DePrima: DePrima has been critical of the health law before, using borderline ‘death panel’ language in a letter to the editor of the local paper in July 2012.

AFP-NH needs to provide more information to back-up the claims made in this TV ad.

AFP-NH Ad on Rep. Kuster

Donna Marzullo of Deering states her insurance policy was cancelled because of the Affordable Care Act, and that she’s not sure if she can keep her doctor or hospital of choice.

  • The ad neglects to indicate that Marzullo’s plan covers her until November 2014. The TV ad makes it appear that the cancellation letter means Marzullo has just been dropped from coverage; the press release states her policy actually ends in November 2014. This also begs the question of when Marzullo purchased her coverage. The Celtics customer care line recording states that policies purchased prior to October 2013 will be ending and most plans are sold in one-year increments. Did Celtic sell her a policy last November for which it then turned around and sent a cancellation notice? If so, Marzullo likely would have known that a cancellation was imminent. Or, it’s possible that Marzullo had an unusual policy plan year. Reporters should follow up for more details.
  • Which consumer protections does Marzullo’s current plan not cover, and how does she feel about them? Non-grandfathered health plans have to meet a deadline this year for coming into compliance with new consumer protections under the Affordable Care Act. Marzullo’s current plan does not cover some of those important protections – which consumer protections does she want to go without? Potential reasons for the cancellation include that the insurance plan does not limit out-of-pocket spending, or that it does not cover essential health benefits. Most Americans support the popular consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act.
  • AFP-NH wrongly states that Marzullo will lose access to hospitals close to her. The press release states “… Marzullo will lose access to the two hospitals nearest her (Concord Hospital and Monadnock Hospital) when her policy ends in November.” But that’s not right: there’s no way to know which hospitals will be covered in Marzullo’s new plan until she picks one. In fact, the insurance company she currently uses is continuing to sell plans in the state outside of the marketplace; there are over 500 providers within 25 miles of Deering available under this year’s plan with Celtic – including Monadnock Hospital.
  • The TV ad also misrepresents why Concord Hospital isn’t available in the marketplace plans. The ad misrepresents why Concord Hospital is not included in Anthem’s marketplace plans. Concord Hospital was approached to be in the plan offerings, but the hospital and insurance company couldn’t agree on rates so Concord Hospital turned it down. This is the free market approach conservatives wanted instead of the public option, and it mirrors how insurance companies and hospitals currently negotiate networks.
  • About Marzullo: Donna Marzullo is the wife of NH GOP Vice Chair J.P. Marzullo. She is also the Vice Chair of the Contoocook Valley Republican Committee.

AFP-NH takes cheap shots in this TV ad and avoids sharing the full picture.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Americans for Prosperity has always opposed health care reform. AFP-NH wants to return to a broken system of insurance company abuses and low quality, high cost health coverage. The group even held events last summer actively discouraging people from accessing quality, affordable health care. Real health care advocates are looking for ways to get more people covered, and to improve the coverage that is already out there. We’re speaking to people like the women in this ad to explain the changes and educate them about the new consumer protections, such as how insurance companies can no longer drop you from coverage when you get sick. These are important provisions that increase economic and health security for Granite State families. Americans for Prosperity is ideologically opposed to health care for all, they offer no solutions and only work to slow or obstruct health care reform efforts.”

NH House Committee Passes Study Commission on Gun Violence and Background Checks

Granite State Progress

Proposed 10-member commission would study impact of firearms violence, background checks, and other firearms safety measures

CONCORD, NH – The NH House Criminal Justice committee voted 12-6 in a bipartisan fashion to pass an amended bill today establishing a study commission on gun violence and background checks, among other firearms safety measures. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“We appreciate the dedicated legislators who are as concerned as we are about gun violence for moving forward with a commission to study gun violence and remedies for it. We all know that 89% of Granite Staters already support background checks, but frankly the public is ahead of some politicians on this one. Study commissions are a common way for the New Hampshire legislature to address heated political topics, and while public safety shouldn’t fall into that category, the legislature will benefit from a dedicated study of firearms violence and remedies for our state.

“The proposed commission will include a diverse set of stakeholders from law enforcement, the mental health community, domestic and sexual violence experts, gun violence prevention advocates, gun owners, and retail firearm businesses in addition to legislators. This fair and balanced representation of interests will make the study commission insightful and fruitful. We look forward to its passage.”


The amendment was added to HB 1264, which originally sought to allow a nonresident from a state that does not require a license to carry a loaded pistol or revolver to carry in New Hampshire. Rep. JR Hoell is the sole sponsor of the underlying bill. Rep. Hoell last week introduced an amendment to HB 1589, the background checks bill, which would have replaced it with a committee to study the “correlation between current New Hampshire law and the low violent crime rate in this state.”

HB 1264, as amended, establishes a commission to study the impact of firearms violence, explore options to strengthen the background check system for firearms sales, and consider measures to promote firearms safety.

NH House Shows Strong Support For Working Families With Today’s Votes

NH House

NH House Shows Strong Support for Working Families on Votes to Pass Paycheck Fairness, Paycheck Protections & Raise the Wage


CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire House voted today to pass a paycheck fairness bill and strengthen worker payroll protections; in addition the House Labor Committee voted to support a bill to raise the minimum wage in New Hampshire. Statements from Granite State Progress:

Paycheck Fairness (HB 1188)

The NH House of Representatives voted 183-125 in bi-partisan support of HB 1188 today, which provides stronger protection for employers by clarifying the conditions when wage disparities between men and women performing the same work are allowable. The legislation also strengthens the protections of current equal pay laws by prohibiting employers from adopting workplace policies that bar employees from voluntarily disclosing earnings information, and by prohibiting retaliation against employees who opt to share information about their wages, salaries, and benefits.

Statement from Granite State Progress Political and Research Director Caitlin Rollo:

“This is an important piece of legislation that provides employees with the legal tools they need to challenge the wage gap in New Hampshire. According to the most recent data from the US Census Bureau, full-time female workers in New Hampshire make 77 cents for every dollar their male counterparts, which mirrors the national pay gap average. Today, 40% of women are the sole providers for their family and another 20% are co-providers. The existence of such disparities in pay equity reduces the wages of working families who rely on the wages of all the workers in the family to make ends meet. There are current barriers in the workplace that make it hard for women and other workers to determine whether they are being paid in an equitable fashion, and HB 1188 remedies that situation. We applaud the legislature for their work on the important issue of paycheck fairness.”

(Also read the statement from NH House Leadership on the passage of HB 1188)

Payroll Cards (HB 1404)

The NH House of Representatives also voted 201-104 in bi-partisan support of HB 1404 today, which provides more consumer protections for payroll cards. Payroll cards act as a form of debit cards, often carrying a brand such as Visa or Mastercard, and are used as such – right down to the fees for withdrawals, payments and balance checks. At American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meetings in 2010 and 2011, Visa introduced model bills and resolutions on payroll cards to encourage their use. In response, HB 1404 updates New Hampshire consumer protections for payroll cards to eliminate a number of “gotcha” or surprise fees, provide better access to card balances, and mandate disclosure of all payment options in clear, plain language.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Corporations like Visa have been eager to transition workers from paychecks to payroll cards to collect more fees from the transactions, including transaction fees charged at local businesses who accept the cards for payment. HB 1404 is a smart piece of legislation that will update New Hampshire’s consumer protections and eliminate the additional fees and expenses for workers to collect and use their paycheck. It also requires that all payment options be shared with workers upfront, in clear, plain language. Granite State Progress is proud of the House members who stood strong to protect workers and small businesses in our state.”

Raise the Wage (HB 1403)

The NH House Labor committee voted 10-8 in support of HB 1403 today, raising the minimum wage in New Hampshire.  HB 1403 would raise New Hampshire’s minimum wage in two stages and provide for annual cost of living increases in the future.  It would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour on January 1, 2015 and to $9.00 per hour on January 1, 2016.  Beginning January 1, 2017, it would automatically increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage to account for inflation, based on the Consumer Price Index.

Statement from Granite State Progress Political and Research Director Caitlin Rollo:

“Our organization absolutely believes that working people should be able to pay their own bills rather than rely on taxpayer assistance, and because of that we support having a strong minimum wage that reflects the real needs and economic climate in our state. Raising the wage will benefit thousands of workers and families across our state with a modest increase set in two stages then indexed to the cost of living. These are primarily adults who work at least half or full time, who have real responsibilities and families. We applaud the House Labor Committee for its support to raise the wage and encourage the full House to move forward with this bill.”

Note: Three-quarters of Granite Staters – including majorities of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats – support increasing the minimum wage to $9 per hour, according to the Granite State Poll.

Mass Confusion In The NH House Over ‘Background Check’ Bill


NH House votes FOR Background Checks bill before voting against it, amid confusion of NRA Lobby misdirection

Or, how do you vote down a policy you passed twice and refused to table three times?

GunCONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted today 174-166 to support an amended version of HB 1589, a background checks bill that would expand criminal background checks to all commercial gun sales—including online sales. However, following the initial vote, opponents to the bill introduced several motions to stop the bill and an amendment to send it to a destined-to-fail study committee, absent community stakeholders. In the confusion that followed, the New Hampshire House surprisingly and ultimately failed to pass any version of the bill – despite previous roll call votes expressing clear support from the majority of State Representatives.

Below is a timeline of the House discussion and votes. It paints a very different story than the final vote outcome makes it appear.*

NH House Refuses to Table Criminal Background Checks Bill: House votes 163-165 against tabling HB 1589

NH House Supports Criminal Background Checks Bill: House votes to support HB 1589, as amended, by a strong vote of 174-166

NH House Supports Criminal Background Checks Study Committee: Amendment introduced to replace HB 1589 with a study committee; House votes 177-175 to adopt study committee motion

NH House Refuses to Table Criminal Background Checks Bill: Motion introduced to table study committee motion, possibly to allow for an amended version of it; NH House votes 173-183 against tabling study committee version of the bill

NH House Refuses to Indefinitely Postpone Criminal Background Checks Bill: Motion made to indefinitely postpone HB 1589 for the rest of the session; House rejects motion by vote of 133-226

Pro-Public Safety Legislators Reject Study Committee After Learning It Is Designed to Fail: After learning that the study committee would be stacked with anti-background check legislators – essentially making it designed to fail – House votes 165-195 against study committee motion

After the slanted study committee motion failed – and in the absence of another amendment on the floor – a motion to vote the bill Inexpedient to Legislate was introduced. In a rapid and confusing series of votes, with many State Representatives mistakenly believing they had run out of other options, the NH House of Representatives ultimately and surprisingly voted 242-118 to end the bill – despite voting several times to support earlier versions of it and refusing motions to table.

“The final vote was abrupt and surprising given several roll call and division majority votes in support of criminal background checks,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “There was a lot of confusion on the floor about the order of the votes, and immediately after the final vote a member even questioned the next step for the bill.”

“We applaud the State Representatives who stood by the 89 percent of Granite Staters who support criminal background checks. While the final vote was disappointing, the earlier votes demonstrate strong support in the New Hampshire House to pass a background checks bill. Granite State Progress is committed to reducing gun violence in our communities and improving public safety. All of the votes gave us a list of elected officials to work on as we consider next steps.”


* For reference: In the NH House, legislators vote OTP – Ought to Pass or ITL – Inexpedient to legislate on committee amendments, before voting OTP or ITL on the bill itself. In the case of HB 1589, the committee amendment replaced the entire bill. Thus, support for the committee recommendation indicated support for HB 1589, as a whole, as well.