RELEASE: Statement from Representative Mary Jane Wallner, House Budget Conferee, on the Budget Committee of Conference Agreement

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE –Representative Mary Jane Wallner (D-Concord), Ranking Democrat on the House Finance Committee and a budget conferee, released the following statement following the State operating budget committee of conference agreement.

“We are in the midst of an Opioid crisis, a mental health crisis and a developmentally disabled waitlist that just grew longer and yet the decision was made by Republicans on the committee of conference to cut business taxes when we are not addressing these very real needs of our citizens.”

“In addition, Republicans decided to attack women’s health by restricting contracts on family planning and codifying a version of the “Hyde” amendment, which prevents the use of tax dollars to pay for abortion.  Because federal law already prohibits the use of tax dollars on abortion services, this is a political statement, not a budget statement.”

“Because this budget fails to provide services for some of our frailest citizens, yet does include tax cuts for the wealthiest, I cannot support it.”

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RELEASE: House Democrats Object to Use Of Budget Process to Attack Women’s Health

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – House Republicans agreed this afternoon to Senate demands that attack women’s health by restricting contracts on family planning and codifying a version of the “Hyde” amendment (which bars the use of tax dollars to pay for abortion), in the state budget proposal.  Representative Mary Jane Wallner (D-Concord), Ranking Democrat on the House Finance Committee and a budget conferee, released the following statement:

“The decision by House conferees to accept the Hyde amendment as part of the state budget proposal is a completely unnecessary attack on women’s health.  Because federal law already prohibits the use of tax dollars on abortion services, this amendment is a political statement, not a budget statement.”

“These provisions never received a public hearing in either the House or Senate, in direct violation of the legislative process.  If Republican lawmakers are going to turn the budget process into a partisan debate over social issues, the least they can do is follow their own rules and be transparent about it.”

RELEASE: House Democratic Leader Comments on House Vote to Support Full Day Kindergarten

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, the House of Representatives voted 231-100 to pass SB 191, legislation that would provide additional funds to communities with full day public kindergarten programs.  House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) released the following statement after the vote:

“I am thrilled that the House has stepped up to support providing additional funds to communities that offer full day public kindergarten.  The benefits of early childhood education, to the social and academic development of our children, are clear.  This bill is a long-overdue recognition of those benefits, and a signal to working families and the business community that we understand our obligation to offer all New Hampshire children the opportunity for a high quality education.  Support of full day public kindergarten is a top priority for House Democrats, and I am pleased that the Republican majority has joined us in recognizing the benefit of this investment.”

RELEASE: House Republicans Vote to Add Unnecessary Complications to Voting Process

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, the House of Representatives voted 191-162 to pass SB 3, legislation that eliminates the domicile affidavit and adds over 350 words to the voter registration form used within 30 days of an election.  House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) released the following statement after the vote:

“Today’s vote in support of SB 3 was a partisan sabotage of the election process that will do nothing but confuse and intimidate new voters.  This legislation adds over 350 words to the registration form that new voters will be required to read, and swear to understand, with the pressure of a growing line behind them at the polls on Election Day.”

“Requiring voters to read and comprehend an entire essay at the polls is unnecessary, intimidating, and only complicates work of election officials who will be tasked with helping voters understand the registration requirements.”

“No local election officials testified in support of this bill because the current process works well.  SB 3 is an illogical solution in search of a problem that will increase bureaucracy and expenses on local taxpayers.”

“This legislation was clearly designed to placate those who buy into President Trump’s discredited assertion that fraud cost him the popular vote in New Hampshire.  Leaders from both parties denounced those assertions, and as we know from the reports released following every single New Hampshire election, voter fraud is not an issue in our state.”

“Our election officials deserve support for the hard work they do preserving the integrity of our elections.  Advancing the myth of ‘voter fraud’ is not only disrespectful to those who enforce our laws, it also threatens the confidence in our First in the Nation Presidential Primary.”

RELEASE: House Democratic Leader Comments on Resignation of Representative Robert Fisher

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, Representative Robert Fisher (R-Laconia), who was the subject of an ongoing inquiry into his involvement with the misogynistic “Red Pill” forum on Reddit, announced his resignation from the New Hampshire House of Representatives.  House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) released the following statement after being informed of the resignation:

“In light of today’s meeting of the Legislative Administration Committee and excellent research presented by Democratic members of the committee, credible evidence indicates that Representative Fisher is still moderating the Red Pill forum and perjured himself when denying any current involvement in testimony to the committee last week.  Information presented by Representative Tim Smith showed a strong, credible link between Representative Fisher and the current moderator of the Red Pill forum, ‘redpillschool.’”

“Given the evidence that Representative Fisher is still engaged with this forum, and his denial under oath when addressing the committee last week, our intent was to send an inquiry to the Attorney General requesting that he investigate the possibility that Representative Fisher perjured himself when testifying before the committee.  With the prospect of an investigation by the Attorney General into his conduct, it is appropriate that Representative Fisher did the right thing and resigned his seat in the House.”

RELEASE: House Republicans Make Bizarre Rulings to Provide Cover for Representative Robert Fisher

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, the House Legislative Administration Committee voted 8-6 to take no action against Representatives Robert Fisher and Sherry Frost.  Before the final vote, Chairman Hinch ruled that the two members must be considered together under a single recommendation and that the minority would not be allowed publish a minority report.  Both of those decisions were challenged and upheld by 8-6 votes on party lines.  House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook), a member of the Legislative Administration Committee, released the following statement after the vote:

“The actions by House Republicans on the Legislative Administration Committee today were an embarrassing abdication of our duties as Representatives.  Two weeks ago, the House voted 307-56 for the specific purpose of having the Legislative Administration Committee make a recommendation to the full body after examining the complaints against Representatives Fisher and Frost.  For the Republican majority to determine that the committee has no authority to make a recommendation directly violates the charge we were given by the full House.”

“Decisions made by the majority today were clearly designed to provide cover for Representative Fisher and deny the ability to take any action against him. Dictating that the committee consider the actions of both Representatives Fisher and Frost in a single motion violates both legislative process and common sense, and violates the legislature’s right to discipline its members as it sees fit.”

“The most egregious action by the Republican majority today was the denial of the minority to submit a report.  How ironic that the majority recommendation of ‘no action’ was made under the guise of supporting free speech, while simultaneously denying the minority the long established tradition to formally oppose majority action by including a minority report.”

“Since the Republican majority does not intend to follow up on possibly perjurious statements made to the Legislative Administration Committee by Representative Fisher, I will ask the Attorney General to investigate the allegations that he still runs the Red Pill forum.”

RELEASE: House Votes to Strengthen Rape Shield Law

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – In an overwhelming vote of 328-30, the House of Representatives voted today to pass SB 9, which strengthens the Rape Shield Law.  SB 9 ensures that rape shield protections include the victim’s past, and apply throughout the entire criminal justice process.  The bill will now head to Governor Sununu’s desk for signature. 

House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook):

“Today’s vote to strengthen New Hampshire’s Rape Shield Law is critically important for victims of sexual violence.  Only 16% of rapes are currently reported to police, largely because victims fear retaliation and the public scrutiny they would endure by coming forward.  Ensuring that victims’ privacy rights are protected will allow people to come forward and seek justice without fear of their private life being broadcast to the world.”

“The strength shown by the Marriott family in their advocacy will ensure that other families are not forced to endure uncertainty, fear, and denial of rights as they seek justice.”

RELEASE: House Passes Legislation to Fund Full-Day Kindergarten Programs

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – The New Hampshire House voted 247-116 today to adopt an amended version of SB 191, which will provide full adequacy payments to communities that offer full-day kindergarten programs.  The bill will now head to the House Finance Committee for review.

“The House’s vote today in support of full-day kindergarten is a long-overdue recognition of the value that kindergarten programs provide to the development of our children.  This bill simply provides full funding for kindergarten programs in communities that offer it, finally giving kindergarten the support it deserves,” said House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook).  “The business community recognizes the importance of early childhood education and strongly supports this bill.  I am hopeful that the House Finance Committee will reach the same conclusion in their review of this legislation.”

RELEASE: House Democratic Leader Introduces Investigation Into Representative’s Involvement In Misogynist Forum

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) brought forth a motion asking for the House Legislative Administration Committee to investigate the involvement of Representative Robert Fisher (R-Laconia) in the creation of the “Red Pill” online forum.  The committee will determine whether to recommend sanctions against Representative Fisher.

“I was shocked to see a report linking the creation of the ‘Red Pill’ online forum to a New Hampshire State Representative.  A brief search of the ‘Red Pill’ reveals that it’s central purpose is to train men how to manipulate and dominate women.  Misogynist beliefs about the intelligence of women are prevalent in ‘Red Pill’ discussions.  It is particularly troubling that Representative Fisher has shown no contrition for his actions since being revealed as the creator of this forum.”

“Referring this matter to the Legislative Administration Committee will allow for an investigation into Representative Fisher’s involvement with this forum since his election to the New Hampshire House.  As elected officials it is our duty to act with honor both inside the State House and out, and I am confident that the Legislative Administration Committee will give this serious matter the consideration it deserves.”

RELEASE: House Democratic Leader Comments on Disturbing Allegations Against Representative Robert Fisher

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, a report was released which links Representative Robert Fisher to the creation of the misogynist online forum “The Red Pill.” The report includes examples of offensive posts purportedly made by Representative Fisher under various pseudonyms.  House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) released the following statement after seeing the report: 

“I am shocked and disturbed by the report linking Representative Robert Fisher to deeply offensive statements and the creation of a misogynistic online forum.  The posts linked to Representative Fisher, which include chilling comments in defense of rape, are beyond reprehensible and have absolutely no place in civilized discourse.  If these allegations are true, I urge Speaker Jasper to join with me in requesting that Representative Fisher resign his seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.”