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.”

RELEASE: House Democratic Leader Comments on Governor’s Decision to not Re-Appoint Tom Raffio to State Board of Education

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, Governor Chris Sununu announced that he would not re-appoint State Board of Education Chairman Tom Raffio for another term.  After hearing the news, House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) released the following statement.

“I am very disappointed to hear that Governor Sununu is choosing not to re-appoint Tom Raffio to the State Board of Education.  Serving on the Board for ten years, Tom has always worked in a bipartisan manner to improve the educational opportunities available to New Hampshire children.  A strong supporter of early childhood education, Tom always put the best interest of our state’s children first. With a brand new Commissioner of Education, it is more important than ever to have someone with Tom’s expertise and experience leading the Board of Education. I wish Tom well, and encourage Governor Sununu to appoint someone who shares Tom’s commitment to quality education.”

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RELEASE: House Democratic Leader Comments on Failure of House Budget Proposal

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 177-169 to defeat HB 2, the state budget proposal recommended by the House Finance Committee.  House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) released the following statement after the vote: 

“Democrats opposed this budget because it fails to support the priorities so important to the people of New Hampshire.  At a time when Granite Staters see the opioid crisis as the most important problem facing our state, this budget proposal fails to adequately fund the services that are so desperately needed to stem the tide of addiction.  Despite clear direction on the funding needed for developmental disability services, this budget could leave us with the biggest waitlist for essential services in a decade.”

“In the face of strong bipartisan support, including from our state’s Republican governor, House budget writers elected to remove funding for full-day kindergarten from the budget.  This action not only hinders our goal to build the workforce that will drive our economy into the future, it also tells young working families that their priorities are not in line with ours.” 

“This budget requires retired state employees to, yet again, pay increased portions of health care costs that were promised to them.   These retirees, many of whom live on fixed incomes, cannot afford yet another increase in health insurance costs.”

“We reached out to Speaker Jasper on multiple occasions to see if we could find common ground.  Democrats on the Finance committee offered a number of amendments that would have improved the budget proposal, including the governor’s plan for full-day kindergarten.  This is just one of the first steps in the budget process, and Democrats remain ready to work across the aisle on a budget that works for the people of our state.”

RELEASE: House Democratic Leader Comments on Proposed Allocation of Funds for State Heating Bill

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – The House of Representatives voted today to advance HB 368, legislation which authorizes the Department of Administrative Services to manage the replacement of systems providing heat to state-owned buildings in Concord after the closure of the Concord Steam Corporation.  HB 386 allocates $25 million to purchase and install replacement heating systems for the affected buildings.  House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) released the following statement after the vote:

“House Democrats supported advancing this legislation after receiving assurance from Republican leadership that no programs from either the FY2016-17 or FY2018-19 budgets would be reduced to allocate the funds needed for this project.  The most appropriate funding source for this emergency legislation is the state’s rainy day fund, a fund that was created specifically for situations like this,” saidRepresentative Shurtleff.  “With the assurance from the House Finance Chair that funds for this project will come from the FY2016-17 budget surplus, we are moving forward with the confidence that our state’s existing programs will be unharmed.  Democratic leadership will continue to monitor the implementation of this bill to assure that funding for replacement heating systems is consistent with what was agreed to today.”

RELEASE: Democratic Leader Comments on House Vote Against Protecting Transgender Citizens

CONCORD, NH – The House of Representatives voted 187-179 today to table HB 478, legislation which would protect the rights of transgender citizens.  The vote to table BH 478 effectively ends the debate on transgender protection for the 2017 session.  House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff released the following statement after the vote:

“The House’s vote this morning to table legislation which would end discrimination of transgender individuals is particularly disappointing.  We had the opportunity to take a strong stand in support of our most vulnerable citizens, and the House’s failure to act means that our transgender sons, daughters, friends and neighbors will continue to face discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations.”

“The House Health and Human Services Committee heard over five hours of testimony from over 60 individuals in support of this bill.  That committee recommended passage of HB 478 by a strong bipartisan vote of 15-2.  For Republican leadership to orchestrate the derailing of this bill at the eleventh hour once again speaks to the misplaced priorities of the Republican Party.  As legislators, it is our job to engage the challenging issues that come before us, not to run away from them.”

“After witnessing the damage that North Carolina’s reputation and economy suffered after failing to protect against transgender discrimination, this move by New Hampshire Republicans to follow in their footsteps is even more shortsighted.”

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