RELEASE: Democratic Leader Proposes Amendments to House Rules

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff proposed two amendments to House Rules during the House session.  The amendments, which sought to address two separate issues that have arisen in the first few weeks of the 2017 legislative session, were both laid on the table before allowing for a full debate.

One amendment sought to protect the rights of the public and House members by requiring unanimous support among committee members before legislation can be voted on the same day as a public hearing. 

“Members of the public take time out of their day to testify in front of the legislature.  If we fail to even allow ourselves to consider the information they submit to us, we are failing to do our job as representatives,” said Representative Shurtleff.  “This amendment would simply assure that committee members have the time to review the information presented to them before casting a vote.  We have already had instances this term when committee leadership entered executive session immediately following a public hearing during which significant new information was presented.  Despite the majority party’s refusal to even fully debate this proposal, House Democrats will continue to stand up for our constituents and their right to be heard by their representatives.”

The second amendment sought to enhance public safety by requiring House members to complete an approved gun safety course before carrying a concealed firearm in the House chamber.

“Since the restriction on carrying firearms in the House was removed in 2011, there have been at least five reported incidents of House members mishandling loaded guns in the State House complex.  As these repeated incidents have shown, allowing members to carry loaded firearms in the House without proper training is a tragedy waiting to happen,” said Representative Shurtleff.   “This amendment would simply require those who wish to carry in the People’s House to verify that they are properly trained to do so.  I am disappointed that House Republican leadership would not even allow a full debate and opposed this sensible policy.”

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