Atty David Connell from the Local Government Center (former NH Municipal Association) was at the a forum recently held in Meredith, NH on 3/3/2009. The paragraph below is an excerpt of the article printed in the Laconia Daily Sun on 3/4/2009, page 8, about the meeting, entitled “Greater Meredith Program hosts discussion of ins and outs of SB-2”.
“Connell explained the major differences between the traditional town meeting and SB-2 as well as touched on the different options open under town charters. He called attention to a recent decision of the New Hampshire Supreme Court in which the justices ruled that in an SB-2 town the deliberative session was entitled to effectively delete a warrant article from the ballot. Calling the ruling “critical,” he said that it served as a warning that “you have to win twice, once at the deliberative session and again on the official ballot.”
According to the Moultonborough Citizens Alliance:
The truncation of the petitioned article to just “to see” was sanctioned by the Supreme Court in the Grant vs. Barrington case. That case refers to RSA 39:2 which states “may not add a new subject matter not originally noticed to the voters.” Since a new subject was not added but the original prescribed wording “to see” was maintained, it was within the bounds of the law.”
You can read the case and the petitioned article in question here:
Grant vs Barrington
In summary, the “win twice” comment means that a person(s) that submits a petition must attend the deliberative session and insure what is originally submitted is not amended into oblivion at that time. Next, everyone must vote on Election Day to insure that it passes. The Petitioned Warrant article is a citizen’s right, not an obligation of the governing body, so originators must shepherd it through the two stages, which is understandable.
Note, the same thing as above could have happened at a town meeting so its not an unique happening because a town has adopted SB2.