Sponsored by Rep. Steve Vaillancourt and Rep. JR Hoell HB 1342 needs our support. It came out of committee ITL (inexpedient to legislate, a “no” recommendation). It is scheduled for a House floor vote this coming Wednesday, Feb 22. Please contact your Representatives to support this bill. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Each town and city authorizes funding to a variety of professional associations, which then hire lobbyists to push a partisan viewpoint in the legislature. HB 1342 prohibits taxpayer-funding of associations that lobbies.
Here are two taxpayer-funded lobbyists that routinely block liberty-minded legislation for parents, especially home schoolers:
Lobbyist Non-Profit Organizations Salary, Total Revenues, and Total Assets
Mark Joyce – 2010
NH School Administrators Association
$163,816 – $866,033 – $301,069
Dean Michener – 2010
NH School Boards Association
$109,340 – $881,292 – $1,268,394
From Nashua’s 2012 City Budget:
School Department: Membership Dues & Subscriptions $98,950
Conferences & Seminar Registration $28,250
These professional associations are funded through dues and subscriptions, but also through many training seminars and conferences, which are also tax-payer funded.
The blurb in this week’s House Record:
HB 1342-FN, prohibiting state and local governments from using funds to employ a lobbyist.
MAJORITY: INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE. MINORITY: OUGHT TO PASS.
Rep. Betsey L Patten for the Majority of Municipal and County Government: The General Court receives its information in many ways. The unbiased and non-partisan information is received from our legislative research staff – either through legislative services or from our research assistants. All other information we receive comes from lobbyists or individuals with a specific cause and agenda. Both the House and Senate members file legislation each year on many issues – for example, exemptions or credits for disabled persons and veterans, mosquito control, trees and roadside growth, charter changes for local governments, SB2 issues, town clerk duties and responsibilities, tax collection, assessment of property, fire and police issues, manufactured housing parks, merger of lots or parcels, private property rights, public cemeteries, municipal and state budget processes, county corrections, water rights, libraries, licensing and permit requirement. These issues and many more touch each one of our citizens and all the officials of the state, towns and cities. In order for us, the members of the House, to get information stating each viewpoint would we now expect our officials and employees to travel to Concord to testify on each issue or are we advocating that the state and municipal voices be no longer heard? The committee voted to allow public money to be used so that all voices will be heard. Vote 12-2.
Rep. John A Burt for the Minority of Municipal and County Government: The minority believes that lobbying is an honorable profession and lobbyists supply much useful information. That is entirely proper when lobbyists are paid by private businesses which have something to gain (or lose) with the legislation in question. However, the minority is convinced that taxpayer money should not be used for lobbying purposes, especially since such monies often go against the wishes of those paying the taxes. It’s kind of like public funding of campaigns when your money is taken to support candidates who could be diametrically opposed to your views. This bill would prevent taxpayer money from going to those who lobby either us or any others in decision making positions. While some would try to complicate this bill by claiming it’s a denial of free speech, it’s really a simple bill. Exercise all the free speech you want, just don’t ask taxpayers to pay for your “free” speech.