On Feb. 27, the N.H. House's Municipal and County Government Committee met to determine what to do with proposed Constitutional Amendment Concurrent Resolution 19 (CACR19), "related to the right to govern, PROVIDING THAT: the people of the state may enact local laws that protect health, safety and welfare."
CACR19 had already been discussed at prior subcommittee work sessions. A resulting 3-2 vote prompted a recommendation to the full committee that CACR19 "ought to pass," bringing it one step closer to allowing the public to vote on the proposed amendment. Unfortunately, the panel voted 11-8 to recommend deeming CACR19 "inexpedient to legislate."
In a growing chaotic atmosphere, various members of the committee in bold opposition to CACR19 stressed claims of: loss of individual rights; the fear of competing regulations across the state; and that the N.H. Constitution gives power to representatives, not the public. Some reps vehemently insisted that supporting the recommended ought-to-pass tag would lead to chaos and total anarchy.
On the contrary, the proposed amendment is clear: "Local laws adopted pursuant to this article shall not weaken existing protections, or constrict the fundamental rights of, natural persons, or their local communities, or nature, as those protections are secured by local, state, federal or international law."
Thanks to Swanzey Rep. Bruce Tatro and Keene's David Meader for their support. Tatro and Meader, along with Reps. Vincent Migliore and Steven Rand (both cosponsors of CACR19), were among the eight lawmakers favoring encouraging the people to "educate themselves" and "let the people decide" what they want. The latter was enough to convince Rep. Susan Treleaven to change her vote to support "ought to pass."
The N.H. Constitution, Article 8, notes: "All power residing originally in, and being derived from the people ..." confirming final decisions should be made by the voters. Let us get started exercising that right in our own communities. Rep. Rand reminded everyone, "Each legislator took an oath. The people are the authority; we are their representatives."
Follow CACR19's progress at: www.nhcommunityrights.org, then contact your representative and share your opinion.