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Steven Cunningham State Representative
Sullivan District 2


February 28, 2010

Steven Cunningham represents the towns of Springfield, Croydon, Newport, Goshen and Washington in the NH House of Representatives. 

Representative Cunningham is a member of the House Committee on Municipal and County Government.

I learn more about politics every day. Now I have discovered a new dirty trick. (Actually another legislator used it on several of us, but I suspect they knew about the trick long ago.)  I won't ever use it, so I will ruin the "magic" and tell you how it works.

Bills are often presented to us to vote on, as "inexpedient to legislate". That means if you vote "yes" the bill is gone forever. However, bills often have several sections, some bad, some good. - Maybe lower the property tax but raise the gas tax. - To keep the good sections, it is necessary to vote "no" which, only means the bill is not immediately thrown away. Then a member of the house may make a motion for the bill to go to "interim study". There the bill can be redone to get rid of the crappy stuff and keep the good stuff. Most of the time, bills just die there, but they can also come back the next year in their new and improved form. Since most bills have some good and some bad, it is often difficult to weigh one versus the other and vote "yes" or "no".

So… if a bill has a part that is good for the taxpayer, and a part that is bad for the taxpayer, and is presented as "inexpedient to legislate", representative one, who votes to kill the bill, can sandbag representative two, who votes to save the bill to fix it. Representative one quickly makes a public statement that legislator two voted for the bad part of the bill. If legislator two is faster, they can say that legislator one voted to kill the good part of the bill.

The truth is most likely that legislator one thought the bill was too messy to fix and legislator two thought that the good part was worth saving.

Hence the old saw that making law is as messy as making sausage. Just remember most of the public bashing by all political parties should be taken with some skepticism. Talk to your legislator to find out what they are really trying to do, but watch out for the "tricks".

Steven Cunningham, O.D.
Representative, Sullivan County District  2

Telephone:  603-271-3317


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