With little attention, the State Senate has been rolling right along with its agenda. This week is the halfway point in the 2011 legislative session with the "crossover" deadline on Thursday. That deadline requires each chamber to finish up all bills that started in the respective chamber and get them over to the other chamber.
The House needed three days of sessions two weeks ago and has set aside two days for sessions this week. Meanwhile, the Senate is right on schedule. We have had no late night sessions. We have not needed an extra day in any week to finish bills. And this week, when the Senate would traditionally run late into the night and possibly meet on two days, everything is set up for one session on Wednesday with fewer than 50 bills in play.
How is this happening? Under the leadership of Senate President Peter Bragdon the Senate starts on time. There used to be a phrase, "Senate time," used to describe a Senate almost always late and held up by many, often protracted recesses.
Using his gavel effectively, the Senate President leads us through each session in a very time efficient manner. And with a large 19-5 majority, Republicans need fewer recesses than in the past. The Democrats, in the minority, always know where the votes are requiring fewer recess requests.
The legislative process in the Senate is moving along better than at any time in my experience. Many battles lie ahead but for now the efficient management of the Senate schedule under the guidance of Senate President Bragdon is to be saluted.
As the Senate last week passed a new boat speed limit for Lake Winnipesaukee, adopted an important constitutional amendment giving the Governor a line item veto, voted for two pro-business tax changes dealing with how compensation is calculated and losses carried forward, and voted to eliminate the $30 automobile registration charge, there was little public notice.
The Senate is well organized and in the post "crossover" period is prepared to deal with the flurry of legislation that will land on our desks. As an example, on Thursday the Energy and Natural Resource Committee took care of seven bills from the House that came to us early.
We will move along quickly on the House version of the budget which House Finance Committee leadership will present to the Senate Finance Committee on April 4. There is a schedule and plan for the Senate to complete our budget version on schedule in late May.
Mr. Laramie was noted for developing the beaver pipe, a device that allows beavers to build their dams and create the wetlands behind them while allowing water to flow through a unique pipe device. Instead of killing beaver as in the old days when a dam grew too big and created overflows damaging property, now the beaver can continue building their dam but the flow of water through the dam continues thanks to the beaver pipe. Henry Laramie’s beaver pipe has been used in New Hampshire for over 50 years as well as around North America.
With others, Mr. Laramie discovered a safe and effective tranquilizer to safely put bear to sleep. He also used excess funds from the federal government to negotiate significant land purchases to protect and preserve hundreds of acres across New Hampshire. And by tracking moose sightings beginning in the early 1980’s, he had a picture of the distribution and abundance of moose across the North Country. His vision led the Fish and Game Department into three decades of successful moose management in New Hampshire.
A few minutes after Commissioner Orff finished, the committee acted immediately and voted to support a House-passed bill to name the Enfield Wildlife Management Area in honor of Henry Laramie. Enfield was Mr. Laramie’s home town.
On a day when there was much conflict and more business to be dealt with than time allowed, the Senate Energy Committee had a wonderful chance to help move along recognition for a man who had a significant impact on the wildlife of New Hampshire. Mr. Laramie helped protect the beaver, bear and moose to keep our state a very special place. Thanks to Mr. Orff for his brilliant testimony that will keep the story and legacy of Henry Laramie an important part of our state history.
My daughter, Dawn, was giving a paper at the annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America over the weekend in Montreal. It was an opportunity to see her and a grandson who was with her in a city that I have not visited for too long a time. We left from Georges Mills and were in Montreal in just over four hours. We had a chance to visit the Insectaorium to see the butterfly exhibit, the Museum of Fine Arts for the "The Warrior Emperor" Chinese terracotta army exhibit and the sound and light show at The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal. Each was great for our family and a reminder of how close Montreal is to our area.
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