I have begun this new column, The People’s House, with my favorite quote from Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson expresses my political philosophy perfectly – a combination of fiscal conservatism and social libertarianism, which is where I believe the majority of New Hampshire voters reside.
All of us know that we were elected to solve New Hampshire’s fiscal problems. I believe that we can do that. If we do not, the voters will throw us out, and they should. I return to the lower body of the General Court after eight years with no illusions.
I am sure all have read about the events that occurred in the past two years that led to the next budget’s shortfall. The emerging shortfall of the current budget is a new matter. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that the we in the new legislature will have our work cut out for us to bring in balanced budgets for the remainder of this year and then for the next budget as well.
What do I see the new legislature doing? The first thing to do in a situation like this is to prioritize. The new Speaker has said that the General Court, both the House and the Senate, will need to "focus like a laser" on financial issues and balancing the budget. There is no doubt that painful decisions will need to be made.
My primary standing committee assignment is to the Executive Departments and Administration Committee. That committee has the responsibility to oversee the operations of the various departments of the executive branch of our government. That includes all of the state agencies which do the bulk of the spending of your tax dollars.
I have also been assigned to the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR).. When a bill is passed, it is sent to the agency concerned and that agency then writes the rules to implement the legislation. Once approved, these "rules" assume the force of law. The JLCAR Committee, made up of both Representatives and Senators, assures that the original intent of the legislature is embodied in the rules and that the agencies do not attempt through rulemaking to thwart the will of the legislature. JLCAR assures that the legislature retains the power to make original law.
I look forward to the challenge and to keeping the voters of my two district towns, Sutton and Newbury, (and others who may be interested) up to date on the actions of your representatives in Concord. There will be little action on the floor in the first few weeks as the bills are introduced, sent to the standing committees for hearings and then finally reported to the floor, some by mid to late in January.
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Contact: ken.s+sunacom.com (replace "+" with "@")