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Steve Winter
State Representative District 3

January  21, 2012
"Process open to constituents "

Steven Winter represents the towns of Newbury and Sutton, Merrimack District 3, in the NH House of Representatives.

Representative Winter is a member of the House Executive Department & Administration  Committee, The Special Committee on Public Employee Pension Reform and the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR).


"I assume you take your constituent's opinions into account when casting your votes in Concord."
 – Message from a constituent

Yes, I take my constituents’ opinions into account before casting my vote.  Sometimes I will agree with the individual constituent’s opinion and sometimes not.  Either way, I am always eager to explain the reasoning behind my vote.  Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.  That is the nature of politics. It is because of the adversarial nature of the process that things can get partisan.  And I say "Hooray for partisanship."  If we did not have partisanship, we would have no choices.  If we all sang from the same hymnal, there would be no dissenting opinion and that would be unfortunate for our republic.

Both parties have good and patriotic Americans.  But the fundamental differences in philosophy lead to vigorous debate – again good for all of us.  One side believes that more government intercession is the answer while the other side believes that less government control and more individual responsibility is the best governance. The adversarial nature of a legislature leads some members to occasionally do or say things they may later regret.  I believe that both sides honestly want to be a part of "helping the local economy (and) helping the people of NH," as you say.  It is the method of doing so that is the nature of the debate.

First of all, votes are never held, as you say in your message, "on a moment’s notice."  All executive sessions of the various committees, where the committee votes are taken, are scheduled in the weekly House calendar.  Then, when bills come to the floor for "session" votes, meaning a vote by the full House, all bills to be voted are also posted in the calendar on the Friday before the Wednesday House session.  Although the calendars are officially published on Fridays, they are usually online by Thursday afternoons.  You can find them by going to the House website and clicking on Calendars and Journals.

By the way, the openness of the New Hampshire legislature is one of the attributes which leads us to be known as the state with the most freedom.  All bills introduced in the legislature are scheduled to a committee.  No action can be taken by the committee without holding at least one public hearing.  Frequently more than one is held on each bill.  The committee cannot kill a bill as in most other states.  It can only recommend action to the full body.  Every bill must go to the full body with a committee recommendation and every bill is voted on by the full House.

Finally, I am happy to respond to you if I have time.  My primary committee, Executive Departments and Administration, has 83 bills to report to the floor before March 22. All bills must be voted by the full House and then go to the Senate by March 29 so things have been a bit rushed lately.  But I am happy to explain as much as I can whenever I can.



Steve Winter, Representative, Merrimack District 3
Newbury and Sutton, New Hampshire 

Telephone:  603-271- 3125 and 271-3319

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