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Steve Winter
State Representative
District 3

February 1, 2011
"Controversial Bills"

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).

"Your representative owes you not his industry only, but his judgment." – Edmund Burke, speech to the electors of Bristol, England

Much angst has been created by the passage of Senate Bill 1 (SB 1). It was the first bill introduced in the Senate and it passed by an overwhelming majority. It has now moved into the House and is assigned to a committee there.

The bill repeals the "evergreen" law for public employees, including teachers. The "evergreen" provision provides that whenever collective bargaining on a new contract fails to succeed and the contract expires, the workers would continue to receive pay increases (step increases) which were in the original contract. One exception was that cost of living allowances would not be included.

The misinformation out there is the hyperbole that collective bargaining has been destroyed and labor contracts shredded. That is untrue. The truth is that if a union has "evergreen" in its contract, the provision will be honored. If it is not in the contract, there will be no mandatory provision for it in state law. Repeal of the law does not outlaw the "evergreen" provision. It merely removes the mandate. That means that the public employees unions will need to negotiate it at the next negotiating session. If the union wants "evergreen", it may need to give up something else to get it. It will no longer exist for free in law.

Another bill which has caused all Members of the General Court, senators and representatives alike, a large aggravation is SB 27. This bill removes the specific boating speed limits in the law and substitutes a "reasonable and prudent" standard for Lake Winnipesaukee boaters.

Both supporters and opponents of the bill have been writing to all senators and representatives with their views. One group, Safe Boaters of New Hampshire, made what I consider to be a tactical error. They put a link on their website to send an e-mail to all 424 members of the General Court. I personally received over 275 SB 27 e-mails within five days – all with the exact same message. A couple of days I received nearly 80 identical messages.

The result of that barrage of e-mail was that the vast majority of legislators were angered at the unnecessary clutter in their personal inboxes. I say unnecessary because the bill has not yet cleared or even been heard by the Senate and may never come to the House.

The only individual identification on these messages was a printed name at the bottom and an e-address. I try to respond to all mail as quickly as possible. But I could not decipher if any were local constituents. I respond to my local constituents first because they are the ones who elected me to represent them.

When local voters make their opinions known to me, it makes it easier to represent them. If I don’t agree with your beliefs, I try to explain why. Otherwise I will, as Burke says above, use the judgment for which you elected me.



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

Telephone:  603-271- 3125 and 271-3319

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