TALES FROM THE NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE HOUSE FEAT. MANUS
Today, Manus and I ventured into Concord, the New Hampshire capital, where he had been invited by a NH State Representative. The day turned into a fascinating inside view of local politics in a small state. If you haven't seen my list introducing Manus, check it out here: MY FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT MANUS, MY OLD IRISH GUARDIAN
- •We arrived promptly outside the State House at 8:30 in the morning, and made our way into the Legislative Office BuildingManus' representative friend greeted us and brought us up to the conference room where the Democratic caucus meeting was being held.
- •Manus was invited to the caucus meeting, but as official Irish campaign volunteer chauffeur, I unfortunately was not.Instead, I crashed a nonprofit fundraiser, and quickly left because there wasn't any coffee.
- •Next, we walked over to the State House and up to the House chamber.
- •We were brought up to the gallery where we shook hands with a friendly State Trooper and got to witness the NH State House in session.There was a prayer by the chaplain, a recitation of the pledge of allegiance, and a Representative's granddaughter sang the national anthem. Manus was surely moved by this patriotic display.
- •Some facts about the New Hampshire State Legislature:
- •At 424 members, it is the largest state legislature in the US, and the fourth largest English-speaking legislative body in the worldNew Hampshire has a population of about 1.3 million, which means each NH House Rep represents only about 3000 people.
- •Representatives are paid a token salary of $100 a yearAs you might imagine, this means that most of the House is incredibly old. The NH State House appears to be a hobby for retired people.
- •Everyone was very cranky because the vote-counting computer was down.That means bills were voted on with "ayes" and "nays." One vote was close, so a Rep made a motion for a one by one, verbal roll call vote. Everyone groaned. The Rep changed his mind.
- •Eventually, they decided to vote by standing up for "ayes" and "nays"
- •Most of the bills sailed through, but on one in particular there was some contentious debate.It was a bill about heroin treatment. Everyone seemed to agree that the heroin problem in New Hampshire needed to be addressed, the issue was about whether or not the bill was premature because there were similar bills still in committee.
- •Eventually the bill was shot down.The Democrats were happy about this, so cool
- •Then they tried to pass a resolution calling to defund Planned ParenthoodI shit you not
- •On this one the Dems had to call for a roll-call vote to allow debate on the floorThe motion passed,and a bunch of creepy pro-lifers spoke out in favor of the bill
- •Dickbag BadTie McRepresentative speaking in favor of the billHave you ever heard someone equate abortion with the holocaust? Because now I have
- •The bill failed! 227-100With that, announcements were made and the session was adjourned.
- •State Rep Wayne Burton and IBeing in the midst of presidential politics means you're thinking on a national, even global level I terms of policy. But these state houses are where much of the real work of American governing takes place. These NH Reps are elected with pitifully small vote counts but their votes can affect so much change. Get involved! Pay attention!
- •Manus Brennan, Irish legend