In your Feb. 28 editorial on Sen. Jay Kahn’s Holocaust bill (“A step too far”), The Sentinel concluded, “let’s hope lawmakers here keep [their perspective] and leave education curriculum decisions to educators.”
What you expressed was good common sense — and almost universally accepted.
Rather than abide by accepted norms, Sen. Kahn has chosen a way to avoid democratic procedure.
How ironic! A bill concerning ethics and morality is to be accomplished in an unethical maneuver! Kahn got the bill accepted by the Transportation Committee of the Senate, which has gotten it accepted by the Public Works and Highways Committee in the House! This way, he gets the bill passed without any discussion. Further, it completely avoids the Education Committee — even though it is an education bill!
It’s all legal, too! General Court hanky-panky over the years has allowed this sort of thing to happen. Senate Bill 727 is now part of House Bill 1135.
HB 1135 begins by honoring two popular New Hampshire heroes: Marc Decoteau, killed in Afghanistan, and policeman Stephen Arkell, killed trying to tone down a domestic dispute. This was to be their bill — to reward and honor them for their courage. They deserve to have HB 1135 identified as “their bill.”
Now that part of the heroes’ bill is reduced to clutter because of the importance of the large Holocaust add-on. Their bill is cynically repurposed. Such hanky-panky is frowned upon by Robert’s Rules of Order and all democratic organizations. Not so our Legislature.
More important than defeating the Holocaust bill (it needs to be defeated for its own redundancy) however, is restoring basic democracy to the rules of OUR Legislature! Write to Rep. Steve Shurtleff, speaker and chairman of the Rules Committee, to have the bill ruled out of order — firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (753- 4563). Steve is able and fair-minded, but he NEEDS support. Can contact your own representative.
Republicans have as much at stake here as Democrats. Let’s ALL use HB 1135 as the beginning of a movement to restore real democracy to the N.H. Legislature.
JAMES G. SMART
26 Iceland Circle