[Posted Wednesday, February 12, 2014, at 12:25 p.m.; UPDATED (with details of today's fascinating action on the House floor) 2/12/14 at 1:25 p.m.]
This morning the New Hampshire House of Representatives killed HB 1589 by a vote of more than two to one, even though the bill passed the Commerce Committee by a party-line vote of ten Democrats to eight Republicans, and even though after the last general election, the House make-up switched from 70 percent Republican (normally pro-gun) to now majority Democrat (normally anti-gun). THANKS TO ALL THE PRO-GUN NEW HAMPSHIRE (PGNH) MEMBERS AND OTHERS WHO BLASTED THEIR STATE REPRESENTATIVES WITH COMPLAINTS ABOUT THIS HORRIBLE BILL.
[Update 2/12/14 at 1:25 p.m.] Watching complex parliamentary procedures unfold in a legislative body can be like watching an intricate chess match. Here's what happened today:
1: Rep. Baldasaro (R) moved to “Lay on Table” (a
parliamentary procedure that means no further action unless the House votes to
bring the bill back before the end of the legislative session): This was a
close vote, but it failed by 163 to 165.
2: The House voted 174 to 166 to adopt the amendment (#0371)
that the Commerce Committee had approved, which would at least drop the penalty
from a felony to a misdemeanor.
3: Rep. Hoell (R) submitted a floor amendment to change the
bill into just a “study committee.” This motion was adopted, although by a
squeaker vote of 177 to 175. Adopting an
amendment, however, doesn’t mean that the bill will pass the House with that
4: Rep. Butler (D), the chair of the Commerce Committee,
moved to lay the bill on the table. This
5: Rep. Lambert (R) moved to “Indefinitely Postpone” the
bill, but this motion failed, 133 to 226.
6: The House then voted on whether or not to adopt the bill
with the amendment proposed by Rep. Hoell, namely to turn the bill into just
establishing a study committee. This
FAILED by a vote of 165 to 195.
7: Then came the decisive motion by Rep. Gene Chandler (R),
the minority leader, former Speaker of the House, and Pro-Gun New Hampshire
Advisor, to kill the bill (declaring it “Inexpedient to Legislate,” or ITL, meaning kill it). This
motion PASSED (!!) by a huge vote of 242 to 118, over two to one!
8: Finally, Rep. Chandler used a clever parliamentary trick: he moved to “reconsider” his own motion to kill the bill! He knew that because the House just voted so decisively to ITL (kill) the bill, it would DENY his motion to reconsider that vote – and the House did so, by a vote of 113 to 244. This was a clever process, because once a motion to reconsider fails, no further motions on that bill can be made – in other words, the nail’s in the coffin, and there’s nothing anyone can do to resurrect the bill. Hurray for Gene – the bill’s dead and gone!