Letter: Indefinite postponement is no way to legislate

Published: 03-26-2024 12:18 PM

Almost every Thursday since Jan. 4, I have taken my seat in Legislators’ Hall, prepared to do the work I was elected to perform – to consider the bills before us and vote on them in the way I believe best serves my constituents and the citizens of New Hampshire. On March 21, I was there in that seat for almost 10 hours.

Most of my votes were on the losing side, which doesn’t feel great, but I’m doing my best to understand the issues and exercise my conscience. The most-important part of our process is the debate before the vote. That da,y an alarming number of bills were precluded by a parliamentary process called indefinite postponement, which can be moved and voted upon before any debate can occur. This procedure kills that bill instantly and permanently. It was used like a nuclear bomb on many bills (it seemed like over half) that day, vacating any chance to find common ground or at least to begin to understand the reasoning behind those bills and the way legislators decide to vote on them.

It is a cowardly and lazy way to legislate. It highlights the weaknesses of those who legislate this way because their viewpoint apparently cannot stand the light of day. And it should cause us to question the motives of those who move to ignore bills that do not please them. Granite Staters should insist that their representatives participate in the full legislative process instead of taking shortcuts that kill bills before they can be debated and decided by a vote, which is how democracy works.

State Rep. Molly Howard

Hancock

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