What started as a joke that went flat out started one of New Hampshire’s most beloved political traditions.
The sixth edition of the annual celebration that made national news with free wiener sausages, ice cream, Pepsi and french fries in front of a campfire on the lawn in front of the State House, is ahead of the date 2021 and is yet to be determined.
COVID-19 ended the series of consecutive events in 2020.
The driving force of the idea, the six-year-old representative. John Burt, R-Goffstown, Credits Gov, Chris Sununu with the delivery of the “accelerator” – a comment on Burt’s Facebook page a week ago.
Greg MooreBurt, the state director of Americans for Prosperity, had asked Burt online about the status of Hot Dog Day 2021. Burt admitted he had no hope.
“I’m not sure if it will happen this year. It takes months to prepare and unfortunately the days go by and we’re still scared of going back to the State House, ”Burt replied. “Can you help?”
At this point, Sununu lit the flame with a remark that many social conservatives viewed as a slam against the GOP leadership of the house.
Sununu wrote, “When cooking hot dogs in the State House, Rep. Burt says, ‘It takes months to prepare …’ If that doesn’t sum up NH legislation, I don’t know what that means. … And you are all wondering why I hesitate to give the legislature control over emergency orders during a crisis?!?! “
Several unnamed Republicans resisted the remark in an NH Journal story.
Sununu sent Burt a series of text messages insisting that he joke and Burt agreed.
“It was really a joke, but a lot of my friends who were against the mask didn’t see it as a joke,” Burt said.
“The governor wrote, ‘I know you would take it that way, and that’s why I felt comfortable on your side because I thought I could get away with it.'”
Ultimately, it was Sununu who restarted Hot Dog Day and offered to pay for the 2021 event.
In a typical year, a nonprofit will cover the cost of the shindig from $ 2,000 to $ 2,500, and the money left over goes to the neediest dog rescue programs I can find, Burt said.
To date, the event has raised $ 37,000 for dog charities. Sununu’s offer means the 2021 edition will generate more than usual profit for these groups.
“He said he’d come out and cook some hot dogs. I’ll get him a special apron just for him, ”Burt said.
One thing about the event will never change.
Burt won’t have a permit for the campfire, though Concord’s fire protection bureau insisted for years that he requested one.
“The State House is like an embassy. We can do what we want on the lawn that the legislature says is okay, ”Burt said.
This is how Hot Dog Day began.
As the first-time legislator in 2011, Burt was embroiled in his first-floor fight trying to lift the statewide requirement for campfire permits.
“I said on the floor of the house, ‘I’ll buy a hot dog for anyone who votes for that bill,” Burt recalled. “Experienced lawmakers came up to me and said,’ You can’t say that. It’s illegal. ‘ I was new and didn’t know. I thought it was good. Wasn’t that what Washington is doing to legally bribe members to vote for or against a bill? “
Sununu said last week he’ll always show up on Hot Dog Day.
However, he did not step down from his criticism of the House budget proposal to cope with future emergencies, which required a legislative majority to ratify emergency measures within 30 days.
“If we get rid of these emergency orders and try to create something called a temporary emergency order, it won’t fly and we risk losing hundreds of millions of dollars,” Sununu said.
Change of masks has critics
New Hampshire was the last New England state to pass a mask requirement. So it stood to reason that Governor Sununu thought it was time to take them off. He would act quickly.
He also knew that this would generate criticism across the political spectrum.
State Senator Tom ShermanD-Rye and a gastroenterologist condemned the move, speaking for all Senate Democrats.
“Our state has, on average, more new cases and more hospitalizations each day than when the mask mandate first came into effect. As a doctor, I am shocked that, despite these facts, the governor is now lifting this critical protection against the spread of COVID 19. It’s clear the pandemic is far from over, “said Sherman.
From the right Andrew Manuse, Founder of RebuildNH, said no one should honor Sununu.
“The mask mandate was illegal from the start, along with several other outstanding emergency orders, and this governor should apologize for exceeding his authority, if nothing else.”
Sununu made it clear that private employers and municipalities are free to maintain their restrictions.
Senior US Sen. and Ex-Gov. Jeanne ShaheenDN.H., the first woman in the country to hold both positions, added her two cents. Shaheen has been diligently staying away from Sununu’s trail during much of this pandemic, but not during Good Morning NH with Jack Heath on Friday.
“With the cases, I don’t think I would have,” Shaheen said.
A fight for paper
Perhaps only in the Byzantine world of health care at the State House would there be a big junk about the cost of filter paper.
It’s HB 600, an invoice from Rep. William Marsh, R-Wolfeboro, so that hospitals can separately invoice insurers for reimbursement of the filter paper used for newborn tests.
What started as a $ 40 article has grown to over $ 140, with 31 screens for a variety of diseases.
Henry Lipman, the state’s Medicaid director, said his agency supported the bill as hospitals struggle to keep their birthing centers open.
“This won’t solve a problem, but it is a step in the right direction,” Lipman testified last week.
Lobbyists and executives from Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim and Association Health Plans alleged these filters were already paid for through “bundled” payments that insurers give hospitals to cover all neonatal procedures.
“This is not a good step towards health policy. Bills like this move us backwards, ”said Anthem, director of government relations Sabrina Dunlap.
The state insurance department did not occupy a position, but the director of life and health Tyler Brannen These insurers could be made to pay for the filter paper and then get it back by lowering their bundled payment.
After two hours of testimony, Senate Majority Leader Jeb BradleyR-Wolfeboro had heard enough.
“We have until May 12th to respond to this bill. The hospitals, the insurers, and two departments should negotiate. Come back with a compromise we can all support, ”said Bradley.
Merrimack breaks records
Should we be surprised, a record number of ballots were cast in Merrimack’s special election last Tuesday in Merrimack Bill Boyd via ex-democratic state Rep. Wendy Thomas?
City officials believed only 3,000 would attend, the state provided 4,000 ballots for the machines and 4,813 voters showed up.
Almost $ 100,000 was spent on this race, almost everything to increase voter turnout on both sides through series rounds of digital ads, robocalls and mailings.
On April 9, 2019, when the ballot contained only local elections with little competition, 3,333 voted.
Vacancy spark bill
What happens if someone dies after the local school registration deadline has opened?
That is likely to change after Merrimack sees firsthand the wild clutter that can arise.
In 2020, the registration period for local offices opened on a Wednesday.
Then two days later, on Friday, long-standing member of the school budget / planning committee Stanley Heinrich, 68, died at home.
“The phone lit up by people asking if they could run for the position,” recalled Pat Heinrich, the town’s school district clerk and Stan’s widow.
She testified last week for a bill (HB 409) that Merrimack Democratic Rep. Rosemarie Rung has undertaken to have this early vacancy filled by the Board of Directors and then to fill it permanently in the next parliamentary elections.
State law already filled vacancies in city offices in this way, but state law on school seats was a “gray area” according to election officials.
Disclosure statement not sure
Proponents of the publication of the names of cops with credibility problems were wise to bring their compromise to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
With the support of both parties, the Senate will support this amendment to a draft law on police disciplinary proceedings (HB 471).
It’s good. because it’s not necessarily a slam dunk in the New Hampshire House of Representatives that has turned out to be very pro-law enforcement and privacy.
A bill to end the limited liability of municipalities and to allow citizens to sue for violations of state or federal law by police and other government officials (HB 111) was approved by the House Judiciary Committee (19-2).
On the floor of the house, it was an entirely different matter that failed nine days ago in a vote between 184 and 178.
This was a huge win for lobbyists Jim Demers and media consultant Scott Spradling.
Police officers and line cop unions support this recent reform of the Laurie List, but supporters shouldn’t take the house for granted.
Gardner competes against DC
State Secretary upon request Bill Gardner will testify practically Tuesday morning during a US Senate judicial committee on HR 1 passed by the House of Representatives that is making sweeping changes to federal campaigns related to campaign funding, voter access and other electoral laws.
Gardner’s testimony against the US House bill is featured prominently on his office website.
“Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi wants to make New Hampshire and the rest of the country like their state of California, ”wrote Gardner.
“New Hampshire has a solid track record of running solid and trouble-free elections that do not justify this kind of federal interference. What is good for Speaker Pelosi in California is bad for us in New Hampshire, and our Congress delegation should know. “
The all-democratic New Hampshire delegation supports the bill.