The short life of SB 307

NH Senate Bill 307, introduced in January 2014, by Senator Martha Fuller Clark (D-21st District), would have added New Hampshire to the growing list of states calling for a constitutional amendment to reverse the disastrous effects of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. This bill explicitly recognized “the need for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling and related cases” and created a committee of legislators to “Make recommendations to the New Hampshire congressional delegation as to which approaches, if any, the delegation should support.”

An amendment to the bill, offered in committee by Senator Jeb Bradley (R-3rd District), rendered the bill meaningless by removing the call for a constitutional amendment.  An attempt in the full Senate to restore the original language failed on a near party line vote – only one Republican, Senator Prescott (R-23rd District), supported the restored language - and the Senate passed the toothless bill. 

The House restored the original language and intent of SB 307, then passed it by a bipartisan margin of more than two to one.  The votes of Conway’s Representatives were consistent with the wishes of Conway voters expressed in a resolution (Article 33) passed on April 9, 2013.

Because the House and Senate versions now differed, a Committee of Conference was required to decide on final language.  The decision of a Committee of Conference must by law be unanimous.  SB 307 died in the conference committee when Senator Bradley would not accept the original and House passed language acknowledging the need for a constitutional amendment.