New Hampshire Republicans Living Up To Sobriquet “Stupid Party”

At the beginning of 2013, in response to the disappointing election results in 2012, then Arkansas Governor Bobby Jindal called on the Republican Party to “stop being the stupid party”.

Apparently some Republicans in New Hampshire did not get the call:

Now DiStaso is a hack who carries water for the Democrats, but why did the Republicans give him the opportunity to help the Democrats embarrass the new GOP Governor, the first GOP Governor in New Hampshire since 2003?  From DiStaso’s “article”:

“There seems to be a lack of understanding in the corner office about what the process is to create rules,” state Sen. John Reagan, R-Deerfield, who chairs JLCAR, said in an interview. “It seems that (Sununu) was trying to do what everyone promises to do in Washington, stop passing laws that proliferate bureaucratic rules.”

“But we don’t allow that here,” Reagan said, explaining that no rule or regulation can “exceed the authority of the legislation.”

Why the hell would a Republican State Senator call the new GOP Governor, the first GOP Governor in New Hampshire since 2003 ignorant?  This merits the sobriquet “stupid party.”

But the blame does not lie solely with John Reagan.  The WMUR “article” links to a letter the JLCAR committee sent to Sununu.  From the letter:

This letter was endorsed by a motion of the full Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules, and passed without opposition.

In other words, every Republican on the committee, which is majority Republican, signed on to the effort to embarrass the new Governor, the first GOP Governor in New Hampshire since 2003.  Stupid party.

Could they really have been so naive as to not understand the Democrats would immediately take the letter to the press to embarrass the new Governor, the first GOP Governor in New Hampshire since 2003?

It is entirely proper for the Governor, as the State’s chief executive officer, to provide direction to the agencies regarding rule-making consistent with the law, which is exactly what Sununu did here:

For a regulation to survive, Sununu wrote, department heads should be able to show that there is a clear need for it; that it is best addressed by the agency; that its cost does not exceed its benefit and that its effectiveness can be measured.

When that review is complete, Sununu says agencies should act immediately to repeal of suspend adoption of all current or proposed regulation not mandated by law or essential to public health safety or welfare.

In other words, Sununu did not call upon agencies to place a freeze on regulations mandated by law.  Rather, he directed agencies how to exercise their discretion when it comes to rule-making.

Why the Republicans on JCLAR would have a problem with the State’s chief executive officer directing the agencies he is constitutionally charged with overseeing not to promulgate rules that are not needed and whose costs exceed their benefits is bewildering to say the least.  Especially when JCLAR does not have such authority, but rather can simply raise an objection that doesn’t block the rule:

RSA 541-A:13 VI. After a final objection by the committee to a provision in the rule is filed with the director under subparagraph V(f), the burden of proof shall be on the agency in any action for judicial review or for enforcement of the provision to establish that the part objected to is within the authority delegated to the agency, is consistent with the intent of the legislature, is in the public interest, or does not have a substantial economic impact not recognized in the fiscal impact statement. If the agency fails to meet its burden of proof, the court shall declare the whole or a portion of the rule objected to invalid. The failure of the committee to object to a rule shall not be an implied legislative authorization of its substantive or procedural lawfulness.

or alternatively seek redress by introducing a joint legislative resolution:

 RSA 541-A:13  VII. (a) The provisions of this paragraph may be used by the committee as an alternative to or in addition to the final objection procedure employed by the committee in paragraph V.

(b) If an agency responds to a preliminary or revised objection but the basis for objection has not been removed or the response creates a new basis for objection, the committee may, within 50 days from the date on which the objection response was due and by majority vote of the entire committee, recommend legislative action through sponsorship of a joint resolution to implement its recommendation. Such vote shall prevent the rule from being adopted and filed by the agency for the period of time specified in subparagraph VII(c). 

What Sununu is doing, in contrast, is acting preemptively.  That is, he is trying to prevent he proposal of unnecessary and harmful rules, as opposed to trying to block such rules after they have been proposed. Stupid party.

The lack of any pushback from Sununu is troubling.  Perhaps he is worried about what happened to Governor Benson the last GOP Governor before Sununu, who was a one-term Governor whose tenure was marred by squabbling with the GOP legislature.  Nevertheless the lack of pushback makes Sununu look weak.

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