Shocking abuse of power

JLCAR is an extremely powerful committee. The Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules accepts, rejects, or amends rules needed to implement changes in law. Let’s say we passed a law requiring yellow stripes on the backs of cars driven by new drivers. The change to law (RSA, or Revised Statutes Annotated) may be very simple. As an example, the rookie stripe could just be added to the required equipment statute. The bill would also contain a provision allowing the Dept. of Safety to adopt rules to actually make this happen.

What would JLCAR object to validly? If DOS wrote into their rules that they could pull people over if they looked young and did not have a rookie stripe, that should be rejected. It is a violation of due process. If they wrote a rule to create rookie stripe installation stations owned by the state, they should object. The idea is that JLCAR is a check on over-reach, and also a check to ensure that adopted rules work and will implement the new law efficiently and fairly.

What they may not do is use their power to subvert the will of the Legislature, or rewrite laws. They have actually done that. See this NPR article about the new Learn Everywhere program – https://www.nhpr.org/post/rare-move-nh-lawmakers-delay-learn-everywhere-educational-program

You can read about JLCAR and their duties here – https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rules/jlcar/description_members.htm

If they don’t like a law, they can submit a repeal like any other Legislator. JLCAR was never intended to be a mechanism where 7 Legislators can overthrow the will of 424 Legislators and the Governor. That is too much power in too few hands. I have never heard of them trying something like this, until now. This should be a warning to everyone that the Democrat’s leadership is not operating fairly and in good faith. They have a majority in both chambers. If they want to repeal a law they should do it and not resort to tricks like this that undermine the democratic process.

Rep. Steven Smith

About Rep. Steven Smith

Steven Smith is a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, serving his fifth term. Rep. Smith currently represents Acworth, Charlestown, Goshen, Langdon, Lempster, and Washington. Rep. Smith is the Chairman of the Sullivan County Delegation.
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