Flotsam & Jetsam: Unfinished business

With the 2011 legislative session essentially behind us, you’d think lawmakers and their constituents would get a breather. But the people’s hard-working representatives are already gearing up for next year’s go-round.Among those apparently working the hardest is Rep. Bob Kingsbury, a first-term Laconia Republican who has already filed more than 20 bills for 2012. They range in subject from requiring a vegetarian diet for all prison inmates to officially celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta in 2015 to setting a minimum age of 60 and a mandatory retirement age of 70 for all judges. (Younger judges, Kingsbury told Laconia Daily Sun reporter Michael Kitch, “don’t have the understanding that comes from having their rough edges knocked off.”)Even among Kingsbury’s rather eclectic selection of bills, a couple stand out. One would require the state to provide a firearm and ammunition to women who are granted restraining orders. Another would forbid attorneys and their spouses from holding elective office in either the legislative or executive branch.That one’s sure to raise the interest of at least a couple of reps — namely, House Speaker William O’Brien and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, both of whom are attorneys. For his part, Kingsbury says the legislation is necessary to prevent conflicts of interest that arise when attorneys represent clients in litigation against the state.Summed up Kingsbury about his smorgasbord of legislation: “Some of these things need to be done.”Dollar signsLet’s put it this way: Republican State Chairman Jack Kimball’s had better weeks.First, Kimball found himself having to extricate the foot he firmly lodged in his mouth after actually saying at a Flag Day event in Greenfield that the re-election of President Obama would mean that the military personnel killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would have died “completely in vain.”To put his quote in a little more context, Kimball told his audience: “Look at who we put in the White House. You think about that and we realize the profound responsibility that we have this time. In my view, if we re-elect this man, all that all of the people fought and died for is completely in vain.”Not surprisingly, veterans groups both national and local weren’t exactly thrilled with the chairman’s remarks. One was quoted as saying that “Kimball’s statement displays a deep ignorance of our military and contempt for our system of government. He should immediately apologize.”Ouch.But it didn’t get any better as the days wore on for Kimball, who had to tell the state GOP’s executive committee that the party is nearly broke, at least in the account it uses to keep the lights on and pay rent. It’s got about $1,300 in it. It’s said that the party needs about $8,000 a month to pay for essentials.It doesn’t take a math whiz to figure out it’s not exactly flush.The whole mess brings up a couple of points:1. Isn’t this the same party that just won an historic election last November — one that resulted in huge majorities in the Legislature, not to mention a vanquished Democratic Party?And they can’t raise a few bucks?2. While Chairman Kimball is among the more devoted chanters of the “let’s run government like a business” mantra, it’s a philosophy that he apparently doesn’t apply to political parties. At least not his.
F&J TOTE BOARDJohn Sununus: Accompanying a USA Today story about John H. Sununu, the former governor and father, losing a $520,000 lawsuit against Philippine Airlines and being chastised by the judge for not getting the contract details in writing is a photo of John E. Sununu, the former senator and son.Bernie Streeter:Renomination of the former 30-year executive councilor to a second term on the Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission is put on hold after Governor Lynch realizes the current Executive Council won’t back reappointment.Greg Moore:An inquiry by the policy director to the House leadership team regarding the gift of two free tickets to the July 17 Sprint Cup races at Loudon, the Legislative Ethics Committee rules that the tickets are indeed a violation of ethics rules.George Campbell:The state transportation commissioner decides not to seek a second term for job with Infralinx Americas, where he will oversee large-scale transportation development projects.Rick Perry:The Texas governor adds fuel to the speculation about joining the GOP presidential race with the announcement of an October visit to New Hampshire to speak at an event sponsored by the conservative group Cornerstone Action.Herman Cain:The GOP presidential hopeful loses his sole New Hampshire staff member, Matt Murphy, who resigned after complaining that campaign wouldn’t make a serious effort in New Hampshire.It’s been making the rounds…• So they’re having money problems at the state GOP – haven’t we been here before?• Speaking of the GOP financial problems, says here the writing is on the wall for chairman Jack Kimball.• Couldn’t Jennifer Horn had gotten more mileage out of not endorsing a candidate for a while instead of throwing her support behind Tim Pawlenty?• Here’s a question: Why don’t the state’s hospitals, which have been decrying Medicaid and other cuts in the state budget that have a direct effect on the bottom line, ever use the word “downshifting” to describe their plight?