NH State Representative Tom Cormen

My votes in the NH House session
of February 15, 2024

We had only 15 bills on the regular calendar, but that was after hearing Governor Sununu’s final State of the State address. Of the 15 bills on the regular calendar, a few of them were quite controversial and resulted in several votes on a single bill.

At the start of the session, it looked as though the Republicans were going to carry the day. It did not work out that way, however. Our Democratic staff (shoutouts to Dan Mason, Rachel Cole, and Slate Goodwin) were terrific at not only counting how many members of each party were in Representatives Hall, but also figuring out when we might have opportunities to reconsider previous votes and possibly change their outcomes.

Bill Motion Type of vote My vote Result of vote Notes
HB 1212-FN-LOCAL OTP Roll call Yea OTP 193-175 See discussion below
HB 1419-FN Indefinitely Postpone Roll call Yea Indefinitely Postpone 187-162 See discussion below
HB 1524 OTP Division Nay OTP 187-185
HB 1652-FN ITL Roll call Yea ITL 194-179
HB 1677-FN ITL Division Yea ITL 192-174
HB 1560-FN-A Table Division Yea Table 346-14
HB 1589-FN OTPA Voice Yea OTPA
HB 1696 OTPA Voice Yea OTPA
HB 1000 ITL Roll call Nay ITL 184-174
HB 1219 ITL Division Nay ITL 178-173
HB 1363-FN OTP Roll call Yea OTP 184-168
HB 1576-FN ITL Voice Yea ITL
HCR 8 Table Division Yea Table 247-99
HCR 11 OTP Roll call Yea OTP 196-151
HR 19 ITL Voice Yea ITL
HB 1152 ITL Voice Nay ITL
HB 154 Concur Voice [Did not vote] Concur


Students do not learn effectively when they are hungry. This bill raises the eligibility cap for free school meals to 350% of the federal poverty level. (Current federal law provides for free school meals to families earning up to 130% of federal poverty level, and for reduced-price meals for 130–185%.) The bill authorized the state Department of Education to reimburse school districts for the cost of meals from the Education Trust Fund.

The first vote of the day was on this bill, and the OTP motion failed, 187-188. The subsequent ITL motion passed with the opposite count, 188-187. We lost by just one vote. Both votes were roll calls.

Later in the day, however, the numbers were on our side. The Democratic staff examined the results of the roll call votes and identified a Democrat, John Cloutier, who had voted against our position in the ITL vote. They checked with him and verified that he had misunderstood how he had voted, so that he could move to Reconsider. (You must have voted on the prevailing side in order to move to Reconsider.) The motion to Reconsider passed on a roll call vote, 187-181. We then had to unwind motions to get back to the OTP motion. A division vote on ITL failed, 181-187. Then a motion was made to Indefinitely Postpone, which we certainly did not want; this motion failed on a division vote, 182-186. Then came a motion to Reconsider the OTP vote, which came from a different Democrat, Jared Sullivan. That motion passed on a division vote, 188-180. Finally, we got to redoing the OTP motion, which passed on a roll call, 193-175. Whew!

HB 1419-FN

When the other side keeps having to deny that a bill amounts to a book ban, that bill just might amount to a book ban. Indeed, this bill would allow specific books to be banned from school libraries by restricting access and by dictating a complaint process by which the NH Board of Education would decide which books to allow. In other words, rather than allowing a parent to decide which materials their children can read, the state would decide.

The prime sponsor of the bill was Rep. Glenn Cordelli, a Republican from Tuftonboro. From what I can tell, Cordelli wants to turn our public schools into Catholic schools. During his floor speech in support of the bill, he started reading material that he knew would be offensive, hoping to gain support for banning it. This stunt had the opposite effect. He gave no indication of where this material came from. He read about sexual assault and rape, which several House members found triggering. Calls for him to stop came from the floor. Rep. Lucy Weber, the Democratic floor leader, invoked a House rule that says when a member is reading material, there may be a motion as to whether that member may continue. Cordelli was allowed to continue on a roll call vote, 201-173 (I voted for him to not continue). Several members left the chamber at that point. After Cordelli finished, a motion to Table the bill passed on a roll call vote, 192-181 (I voted to Table). A member moved to Print the Remarks, and this motion passed on a roll call vote, 291-84. I voted Yea, because people should know what Cordelli did.

Later in the day, when we had the numbers on our side, we voted to Remove from the Table on a division vote, 308-40. Apparently, the Republicans also thought that they had the numbers to pass the bill. They did not. The pending motion was OTP, and it failed on a roll call vote, 162-187. Then came the dagger in the heart of the bill: a motion to Indefinitely Postpone, which passed on a roll call vote, 187-162. Not only does this action mean that the bill cannot come back this year, but it also means that the vote cannot be Reconsidered. This bad, bad bill is dead, dead, dead for the year.

If you know anyone in Carroll district 7, please implore them to vote Cordelli out.

HB 1652-FN and HB 1677-FN

Oh, boy, two more bills attempting to expand Education Freedom Accounts, i.e., school vouchers. No, thank you. HB 1652-FN would have allowed school districts to establish their own EFAs, so that local property taxpayers would pay for others to send their kids to private, religious, or home schools. HB 1677-FN would have allowed EFAs for any family living within the geographic boundaries of a low-performing school district, without regard to how the actual student is performing. Both of these bills had OTP motions that failed, ITL motions that passed, and then motions to Reconsider that failed, thereby locking in the ITL motions.

HB 1560-FN-A

This bill was a Ken Weyler special. Rep. Weyler is chair of the Finance Committee and, I’ll just say, a real piece of work. This bill would take any unused money from the Education Trust Fund at the end of the fiscal year and move it into the General Fund. What a lovely way to drain funding for education! Even Republican leadership was against this bill, and they had Weyler move to Table it.

HB 1000

On the face of it, this bill would classify New Hampshire legislators’ service as public service for certain federal purposes. The real purpose was to allow your legislators, who earn a whopping $100 per year, to have their student loans forgiven, but only if they had paid them off over a 10-year period. We need younger people in the legislature, and this bill would have helped. But the ITL motion carried.


It seems like we are perpetually under the threat of a constitutional convention. It may be proposed as being limited to a specific amendment, but once it starts, it could be wide open. With our current national political environment, now is not the time to start making wholesale changes to our constitution. With the motion to Table carrying overwhelmingly, it looks like many other representatives felt the same way.

HCR 11

This resolution opposes medically unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone, a drug used in medication abortions. Mifepristone is safe, effective, and has an excellent track record. The U. S. Supreme Court is taking up a case that could severely restrict access to mifepristone, and I am proud of the New Hampshire House for opposing restrictions.

HB 154

You might notice that I did not participate in the voice vote on this bill. I wasn’t absent: it was by choice. That’s because late in the day, we were told that the Senate had asked us to concur with changes they made in this bill. We weren’t told what the changes were. I didn’t even understand what the bill was about. There was a voice vote to request a Committee of Conference with the Senate, which failed. Then a voice vote to Concur, which passed. I remained silent. If I could have, and if I’d had the presence of mind, I would have moved to Table so that we could see what we were voting on.