NH State Representative Tom Cormen

My votes in the NH House session
of May 4, 2023

This session was the first House session of the biennium in which we voted only on bills that had passed the Senate and had crossed over.

My committee heard four bills on this calendar: SB 52-FN, SB 69-FN, SB 79, and SB 167-FN-LOCAL. We went 2-1-1: we won two, lost one, and one was tabled to avoid a loss. There was also a bill, SB 195, that I had a part in, very late in the process.

Bill Motion Type of vote My vote Result of vote Notes
SB 209 Table Division Yea Table 357-9
SB 77 OTP Roll call Nay OTP 187-183
SB 152-FN OTP Roll call Yea OTP 250-123 Amendment 1642h failed and motion to divide into two bills failed
SB 155-FN-LOCAL Table Division Yea Table 252-120
SCR 1 OTP Roll call Yea OTP 356-6
SB 149-FN Table Division Nay Table 199-173 See discussion below
SB 14-FN OTPA Voice Yea OTPA
SB 52-FN OTP Division Yea OTP 187-184 See extended discussion below
SB 69-FN OTP Roll call Yea 186-186 Tabled on division vote 190-181
SB 79 OTP Roll call Yea OTP 194-179
SB 167-FN-LOCAL ITL Division Nay ITL 187-186
SB 51-FN OTP Voice Yea OTP
SB 104-FN-A Indefinitely postpone Voice Yea Indefinitely postpone
SB 195 Special order Voice Yea Special order See discussion below
SB 15-FN OTPA Voice Yea OTPA

SB 77

This bill confused me. It’s about the “manifest hardship program,” a relatively new program that allows a parent to request a change of schools when their child is experiencing an educational hardship in their local public school. SB 77 requires local school boards to approve that a student attend a private school, but using public funds. Although I’m squarely against using public money for private schools, this bill was presented as a housekeeping bill because it changed one paragraph in a particular RSA to match the rest of the statute, thereby making that statute internally consistent. The OTP report was written by Rep. Glenn Cordelli, and it’s rare that I agree with Cordelli. But I was leaning toward supporting this bill so that the RSA would be internally consistent. In caucus, however, the ranking member of the Education Committee, Rep. Mel Myler, convinced me that this bill goes beyond just housekeeping and expands taxpayer funding of private schools. I ended up voting against it. But it passed anyway, by four votes.

SB 152-FN

There was an amendment to remove three sections from this bill. After the amendment failed, there was a motion to divide a bill into two separate bills, one containing the three sections that the amendment would have removed, and one containing the remainder of the bill. The motion to divide failed as well, and the original bill passed on a roll call vote.


This Senate Concurrent Resolution affirms the General Court’s support for our first in the nation primary. Only a few people voted against it. I know of at least one member who left the chamber to avoid voting on the resolution because they were not in favor of it but did not want to go on record against New Hampshire holding the first primary.

SB 149-FN

This bill seemed like it was headed for passage. It came out of committee with a 15-4 vote in favor, and it seemed to make sense. It would require agencies that hire out nurses to register with the state and to prohibit bidding wars for nurses and in-facility recruiting. I think that many Democrats were ready to vote for it until Rep. Candace Moulton, a Democrat who is a nurse (and had come to the State House directly after a shift), spoke against it. Her concern was that it would make it much harder for New Hampshire to recruit nurses, especially the traveling nurses upon whom we currently rely. The bill was tabled, though I voted against tabling. The hope is that by tabling the bill, its flaws can be corrected. In retrospect, I wish I had voted to table, but fortunately my vote against tabling was not the deciding vote.

SB 52-FN

This bill creates a study committee on how to fund electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. Not so much about the chargers themselves, but how to fund getting the power to the fast EV chargers, which take a lot of power.

Because I campaigned on EV charging infrastructure, I asked to be the Democratic lead on this bill. It came out of the Science, Technology and Energy Committee with no recommendation on a 10-10 vote. The committee voted 14-6 for an amendment (1401h) that would remove parts of the bill, making it about only funding the charging infrastructure. The Democratic position on SB 52 was OTP.

As the Democratic lead on the bill, I gave the floor speech in the House supporting the OTP motion. It was my first floor speech, though I had given four parliametary inquiries (PIs) previously. I wrote my floor speech well in advance, with the theme that this bill is really about tourism, and I practiced it several times. As I said countless times while canvassing last summer and fall, if tourists from southern New England, New York, and New Jersey with EVs are not confident that they can get home once they’re here, then they’re not coming. You can view my floor speech here.

But if you want to hear everything that happened around this bill, start here. The reason I give you this link is because the bill ended up having four motions, and in addition to the floor speech, I ended up having to speak extemporaneously three times.

The first motion was on the amendment that had passed in committee 14-6. I didn’t expect there to be a debate on it, but I found out at the start of the session day that our committee chair, Rep. Michael Vose, would be speaking against it. So, with little notice, I had to speak for the amendment. Then Vose and I did PIs. The amendment failed on a tie vote. No biggie, though it would have been nice to have passed it.

Then came the floor speeches on the bill. Our committee’s clerk, JD Bernardy, spoke against the OTP (Ought to Pass) motion, and I spoke in favor.

But wait! Before we could vote on the bill, Republican Rep. J. R. Hoell moved to table the bill, which would put it aside until such time that a motion to take the bill from the table would pass. I got to do another PI against the tabling motion. The tabling motion failed.

So then we had the PIs on the main bill. Rep. Wendy Thomas delivered the PI for the bill. The OTP motion on the bill passed by three votes, 187-184.

But we were not done! Rep. Lucy Weber, our floor leader, then moved to reconsider and asked us to vote against the motion. What’s up with that, you ask? It’s a parliamentary maneuver to lock in the result of a vote and must be made by someone who voted on the prevailing side. A motion to reconsider that would pass by simple majority vote can be made at most one time. So by asking to reconsider and having the motion fail, that locks in the result of the OTP vote. The motion to reconsider failed, locking in the bill’s passing.

SB 69-FN

This bill would have raised the cap on net metering from 1 to 5 megawatts for non-profits. The OTP motion failed on a 186-186 tie. We were able to get the bill tabled, so that if we find that we have a majority in the chamber at some future time, we can remove the bill from the table and pass it.

Not that it will matter much for the time being. Governor Sununu has vowed to veto all bills that raise the cap on net metering.

SB 79

This is the industry version of SB 69, raising the cap on net metering from 1 to 5 megawatts for businesses. We got 10 Republican votes, enough to pass it fairly easily. Though it’s worth noting that 179 Republicans voted against business.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Governor Sununu vetoes this bill.


This bill would have incentivized constructing facilities for “green hydrogen” produced by zero-carbon energy sources. Hydrogen is going to be an important fuel in the future. For example, it can store the energy coming onshore from offshore wind turbines. It can store solar energy as well.

The Republicans on our committee were against this bill because it restricted to only “green” hydrogen, rather than hydrogen produced by any source, including fossil fuels. It came out of our committee with an 11-9 motion for ITL, one Democrat voting against the bill because of concerns about hydrogen leaking into the atmosphere. A Republican on our committee, Rep. James Summers, had a floor amendment ready to go that would have removed the “green” restriction. The Democrats would have preferred “green” staying in, but we also knew that it couldn’t pass that way. So we hoped that the ITL motion on the floor would fail, Summers could introduce his amendment, and an OTPA motion would pass.

It didn’t work out that way. The initial ITL motion passed, 187-186, killing this bill.

SB 195-FN

A previous bill requires the state, when it purchases steel, to purchase steel made in the USA. This bill clarifies that certain subcomponents are not subject to this restriction. It was on the consent calendar with an OTP motion, meaning that it, along with several other bills, would just have their motions approved en masse in a voice vote.

Now, I read the bills in our calendar, even the bills on the consent calendar. If I have a minor question, I usually let it go, deferring to the committee that heard the bill. If I have a major question, I’ll try to get it answered by someone on the committee that heard the bill.

While I was reading SB 195, I came across a paragraph (a single sentence, actually, but a paragraph in the bill) that I simply could not parse. Furthermore, any reasonable interpretation of this paragraph seemed to run counter to the intent of the bill. I contacted Rep. Jaci Grote, the ranking member on the committee that heard SB 195 (Executive Departments and Administration). After a bit of back and forth, she determined that this paragraph should never have been included. We got the bill pulled from the consent calendar just before the session day started, and it will be special ordered to the next session. Presumably, it will have been corrected by then.

Those of you who remember Nicole might recall what a stickler she was for getting the minutes of the Lebanon City Council right. At the start of each Council meeting, she would spend quite a while correcting the minutes while others rolled their eyes. Nicole would always point out that the minutes were the official record of the Council’s actions, and they had to be right. I hope that Nicole is smiling down at me for not letting SB 195 through with the gibberish paragraph.