The Senate Committee has unanimously recommended "OTP" for
Action Item:See the
speech that initially turned the tide in the House here.
Read about why you should oppose REAL-ID in NH
here. Read the
Manchester Union Leader editorial. Grab flyers
with Committee members' contact info
here. Then get your Senator's contact info
here (or start
here if you need to determine who your Senator is).
Contact your Senator and encourage him or her to follow the House's
stirring example and support
HB1582. With enough input from the public,
pass the full Senate next week as well, and soon wind up on Governor Lynch's desk for a
signature, to which he has already publicly committed!
images from the wildly successful
"No to REAL-ID"
Rally at the State House on April 22nd!
And while you're
good and steamed, read more about it at
Granite State ID and
Real Nightmare: "The Real ID Act
of 2005 would turn our state driver’s licenses into a genuine national
identity card and impose numerous new burdens on taxpayers, citizens,
immigrants, and state governments while doing nothing to protect against
terrorism. As a result, it is stirring intense opposition from many
groups across the political spectrum. ..."
Here's the thrilling
NH House story...
It was a quiet day in
March, late in the afternoon. Hundreds of Representatives filled their
hall in the New Hampshire State House, shifting in their seats, weary
after a long day of floor debates and partisanship. Finally the Speaker
of the House, Rep. Douglas Scamman announced that the last bill of the
day would be considered. House Bill 1582, a bill regarding New
Hampshire's participation in the federal REAL ID ACT, would now be
considered on floor of the House Chamber.
Months earlier, the
bill had been introduced by Rep. Dick Marple, a fiery defender of the
Constitution. At the public hearing on the bill, he spoke at great
length to the injustice of submitting to a de facto National
Identification Card. Others had followed in the same vein, demanding
that New Hampshire House follow the lead of Montana’s House, which had
also declared that they would not participate in the REAL-ID ACT. The Chair
of the Transportation Committee was Rep. Sherman Packard, who likewise
declared his hatred of the federal act. But after careful consideration,
the committee decided to follow the lead of the Chair, deciding their
responsibility lay not in standing up for the rights of our state, but
in succumbing to the peer pressure of other states, to grumbily comply
for now, with the hope it could be changed later. With only one
dissenting vote, they voted overwhelming to recommend ITL ('Inexpedient
To Legislate') for HB1582. It was lined up on the Consent Calendar for
March, where it sat quietly condemned to death. Hope was fading, but not
On March 7th Rep.
Dickinson arose in the House Chamber. One of the longest serving
Representatives, "Crow," as he was know to his friends, demanded that
HB1582 be debated and discussed there in Representative's Hall. And on
the following day, late in the afternoon, the moment of truth arrived.
Could the citizen legislature of New Hampshire, a state whose very motto
declared their commitment to freedom, find the temperament to overturn
the committee's near unanimous recommendation?
Now a champion
stepped forward. Rep. Neal Kurk, a man with 20 years experience in the
legislature, stood up to speak before his peers. First, he graciously
acknowledged the hard work of Rep. Packard, who had provided for the
assembly specific reasons why it was easiest to go along with this
Federal mandate. Then he said, “I rise to ask you to overturn that
"There are times, Mr.
Speaker, when we must look beyond the mundane and the pragmatic, and
take a stand based on our values, and our vision for the state we are,
and the kind of state we wish to become. And I believe this is one of
"I don't believe that
the people of New Hampshire elected us to help the Federal Government
create a National Identification Card. We care more for our liberties
than to meekly hand over to the Federal Government the potential to
enumerate, track, identify, and eventually control. But there is a
price to be paid for such independence. If we don't participate the
REAL-ID system, we will have to use passports or other similar
documentation to gain access to federal properties and to use air
transportation. If we don't participate in the REAL-ID system, we may
lose a 3 million dollar earmark [federal grant] to update our motor
vehicle department computers to make them REAL-ID compliant. There is
little doubt that both these consequences will impose real burdens on
His voice rose. "But
I ask you, what price liberty? If I may adapt the words of an American
patriot whose resounding sentiments moved the Virginia House of
Burgesses to action in 1775,
'It is in vain, Mr. Speaker, to extenuate
the matter. Members may cry "Peace!, Peace!," but there is no peace. The
war on our civil liberties is actually begun. Will the next gale that
sweeps from Washington bring to our ears the sound of Federal boots on
the march? Why stand we here idle? What is it that members wish? What
would you have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased
at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, oh mighty God, I know not
what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me
Our state motto, Mr. Speaker, is equally eloquent,
'Live free or
"I urge members to
overturn the ITL, and pass this bill to protect the liberties, the
freedoms, of their friends, their families, their neighbors, and their
As his words died
away, applause thundered through the chamber. At the head of the
chamber, the Speaker furiously banged his gavel, demanding the House to
come to order, which it did. Now Rep. Packard rose to speak in favor of
the motion to kill the bill, repeating that it was best to go along for
now, and hope that things would change. Then it came time to vote.
Normally, the hundreds seated here would be polled by the sound of their
voices. But today, Rep. Dickinson had requested a roll call vote, asking
that the individual votes from each representative be recorded and
shared with the public. House rules required multiple seconds for a roll
call vote, and across the sea of chairs, Representatives stood to
signify their approval. Throughout the halls of the State Capitol, the
cry of 'Roll Call' echoed. Members hurried to their assigned chairs.
At the announcement
from the speaker, the assembled group considered the buttons in front of
them. Pressing the green button would signify their willingness to go
along with the REAL-ID Act, while the red signaled 'stop' to the growing
federal involvement with state matters. Up above in the gallery,
concerned citizens watched the forest of lights below, attempting to
discern the intention of those who had volunteered to represent them.
After thirty seconds, a buzzer sounded.
The Speaker announced
the results: 84 votes had been cast in favor of killing the bill. But a
resounding 217 had pressed the red button, demanding a stop to federal
meddling in the internal affairs of the Live Free or Die State. There
were no party lines here; friends of freedom took action on both sides
of the aisle. It was a decisive counter attack by the forces of liberty.
Rep. Kurk stood again, grinning as he spoke, ready to deliver a
finishing blow. "Mr. Speaker," he announced, "I move 'Ought
"All in favor?"
called Rep. Scamman.
"Aye!" came an
"The 'Ayes' have it,"
the Speaker declared. And it was accomplished. These few hundred men and
women, representing hundreds of thousands of free citizens from the
Merrimack River Valley to the Atlantic Ocean to the hillside where the
Old Man once looked out on us, these representative had taken a stand.
This time, Washington D.C. had pushed too far.
We are thankful to
the good men and women of the NH House for their actions. But now, in order
for HB1582 to move forward, new champions must be found among the
Senate. This time, there may be no last minute reprieve. This time, the
Senate may decide it is easier to go along with things for now.
The citizens of New
Hampshire must take action! We must demand our Senators continue that
tradition set forth by Patrick Henry, fight the good fight like General
John Stark, and stand up to those who dictate from afar. Just as the
Sons of Liberty did in Boston Harbor. Please, don't let this bill die in
Follow the link above
to find your State Senator. I'm asking you, personally, to pick up the
phone and call him or her. Ask them to pass HB1582, to refuse to take
part in the REAL-ID Act. And let them know that you are watching, and
that you expect them to do the right thing. (Remember, it's an election
year.) Find out where they stand. Then, tell your friends and neighbors.
Print this out and give it to them.
It's always easy to
go with the flow. Standing up for what's right, sticking to your
principles, is usually harder. But it's worth it. As our Founding
Fathers knew, a freedom you have earned tastes even sweeter for your