N.H. House Rebukes Comments About Bombing
The New Hampshire House yesterday voted unanimously to disavow “unfounded speculation” about last month’s Boston Marathon bombings, in a clear rebuke to Rep. Stella Tremblay of Auburn.
The Republican, who didn’t attend yesterday’s session, has suggested in recent weeks that the U.S. government may have orchestrated the April 15 attack near the finish line of the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured hundreds. She has also said Jeff Bauman, a 27-year-old man who lost both legs in the attack and was the subject of an iconic photo of the bombings’ aftermath, didn’t seem to be in pain.
Tremblay’s comments have been condemned by House Minority Leader Gene Chandler and other GOP leaders. Chandler, a Bartlett Republican, sponsored yesterday’s resolution together with the House’s two top Democrats, Speaker Terie Norelli of Portsmouth and Majority Leader Steve Shurtleff of Penacook.
The resolution didn’t mention Tremblay by name, but noted that “recent remarks have taken the focus away from honoring the victims and celebrating the heroes of this tragedy.”
It adds, “The House does hereby disavow any unfounded speculation or accusation that dishonors those affected by the tragic events in Boston.”
The resolution also commends Bauman, whose family lives in Concord, as a hero for his role in helping identify one of the two suspected bombers and “wishes him a quick recovery.”
And it generally pays tributes to the “victims and heroes” of “the senseless tragedy at this year’s Boston Marathon.”
House members gave a standing ovation after the resolution was read by House Clerk Karen Wadsworth, then passed it on a 312-0 vote.
An attempt to reach Trembaly following the vote was unsuccessful.
In other action yesterday, the House passed a bill creating a commission to study ways to address coastal hazards, such as storms, and a projected rise in sea levels.
The bill passed the Senate in March on a voice vote. The House approved it yesterday, 228-124, with a few minor changes.
Supporters said the commission will help the state craft legislation and administrative rules to deal with coastline problems that could worsen in future years as sea levels are expected to rise.
“In the Seacoast . . . we have had problems,” said Rep. Brian Wazlaw, a Portsmouth Democrat. “We do have flooding. We have damage to our seawalls. We have damage to our roads, along (Route) 1A. We have inundation of water into our wetlands and our tidal areas, all the result of coastal storms.”
But Rep. Andrew Renzullo, a Hudson Republican, said lawmakers shouldn’t spend time worrying about possibilities and speculation.
“Don’t we have enough ‘the sky is falling’ legislation at the federal level? Now we’ve got to start doing it here?” Renzullo asked, adding, “Would it hurt to wait a few more years and get some more data points? Absent a tectonic shift, this isn’t going to happen overnight, so you really don’t have to build an ark.”
A separate Senate bill allowing towns and cities to include a “coastal management” section in master plans also passed the House yesterday in an amended form, 210-143.
The House yesterday also tried to resurrect three resolutions that the Democratic-controlled chamber passed earlier this year, but that the Republican-controlled Senate has refused to consider under a new rule barring most resolutions.
Those three resolutions were:
∎ A message asking Congress to support a “comprehensive health care delivery system” for New Hampshire veterans.
∎ A message asking Congress to adopt a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United campaign finance decision.
∎ A directive for the Joint Legislative Historical Committee to acquire and display a portrait of suffragist Marilla Marks Ricker in the State House.
An attempt to attach the first two items to a Senate resolution on special-use permits in the White Mountain National Forest was short-circuited when the House voted, 163-154, to table the Senate resolution.
The third measure, to display a portrait of Ricker, was attached to a Senate bill as an amendment on a 252-70 vote.
The amended bill, which also provides for a study of how to restore and preserve the historical flags displayed in the State House, then passed on a 284-39 vote. It next goes to the House Finance Committee for a second look.
A Senate spokeswoman declined to comment on the tiff.