Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Democrats Pushing Challenge to New Hampshire Primary in Vermont House

Identical legislation to the Vermont state Senate bill proposing to schedule the presidential primary in the Green Mountain state for the same date as the New Hampshire primary has now been introduced in the Vermont state House.

Like S76, the House version -- H 239 -- calls for the Vermont secretary of state to schedule the presidential primary for the same date as the first in the nation presidential primary in New Hampshire. What is different on the House side is who filed the legislation. Instead of being pushed by a Progressive Party legislator (a party loosely aligned with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)), the House bill was introduced and co-sponsored by four majority party Democrats. Neither the bill's sponsor Rep. Sam Young (D-121st, Orleans-Caledonia), nor the three co-sponsors (Rep. Jim Condon (D-69th, Chittenden), Jim Masland (D-82nd, Windsor-Orange) and George W. Till (D-143rd, Chittenden)) are among the Democratic leadership in the House, but all four sit on the House Ways and Means Committee. That means there is no one sponsor to directly shepherd the bill through the Government Operations Committee (to which it has been referred). However, since the House Ways and Means Committee primarily deals with revenue coming into the state, it would seem clear that the rationale behind the bill is much the same as that espoused by the Senate version's author: to provide the state with an economic shot in the arm.

Regardless of who is promoting the bill, challenging New Hampshire's status, as FHQ has pointed out, is easier said than done. All that has changed is that there is a second version attempting to pull this off.

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