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Author Topic: NH vs WY  (Read 157738 times)

George Reich

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Re:States with two very different systems of government.
« Reply #45 on: May 12, 2003, 12:02:49 pm »

Your links did not take me to any useful information on the power of Wyoming towns and counties. Please be more specific.

Have any of Wyoming's counties legalized marijuana or prostitution?
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di540

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Re:States with two very different systems of government.
« Reply #46 on: May 12, 2003, 12:36:01 pm »

Here in the West our town councils and county commissioners are fully-fledged lawmakers. Wyoming has a Libertarian elected to town council.
.
I can't believe that they are 'fully-fledged' law makers,
since the 10th Amendment reserves default law-making
power to the States or the People. Thus, they can
at most be tenants-in-chief, such that Wyoming has
delegated lawmaking power to the towns & counties.
Or, they can propose laws and have the People vote on
them. Otherwise, they themselves could pass bonds.
.
Do you have any links that explain the system?
.
Wyoming Constitution
97-13-001.__Incorporation;_alteration_of_boundaries;_merger
consolidation;_dissolution;_determination_of_local_affairs;
classification;_referendum;_liberal_construction.
(b)  All cities and towns are hereby empowered to determine their
local affairs and government as established by ordinance passed by
the governing body, subject to referendum when prescribed by the
legislature, and further subject only to statutes uniformly applicable
to all cities and towns, and to statutes prescribing limits of
indebtedness.
(d)  The powers and authority granted to cities and towns, pursuant to
this section, shall be liberally construed for the purpose of giving
the largest measure of self-government to cities and towns.
--
While (d) may come close to them being 'fully-fledged' law-
makers, part (b) specifies that they do not pass laws, but
ordinances that are subject to referendum and/or state law.
The state law-makers are 'fully-fledged' since they can put
the state into debt without the say of the People.
.
Quote
Do YOU have any links that prove that New Hampshire towns have even half as much power as small Western cities and counties?
.
No. But they are reported to have the power to secede.
The town of Newington has a movement to do so. Which begs the
question, if NH is so great why would anyone want to secede?
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Robert H.

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Re:States with two very different systems of government.
« Reply #47 on: May 12, 2003, 06:09:05 pm »

From the "how important small land area" thread:

Here in the West our town councils and county commissioners are fully-fledged lawmakers...

That's more power than your NH selectmen in Lisbon or Merrimack. The NH legislature has all the law-making or un-making power in New Hampshire.  There is only petty nuisance lawmaking in New Hampshire towns. Towns are only administrative departments of the state. They may handle local money, but the New Hampshire legislature keeps for itself the laws that Western towns and counties can make.

Hank has an excellent point here.  The power of the state legislature in the New England states would make controlling that body a must in order to ensure the survival of any reforms that we enact locally (especially if they're more politically controversial).  New Hampshire's legislature is positively gigantic, as would be the hurdle we would have to leap in order to gain a controlling influence there.

I've seen discussion here lately of forming a libertarian caucus in the NH state legislature.  A caucus is all fine and good, and might be simple to form in New Hampshire, but we need a majority or the ability to assemble one from members of the other political parties.  Granted, a caucus could be a stepping stone to reaching out to liberty-friendly legislators in other parties and uniting their efforts with ours, but, more often than not, unless you're forming a minority race-based caucus, they're generally not very effective.

And even then they're usually only good for grabbing headlines or stonewalling.  Look at South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia for examples of how this has been done.

New Hampshire's legislature poses some problems that must be addressed in order for me to be convinced that we could establish a majority there, or else a majority coalition, in any reasonable amount of time.

  • No term limits (yes, I know that some of us disagree as to whether they're libertarian or not, but they serve to give a broader scope of candidates more of a chance to obtain office than otherwise.
  • No intitiative or referendum - in other words, no direct means for the people to affect change in government other than to go directly through an enormous legislature, which would require us to fashion an enormous majority in comparison to what would be necessary in other states.
  • Legislative power to override local reforms - this is not as great a risk in the west due to the power of western counties.  See Vermont's history with Act 60 for an example of what a New England legislature can do to local control.  I'm not saying that New Hampshire would ever enact such a socialistic piece of redistributionist garbage as Act 60, but the power is there to interfere in other ways if they choose to use it.


Compare this to the west, specifically to Wyoming.

  • We're dealing with a smaller legislature (with districts with as few as 8,000 people).  Putting together a majority or majority coalition here would be simpler because it would require us to win fewer seats or fewer legislative partners.  


I hear seats are relatively available in New Hampshire, so maybe we could win more of them, but then I ask: "Enough of them to sway a 400 + member body?"  And if New Hampshire reduces district size even further, how many more seats will that add to the legislature?

New Hampshire also has the largest state senate districts of our 10 candidate states.

  • County governments have more power to deal with the state in Wyoming.  Whether it has been done in the past or not is not so much the question - the potential exists.
  • Initiative and referendum - the FSP itself, at 20,000 strong, would be nearly enough to put an initiative item on the ballot in Wyoming just by itself.  Even if we had only 10,000 in Wyoming, each of us getting two or three other people to sign would be enough.


There's greater potential for us to work around this legislature if we need to do so.

  • Term limits - effective 2004 - will allow a broader field of candidates a greater chance to obtain seats in that smaller legislature.


New Hampshire is unquestionably a tremendously free state, and a great contrast to its neighbors, but I have to wonder if part of the reason for this is due more to a difficulty in getting things done there as opposed to the strength of the freedom element in its population (perhaps other than on the taxation issue).

Part of the ability to increase government regulation and institute a nanny state is the ability to pass laws, which would naturally require greater majorities in New Hamphsire than elsewhere due to the size of the legislature.  This has evidently worked very much in New Hampshire's favor because it has kept statism at bay, unlike its sister New England states.  

New Hampshire doesn't have a seatbelt requirement, or helmet requirement, or auto liability insurance requirement...all true.  Perhaps because it can't pass them due to the inability to garner the required level of support in the legislature.  Perhaps it still has enough representatives in favor of such things that, if the body were smaller, it could pass such laws as have been enacted in other states.

However, the merits of this aside, it should be pointed out that part of the ability to create a free state will also require the ability to pass (or repeal) laws via the legislature.  Part of what has kept New Hampshire so free, the difficulty involved in controlling the legislature, could then work against us by making the process of creating a majority or majority coalition that much more difficult (at least in the "liberty in our lifetime" sense - a reasonable amount of time).

In Wyoming, the ability to obtain a majority, or else create a majority coalition, could be much simpler due to the legislature's smaller size and the tool that term limits makes available to us.  And, failing that, we have the initiative and referendum, which would be simpler to enact because it would require so few signatures (relatively speaking).

Thus, I still very much believe that Wyoming offers us our best chance at a majority or majority coalition and the achievement of "liberty in our lifetime."  The task involved is smaller, the tools for accomplishing it are more numerous, and the combination of those two elements in the hands of dedicated activists could be unstoppable.

George Reich

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Re:States with two very different systems of government.
« Reply #48 on: May 12, 2003, 07:00:32 pm »

Can anyone provide some specific examples of how home rule has been successful (from a libertarian standpoint) in Wyoming? In other words, has a county legalized marijuana or prostitution or made some other REAL libertarian reform which the state did not overrule?
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Zxcv

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Re:States with two very different systems of government.
« Reply #49 on: May 12, 2003, 07:17:24 pm »

Quote
I'm not saying that New Hampshire would ever enact such a socialistic piece of redistributionist garbage as Act 60

Don't be so easy to pooh-pooh this stuff, Robert. It's something that sells well. Oregon adopted a version of it.

BTW, something just occurred to me. If state A has 400 legislators, and state B has 100, guess what? Our fixed number of 20,000 activists transplanted in state A means each legislator receives only 1/4 the number of letters/emails from FSP constituents, as the legislators would if we were transplanted in state B. All other things being equal (which they are not).

So not only are our 20,000 in NH diluted by having to reach a much larger number of voters in elections, but during the legislative session they are further dissipated by having to reach and convince a much larger number of legislators.
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George Reich

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Re:States with two very different systems of government.
« Reply #50 on: May 12, 2003, 07:27:50 pm »

BTW, something just occurred to me. If state A has 400 legislators, and state B has 100, guess what? Our fixed number of 20,000 activists transplanted in state A means each legislator receives only 1/4 the number of letters/emails from FSP constituents, as the legislators would if we were transplanted in state B. All other things being equal (which they are not).

So not only are our 20,000 in NH diluted by having to reach a much larger number of voters in elections, but during the legislative session they are further dissipated by having to reach and convince a much larger number of legislators.

Lobbying in NH more often takes the form of showing up at the statehouse to talk to legislative committees while they are deliberating on bills. Several LPNH members do this on a regular basis.
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Re:States with two very different systems of government.
« Reply #51 on: May 12, 2003, 08:05:13 pm »

Don't worry, George. Since most of FSPers will end up in the environs of Cheyenne (assuming we pick the correct state  ;) ) we'll have way more than "several" people to do this task as well. How many do you need to wheel and deal in the committees? 100? 200? In any state, even Alaska with its isolated capital, we will be able to handle this task.

The constituent mail is where the states differ.
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George Reich

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Re:States with two very different systems of government.
« Reply #52 on: May 12, 2003, 08:55:53 pm »

How many do you need to wheel and deal in the committees? 100? 200?

It's not so much wheeling and dealing. The committees typically have 30 members or so. You just give a 2 or 3 minute "speech" to them.

Quote
The constituent mail is where the states differ.

Keep in mind that a typical NH resident may have 7 or 8 representatives. Each could get a copy of the letter.
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BobW

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Re:States with two very different systems of government.
« Reply #53 on: May 13, 2003, 02:52:44 am »

Hi libertarian40,

Ref your above " Lobbying in NH more often takes the form of showing up at the Statehouse." and"It's not so much wheeling and dealing...you just give a 2-3 minute 'speech' ";

I am a political activist at both the state and national level.  That 2-3 minute speech takes a minimum, repeat a minimum of 30 days of lead time to prepare.  This short lead time(30 days) is effective because I already have a preexisting support structure.  The support structure takes years to establish and refine.

The 2-3 minute speech can only be drafted after it's known who will be in the audience.  A lobbyist is not speaking only to the legislators.  That speech must also be tailored to acknowledge what media organizations will be present (some are always there), what other interests will be giving speeches (helps to have contacts in MC offices and at the state level) and who will be present in the audience, eg the Farm Bureau might want as many members as possible  to attend.

After the presentation, I hope no one here thinks activists go home.  Having lunch or dinner with a key contact doesn't hurt, especially if it's the activist'sist's plastic (all targets are not subject to "Standards of Conduct" especially journalists - hint: who will write the article about what happened at the committee hearing?).

There is SO MUCH "wheeling and dealing" that it's really a life style.  It can't be avoided.

I urge everyone new to lobbying and legitimate political activitism to read chapter 9 of Pat Cholate's book "AGENTS OF INFLUENCE - How Japan's Lobbyists in the United States Manipulate America's Political and Economic System" ISBN: 0-394-57901-1.  Chapter 9 is titled "Grass-Roots Politicking".


BobW

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George Reich

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Re:States with two very different systems of government.
« Reply #54 on: May 13, 2003, 07:31:37 am »

You are probably much more effective than many of the people who show up at the statehouse in Concord...   ;D

Would I be correct in guessing that your "state level" lobbying took place in a more populated/sophisticated state than NH?
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Re:States with two very different systems of government.
« Reply #55 on: May 13, 2003, 09:36:23 am »

Yeah, George, that's exactly the impression I got. That would be overkill in Oregon - let alone Wyoming!   :)

I think the places we are going are a little more laid back than that. More along the lines of taking a rep down to the coffee shop for a donut.   :D
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Re:States with two very different systems of government.
« Reply #56 on: May 13, 2003, 11:59:12 am »

"More along the lines of taking a rep down to the coffee shop for a donut."

Mmmmmmmmmm........ Dddonuts.......... :D

I'd rather speak to every rep in the state house at once and get publicity over it.... More milage.

Any person is allowed to address the NH state house on any thing they are considering just by filling out a form the day they wish to speak. If you don't want to speak, there is another form there where you can just write your opinions.

GREAT citizen involvement....

JM
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Re:States with two very different systems of government.
« Reply #57 on: May 13, 2003, 12:05:05 pm »

Hi Libertartarian 40 and Zxcv,

Yes, Commonwealth of Virginia and Washington, DC re the places are more populated and even more "organized" (Va is used as an immediate results lab for Washington DC trial ballons), but sophistication, no.

When time permits take a glance at Morrison Knudson, Idaho and Marathon Petroleum, Wyoming, re politics.  There is a lot more to the scene than is showing up.

BobW
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Re:States with two very different systems of government.
« Reply #58 on: May 13, 2003, 01:44:25 pm »

Oh, you mean money! Sure, there's always that, no matter what state. It's another subject.

And corporations have to protect themselves too, from union predation and from mindless do-gooders. It's just that they sometimes go overboard...  ;)

I was looking at an interesting site about campaign contributions. Here is WY:
http://www.opensecrets.org/states/contrib.asp?state=WY
and here is NH:
http://www.opensecrets.org/states/contrib.asp?State=NH&Year=2002

There is something very odd about the NH page. It shows the 5th largest contributor to political campaigns is the State of New Hampshire!  :o  Any of the NH-philes around here want to explain that? Is that taxpayer-funded elections? (ugh)

I also noticed that the 6th largest contributor in Wyoming is the "Code of the West" Foundation. I took a look at that, and it is kinda interesting. I think we could work with or through this group:
http://www.codeofthewest.org/

Interesting to have such ideas so well represented in politics in at least some states.
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Robert H.

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Re:States with two very different systems of government.
« Reply #59 on: May 13, 2003, 02:14:28 pm »

I also noticed that the 6th largest contributor in Wyoming is the "Code of the West" Foundation. I took a look at that, and it is kinda interesting. I think we could work with or through this group:
http://www.codeofthewest.org/

Interesting site.  Here's part of their mission statement:

The Code of the West Foundation promotes a set of common sense western values:

- working for what you get
- helping your neighbors
- taking care of your family
- having your handshake and word be your bond

The nanny state didn't exist back when people lived by such a code, and a return to these ideas may do much to reverse the tide of statism today.
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