July 2023 BNL

The New Hampshire House of Representatives is currently in the midst of its summer break, with no hearings or committees scheduled for July and August. The representatives will reconvene in September, during which a brief four-day window will be available for submitting bills for the 2024 legislative season. September through November will also be dedicated to holding hearings on bills that were retained in committee before we start the 2024 legislative season. These retained bills are those that were deemed to lack sufficient support for passage, but were recognized as having some merit and belief that further time for refinement might render them more agreeable.

The House currently consists of 397 members, with a delicate balance of party affiliations: 199 Republicans, 196 Democrats, and 2 Independents. Additionally, greater than  eight members are absent each Session, which means the majority can potentially shift at any given moment if representatives need to leave for various reasons. Given the slim difference in party affiliation, tensions within the House appear to be heightened, and any dissent or disagreement within a party has been met with intense criticism from both fellow members and the general public. This environment of heightened scrutiny and potential backlash has even led to some representatives changing their party affiliation to Independent, resulting in the presence of two Independents in the House.

This situation highlights a tangible outcome of the lack of grace and tolerance within the House, particularly among individuals who share common ideologies and interests. It brings to mind a quote often attributed to Ronald Reagan, in which he states, "The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor." The quote serves as a reminder of the importance of fostering a sense of empathy and collaboration among individuals who share a common vision, even if they may not agree on every single issue. Approaching these differences with curiosity about their perspective instead of hostility, could potentially alleviate some of the tensions and foster a more productive and harmonious legislative environment as well as the relationships with friends and neighbors.
I will focus on practicing this over this summer break,
Honorable Representative Josh Yokela

Representing Brentwood, Danville, and Fremont