Student Post: Power to the People?

My blog post will consist two main topics. The first one will be my thoughts about direct democracy when it comes to changing law or constitutional law. The second one will be whether I favor a professional or citizen legislation in the future in NH.

There are 18 states where citizens can initiate a change a state‚Äôs constitutional law. I do favor power to the people, however when it comes to amending a state’s Constitution, that should be left up to the politicians in their state legislature. Typically, the public knows very little about their state constitution and amendments, I am not even well rounded on the New Hampshire constitution. This initiative would give citizens the ability to make an amendment and collect signatures to put into their constitution without the state legislature. I would not trust the general public to be given the power to amend their constitution because their lack of knowledge mainly in politics and policy. This also presents an opportunity for special interest groups to take over and get and amendment through themselves. Citizens should be well rounded with their state government and issues before being given the power to petition amendments. States should almost never use this option for making state amendments. I think it would be a dangerous move by the state to implement.

New Hampshire currently has a citizen legislature style. Our current state house members get very little pay per year, there is minimal sessions per year in the state house as it is part time, the members are also more community connected with little impact on town policy. In result, the Governor who is a full-time politician will have more power as well with more interest group influence. I get many opportunities to see my local representatives, since I became involved in New Hampshire politics, I have seen them more. But I wish they would have more of an influence on the state of New Hampshire and have a decent pay increase that is not between 100-200 dollars. I believe we should overtime shift to a professional legislature, if any of them want to advance in political and government, having a more professional law maker experience would be best. It may help decrease the likelihood of special interest influence on the institution. Same goes with the Governor who would have a more balance of power between him/herself to the two chambers of the statehouse if there is a professional legislature.

The cons I think that could come out of a professional legislature is that we may be taxed more to pay for their salaries and other services required. In New Hampshire we considerably enjoy our lower taxes compared to some of our fellow New England states. If the proposal of a professional legislature in New Hampshire has serious backlash, I would look further into it and maybe if the cons outweigh the pros, my mind may be changed. But I do think a professional legislature as of now can help New Hampshire as of now.

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