Being Civil

Harassment, particularly sexual harassment, is a serious issue. As one of those reprimanded by the House, I can assure you that I do not take sexual harassment lightly. I take it as seriously as I do our constitution. Contrary to the baseless false allegation made by the majority of the House, I did in fact attend sexual harassment training lead by Rep. Jess Edwards.

Photo by Rep. Mike Sylvia

As one of the chairmen of the House Republican Alliance, I attended the first of Rep. Edwards training sessions on January 15, 2019. The HRA sponsored this training and raised funds for Best Buddies New Hampshire in the process.

Why didn’t I just say so? The so called ‘rule 67’ reads “All legislators, legislative officers, and legislative staff shall attend in-person education and training regarding sexual and other unlawful harassment and discrimination.” As you can see this rule says nothing about reporting the training has been completed, it does not instruct as to when it must be accomplished, nor does it say how often it must be taken. If this were a legitimate rule it would give guidance that would answer such questions.

On a more fundamental note, this rule is outside the constitutional authority of the General Court. Our constitution provides in Part II, [Art.] 22. [House to Elect Speaker and Officers, Settle Rules of Proceedings, and Punish Misconduct.] The house of representatives shall choose their own speaker, appoint their own officers, and settle the rules of proceedings in their own house; and shall be judge of the returns, elections, and qualifications, of its members, as pointed out in this constitution.  Rule 67 has nothing to do with proceedings of the House, it is a mandate pushed for political posturing.

The letter writer seems to think that I was mocking the serious issue of harassment which is completely wrong. The Speaker of the House, and the Democrat majority were using the people’s House as a political platform from which they launched a campaign to humiliate Republicans. They disgraced themselves by turning the General Court into a kangaroo court.

Their show was lead by Rep. Lucy Weber, who went to the well of the House and repeatedly read a false charge against the accused. No questions were allowed to be asked about the charge. No evidence was presented to support the allegations. None of the accused would be allowed to face their accuser. The rule of the proceeding was what ever the Speaker allowed, and his rulings would be supported by the majority in a lock-step vote. There was no place for the rule of law in this farcical theater of the absurd. Mob rule is the way of this Democratic majority; and that I do mock.

Thursday February 20, 2020 will stand as the darkest day I have witness in my 7 years in the House. Democratic colleagues with whom I’ve worked cordially in the past shredded those relationships for the sake of scoring political points. They were once respected but now have revealed their true nature. Being civil will be the best I can muster.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2019
CONTACT: James Spillane, HRA Tri-Chair (603) 463-5623
James@jamesspillane.org
Concord: On Tuesday January 15, 2019 the House Republican Alliance held a training session on workplace behavior, with the Honorable Representative Jess Edwards as instructor, to 31 Republican members of the New Hampshire House.
The presentation by Representative Edwards gave the full range of possible problems that can arise in House business through deliberate or accidental encounters with others, as well as the actions that should be taken by those involved.
Of primary focus was not only prevention of a Hostile workplace, but the legislative and litigious history explaining how Hostile Workplace and Harassment laws have reached this point. The handling of all sides of any unfortunate encounter was thoroughly discussed, providing insight and direction whether accuser or accused, and whether allegations be true or falsely sworn.
The HRA raised $362 for Best Buddies New Hampshire through donations by those attending the class.
Of the training Rep. Mike Sylvia said “I think the choice to donate to BBNH was excellent, they demonstrate that working together cooperatively produces the best results. This is in sharp contrast to the beliefs of the House majority who use bullying at every turn.”
At the conclusion Representative James Spillane thanked Representative Edwards for a very professional, concise, and thorough presentation, and added “The information regarding the history of litigation and lawmaking that brought us to this point in history was especially of interest to us, as lawmakers, I believe.”
The House Republican Alliance was established in 1997 and is the longest running caucus in the NH House of Representatives. Its goal is to pass legislation consistent with the US and NH Constitutions, and that represents the core values of the state Republican platform and fiscal responsibility.

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