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Mar 19, 2015 10:06 AM

NH lawmakers harshly kill 4th-graders' bill in front of them

NH1.com

CONCORD - Fourth graders from Lincoln Akerman School in Hampton Falls received a warm welcome at the State House last Thursday. They and their teacher, James Cutting, were guests in the Gallery.

That reception quickly turned chilly as students got a glimpse of the cold, harsh realities of politics in the Granite State.

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Should the N.H. Legislature debate bills proposed by students?

In the spirit of learning by doing, students drafted a bill to learn the process of how a bill becomes law. They proposed House Bill 373, an act establishing the Red Tail Hawk as the New Hampshire State Raptor. Even though it passed through the Environment and Agriculture committee with a majority vote, some representatives were far from receptive.

Rep. Warren Groen, a Republican from Rochester said, "It grasps them with its talons then uses its razor sharp beak to basically tear it apart limb by limb, and I guess the shame about making this a state bird is it would serve as a much better mascot for Planned Parenthood."

NH1 spoke with Groen over the phone on Thursday afternoon. Click here to listen to the interview with Groen.

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That comment, considered offensive by many, was made while the fourth graders sat, watched and listened. The tough lesson didn't end there.

Rep. John Burt, a Republican from Goffstown said, "Bottom line, if we keep bringing more of these bills, and bills, and bills forward that really I think we shouldn't have in front of us, we'll be picking a state hot dog next."

In a 133-to-160 vote lawmakers killed the bill and perhaps the civic enthusiasm of some 9-and-10-year-olds.

To listen to the phone interview NH1 held with Cutting on Thursday, click this link.

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.

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