STATE REP. Michael Yakubovich, R-Hooksett, said 2021 will not be the year of an end to a New Hampshire ban on “armed civilian groups.”

The two-term lawmaker serves on the House Executive Departments and Administration Committee, whose specialties include crafting legislation to take antiquated laws off the books.

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“(It) was brought to my attention by a buddy of mine that it’s illegal (while armed) to get together with somebody if you are wearing matching outfits,” Yakubovich said.

This measure dates to the height of the World War II fervor. The apparent intent was to snuff out armed militia groups from forming by banning individuals from trying “to assume any semblance of military organization or character.”

Yakubovich said it violates the Constitution.

“You can do whatever you want. but once you go with someone else, suddenly you are all committing a misdemeanor,” Yakubovich said. “That’s my thinking. To me it is more of freedom of expression, First Amendment, and not a Second Amendment issue.”

That was before last week’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“With everything happening around the country it turned into this huge new deal. Some Second Amendment groups said they did not like it at this time. The title of it sounded very scary to a lot of people,” Yakubovich said.

He has withdrawn the bill for 2021 but hasn’t ruled out bringing it back in the future.

Arlinghaus feels the love

As Gov. Chris Sununu spoke last week about the “neighborliness” of New Hampshire residents being its strongest asset, Administrative Services Commissioner Charlie Arlinghaus and his wife, Mae Lynn, were feeling it firsthand

The couple went to Facebook just before the New Year asking for prayers for their son, Henry, who was to undergo a complicated and long brain surgery after a routine CT scan found a “very large tumor” and a lot of fluid in his brain.

An emergency procedure was performed at Massachusetts General Hospital to install a shunt and drain the fluid.

Henry has a developmental disability, so the hospital allowed Mae Lynn to be with him and then trade places with her husband so one of them could always be at Henry’s side.

“Henry continues to heal, is out of ICU and in a room on the neurosurgery ward. We hope he might be allowed to begin recovering at home early this week. His success comes in large part from the prayers and support and love that has come from so many people. Mae Lynn and I will always be grateful and forever touched by that support which nourishes us as well,” Arlinghaus said.

About those prayers: The story of Charlie’s story touched off hundreds and hundreds of well wishes from the well-known and rank-and-file across all political, ideological and socioeconomic walks of New Hampshire life.

“He’s been through quite a lot, but he’s a very tenacious guy,” Arlinghaus said.

Last unsworn one

The 400-seat New Hampshire House of Representatives has 398 members.

Huh?

We know sadly the late House Speaker Dick Hinch, R-Merrimack, passed away suddenly last month after contracting COVID-19. His seat won’t be filled until March.

Who else is missing in action?

It’s state Rep.-Elect Anne Copp, R-Derry, who has told Speaker Sherman Packard, R-Londonderry, that she is waiting to be sworn in person with a mask by Sununu and the Executive Council.

Copp missed the Organization Day at UNH last Dec. 2 and refused to take part in a remote, virtual swearing-in ceremony that Sununu presided over for 130 House members the next day.

She also was one of six House GOP members to sign the petition declaring independence from the government and calling the last election “null and void.”

Copp could not be reached last Friday.

A Republican primary opponent of hers, Derry Town Councilor James Morgan, wrote Packard that she and the five other signees of that petition should be bounced from their seats.

“Is this what Republicans are going to condone and accept and turn a blind eye to? Is this what donors to our party donated to and expected from Republicans?” Morgan asked.

Socially distanced session

Final details are still in the works, but the framework for an in-person session of the New Hampshire House of Representatives at the State House is beginning to come together.

The first domino fell when Majority Leader Jason Osborne, R-Auburn, presented and convinced the full House to change its rules to allow the House to use parts of the “State House complex” beyond Representatives Hall to hold their sessions.

We’ve learned that plans are in the works to “wire” both sound and video into nine expanded committee rooms inside the Legislative Office Building, which will serve as “satellite” sites for the House chamber.

General Court Chief Operating Officer Terry Pfaff said plans were already in the works to deliver portable HEPA filters to “several meeting spaces,” since the Legislative Office Building doesn’t have a HVAC system that constantly recirculates air.

The House Finance Committee suite will be one of those locations. The other eight will be created by opening up double rooms in four different locations on the second and third floors.

What to do with those who refuse to wear masks?

There’s talk of creating a separate space for them in the Upham Walker House, which is just north across the street from the State House and under House control.

Meanwhile, lobbyists and the public may not be thrilled with their access to public hearings on bills.

The current model has committees using these expanded spaces for committee members and staff who wish to be there in person. The plan would permit any House committee member to attend their sessions virtually.

Lobbyists and the media would not be allowed in the building and would have to “cover” the sessions virtually.

Lobbyist changes uniforms

It’s a big get for the Bernstein Shur law firm led by lobbyist Jim Merrill.

They’ve landed Teresa Rosenberger, who is joining the firm after a long tenure with the Devine Millimet lawyer/lobbying unit.

Talk about a power couple

President-Elect Joe Biden had already named a New Hampshire man, Jacob Jeremiah Sullivan, as his national security adviser.

Now, following Biden’s pick of Merrick Garland as the next attorney general, we learn Sullivan’s wife, Margaret “Maggie” Goodlander, is a political VIP.

Goodlander clerked for both Garland and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and worked as a special counsel last year during the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

The U.S. Senate had declined to hold a hearing on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“It was really painful to see them refuse to even meet with Judge Garland, and refuse to fill their constitutional responsibility to provide advice and consent. It was one really profoundly damaging incident that fits into an unfortunate pattern of constitutional hardball,” Goodlander said during an interview with the NH Bar News.

COVID lawmaker rallying

It has been a medical roller coaster for state Rep. Fred Plett, R-Goffstown, who came down with COVID-19, but the latest news is encouraging.

On New Year’s Day, Kristen Moon, one of his daughters, posted on social media that Plett had to be intubated.

A few days later, family members reported he was rallying and was moved from Elliot Hospital to Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Lebanon because the Elliot ICU unit was full and he was the most stable.

Then last Thursday, Plett was no longer in need of “high flow oxygen” and was being transferred soon to a regular floor.

“He’s been in bed for almost a month but he is headed in the right direction,” Moon reported.

Vets home transparency

State Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, is unhappy with Sununu’s response to his Right-to-Know Act information request about the state’s response to the virus outbreak at the New Hampshire Veterans Home, where 37 have died.

“Unfortunately, your office has not responded to my request for communications regarding the Veterans Home outbreak, nor have you been transparent with the public about addressing the concerns that have been raised. The families of our veterans need answers now,” said D’Allesandro in a letter to the governor.

Sununu administration officials said the request was so open-ended it couldn’t be answered fully in five business days, as the law requires.

Son of GOPer fired

A State Department employee and son of a prominent New Hampshire Republican was fired last Thursday after tweeting that President Donald Trump was to blame for the “mob attack” and unfit for office.

“President Trump fomented an insurrectionist mob that attacked the Capitol today. He continues to take every opportunity to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power,” Gabriel Noronha tweeted.

“These actions threaten our democracy and our Republic. Trump is entirely unfit to remain in office, and needs to go.”

Noranha’s father, Marion, is chief executive of Turbocam International of Barrington. The elder Noranha has played host to many Republican presidential candidates here.

CNN reported Noranha, who declined comment, was not given a reason for his firing.

Kevin Landrigan is the State House bureau chief for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. Reach him at klandrigan@unionleader.com.

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