N.H. Senate works to remove disgraced former reps’ name from bill
CONCORD, N.H. — There’s no simple way to remove a lawmaker’s name from a bill in New Hampshire — even if he or she has been arrested or resigned.
Legislators are finding that out as they maneuver to ensure a measure on police body cameras can become law without Kyle Tasker’s name on it. The former representative and the bill’s original sponsor resigned in March after his arrest on three drug charges and a charge of trying to lure a minor for a sexual encounter. Tasker is scheduled for a probable cause hearing Wednesday.
‘‘There is a great deal of unease with anyone being associated with anything that had to do with Kyle Tasker,’’ Republican House Speaker Shawn Jasper said.
Senators plan to kill the bill when it comes to the floor. But the policy itself won’t be dead. The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to attach its language to a different bill — one without Tasker’s name on it.
The process of amending bills as they go from the House to the Senate isn’t unusual; such maneuvering is done for practical and political purposes. But the circumstances in this particular instance make it unique. Jasper said he can’t remember another time when lawmakers adapted a bill to remove a sponsor’s name after unseemly circumstances arose.
‘‘This is the first time I’ve seen this done,’’ he said.
Representative Renny Cushing, a Democrat from Hampton, is a co-sponsor of the body camera bill as well as the bill senators plan to attach it to. He said the bill has changed significantly since Tasker introduced it in the 2015 session. Originally, it would’ve required state police to wear body cameras and would have provided money to purchase them.
After several months of work that included input from police chiefs, the American Civil Liberties Union, and others, the bill sets guidelines for departments who want to equip their officers with cameras. It doesn’t require any departments to use them.
Of keeping Tasker’s name on the bill, Cushing said, ‘‘After he resigned it was kind of an understanding on the part of people that it would be untenable.’’
Tasker, 30, was serving his third term as a Republican representative for the towns of Candia, Deerfield, Northwood, and Nottingham. Police say he communicated with a 14-year-old girl over Facebook, offering to get her alcohol and marijuana and proposing sexual encounters.
Police say he tried to meet the girl but was instead met by law enforcement officers who were engaging in an undercover operation with permission from the girl and her mother.