Reason Roundup

New Hampshire Lawmaker Blames Colleagues for House Speaker's COVID-19 Death

Plus: Trump allows another federal execution, credit card companies break with Pornhub, and more...


Rep. Dick Hinch, the newly elected speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, has died of COVID-19. His colleagues are blaming each other.

The 71-year-old Republican was sworn in on December 2 at an outdoor ceremony where a large number of his conservative colleagues did not wear masks.

"Hinch created a separate seating area for the roughly 80 Republicans who refused to wear masks when all House elected members took the oath of office," reports the New Hampshire Union Leader.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu called Hinch's death a "tragic and cautionary tale" about ignoring personal pandemic precautions. "For those who are just out there doing the opposite just to make some ridiculous political point, it is horribly wrong," Sununu said at a news conference yesterday.

Some have been more explicit in blaming reckless legislators for Hinch's fate.

"Those in our caucus who refused to take precautions are responsible for Dick Hinch's death," tweeted Republican Rep. William M. Marsh, a retired doctor.

It's not clear when or where Hinch caught the virus. But "in the weeks leading up to his death, Hinch was at the center of a tense controversy between Republican and Democratic state legislators about a lack of adherence to public health guidelines by the GOP members," notes The Washington Post.

In November, he and other state Republican lawmakers were photographed at multiple indoor gatherings without masks. One of the events, on November 20, featured a buffet meal and was responsible for at least four state lawmakers getting COVID-19, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said.

New Hampshire isn't the only state in which lawmakers have been battling COVID-19 outbreaks.

There have recently been "a slew of COVID-19 cases in the Ohio General Assembly," notes WOSU Radio. Three Pennsylvania lawmakers have tested positive for the virus this week, as did Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.  Legislatures in North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Indiana have also this week reported new cases among state lawmakers.


The Trump administration executed another person yesterday. Kim Kardashian West and many others had been lobbying President Donald Trump to spare Brandon Bernard's life.


Maggie McNeill explains the movement to make credit card companies stop doing business with Pornhub. Yesterday, Mastercard and Visa both "announced that they will no longer let customers use their cards on the adult video site Pornhub. This new policy was prompted by political pressure, making it the latest government victory in a long, censorious quest," writes McNeill.

This isn't the first time we've been here


  • "Operation Underground Railroad has flourished in the age of QAnon," notes Vice. "But not all of its stories hold up to scrutiny."
  • Stop saying "lockdown is not that hard," implores Bonnie Kristian.
  • The Ohio legislature has passed a bill requiring aborted fetuses to be buried or cremated. "The legislation, which carries a first-degree misdemeanor penalty, requires abortion clinics to pay for cremations and burials and offers pregnant women the option to choose how to dispose of the remains," notes
  • A new paper in the journal Personality and Individual Differences suggests "that victimhood is a stable and meaningful personality tendency."

The Minneapolis City Council, which tried and failed to dismantle the police department in the wake of George Floyd's death, voted early Thursday to shift nearly $8 million from next year's police budget to other city services as part of an effort to 'transform' public safety in the city.