Legislature vacation ends next week

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Next week the New Hampshire House and Senate will return from vacation; both chambers have a full docket.

On Wednesday, March 4 the House will vote on several notable bills, including HB 476 (allowing medicinal marijuana for epilepsy, Parkinson's, and dementia associated with Alzheimer’s), CACR 1 (requiring a 3/5 majority in the legislature to approve any tax or fee increase), and HB 227 (letting towns hold a non-binding vote before lands are taken by eminent domain).

On Thursday, March 5 the House will hold the first public hearing on state budget bills HB 1 and HB 2.  There will be several other budget hearings held around the state in March.

On Thursday the Senate will also vote on several notable bills: SB 107 (Right-to-Work), and SB 1 and SB 2 (lowering the business profits and business enterprise taxes).

Do you have an opinion on any of these bills? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

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Stand up for the LFDA mission!
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The nonpartisan, nonprofit Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) serves New Hampshire citizens by providing objective information about issues and candidates; promoting the civil exchange of opinions in a variety of forums, online and in person; and connecting citizens with their elected officials.

Show your support for our mission: join the LFDA community today! 

Membership is always free, and gives you posting privileges on our website.

Want to learn more about us first?  Visit our About Page to learn about our mission, our Issue pages to learn about hot topics in New Hampshire government, our Voter Resources section to learn about elected officials, or our Member Posts to see what fellow Granite Staters have to say.  And don't forget to like us on Facebook!

Hassan v. Ayotte in 2016?

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Some national Republican organizations seem convinced that Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) will challenge Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) for New Hampshire's U.S. Senate seat in 2016.

Crossroads GPS (a national conservative non-profit founded by Karl Rove) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee both launched ads this week criticizing Hassan. 

Two weeks ago the New Hampshire GOP said Hassan wanted a Chief Operating Officer "to do the governor's job" while she pursues a Senate campaign.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party countered that the Republican governors of Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nebraska and Tennessee have also recruited Chief Operating Officers.

Hassan has not commented on whether or not she will run for U.S. Senate in 2016.

Two polls have tested Hassan versus Ayotte. In December a New England College poll gave Ayotte a five-point lead over Hassan; a NBC poll in February gave Hassan a four-point lead over Ayotte.

Do you think Hassan and Ayotte will face-off in 2016?  If so, who would you vote for?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHPR.

Required attendance for sentencing?

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Rep. Renny Cushing (D-Hampton) is the primary sponsor of HB 225, a 2015 bill that would require convicted criminals to listen to victim impact statements during sentencing.

Cushing was motivated to sponsor the bill after convicted New Hampshire murderer Seth Mazzaglia asked to skip sentencing.  Mazzaglia later withdrew his request.

"[The sentencing] is the first instance, the only instance, where a victim gets to speak before the community, before the court and before the person who caused them so much pain about the impact of their crime... And it really strikes a nerve to think that their voices could be taken from them or that they won’t be heard," Cushing told NHPR.

On the other hand, Cushing's bill may not be necessary.  No other state has a law requiring convicted criminals to appear for victim impact statements, and there are few examples of criminals asking to skip sentencing. 

For example, when a rapist asked to skip sentencing in New Jersey, the New Jersey Supreme Court found that convicted criminals must appear.

Do you think New Hampshire should pass HB 225?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHPR.

NH wants to lower workers' comp costs

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Workers' compensation costs are much higher in New Hampshire than in other New England states.

For example, an average physical therapy evaluation costs $181 in New Hampshire, $98 regionally, and $109 nationally according to a report released last May.  In general, a medical treatment in New Hampshire can cost double or more if an injury happens at work.

One possible solution is imposing a fee schedule for medical treatments in workers' compensation cases.  According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance, 44 other states limit how much medical providers can charge in workers' compensation cases.

Medical providers counter that a fee schedule could diminish the quality of care in workers' compensation cases.  According to medical providers, there is additional claims work in workers' compensation cases that requires more time - and therefore higher fees.

According to the Valley News, Sen. Jeb Bradley is working to draft a bill that imposes a fee schedule, but also gives medical providers some time to come up with an alternate way to cut workers' compensation costs.

"I have said to everybody you probably won’t like me very much when this is done," said Bradley.  "But I’m trying to bring you something that’s reasonable."

Do you think New Hampshire should cap fees in workers' compensation cases?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Valley News.

2015 bill reports!

Browse bills by category read more →

Did you know New Hampshire legislators have requested roughly 800 bills for 2015?  As a service to our members, the non-partisan, non-profit Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) has divided those bills into forty-one browsable categories.

CLICK HERE to browse bill requests by category.

The LFDA will update our reports on a weekly basis.

Legislature vacation ends next week

Join Our Community

Hassan v. Ayotte in 2016?

Required attendance for sentencing?

NH wants to lower workers' comp costs

2015 bill reports!

Political Tracker

RGGI supporters keep eye on NH Legislature

Seacoast Online  — 3/01/2015

A series of bills that would repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and Renewable Portfolio Standard are going before the New Hampshire House and Senate.
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Anthem breach will haunt NH 'forever'

Union Leader — 3/01/2015

The nearly 668,000 current and former Anthem subscribers across New Hampshire whose personal information was part of a massive data breach have been offered free identity protection services for two years.

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In a 246-104 vote, the House has opted to kill a bill that would define life as beginning at conception, a vote in agreement with the finding of the House Judiciary Committee. This is the first win of the session for abortion rights advocates.
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In The NH News

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What's going on at the NH State House?

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Judy Keller
A convicted criminal should be required to attend the sentencing and to to listen to any statement the victim cares to make. The rights of the innocent should always trump the rights of the guilty.
Brandon Ross
NH should allow a defendant to waive an accused's attendance for all phases of proceedings. At least minor crimes. Would save an enormous amount of scheduling hassle .

Criminal proceedings are, unfortunately, not about the victims. You want to spend money transporting and escorting an accused back to court so everyone can listen to your "victim impact statement", I encourage you to do it the old fashioned way: visit the jail or prison and say what you need to say.
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