Happy 4th of July!

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The Live Free or Die Alliance wishes all New Hampshire citizens a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Here are some seasonal links to check out:

Should NH towns be able to ban fireworks?  CLICK HERE to answer the question on our Facebook page.

Worried about the influence of money in politics?  CLICK HERE to learn about the rally NH Rebellion is holding in Portsmouth on July 4 to draw attention to campaign finance issues.

On the other hand, do you think our campaign finance laws are just fine as they are?  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!

NH pension fund getting healthier

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New Hampshire's pension fund saw improved returns in fiscal year 2014, shrinking the unfunded liability.  However, New Hampshire still has the sixth most underfunded retirement fund in the U.S.

Some flawed accounting methods and the 2008 financial crash contributed to New Hampshire's pension deficit. 

In recent years the legislature increased the amount employees contribute to the retirement fund. 

The New Hampshire Retirement System (NHRS) has a plan in place to eliminate the unfunded liability by 2039.

"We’re paying the full amount so we’re beginning to fill in the hole. We stopped digging in '05 and now we’re filling it in," said Marty Karlon, spokesman for the NHRS. "It’s not a good place to be, but there’s a reason we got there and hopefully we’re trending in the right direction now."

On the other hand, some legislators believe a more drastic change is needed to save New Hampshire's retirement fund.

Right now the House Special Committee on Public Employee Pension Plans is considering two bills to restructure New Hampshire's Retirement System: HB 369 and HB 556.

HB 369 establishes a defined contribution retirement plan for public employees, which essentially creates 401(k)-style retirement accounts.

HB 556 establishes a cash balance pension plan, which combines individual 401(k)-style accounts and pension guarantees.  Under a cash-balance plan, each year the employer contributes a set percentage of an employee's yearly pay, plus interest, to an individual account.  If the employee leaves the employer before retirement age, the employee may take the cash contents of the individual account with them.  If the employee stays until retirement age, the employee is guaranteed a set monthly pension payment.

Do you have an opinion on the future of the New Hampshire Retirement System?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the unfunded liability in the New Hampshire Retirement System.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHBR.

NH knocked for background checks

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The pro-gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety is calling on New Hampshire and seven other states to report mentally ill individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

New Hampshire does not share mental health records with the federal government, despite a federal law requiring states to do so.

"The background check system is the single most important tool for stopping dangerous people from buying firearms and reducing gun violence," said Ted Alcorn, research director at Everytown for Gun Safety.

However, opponents argue that sending mental health records to the federal government is an invasion of privacy that could unjustly strip individuals of their Second Amendment rights.

"The stigmatizing of anybody who may have been depressed at one point is unacceptable," said Rep. J.R. Hoell (R-Dunbarton), who is also the secretary of the N.H. Firearms Coalition. "We could quickly stigmatize anybody who ever went to see a psychologist or psychiatrist."

Do you think New Hampshire should share mental health records with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the debate over gun control in New Hampshire.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Union Leader.

Commuter rail studies continue

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On Monday, June 29 Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) signed SB 88, a bill that establishes a committee to study public-private partnerships for a commuter rail.

In November 2014 the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority (NHRTA) released the results of a feasibility study for a southern New Hampshire commuter rail.  The next step in that project was an environmental and engineering study, but the legislature decided not to fund that study in the next state budget.

SB 88 creates a committee that will look for ways to fund a commuter rail that does not rely solely on the government.

"Business leaders in southern New Hampshire have identified commuter rail as critical to their future economic growth, and I know that we can work together to make commuter rail a reality," Gov. Hassan said after signing SB 88.

Commuter rail opponents maintain that a commuter rail will not stimulate the economy like supporters hope.  In May the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, a conservative-leaning think tank, released a study that concluded commuter rail only helps development when other economic investments are already in the works.

"I like seeing people who are worried and thinking New Hampshire needs more people who are employed, and it would be great if it would create jobs, but the track record kind of speaks for itself," said Josh Elliott-Traficante, a policy analyst at the Bartlett Center.

Do you support a commuter rail in southern New Hampshire?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the possibility of a southern New Hampshire commuter rail.

CLICK HERE to read what LFDA community members think about state-funded commuter rail.

UNH tuition freeze ends

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The University System of New Hampshire will raise tuition next year, ending a tuition freeze.

The school says a lack of state funding is to blame.  New Hampshire is last in the nation for per-capita funding of higher education.

This year UNH asked the state to restore funding to 2009 levels.  The 2015 legislature voted to give UNH roughly 80% of the funding it asked for.

Opponents of a funding increase point out that UNH received a record amount of private donations last year. 

Opponents also note that no other public university in the U.S. has frozen in-state tuition for four consecutive years.  UNH froze tuition after the last state budget cycle, two years ago.

Do you think the state should give more or less funding to UNH?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from Foster's Daily Democrat.

Happy 4th of July!

Join Our Community

NH pension fund getting healthier

NH knocked for background checks

Commuter rail studies continue

UNH tuition freeze ends

Political Tracker

Jim Webb, Iraq war critic in Senate, running for president
WMUR — 7/03/2015
Jim Webb, a decorated Vietnam veteran and accomplished novelist who became a fierce critic of the Iraq war in the Senate, announced Thursday that he's challenging Hillary Rodham Clinton and other rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination.
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Budget battle slows speculation over Hassan Senate run
LFDA Virtual Town Hall — 7/03/2015

For months, speculation has swirled over whether Gov. Maggie Hassan will launch a Senate bid, but the budget battle in Concord has stalled any decision.

Read More...


 
NH GOP Chair Jennifer Horn discusses Guinta, state budget
View More Videos....
Issue Tracker
Distracted Driving  
Distracted Driving 

Law enforcement officials in New Hampshire say they've stopped numerous drivers for using hand-held electronic devices since the ban on such devices went into effect on July 1. The first offense comes with a $100 fine, with amounts increasing for repeat offenses.
Learn More About the Issue...

Commuter Rail  
Commuter Rail 

Gov. Hassan has signed a bill that allows for funding to complete a study on bringing commuter rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester. Earlier this year, lawmakers excluded $4 million from the capital budget for studying a proposed commuter rail.
Learn More About the Issue...

Demographics Shift  
Demographics Shift 

New population estimates from the Census Bureau indicate that people are beginning to migrate back to southeastern New Hampshire from other states, but the numbers are not strong enough to be a fix to the state's aging population.
Learn More About the Issue...

In The NH News

Citizens' Corner
     

     

What's going on at the NH State House?

850 New Bills are proposed for NH for 2015 - Are you aware of what these new bills are about?  We've made it easy for you to quickly get up to speed.  View our 2015 Bill Summaries.

 

   

 

What are 50,000 NH citizens discussing? 
 

Join our discussion on a NH issue each day with our 50,000+ Facebook fans!  We summarize these discussions into Citizen Voices and forward them to the NH elected officials and media sources for publication, so your voice will be heard!

 

 

 

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Mark Gibbons
Keep NH Free! if you don't like the fireworks, the noise or the patriotism, you can move to Massachusetts and enjoy a life of servitude to the state. Here in Salem, we can hear people all around us celebrating nearly every weekend with a bang. you could complain and call the cops, i prefer to sit back relax and enjoy the free show.
Eileen Spratt Ehlers
Yes. Community displays are one thing. But neighborhood fireworks, randomly shot off, are distressing to ptsd vets, babies, animals.
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