New budget proposal: raid energy fund

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This week House budget writers drafted a new proposal for funding the Department of Transportation (DOT).  The proposal uses money from the Renewable Energy Fund and decreases funding for UNH.

Originally a group of four Republicans proposed raising the gas tax to fund a major shortfall in the DOT, but that idea fell flat in the House.

Electricity providers pay into the Renewable Energy Fund when they do not buy enough electricity from renewable sources, according to New Hampshire's Renewable Portfolio Standard.  The Renewable Energy Fund is intended to fund grants and rebates for individuals and businesses working on renewable energy projects.

"We made the policy decision that a temporary hiatus on that program was the price we had to pay so that the state's highways were maintained and properly funded for the next two years," said Rep. Neal Kurk (R-Weare), chairman of the Finance Committee.

Supporters praise the new budget proposal for not raising taxes.

Opponents argue that raiding the Renewable Energy Fund is dishonest budgeting.  Because electricity providers pass some of the cost of the Renewable Portfolio Standard onto ratepayers, this budget proposal funds the Department of Transportation on the back of ratepayers' electricity bills.

The proposed budget also decreases funding for local road maintenance, downshifting some costs to towns.

Lastly, UNH says they will raise tuition if funding decreases.

Budgeting in New Hampshire is never easy.  How would fund the Department of Transportation next year?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn about Gov. Hassan's original budget proposal.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from WMUR.

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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!

Social media privacy vs. bullying

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This week a Senate committee heard testimony on a bill that would prohibit schools from demanding access to students' social media accounts.

Privacy advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union, testified in support of the bill.

"We would never expect a school administrator to be allowed to enter a student's bedroom and look at their personal letters or look through their photo albums," said Devon Chaffee, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire. "We shouldn't allow them to do the electronic equivalent."

Souhegan High School freshman Jonathan Petersen offered a different perspective.  He took a year off of school after being bullied.  In at least one incident, other students posted inappropriate pictures of him online.

"I've been bullied a lot and most of the time people get away with it," he said.

Dean Michener, director of the New Hampshire School Boards Association, echoed Petersen's concerns.

"School districts have a unique parental role while students are in school," he said. "If you move forward with this legislation, we think it should include a provision that districts are not liable when they don't have access to evidentiary information."

In 2010 the state expanded its bully law to hold schools responsible for policing cyberbullying.

Do you think schools should have complete, limited, or no access whatsoever to student social media accounts?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about New Hampshire's bully law.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from Seacoast Online.

'Smart Balanced' opt-out for parents?

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This month school districts throughout New Hampshire premiered the Smart Balanced tests based on Common Core curriculum.  Some schools told parents that their students have a right to opt-out of the tests, but the state Department of Education disagrees.

According to the Department of Education, "Parents should be made aware that their public school children are legally required to take the assessment. Further, the districts’ legal obligations must supersede parental demands that their child not take the assessment."

That did not stop the Manchester and Nashua School Boards from sending a letter to parents asserting their right to remove children from the tests.

Roughly 1% of Manchester students opted-out, according to NHPR

Federal law requires schools to administer standardized tests, but a school district only faces sanctions if 5% or more of students miss a test.

Meanwhile there are no codified consequences at the state level for opting out of required testing.

Do you believe parents have a right to pull their children out of standardized tests, for any reason?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the debate over Common Core in New Hampshire.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHPR.

Workers' comp compromise

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This week the New Hampshire Senate will consider SB 3, a compromise bill to lower workers' compensation costs.

Many business owners wanted to create a fee schedule to cap how much providers can charge for workers' compensation patients.  This bill instead requires providers to lower their workers' compensation charges by 15% over three years, and establishes a committee to study a fee schedule.

Medical providers argue this compromise bill will lower workers' compensation costs without interfering with the free market.

Supporters of a fee schedule point to forty-four other states that have fee schedules, and argue that SB 3 is postponing a real solution to New Hampshire's high workers' compensation costs.

According to the Concord Monitor, Sen. Gary Daniels (R-Milford) plans to introduce a competing proposal this week to implement a fee schedule.

Do you think medical providers should be allowed to lower workers' compensation costs on their own, or should New Hampshire impose a fee schedule?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Concord Monitor.

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.

New budget proposal: raid energy fund

Join Our Community

Social media privacy vs. bullying

'Smart Balanced' opt-out for parents?

Workers' comp compromise

2015 bill reports!

Political Tracker

Northern Pass gives $3 million to conservation projects

NHPR — 3/27/2015

Eversource Energy and the Northern Pass Transmission project have announced a large donation to support conservation projects in New Hampshire.
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House budget plan cuts university, energy-efficiency spending article

LFDA Virtual Town Hall — 3/27/2015

The battle over the state budget entered a new round Thursday as the House Finance Committee passed a spending plan that does away with many of the proposed cuts to the Department of Transportation at the expense of the university system.

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Granite State Republicans have mixed opinions on Ted Cruz
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Issue Tracker
Common Core in NH  
Common Core in NH 

New Hampshire school districts are currently administering a new standardized test called the Smarter Balanced, which replaces the NECAP. The 7-to-8-hour adaptive test includes both math and English portions and is expected to be more difficult than the NECAP.
Learn More About the Issue...

Commuter Rail  
Commuter Rail 

The Executive Council has voted 5-0 against a request from Plaistow officials to extend the commuter rail feasibility study beyond the March 31 deadline; the DOT says this vote means there will not be an environmental assessment included in the study.
Learn More About the Issue...

Water Sustainability in NH  
Water Sustainability in NH 

New Hampshire has been conducting tests throughout the state in order to determine the amount of methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MtBE, present in well water, with efforts currently being expanded to focus on southern areas of NH. MtBE is a gasoline additive.
Learn More About the Issue...

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Mark Kanzler
Minimum sentences came about because of judicial malpractice.
James Melanson
There is split sentencing, probation, restorative justice, and many options, no judge wants to be told what to sentence, it's their power of discretion .. Tough on crime isn't working, 67% recidivation is very revealing..
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