Hearings on Pipeline

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is holding public hearings on a proposed natural gas pipeline in southern New Hampshire this week. The Kinder Morgan pipeline would run eighty miles through New Hampshire, if approved.

According to Kinder Morgan’s website, the pipeline "will generally be adjacent to the ROW of an existing utility corridor in New Hampshire, which would minimize the impacts to the environment and landowners." Furthermore, the pipeline "will provide New Hampshire with additional access to lower cost, clean, abundant and domestic natural gas supplies."

Pipeline opponents, on the other hand, argue that the risks of a natural gas leak are too great a threat to New Hampshire’s environment and property owners.

Other opponents argue New Hampshire should look to expand renewable energy instead of natural gas supplies.

Earlier in July the LFDA asked our community about the proposed pipeline. The majority of commenters opposed the pipeline.

"Why would we allow this extensive and dangerous infrastructure project when this is not a renewable energy source?" said one LFDA commenter.

The next public meeting on the pipeline is July 30 at 6:30pm at the Milford Town Hall.

CLICK HERE to read a full report on the LFDA conversation and add your comments.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Union Leader.

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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!

Free State churches in court

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At least two New Hampshire groups affiliated with the Free State Project are fighting in state courts to be recognized as tax-exempt churches.

The Shire Free Church in Keene and the Church of the Sword in Westmoreland are both interfaith groups founded by liberty activists. They argue that they qualify as tax-exempt churches because they teach a moral philosophy and give back to the town through community service.

There are no strict rules on what qualifies as a church for local tax purposes. Keene and Westmoreland argue both churches are primarily oriented towards politics, not religion, and therefore should pay taxes.

Ruling in favor of Westmoreland, the Cheshire County Superior Court stated, "The power to make religious based property tax exemptions necessarily includes the power to decide what organizations qualify as 'religious.'"

The Shire Free Church and the Church of the Sword argue the towns ruled against them because of religious discrimination.

Supporters also note that many religious leaders, such as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (an ordained Baptist minister), have been politically active.

Both churches are still appealing their tax status in the courts.

What do you think qualifies a church for tax-exempt status?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Concord Monitor.

NH students get privacy rights

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Starting this September, state law will prohibit schools from requesting access to students’ social media accounts.

HB 142, the bill behind the change, automatically became law after Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) chose to neither sign nor veto the bill.

"We would never permit school administrators to demand access to a student’s bedroom to sift through their private letters and photo albums," said Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of ACLU of New Hampshire. "HB 142 simply prevents school administrators from doing the electronic equivalent."

However, some opponents argue the law over-reaches by including private schools. "Some private schools and certain parents of homeschoolers have specific policies regarding how their students can use social media. … Non-public education institutions are chosen by parents for the education of their child in part because of these policies," said Rep. Michael Sylvia (R).

Mont Vernon teen Jonathan Petersen also testified at a bill hearing that, "I believe that cases of cyberbullying will only increase in New Hampshire schools due to school administrators and staff having no control over social media and other types of cyberbullying."

HB 142 does allow schools to request a parent give information from a minor’s social media account. The bill also allows schools to request a student "voluntarily share a printed copy of a specific communication from the student’s social media account."

Do you support HB 142?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read what the LFDA community had to say about HB 142.

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

Update to NH securities regulations

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On Monday, July 27 Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) will sign SB 266, which updates the laws regulating securities in New Hampshire.

Right now New Hampshire securities law is based on the Uniform Securities Act of 1956.

"SB 266 does not add additional regulatory requirements or costs to doing business, and in fact is expected to lower costs by removing complexity, idiosyncrasy, hurdles and traps for the unwary," said Rep. Laurie Sanborn.

Legislators hope the new securities regulations will help New Hampshire startups raise capital.

SB 266 created some controversy when a House amendment reduced some filing fees, potentially lowering state revenue.

"We heard testimony that these costs were already much lower than in other states, so the revenue loss is not necessary to encourage business investment in the state," said Rep. Kermit Williams.

The House and Senate agreed on a final version of the bill that keeps the House amendment but raises some other filing fees, balancing some of the lost revenue.

Do you have any ideas on how to encourage investment in startups in New Hampshire?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHPR.

Partisan battles over heroin in NH

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In a recent WMUR Granite State Poll, four out of five adults said heroin abuse is a “very serious” problem in New Hampshire.

Heroin abuse has also become a battleground for Democrats and Republicans in New Hampshire.

The New Hampshire Republican Party has published several press releases criticizing Gov. Maggie Hassan's "drug czar" Jack Wozmak for failing to reach out to local officials, such as Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.

Wozmak, who began work in February, met with Gatsas on July 20. This week Wozmak also released twenty-two recommendations for fighting the heroin epidemic. Some of those recommendations - such as increasing access to the overdose-reversing drug Narcan - are already in the works.

Republicans have also criticized Gov. Hassan for vetoing the legislature's state budget proposal, which included increased funding for substance abuse treatment.

Gov. Hassan maintains that she vetoed the budget because the business tax cuts it included would create a budget deficit.

Gov. Hassan is in turn urging Republican legislators to renew expanded Medicaid eligibility, which includes substance abuse treatment. Expanded Medicaid is set to expire December 31, 2016 in New Hampshire.

"One of the most important things we can do - the most important thing we can do - is reauthorize Medicaid expansion, because that brings hundreds of millions of dollars into the state of New Hampshire, and included in that is coverage for substance abuse," said Gov. Hassan.

Given that Medicaid is currently the largest single item in New Hampshire's budget, many Republicans maintain that New Hampshire simply cannot afford the increased caseload associated with expanded Medicaid eligibility.

How do you think New Hampshire should fight the heroin epidemic? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read Wozmak's twenty-two recommendations for fighting heroin abuse in the Granite State.

Hearings on Pipeline

Join Our Community

Free State churches in court

NH students get privacy rights

Update to NH securities regulations

Partisan battles over heroin in NH

Political Tracker

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LFDA Virtual Town Hall — 7/31/2015

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Six months after New Hampshire began issuing Hike Safe cards to protect hikers from being held liable for potential fees associated with any needed search and rescue, the program has brought in $56,000 to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
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State Department of Health and Human Services officials are looking to reopen testing for anyone who may have been exposed to contaminated well water at Pease International Tradeport but who missed the deadline to sign up for testing.
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Gov. Hassan has signed a bill that gives schools the option to give the SAT or ACT standardized tests to high school juniors; students were previously required to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind.
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Gregory Smith
This NH Rep believes we wait until after Labor Day with no problem. Remember that the governor sent us the budget 3 weeks late in the winter and forced the Budget committee to work overtime to get it ready in time.
Stan Barker
Maggie needs to start acting like a NH legislator and beat other states to the punch. Legalize pot and create new designations for casinos in "Resort" areas. "Resort Areas" being that new designation.
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