Judge rules against 3rd parties

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A federal judge has ruled in favor of a New Hampshire law that creates a time limit for third parties, such as the Libertarian Party, to get on the ballot.

Third party candidates have to collect signatures to get on the ballot with Democrats and Republicans. A relatively new Granite State law requires that third parties collect the required signatures within the year of election.

In the past the Libertarian Party started collecting signatures more than a year in advance.

The Libertarian Party therefore sued Secretary of State William Gardner over the law, arguing that it was a severe burden on ballot access.

"To use a metaphor, this signature-collection process is like a marathon that’s hard enough just to finish, and now the State is essentially demanding that the Libertarian Party run the marathon in less than two hours,” said NH Civil Liberties Union attorney Gilles Bissonnette, who filed the suit on behalf of the Libertarian Party.

On the other hand, the Secretary of State requested the rule to minimize the number of invalid signatures, due to death or relocation, which may arise if signatures are collected earlier.

Federal Judge Paul Barbadoro ruled that “it is for the New Hampshire legislature to decide whether the law serves the interests of this State’s voters. [The law] prescribes a reasonable and nondiscriminatory ballot-access restriction that is justified by the State’s interest in requiring political parties to demonstrate a sufficient level of support within the State.” 

Do you have an opinion on third party ballot access in New Hampshire?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Concord Monitor.

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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!

Committee OKs some emergency funding

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On Wednesday, August 26 the legislative Fiscal Committee met to vote on several emergency funding requests from state departments.

The requests came because the state is operating on a temporary spending plan following Gov. Hassan’s veto of the legislature’s budget bill. Each state department was given half of what it spent in the 2015 fiscal year. However, some state departments expected to spend more than that this summer.

The Fiscal Committee granted the emergency funding request for state parks, because the Parks and Recreation Department spends most of the yearly park budget during the summer and fall.

Other requests, such as funding for previously approved road construction projects, were denied.

Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) and the state Republican Party both took the opportunity to blame each other for any stalled projects.

“I am concerned that decisions to table other important items – such as delaying Department of Transportation funding for critical transportation infrastructure projects that are imperative to economic development and public safety – were motivated by politics and not the best interests of New Hampshire’s people and economy,” said Hassan.

“Governor Hassan has not only vetoed a budget that would have included funding for state parks, but has rejected a reasonable compromise proposal that included such funding. The governor’s consistent decision to put her political ambitions ahead of New Hampshire has endangered the state's tourism industry and risked harming the an already sluggish economy,” said Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn.

Both the Governor and Republicans in the legislature have offered alternative budget plans. Gov. Hassan argues that the Republican budgets fail to pay for business tax cuts. Republicans argue that final revenue numbers from the last fiscal year – to be released this September – will prove that the cuts are covered.

Do you have an opinion on the state budget this year?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the budget debate.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHPR.

Ex-Im Bank uncertainty in NH

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This summer Congress allowed authorization for the Export-Import Bank to expire. That makes some New Hampshire businesses unsure about expanding to foreign markets.

The Export-Import Bank finances and insures foreign purchases of U.S. products.

Opponents of the Export-Import bank argue it is a form of corporate welfare, because the majority of loan money from the Export-Import Bank goes to large corporations such as Boeing.

Supporters of the Export-Import Bank counter that the majority of loan transactions go to small businesses. Given its low default rate on loans, the Export-Import bank also generates a surplus for taxpayers.

According to data from the White House, from 2009 through 2014 the Export-Import Bank supported 27 exporters in New Hampshire, 21 of which were small businesses.

Right now Congress is in recess, but Representatives may reconsider the Export-Import bank in September. All of New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation support reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.

Do you have an opinion on the Export-Import Bank?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

"Hike Safe Card" raises $60,000

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The new “Hike Safe Card” program has raised over $60,000 for the Search and Rescue Fund this year, reports the Union Leader.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is required by law to conduct all search and rescue missions on state woodlands and waterways. Until this year, hikers did not have to contribute to the Search and Rescue Fund, though they constitute over half of the department's rescue missions. Instead, the state used revenue from hunting and fishing licenses, OHRV and snowmobile registrations, and boat registrations. However, expenditures from the fund have routinely exceeded revenues by roughly $100,000. 

The $25 Hike Safe Card insures a hiker against the cost of a rescue, even if the hiker is negligent. Under state law, the Department can otherwise charge negligent hikers for the cost of a rescue.

Supporters of the Hike Safe Card argue that it is only fair for hikers to contribute to the Search and Rescue Fund, because hikers are more likely to need rescue than hunters, fishers, and other outdoor recreation enthusiasts.

However, some argue that the old system of billing all negligent hikers is more fair, or express concern that possession of a Hike Safe Card may cause hikers to take more risks than they would otherwise. 

Do you support the Hike Safe Card?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the debate over Search and Rescue funding in New Hampshire.

Legislators consider body cameras

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This summer a legislative committee is studying a bill to require New Hampshire state police to wear body cameras.

Supporters of body cameras generally argue that cameras reduce conflicts between citizens and the police by creating an indisputable record of police interactions with the public. Body camera recordings can also provide valuable evidence in criminal cases.

However, body cameras also create concerns about privacy, for example when a police officer is interviewing a victim or entering an individual’s home. In New Hampshire, courts are considering whether or not to publicly release graphic body camera footage of an officer-involved shooting in Bath.

A final concern is the cost of buying cameras and managing the recordings. The New Hampshire Department of Safety estimates that body cameras would cost $472,400 in the first year and roughly $255,000 each year thereafter. The state could cover those costs by applying for grants and/or raising fines.

The federal Office of Justice Programs conducted a review of research on police body cameras. They found only five empirical studies, and concluded that there was still not enough evidence to decide if police body cameras are a wise investment.

Do you think police should wear body cameras?  CLICK HERE to read what the LFDA community had to say about the issue, and add your own comments.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Concord Monitor.

Judge rules against 3rd parties

Join Our Community

Committee OKs some emergency funding

Ex-Im Bank uncertainty in NH

"Hike Safe Card" raises $60,000

Legislators consider body cameras

Political Tracker

Air Force may dispute EPA cleanup order on Pease well
Seacoast Online — 8/28/2015
The Air Force announced last week that they would comply with an Environmental Protection Agency order requiring them to clean up a contaminated city well and restore the aquifer at the former Pease Air Force Base.
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New poll finds Hassan leading Sununu, Bradley in potential matchups
LFDA Virtual Town Hall — 8/28/2015

A new poll released Thursday shows that Gov. Maggie Hassan currently leads two potential Republican challengers to her possible reelection bid, but that in each case, it’s a close contest.

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Issue Tracker
Water Sustainability in NH  
2016-2017 State Budget 

The Joint Fiscal Committee granted a request for emergency funding for the state park system, which spends most of its yearly budget during summer and fall. Other requests for funding, including money for approved road construction projects, were denied. 
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Family Planning in NH  
Water Sustainability in NH 

The US Air Force has agreed to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's order to clean up contaminated groundwater at the Pease International Tradeport. The water tested above the EPA threshold for perfluorochemicals in 2014.
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Northern Pass  
Family Planning in NH 

Last weekend, 200 protesters picketed outside of a Planned Parenthood office in Manchester, as well as at locations throughout the country. Jennifer Frizzell of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England said the health centers are for patients, not politics.
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Carol Golding
Absolutely! Enforce a carry in/carry out policy for dog waste and all dogs should be on leash. The dogs I know behave MUCH better in public than most human animals!
Ann Morgan
Dog owners are not responsible enough. A few ruin it for the many. So no dogs on the beach.
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