NH Moves to Ease Distance Learning

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This week, New Hampshire became the first state in New England to join the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), which makes it easier than ever for students to take online courses at institutions in other states.

Under SARA, schools accredited in their own state will not need to seek additional authorization in order to offer distance courses to students in other participating states. Institutional application to participate in the program is expected to open in New Hampshire in mid-January.

Supporters believe SARA will benefit students and strengthen the online programs offered by higher education institutions. "SARA is bringing quality assurance and consumer protection in step with the fast-moving world of online learning," New England Board of Higher Education president Michael K. Thomas told MyChamplainValley.com.

Opponents argue that the bill makes it harder for state regulators to protect students from for-profit colleges with deceptive recruiting tactics and sub-par educational standards. Others object to the loss of potential revenue generated by applications for state authorization. "It's not necessarily about protecting students," said David C. Dies of the Wisconsin Educational Board told InsideHigherEd.com.

Do you agree with New Hampshire's decision to join SARA? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the MyChamplainValley.com. 

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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!

Supporters Seek O'Brien as Majority Leader

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On Tuesday, December 17, supporters of former House Speaker Bill O'Brien held a closed door meeting at which they decided to push for a change to House rules that would require the Speaker to name the elected leader of the Republican caucus to the majority leader position.

O'Brien supporters are upset about the election of Rep. Shawn Jasper as Speaker, a position he won with the help of votes from House Democrats. They hold that as O'Brien was the party's chosen nominee for Speaker, he is entitled to hold the majority leader position. After the Tuesday meeting, O'Brien announced his intention to act as majority leader whether or not the rules change is approved. He said he would hold his own caucuses and put forward his own policy agenda. "We're going to have a leader of the Republican caucus, and that will be me," O'Brien said.

House Speaker Shawn Jasper appointed Rep. Jack Flanagan to the post of House majority leader on Friday, December 5. Flanagan convened a caucus on Wednesday, December 17 and is moving forward with his duties. "He's a strong Republican and a strong leader," Jasper told the Concord Monitor. "He's somebody I could trust."

Do you have an opinion on the proposed rule change? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.  

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Concord Monitor.  

Sec. of State wants more voting laws

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New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner is supporting stricter requirements for voters on election day.

New Hampshire requires voters to present ID at the polls or sign an affidavit swearing to their identity. 

Gardner believes the affidavit is open to abuse.

The Attorney General's office disagrees that voter fraud is a problem in New Hampshire.  The office is investigating some voter fraud complaints, but says "voter fraud is not an epidemic," according to WMUR.

"There's always a challenge when you have to balance the fundamental rights of voting with the state's interest in making sure those who are voting are who they say they are," said Assistant Attorney General Steve Labonte.

Sen. Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry) is working on two 2015 bills to tighten voter requirements.  One bill would require a voter to live in New Hampshire 30 days before casting a ballot.

Do you think New Hampshire needs stricter voting laws?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from WMUR.

Jasper appoints leaders

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Last week House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson) announced his committee appointments. 

The committee appointments may reassure some of the Representatives who supported the Republican nominee for Speaker, Rep. Bill O'Brien (R-Mont Vernon).

Over one-third of committee chairs were also chairs - or vice chairs - during O'Brien's term as Speaker in 2011-2012.  Several other chair appointees spoke in favor of O'Brien during the election for Speaker.

"The support I received from the Republican caucus this week has been overwhelming," said Jasper.

However, a group of O'Brien supporters are meeting separately to discuss their plans for the House this session. 

Rep. Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry), one of O'Brien's supporters, told the Union Leader, "we're discussing the future and where we go from here. Bill O'Brien is our leader."

Baldasaro also claimed that many of Jasper's committee appointees vote with Democrats.

Do you have an opinion on Jasper's committee appointments? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to see a list of all of the committee leaders.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Union Leader.

Get a peek at 2015 bills

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Legislators had through the first week of December to request 2015 bills, and the Office of Legislative Services is working hard to draft and publish roughly 1,000 requests.

The LFDA is posting notable bill requests on our issue pages, from repealing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to decriminalizing marijuana.  Here are some of the highlights:

Rep. Ted Wright (R-Moultonborough) and Sen. John Reagan (R-Deerfield) have requested a 2015 bill to allow home-growing of medicinal marijuana.

Sen. John Reagan (R-Deerfield), Rep. Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry), and Rep. Bill O'Brien (R-Mont Vernon) have all requested a 2015 Right-to-Work bill.

Rep. Pete Silva (R-Nashua) has requested a 2015 bill to require photos on EBT cards.

Rep. Timothy Horrigan (D-Durham), Rep. Andrew White (D-Lebanon), Rep. Timothy Robertson (D-Keene), and Rep. Jackie Cilley (D-Barrington) have requested 2015 bills to raise the minimum wage.  Rep. Robertson has also requested a 2015 bill to allow municipalities to set their own minimum wages.

Would you support any of these bills in 2015?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to see all of the bill requests so far.

NH Moves to Ease Distance Learning

Join Our Community

Supporters Seek O'Brien as Majority Leader

Sec. of State wants more voting laws

Jasper appoints leaders

Get a peek at 2015 bills

Political Tracker
 
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House majority leader says he's moving forward, setting goals

LFDA Virtual Town Hall — 12/18/2014

Brookline lawmaker Jack Flanagan says he expects resistance from some backers of former House Speaker Bill O'Brien, but expects the controversy over who is the rightful leader of Republicans in the House to fade.

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Secretary of state warns of potential for voter fraud
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Join the Discussion on Facebook
John Clifford
Like them or not - they are here to stay and will (are) be commercialized...going to be a very large and lucrative industry.
Wayne Randall
They should be banned for law enforcement. It's just one more thing they'll abuse.
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