Senate: no $ for commuter rail

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The New Hampshire Senate has decided against funding further study of a southern New Hampshire commuter rail.  The study would have cost $4 million.

Opponents of further study noted that a commuter rail would need state or local subsidies to stay afloat - anywhere from $4 to $15 million each year.  Opponents also question whether a commuter rail would help the local economy.

"The Federal Transit Administration published reports that said if you think economic development will result from a new commuter rail, you need to revisit the issue because it is not the end result," said Boutin.

However, New Hampshire's latest commuter rail study, published in November 2014, found that a rail could bring as many as 5,600 jobs to New Hampshire.

According to commuter rail supporters, other benefits include increased tourism, reduced traffic congestion on Routes 3 and 93 and therefore less cost to maintain those roads, more transportation choices for residents, and decreased pollution.

Do you think the Senate was right to vote against further commuter rail study?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the debate over a commuter rail in New Hampshire.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHPR.

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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 Senate opposes Keno

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The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted 4-1 against authorizing Keno this week.

Keno is a lottery game offered in bars and some other establishments that serve alcohol.  A player selects numbers on a slip, and a computer generates random numbers every four minutes.  The player gets a payout for matching numbers from the computer and the slip.

Sen. David Boutin, the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, cautioned policymakers about the social ills associated with Keno.

"Anyplace that sells liquor can put these machines in, you are going to have gambling in every corner in every town," said Boutin.

The House of Representatives included Keno as part of their state budget proposal, so Keno still has a chance of getting approved when House and Senate budget negotiators meet in June.

Gov. Maggie Hassan also supports Keno.

"Six of the ten most lucrative Keno locations in Massachusetts are located within five miles of the New Hampshire border. Allowing Keno and self-service lottery terminals would help bring that revenue back home to invest in our priorities," Hassan argued in her budget address.

Do you think the state should authorize Keno?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about negotiations over the next state budget.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NH1.

Ban on military equipment for police?

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This week President Obama issued an order prohibiting the use of federal funds to buy "military-type" equipment for law enforcement.

The ban includes everything from bayonets to tracked armored vehicles.

"We've seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like they're an occupying force, as opposed to a force that's part of the community that's protecting them and serving them," said Obama.

Over the past few years, several New Hampshire communities have debated the acquisition of military-style equipment - particularly armored "BearCat" vehicles.

In New Hampshire, lawmakers have passed a bill to study the purchase of military vehicles and equipment by law enforcement.

The bill was originally written to ban the purchase outright.  However, some lawmakers oppose a ban because they believe cities and towns should be allowed to make their own decisions on equipment.

Other opponents argue that military-style equipment is appropriate for some situations, such as natural disasters and dangerous stand-offs.

Do you support a ban on military equipment for law enforcement?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NH1.

Guinta under pressure

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Last week U.S. Representative Frank Guinta (R) signed a settlement with the FEC admitting he accepted an illegally large campaign donation from a bank account controlled by his parents.

Guinta says he signed the Federal Election Commission (FEC) settlement to put the dispute behind him, although he does not believe he did anything wrong.

In 2010 Guinta accepted $355,000 from a checking account in his parents’ names.  At the time, the legal limit for an individual donation was $2,400. 

However, there is no limit on how much a candidate can donate to his or her own campaign.  Guinta says he made regular deposits into his parents’ account over several decades, and the fund was used by many members of his family.  Therefore, he claims he had an “equitable interest” in the bank account.

Guinta is nonetheless facing criticism from fellow Republicans. 

“This is so serious, very troubling, and you could imagine my disappointment in learning all of this,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R). “Public service is an honor, and when you are elected by the people of New Hampshire, you have a duty to maintain the public trust.”

Do you think the $355,000 donation was legal or illegal? CLICK HERE to answer the question on our Facebook page.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from WMUR.

Court nixes voter registration change

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On Friday the New Hampshire Supreme Court struck down 2012 changes to the voter registration form. 

Voters must sign a form that confirms they are domiciled in New Hampshire.  In 2012 the New Hampshire Legislature rewrote that affidavit to include the following sentence:

"In declaring New Hampshire as my domicile, I am subject to the laws of the state of New Hampshire which apply to all residents, including laws requiring a driver to register a motor vehicle and apply for a New Hampshire’s driver’s license within 60 days of becoming a resident."

Four out-of-state college students challenged the rewrite in court, arguing that the wording suggests citizens must register a car and apply for a driver's license in order to vote.  Neither registering a car nor obtaining a driver's license is required.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that the change "is confusing and inaccurate," and "the burden it imposes upon the fundamental right to vote is unreasonable."

The Attorney General argued the form merely reminds voters that they may also be subject to residency laws.

Former House Speaker Bill O'Brien (R), who oversaw the change of the form in 2012, said at the time, "Allowing non-residents into New Hampshire to dictate who will be our presidential choice, who shall be our governor, and who shall represent us in the Legislature takes away our voting rights."

Do you agree with the New Hampshire Supreme Court's ruling? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the debate over voting laws in New Hampshire.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHPR.

Senate: no $ for commuter rail

Join Our Community

NH Senate opposes Keno

Ban on military equipment for police?

Guinta under pressure

Court nixes voter registration change

Political Tracker

Clinton the leader in Granite State Facebook traffic

NH1 — 5/22/2015

Hillary Clinton’s the overwhelming front runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, and it appears she’s also far out in front in the battle among 2016 White House contenders for Facebook visitors in the first-in-the-nation primary state.
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Senate committee rejects $4 million for commuter rail study

LFDA Virtual Town Hall — 5/22/2015

A push to extend commuter rail from Boston into New Hampshire hit a snag Thursday when a state Senate committee rejected plans to spend $4 million to study the expansion.

Read More...


 
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Common Core in NH 

A law that would prevent school districts from being required to adopt the Common Core State Standards was blocked by Gov. Hassan after it passed the Senate and the House. Hassan said state law already allows schools to reject the education standards.
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Family Planning in NH  
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A New Hampshire law that created a 25-foot, protest-free buffer zone around clinics that provide abortion services remains under challenge in the US District Court after the Supreme Court struck down a similar law in Massachusetts.
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More than 660,000 ballots were cast by voters during the state primary and general elections in 2014. Of those, nearly 700 voters who did not provide a photo ID at the polls have still not returned the postcards sent out that would confirm their identities.
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Ben Arthur
We need to OUTLAW ALL such gear. The fear and tension it generates WILL cause more loss of American life than it will save.
Debbi Strickland Ward
If it is deemed necessary then yes.
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