Court case on body camera footage

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The Merrimack Superior Court is considering a landmark New Hampshire case on the release of police officers' body camera footage.

On July 6, 2015 Haverhill police officers shot and killed Hagen Esty-Lennon after he reportedly lunged at the officers with a knife. The state Attorney General ruled that the shooting was justified.

Several newspapers, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Hampshire, and the Haverhill Police Department have all requested a public release of the police officers' body camera footage.

Esty-Lennon's family is asking the court to stop the release, primarily because of the negative impact the footage would have on Esty-Lennon's two children.

"The Esty-Lennon family's right to privacy, and the emotional and psychological harm which release of the video of Hagen Esty-Lennon's gruesome death will have on his minor children and others in the family and community, outweigh the public's right to know," wrote an attorney for the Esty-Lennon family.

Others argue that the public has a compelling interest in reviewing police officers' use of lethal force.

ACLU-NH wrote on their website, "We give few government officials as much authority as the power we give to police to take human life based on split-second judgments. Thus, the public has a correspondingly compelling interest in understanding how the police exercise that authority, particularly when lethal force is used on individuals suffering from mental health crises."

As one of the first of its kind, this court case is being watched closely by cities and states across the U.S. considering police body camera regulations.

Do you think the state should release the body camera footage?  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!

Charitable gambling boom

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In June Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) signed a bill that lifted the $4 bet limit at charitable gaming venues in New Hampshire.

The Union Leader reports that since then charitable gaming revenue has increased 40%.

Supporters generally argue that a raised bet limit motivates New Hampshire poker players to stay in the Granite State rather than play at casinos in Maine and Massachusetts. The increased charitable gaming revenue benefits the economy, the state budget, and the charities that get a cut of venue profits.

On the other hand, gambling opponents are concerned that the raised bet limit encourages problem gambling.

Others have pointed out that loose regulations allow New Hampshire charitable gaming venues to keep a larger share of profits than lawmakers may intend.

A special committee is studying the laws and regulations governing charitable gaming operators. That group may recommend a bill for the 2016 legislative session.

Do you think the state should change charitable gaming regulations?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

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

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Union Leader.

Online voter registration in NH?

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As of August 2015, over half of all states allow online voter registration. 

In those states, voters can register through a website by providing unique identifying information, such as a driver’s license number or social security number. Software automatically verifies the registration by comparing the individual’s information with data from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Supporters of online voter registration argue that it saves taxpayers the cost of manually processing paper registrations. Start-up costs can also be relatively low, under $100,000.

Opponents of online voter registration are concerned about cybersecurity. In 2012, researchers from the University of Michigan found a way to hack the Maryland voter registration website that could disrupt registered voters’ ability to vote on Election Day.

Securing online voter registration against hacking adds additional costs.

On the other hand, there are several known examples of groups abusing the paper voter registration process, while there are no documented hacks of online voter registration websites.

Do you think New Hampshire should explore online voter registration?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

Rape case highlights internet laws

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The rape trial of St. Paul’s student Owen Labrie has drawn attention to New Hampshire’s law against using the internet to solicit sex with a minor.

Labrie was eighteen when he used Facebook and e-mail to invite a fifteen year-old student for a “senior salute.” St. Paul’s students have described the “senior salute” as a tradition among seniors to have a sexual encounter with a younger student.

Although Labrie was acquitted of felony rape, he was convicted of a Class B Felony under RSA 649:B-4, which prohibits the use of the internet to “seduce, solicit, lure, or entice a child.” Labrie was also convicted of several lesser charges.

After that verdict, Labrie’s attorney said RSA 649:B-4 was “never intended for kids getting together consensually at the high school that they both attend.”

When RSA 649:B-4 was passed in 1998 – and revised again in 2008 – it is true that debate did not touch on a situation similar to Labrie’s. Discussion focused on anonymous “internet predators.”

On the other hand, Labrie’s actions clearly match the definitions laid out in RSA 649:B-4, regardless of the law’s intent. Copies of e-mails and Facebook messages show Labrie’s invitations to the fifteen year-old girl as well as his intent – shared with friends – to have sexual contact with the fifteen year-old.

Do you think RSA 649:B-4 rightly includes sexual encounters between high school students? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Concord Monitor.

NH works to increase Narcan availability

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This year Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) signed a law that lets family and friends of addicts get a prescription for the heroin overdose-reversing drug naloxone (brand name Narcan).

However, many pharmacies are not yet stocking Narcan or the atomizers that deliver the drug.

The Concord Monitor reports that the state is ordering 4,700 Narcan kits to distribute to treatment providers, homeless shelters, law enforcement, and more.

The state hopes that making Narcan widely available will reduce the number of deaths by overdose.

Stakeholders say the plan to distribute Narcan is only a stop-gap measure. The state must also increase funding for addiction treatment and recovery.

The state legislature and Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) both want to increase funding for substance abuse treatment, but that funding is caught up in the debate over the entire state budget.

Do you have an opinion on drug abuse treatment in New Hampshire?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

Court case on body camera footage

Join Our Community

Charitable gambling boom

Online voter registration in NH?

Rape case highlights internet laws

NH works to increase Narcan availability

Political Tracker

Key state GOP officials pleased Trump signed ‘Loyalty Pledge’
WMUR — 9/04/2015
Two top New Hampshire Republican Party officials were pleased Thursday that candidate Donald Trump signed a Republican National Committee “Loyalty Pledge,” but one official said it is unlikely the move will have any bearing on Trump’s penchant for blunt campaign rhetoric.
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Hassan, Shaheen push for Meals on Wheels money
Eagle-Tribune — 9/04/2015

Gov. Maggie Hassan and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen were among 14 elected officials who, along with Meals on Wheels workers and local seniors, participated in a round-table discussion on the need to fully fund the federal program.

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Residents give feedback to Northern Pass proposal
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Issue Tracker
Common Core in NH  
Prescription Drug Abuse
Gov. Maggie Hassan joined the governors of the other five New England states in urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require more stringent warnings on opioid medication labels.
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Water Sustainability in NH
Common Core in NH
The New Hampshire Department of Education will be using standardized achievement tests for in-state assessment rather than the Smarter Balanced exams. This academic year, 11th grade students will take the SATs, which will be offered for free.
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Family Planning 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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Lucy Pivonka
No, not until the government becomes smarter than the hackers. And that'll never happen...
Ethan M Kahlke
#yes it's time we stop living in the past and computerize to make it easier and cheaper for citizens to vote.
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