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Lyme Incidence Still High in NH
Lyme disease incidence rates remained high throughout New England, according to an Associated Press article on December 20. Maine health officials reported they looked likely to exceed their 2013 record of 1,384 cases. In New Hampshire, officials said that total Lyme totals would be comparable to those in other recent years, which included a record high of 1,687 cases in 2013. Disease experts claimed the high rate of incidence was due to a combination of better reporting methods and environmental factors, such as shorter winters, that favored deer tick reproduction. Rep. Pamela Brown (D-Hillsoborough) has requested two bills related to Lyme disease for the 2015 session, one regarding promotion of Lyme disease awareness and another establishing a task force on Lyme disease. If the requests are not withdrawn, this could put Lyme disease back on New Hampshire's legislative agenda in 2015. Lyme disease continues to be a subject of controversy, with conflict over the criteria for diagnosis and treatment options.
Some physicians, including Dr. Allen Steere, who named the disease after a group of children he worked with in Lyme, Connecticut, advocate a strict set of criteria for diagnosis and hold that a month or less of antibiotic treatments will almost always cure the infection. Others, including Lyme patient advocacy groups, believe that the disease is far more prevalent and that the infection sometimes remains after standard treatment regimes have been implemented, requiring much longer-term antibiotic use to eradicate. What are you thoughts on Lyme disease treatment and prevention? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Lyme disease treatment in New Hampshire.
CLICK HERE to read coverage from Seacoast Online.
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!
On Thursday a House of Representatives committee voted to allow concealed firearms in the New Hampshire House chamber. The full House will vote on the rule change January 7."When you have a gun free zone it’s a false sense of security. It really is, you know some people might feel good and say we are safe in there. We are really not," said Rep. John Burt (R-Goffstown), who sponsored the rule change to allow firearms.Concealed firearms were allowed in the House in 2011 and 2012. When Democrats won the House majority in 2012, they voted to reinstate a ban on firearms. Supporters of a ban point to the incident in 2012 when a Representative accidentally dropped a concealed firearm in a committee hearing. They argue that firearms are unnecessary and potentially unsafe, especially because school children often come to visit the House. Do you think the House should allow concealed firearms in the House chamber? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.CLICK HERE to learn more about the debate over gun laws in New Hampshire.CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHPR.
Did you know New Hampshire legislators have requested roughly 900 bills for 2015? As a service to our members, the non-partisan, non-profit Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) has divided those requests into forty browsable categories.CLICK HERE to browse bill requests by category.Bills are still being drafted, and legislators have the opportunity to withdraw requests before the start of the 2015 legislative session. The LFDA will update our reports on a weekly basis.Here are some notable bill requests for 2015: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) and Rep. Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry) have requested 2015 Right-to-Work bills.Rep. Pete Silva (R-Nashua) has requested a 2015 bill to require photos on EBT cards.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. Would you support any of these bills in 2015? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.
NH Moves to Ease Distance Learning
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.
Supporters Seek O'Brien as Majority Leader
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.
NHPR — 12/22/2014
LFDA Virtual Town Hall — 12/22/2014
A new gun safety bill has been drafted and will go before the Legislature in 2015, galvanizing an initiative that most recently died on the House floor last winter.
In The NH News