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On Thursday a legislative panel approved regulations for New Hampshire's medicinal marijuana dispensaries.The rules allow four medicinal marijuana dispensaries in four regions of the state: the seacoast, central New Hampshire, western New Hampshire, and the North Country.The price of a patient's therapeutic cannabis identification card will be $50.Although the legislative panel approved the regulations, one question remains: whether or not the dispensaries will pay property tax.The medicinal marijuana law passed in 2013 requires that dispensaries be "not for profit." That could potentially exempt dispensaries from property taxes.Sen. John Reagan (R-Deerfield), a member of the legislative panel, said he will look into filing legislation to make the dispensaries pay property taxes.The medicinal marijuana law also requires the state to issue a license for the first dispensary by the end of January 2015. That means the state has just two months for the license application process.Do you have an opinion on the regulations for medicinal marijuana dispensaries? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.CLICK HERE to learn more about the debate over medicinal marijuana.CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Concord Monitor.
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 Tuesday stakeholders and elected officials from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont gathered to discuss the aging population in the region.The three states have the oldest populations in the U.S.There are many public policy challenges related to an aging population, such as a smaller labor pool and higher demand for state assistance.However, the conference on Tuesday highlighted several opportunities in an aging population. For example, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont could attract businesses that sell new medical technologies. The states might also provide a testing ground for driverless cars."It's not all about the problems that will be created by the aging society, it's partly about how we actively reshape our society," said Charles Colgan, professor of public policy at the University of Southern Maine.Do you think New Hampshire's aging population could be an asset? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.CLICK HERE to learn more about the demographics shift in New Hampshire.CLICK HERE to read coverage from Seacoast Online.
On Tuesday the Republican House majority nominated Rep. Bill O'Brien (R-Mont Vernon) for Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Rep. Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) lost the nomination by just four votes. The Speaker is not officially elected until Organization Day, when the minority Democrats also vote. In theory Chandler could work with the Democrats to edge out O'Brien on Organization Day, but Chandler said he would refuse any nomination.In his comments to Republicans, O'Brien criticized Hassan and did not mention working with Democrats. Chandler's comments emphasized a more cooperative approach.However, several of O'Brien's supporters told the media O'Brien will be more inclusive in his second term as Speaker.As Speaker in 2011 and 2012 O'Brien oversaw the passage of several significant bills, such as the business tax credit scholarship program for private and home school students. However, his uncompromising leadership style inspired a member of his own party to sponsor a bill forbidding bullying in the Statehouse.Do you think O'Brien is the right choice for Speaker? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Union Leader.
At a budget hearing Monday the New Hampshire Department of Corrections requested a $48 million funding increase.The increase covers 65 currently vacant positions and 81 new positions for the new women's prison in Concord.According to a NHPR report from August, state corrections officers are now required to work 3-5 double shifts a week to cover vacancies. Since 2010 this forced overtime has cost the state approximately $3.5 million more than the cost of additional full-time employees.Meanwhile, the inmate population increased 8% in fiscal years 2013 and 2014.However, Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) has asked all state agencies to lower their budget requests, and other agencies have equally compelling needs. For example, a lawsuit settled in 2014 requires the state to increase funding for mental health treatment. The University of New Hampshire has also offered a two-year tuition freeze in exchange for more funding. Some lawmakers may see those funding requests as a higher priority than funding for corrections.Do you think the Department of Corrections should receive a funding increase? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.CLICK HERE to learn more about the challenges faced by New Hampshire's prison system.CLICK HERE to read coverage from Seacoast Online.
While many state agencies will request budget increases this year, one state agency is already facing a significant budget deficit: the Fish & Game Department.Unless revenue increases, the Fish & Game Department projects a $6.8 million negative balance by the end of next year.The Fish & Game Department is funded primarily through fees, particularly hunting and fishing licenses. This year the legislature also approved a voluntary $25 Hike Safe Card for hikers, which insures hikers against the cost of a rescue. However, the Hike Safe Card will not provide nearly enough revenue to cover the Department's deficit.A legislative report released earlier this month proposed several options for new funding, including a boating fee for kayaks and canoes, ending free hunting and fishing permits for residents over age 68, and giving the Department a piece of General Fund revenue.The boating fee for nonmotorized watercraft has already faced criticism from boating enthusiasts. They argue it is unfair to charge canoers and kayakers a fee when they are so rarely in need of rescue. Search and rescue operations are a large part of the Fish & Game budget.The Fish & Game Department counters that outdoor recreation adds over $500 million dollars to the state economy, and new fees are a fair trade-off for maintaining current wilderness services.Do you have any ideas for new Fish & Game revenue? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.CLICK HERE to learn more about funding for search and rescue operations in New Hampshire.CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Concord Monitor.
Union Leader — 11/21/2014
LFDA Virtual Town Hall — 11/21/2014
A legislative committee has signed off on rules to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries. But the vote hinged on new legislation to fix a possible tax issue.
In The NH News