NH Reps in DC question Northern Pass

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New Hampshire's congressional delegation has written another letter to the Department of Energy asking for transparency in the Northern Pass permitting process.

The Northern Pass is a proposed transmission line project connecting Canadian hydro-power to a substation in Deerfield, New Hampshire.

The federal Department of Energy is completing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which will inform the Department's decision on whether or not to grant the Northern Pass a permit.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D), Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D), and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) have written several letters asking the Department of Energy for more transparency and thoroughness in the Northern Pass evaluation.  The most recent letter, sent in August, asks the Department to consider two alternate locations for a border crossing.

"[We] again emphasize the importance that our constituents are given every opportunity to examine all viable alternatives for the routing of this transmission line," reads the letter.

However, the congressional delegation has no voting power in the permitting process.

Northern Pass officials have praised the Department of Energy for its transparency so far.  In May the Department publicly released a list of more than 20 possible alternative routes it is considering for the Northern Pass.

Do you have an opinion on the Northern Pass?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

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to learn more about the Northern Pass.

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!

Education tax credit survives Sup. Ct.

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On Thursday the New Hampshire Supreme Court issued a ruling in the lawsuit against New Hampshire's business tax credit scholarship program.  Rather than rule on the constitutionality of the program itself, the Court ruled that the plaintiffs were not directly harmed by the program, and therefore could not sue.

The program gives businesses a tax credit if they contribute to a scholarship fund for low-income students who wish to attend private schools and/or be home-schooled.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit January 9, 2013 charging that the program violates the New Hampshire Constitution, which forbids the use of tax money for private religious schools.

The Supreme Court ruled that the plaintiffs' rights were not directly harmed, and therefore the plaintiffs did not have the right to sue.  The Court ruled unconstitutional a 2012 law that gave taxpayers broad rights to sue the state.

Supporters of the tax credit scholarship program praised the ruling.  Rep. William O'Brien (R-Mont Vernon), a champion of the program, said that the ruling protects parents and students from "vested education industry interests trying to corral all students into failed government schools."

Gilles Bissonnette, lead lawyer for the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, cautioned the ruling will have broad consequences beyond the scholarship program.

"In striking down taxpayer standing, the New Hampshire Supreme Court has made it far more difficult for the people of this state to constrain the actions of government bodies when those actions violate sacred constitutional rights," said Bissonnette.

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

CLICK HERE to read coverage from Seacoast Online.

Workers comp costs high, but falling

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A newly released study from the National Academy of Social Insurance found that worker compensation costs are decreasing in New Hampshire, while rising elsewhere.

The study follows a state report released in May that found worker compensation costs in New Hampshire are currently much higher than the regional and national averages.

Medical payouts are at the center of the issue.  The May report found that the charge for medical procedures in New Hampshire is sometimes three times the charge in other New England states.

However, some medical providers argue that New Hampshire provides higher quality health care, which may get workers back on the job sooner.  That quality care might help explain the decrease in overall worker compensation costs.

On the other hand, the overall decrease in worker compensation costs may have more to do with the overall decrease in employment during the recession.

Do you think New Hampshire is on the right track with worker compensation, or should the system be reformed?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHBR.

"satellite" marijuana dispensaries?

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Earlier this month the state Department of Health and Human Services published draft rules for New Hampshire's medical marijuana dispensaries.  The draft included a new concept: satellite dispensaries.

A satellite location would operate in an area outside the range of the four treatment centers authorized by law.

"It’s an idea that we wanted to introduce to start a conversation about the potential need for satellite dispensaries in order to be able to service the entire state," said coordinator Michael Holt.

However, the idea was not included in the medical marijuana bill passed last year.  Satellite dispensaries are likely to face resistance from legislators and law enforcement officers concerned about the ability of the state to control and regulate marijuana.

Holt said the references to satellite dispensaries will likely be removed from the final rules.

What do you think about the idea for satellite dispensaries?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

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

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Concord Monitor.

NH has new law on wills

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Under a new 2014 law, New Hampshire residents can take a will to court - before the person owning the estate is dead.

The law aims to reduce messy, prolonged disputes over inheritance by verifying the legality of a will while the person is still alive.

For example, the law may have prevented the ongoing dispute over the estate of Portsmouth resident Geraldine Webber.  Webber left behind two wills: one divides her estate among many individuals and charities, and the other leaves most of her estate to a Portsmouth Police Detective.  Some inheritors argue Webber suffered from dementia, invalidating her legal decisions.  If those inheritors were able to bring that argument to court while Webber was still alive, a judge would have been able to examine Webber directly.

Citizens from out-of-state can also take advantage of the law under certain circumstances.

However, New Hampshire is one of very few states with such a law, and there may be unforseen legal ramifications.

Would you like to be able to defend your will in court, while you are still alive?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from Seacoast Online.

NH Reps in DC question Northern Pass

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Education tax credit survives Sup. Ct.

Workers comp costs high, but falling

"satellite" marijuana dispensaries?

NH has new law on wills

Political Tracker
 
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Several Farmington families have hired a lawyer to combat six incidents of bullying of their children in the Farmington-Middleton School District, in classrooms ranging from elementary school through high school. A lawsuit has not officially been filed in court.
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Campaign Spending Reform  
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Kimberly McInnis Shelton
Why would anyone want to deny children food? If there is a problem with the qualifications for the program, fix it.
Kimberly Morin
NO! Creating more dependents on government sends the wrong message and we can't afford it. Help those who actually need it not those that don't.
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