Gov. Maggie Hassan went on a signing spree of sorts this week, making note of four bill she signed into law, including a big one related to the use of cellphones in a motor vehicle.
HB 1360 makes hand-held cellphone use illegal while driving and in signing it into law Hassan said: “Distracted driving was one of the leading causes of traffic fatalities in New Hampshire and across the nation in 2013, and it is an increasing danger that we must address in order to keep our roads safe. By reducing distracted driving, this bipartisan legislation will help save lives.”
The three other bill she signed into law include:
- HB 1400, which establishes a New Hampshire’s presidential primary centennial anniversary commission and adding Millsfield to a certain election law;
- SB 246 redefines speeding in excess of 100 miles per hour as reckless driving and thus subjects offenders to a more stringent penalty;
- SB 317, which makes various changes to the law on trafficking in persons and authorizes a person injured as a result of trafficking to initiate a civil action for damages or injunctive relief.
There are still some high profile bills from the 2014 legislative session she hasn’t acted on, such as a measure that allows a limited driver's license for first-time drunken drivers (HB 496
Also awaiting action are HB 1282
(relative to prepaid contracts for home heating fuel) and HB 1630
(which tightens charity gambling rules).
One of the bills she signed into law - SB 319
, establishing the buffer zone around abortion clinics -- is being challenged in court by the same group that successfully challenged a Massachusetts buffer zone law in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Enforcement of the law, which was supposed to start July 1, has been put on hold pending a determination on the legality of the N.H. law.
Meanwhile, right to work, a measure that allows workers to get union benefits without joining or paying dues, could come up again in the Legislature next session, depending on what happens in the November elections, according to WMUR.
House Democrats have held back right to work legislation the last two years. The Republican majority of House lawmakers passed right-to-work legislation in 2011 but failed to get the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto by then-Gov. John Lynch.
And one more law to speak of from two years ago -- a residency requirement in order to vote, specifically targeted at out-of-state college students - was ruled unconstitutional yesterday by a state judge.
An NHPR story
said Friday's ruling, which makes permanent a preliminary order issued in September 2012, found that the language added to the voter registration form was "confusing" and "not reasonably necessary to advance any interest the State has set forth.”NH support for ousted Market Basket CEO
Consumers in the state have been keeping an eye on developments in the corporate offices of Massachusetts-based Market Basket grocery store chain.
The contentious family company ousted Arthur T. Demoulas as its CEO in June, a move that upset employees at Market Basket stores throughout region. Work slowdowns by employees have impacted supplies on the shelves, rendering them nearly empty, which brought the issue home to consumers, who are also turning out at demonstrations to support Demoulas’ return to the company.
Some consumers are boycotting the store and several N.H. politicians have expressed their support of the ousted Demoulas.
See a Seacoast Online story here
.Missing teen returns to N.H.
When 15-year-old Abigail Hernandez of Conway disappeared after school nine months ago, the state marshaled a lot of resources to find her ... to no avail.
This week she re-appeared home in Conway as mysteriously as she disappeared.
On Thursday officials released a sketch of a man they say they are seeking in connection with her disappearance.
While the investigation remains ongoing, law enforcement authorities are still attempting to ascertain and confirm information as to whether this man or any others who may have been involved with Abigail’s disappearance took her against her will, enticed her away, detained her or concealed her whereabouts for the last nine months, according to a story in Foster’s Daily Democrat
.Slow start to medical marijuana law
A group of politicians, patients and others presented a list of “grievances and requests” to Gov. Maggie Hassan’s office Wednesday morning in response to the very slow roll-out of the year-old law that allows the use of medicinal marijuana in the state.
State officials say they’re trying to move quickly to roll out the rules for ID cards, dispensaries and other provisions that go along with the law.
See a Concord Monitor story here
Over on our Facebook page
we’ve had a lively week of discussions about such topics as how competing Obamacare rulings might affect health coverage in the Granite State and the situation in the Ukraine. Join in. See you next week.