The 2014 Legislative Season Opens with Controversy and Some Good News
A new year with a new voting system brought votes on some of the most controversial House bills of 2013. Vetoes, gambling reform, government education reform, police spying and even marijuana legalization were all potential topics of debate and voting. Some of the bills passed, some failed and others likely won’t be covered until next Wednesday.
Good news for both marijuana legalization supporters and people opposed to allowing police to use automatic license plate readers in NH (something that’s already common practice in every other state). HB 492 wasn’t voted on today, so supporters have another week to call and email New Hampshire State Representatives in support of marijuana legalization. HB 675 wasn’t heard because a major opponent of ALPR was out of the state. The sponsor of the bill wanted to let the opponent argue against the bill.
As to the good bills that did pass the House today, they were mostly baby step bills that are controversial in the liberty community with the possible exception of raising the age of majority from 17 to 18 years old in criminal cases. This cost saving move was ironically supported 324 to 17 in the House. HB 459 legalizing the playing of poker at home passed. There was debate within the liberty community if the bill was needed because people argued poker is a game of skill, not a game of chance. In NH, games of skill are already legal in the home, despite some people getting into legal trouble because of the practice. In the end, politicos decided to go the political route to reform the law but also encouraged people that wanted to go the judicial route to do their thing. HB 498, a bill designed to reduce the regulations on reenactment and veterans organization when it comes to using weapons inside the compact/urban section of a town passed with only 54 people voting against it. Liberty folks were on both sides of the isle. Some supported the bill because it reduced regulations and government costs, others opposed it because they thought it gave special rights to certain people. There were 2 bills designed to encourage more students in charter schools and less students in traditional government schools. 1 of the bills failed but HB 435, which oddly enough was co-sponsored by a Democratic Representative from Keene, passed. HB 435 passed even though the Committee recommended against passing the bill. That’s a good sign because in order to either pass HB 492 into the Senate or stop HB 675 from reaching the Senate, committee recommendations will have to be overturned.
Please contact the NH House in favor of HB 492 and in opposition to HB 675. Possible taking points on the bills:
HB 492 – 60% of people in NH support legalizing marijuana, It would say local governments millions of dollars a year, The money could fix every bridge in NH and widen I-93
HB 675 – the Boston police just discontinued the use of automatic license plate readers because they don’t work, A bill banning ALPR was passed and supported by almost everyone in the NH Legislature in 2007