New Hampshire

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Death Penalty Repeal Fails in New Hampshire

A majority of New Hampshire legislators want to see the end of the death penalty in that state. However, there aren’t enough of them to overcome Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto of their death penalty repeal bill.

 

Last week legislators met in a special session to consider overriding six bills vetoed by Gov. Sununu. The most high-profile measure was one that would abolish capital punishment in the state.

 

Earlier this year, both houses of the General Court passed a bill that would end the use of execution as punishment in New Hampshire. There was bipartisan support for this legislation, which came on the heels of two previous repeal attempts in recent years. Governor Sununu vetoed the bill on June 21.

 

No other state in New England permits the death penalty. New Hampshire still allows it, but has not executed anyone since 1939. There is only one person on the state’s death row – Michael Addison, who murdered a police officer.

 

Those opposing the death penalty point out that it is very expensive to execute prisoners. They also say that since it is not consistently applied, it is not a deterrent to crime. Those who support it argue that it is only right to have the most severe penalty available to punish those convicted of heinous crimes.

 

The override vote was 14-10 in the state senate. Sixteen votes were needed.

 

Do you think that the death penalty should be abolished?

 

Supreme Court, Abortion an Issue in New Hampshire Governor’s Race

 

Governors do not have any say over who sits on the U.S. Supreme Court. But in the New Hampshire gubernatorial race, President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the nation’s high court has become an area of contention.

 

Incumbent Governor Chris Sununu joined 29 of his fellow governors in signing a letter to U.S. Senate leaders in favor of Kavanaugh’s nomination. This has led to attacks on Sununu by his Democratic challengers who question the governor’s pro-choice credentials for supporting Kavanaugh.

 

According one of the Democrats running for governor, Molly Kelly, Kavanaugh could vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that found a constitutional right to an abortion. If Gov. Sununu truly is pro-choice, they argue, then he would not support Kavanaugh’s nomination.

 

Governor Sununu countered that he continues to believe in a woman’s right to an abortion. He said that his signature on the letter to Senate leadership was in favor of a fair process for Kavanaugh. Sununu also said that he did not have a litmus test for the judges he has chosen as governor, only a requirement that they follow the Constitution.

 

Kelly pointed out that if Roe were overturned, then states would have to enact laws to protect abortion. She has vowed to do this. Her opponent in the Democratic primary, Steve Marchand, has laid out a plan that would provide taxpayer funding for abortion in New Hampshire.

 

Do you think that pro-choice governors should signal their support for Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination? Should states enact laws that will keep abortion legal in the event the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade?

 

New Hampshire Says Students Must Be Residents to Vote

 

College students who come to New Hampshire from other states will now find it a little more difficult to vote. Under new legislation, they must become state residents if they want to cast a ballot in New Hampshire. Proponents say this will restore integrity in the state’s voting process, while opponents liken this new requirement to a poll tax.

 

There has long been concern in New Hampshire over the votes of out-of-state college students. In 1972, a federal court invalidated a New Hampshire law that only allowed college students to vote if they intended to stay in the state. That court said that the Constitution protected someone’s right to vote where they lived. In 2015, the state Supreme Court overruled another law that told potential voters that they could register only if they intended to live in the state indefinitely.

 

During that time, the standard for voting in New Hampshire depended on whether you domiciled in the state, which is defined as living in New Hampshire more than any other state. Under the law recently signed by Governor Chris Sununu, now someone must establish residency in New Hampshire in order to register to vote. That residency process involves obtaining a state driver’s license and registering one’s car in New Hampshire (which means paying a state fee).

 

Because of constitutional concerns over the law, legislators asked the state Supreme Court for an advisory opinion on its legality. By a 3-2 vote, the court issued an opinion that the new laws was legal under the state’s constitution.

 

The legislators who backed this law say that it is necessary to prevent out-of-state students who aren’t state residents from influencing New Hampshire’s elections. Opponents say that since establishing residency would trigger state fees, this amounts to a poll tax that is illegal under the U.S. Constitution. They say that this is an attempt to squelch the votes of liberal-leaning college voters.

 

Once this measure goes into effect, there will likely be a court case challenging its legality.

 

Do you think that New Hampshire is right to make students establish residency in order to vote in the state?

 

Activists Seek Ban on Using Live Rabbits to Train Hunting Dogs

In New Hampshire, some hunters capture live rabbits and then use them as part of hunting dog training. Animal rights activists are pressuring the state to ban this practice, saying it violates the state’s law against cruelty to animals.

 

State rules currently allow what is called “hare hounding,” where snowshoe rabbits are trapped and then released to be chased by a pack of beagles. The dogs are then judged based on their performance in these field trials.

 

In May, a state commission voted on rules that would expand the trapping of hares for this purpose. This sparked an outcry from New Hampshire’s animal rights community. They flooded the commission with public comments. One organization said that the commission was violating state law by allowing it, since New Hampshire bans cruelty to animals.

 

Supporters of the practice say it is in keeping with the state’s tradition of hunting and trapping. Opponents say that it is an outdated, cruel practice that serves no useful purpose.

 

The issue is now being taken up by the legislative committee that oversees administrative rules. It is also possible that there could be legislation introduced in the General Court next year that would modify or ban this practice. If legislators do so, it would join other rules that curtailed hunting practices that some consider cruel. The state placed restrictions on bear-baiting in 2015 and considered limiting bobcat hunting in 2016.

 

Do you think that hunters should be allowed to use live rabbits to train hunting dogs?

 

New Hampshire Passes Transgender Discrimination Bill

 

Under a new law signed by Gov. Chris Sununu, transgender individuals in New Hampshire will have expanded civil rights protections. This issue has sparked controversy in other states, notably North Carolina, but the New Hampshire bill passed with bipartisan support.

 

This new law extends existing protections from discrimination to transgender individuals. Prior to the law’s enactment, New Hampshire law made it illegal to discriminate against individuals based on their race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation in employment, housing, or public accommodations. The new laws adds gender identity to the list.

 

Most states do not extend protection from discrimination based on gender identity. When the Charlotte City Council did so in North Carolina, it prompted a state law that prohibited local anti-discrimination ordinances. This prompted a national backlash that led state officials to modify that law.

 

Opponents of the law say that this will allow men to use women’s bathrooms, giving sexual predators easier access to their victims. They often refer to this type of legislation as “bathroom bills.” Supporters of protecting individuals based on their gender identity counter that there is no evidence that these laws make it easier to commit crime. They contend that such laws are necessary to protect transgender individuals from being denied housing and jobs.

 

This legislation passed with both Democratic and Republican support in New Hampshire. Governor Sununu, a Republican, signed it into law in mid-May.

 

Do you think that the government should protect individuals from discrimination based on their gender identity?

 

New Hampshire Governor, Legislators Differ on Parole

 

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu does not issue many vetoes. In fact, until this month, he only used his veto authority one time. But the governor’s opposition to a bill that would loosen the state’s parole rules has resulted in the second veto of his term.

 

Current New Hampshire law requires that parolees who violate their terms must return to prison for 90 days if they were convicted of a sex crime, a violent crime, or if their violation was related to the crime for which they were convicted. Any parolees who violate parole more than once are automatically returned to prison for 90 days.

 

Legislators passed a bill that would give the state parole board discretion to waive this penalty if a parole violator completes a substance abuse program. Law enforcement groups testified against it, contending that parole violators could use drug abuse as an excuse to get out of returning to prison. Supporters of the bill said that it would help provide people with the help they need so they would not re-offend once they were let out of prison.

 

Governor Sununu said that he supports efforts to keep people from returning to prison, but that this bill went too far. He also pointed out that there are drug treatment programs in prison for those who need them.


Legislators were unable to muster enough votes to override the governor’s first veto last year. It is unclear if they will have the support to do so this time. The legislation was approved by a voice vote in each chamber this year, so it is difficult to determine how strong support for it is in the legislature.

 

Do you think that parole violators should be automatically returned to prison for 90 days? Or should the parole board have discretion to reduce the punishment for parole violators who complete drug treatment?

 

 

Death Penalty Showdown in New Hampshire

 

New Hampshire is the lone New England state that still has the death penalty on the books. Legislators and Gov. Chris Sununu are at odds over the question of whether New Hampshire should join its neighbors in abolishing it.

 

In mid-March, the state Senate voted 14-10 to repeal New Hampshire’s death penalty statute. This is a change from votes in past sessions, where senators deadlocked on the issue. The state House of Representatives has supported repeal legislation in the past. The bill to replace the death penalty with life in prison without possibility of parole now heads to that chamber, where it is likely to pass.

 

Governor Sununu, a Republican, has vowed to veto such legislation. The Senate vote did not fall along party lines, however. There were Republican and Democratic votes on both the pro-repeal and anti-repeal sides. While the Senate voted in favor of the repeal bill, the majority was not large enough to override the governor’s veto.

 

In early March, Governor Sununu signaled his support of the death penalty, saying, “I stand with crime victims, members of the law enforcement community and advocates for justice in opposing a repeal of the death penalty.”

 

There have been no executions in New Hampshire since 1939. Only one person currently sits on the state’s death row – Michael Addison, who murdered a police officer in 2008. The death penalty repeal legislation text specifies that it is only applicable to cases in the future. However, the state’s attorney general has advised that if the state repeals the penalty, it could probably not execute Addison, either.

 

Do you support efforts to repeal the death penalty?

New Hampshire House Resolution 7

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in New Hampshire, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

House Resolution 7, Restrict Political Contributions of Those Not Eligible to Vote: Passed 210 to 74 in the state House on February 9, 2017.

 

To call on the US Congress to consider a constitutional amendment prohibiting campaign contributions unless the donor is eligible to vote in that federal election.

 

Comment below to share what you think of New Hampshire House Resolution 7!

 

 

New Hampshire House Bill 176

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in New Hampshire, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

House Bill 176, Kill Bill to Deregulate Big Cigar Bars: Passed 200 to 92 in the state House on February 9, 2017. 

 

To end consideration of a bill to limit the current requirement that a cigar bar generate at least 60 percent of its revenue from cigar-related sales to those small businesses that generate less than $75,000 in annual revenue.  A yes vote kills the bill for the legislative year.

 

Comment below to share what you think of New Hampshire House Bill 176!

 

 

New Hampshire Senate Bill 33

 

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Senate Bill 33, Limit the Period of Applicability for Regulations on Organizational Speech, and Expand the Type of Communications that are Regulated: Passed 14 to 9 in the state Senate on February 23, 2017.

 

To expand state restrictions on speech by "political advocacy organizations"  60 days prior to an election, without regard to whether they are engaging in "express advocacy" (speech urging a yes or no vote for or against a candidate or measure).

 

Comment below to share what you think of New Hampshire Senate Bill 33!

 

 

New Hampshire House Bill 604

 

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House Bill 604, Kill Bill to Subsidize Community College Tuition: Passed 188 to 161 in the state House on February 15, 2017

 

Kill Bill to Subsidize Community College Tuition

 

Comment below to share what you think of New Hampshire House Bill 604!

 

 

New Hampshire Senate Bill 44

 

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Senate Bill 44, Ban common core: Passed 14 to 9 in the state Senate on February 23, 2017

 

To prohibit the state from requiring implementation of common core standards.

 

Comment below to share what you think of New Hampshire Senate Bill 44!

 

New Hampshire House Bill 103

 

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House Bill 103, Mandate notice of objectionable course material: Passed 203 to 51 in the state House on February 2, 2017 and 14 to 9 in the state Senate on March 30, 2017

 

To require school districts to provide advance notice to parents and legal guardians of course material involving discussion of human sexuality or human sexual education.

 

Comment below to share what you think of New Hampshire House Bill 103!

 

New Hampshire Senate Bill 247

 

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Senate Bill 247, Modify lead poisoning laws and fund remediation of lead in homes: Passed 233 to 108 in the state House on May 4, 2017

 

To make various changes to the laws requiring assessment and testing in order to provide for earlier detection in children and to spend $3,000,000 over two years through a state lead remediation fund.

 

Comment below to share what you think of New Hampshire Senate Bill 247!

 

New Hampshire House Bill 589

 

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House Bill 589, Kill a bill to end buffer zones for abortion clinic protests: Passed 191 to 163 in the state House on March 9, 2017

 

To repeal existing state statutes providing certain parameters for access to reproductive health care facilities, given that similar provisions in a Massachusetts "buffer zone" law were found unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. A yes vote kills the bill for the legislative year.

 

Comment below to share what you think of New Hampshire House Bill 589!

 

New Hampshire Senate Bill 12: Allow concealed pistol carry without a license

 

Check out this key bill recently passed by elected officials in New Hampshire, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 12, Allow concealed pistol carry without a license: Passed 13 to 10 in the state Senate on January 19, 2017

 

To repeal the requirement to obtain a license to carry a concealed pistol or revolver and to make certain other modifications to state gun laws.

 

Comment below to share what you think of New Hampshire Senate Bill 12!

 

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