Yesterday was a great day for liberty in the state capitol. Pro-liberty bills passed left and right in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, and will now be considered in the Senate, after which they could make their way to the Governor’s desk for signature.
The State Senate has already passed one version of the “Croydon Bill” (SB 8) and the House passed its version yesterday (HB 557). This bill gives school districts the power to assign children to private schools in certain circumstances, using taxpayer dollars.
Says the Union Leader:
“The legislation was prompted by the ongoing battle the Sullivan County town of Croydon has had with the state Department of Education and in the courts over its attempt to send five local children to a nearby Montessori school at taxpayer expense. The town has appealed a Superior Court ruling supporting the Board of Education to the state Supreme Court, which recently put the case on hold, pending the outcome of school choice legislation.”
Medical Marijuana and Decriminalization
The House voted overwhelmingly (318-36) to decriminalize up to an ounce of marijuana, shifting it from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil violation. The House has voted eight times since 2008 to decriminalize marijuana, only to have the measure defeated in the Senate, but early mover Matt Simon of the Manchester-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project is cautiously optimistic, saying in the Union Leader:
“Most representatives agree it is time to stop wasting limited public resources on arrests for simple marijuana possession. We hope their colleagues in the Senate will agree that our tax dollars and law enforcement officials’ time would be better spent addressing serious crimes.”
HB 472 will allow qualifying patients and caregivers to cultivate a limited supply of cannabis. The bill had previously been voted down by the Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee in a 14-7 vote. The House voted 213-118 on a voice vote to overturn the committee’s recommendation before voting to pass the bill.
A good day for cryptocurrencies as HB 436 passed 185-170 in the House. This bill exempts persons using virtual currency from registering as money transmitters.
Double-dipping is the practice whereby public employees, usually high-ranking police or fire officials retire and take a similar job on a part-time basis at another town. This practice is lucrative. For example, Hooksett employs retired Manchester Fire Chief James Burkush part-time for $99,000 a year, while he ALSO collects a pension of $140,000. That’s $239,000 per annum. Nice work if you can finagle it!
Under HB 561, a retiree would forfeit his monthly pension check if he worked more than his hourly cap, usually 32 hours a week. It would also require a town to continue paying into the New Hampshire Retirement System if it replaces a full-time employee with a double-dipper. You can read more here.
Carla Gericke (JD, MFA) is an advocate of liberty specializing in localized voluntarism, internet freedom, self-determination, and how responsible human action can lead to peace and prosperity. She is president emeritus of the Free State Project, and lives in New Hampshire with tens of thousands of fellow Ron Paul supporters. In 2014, Carla won a landmark case affirming the 1st Amendment right to film police encounters. She now serves as president of the Foundation for NH Independence, a 501c3 nonprofit that educates Granite Staters on the advantages of peacefully separating from the federal government. Carla is currently running as a Republican candidate for NH State Senate in the Queen City and Goffstown (District 20).