CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

March 20, 2014

My Opinion: March 20, 2014

By NH State Representative L. Mike Kappler
Carriage Towne News

---- — RAYMOND —For the two day session on March 5-6, we had 136 bills. Of these 71 were recommended by their policy committee to be killed, and after hours of debates, only one of the ITL recommendations was overturned, and that bill passed. It was HB-1244, relative to the disclosure of the names of lottery winners. This bill would forbid the Lottery Commission from releasing the names of winners without their permission. The bill failed on ITL D149-150, then passed OTP D 172-130.

Some other bills of interest include:

HB-1360, prohibiting impeded driving and use of certain electronic devices while driving. Bill prohibits impeded driving and use of certain electronic devices while driving. The amendment allows for the use of hands-free electronic devices, and removes the impeded driving violation. Amendment A-0376h passed on voice vote (VV). Attempt to table bill failed D 137-187. Bill passed OTP-A RC 192-133.

HB-1366, relative to exemptions from seasonal weight restrictions on roads. This was a special interest bill to exempt seasonal weight restrictions on roads for “maple sap” and other agricultural products. Bill failed ITL D 202-128.

HB-1597-FN-A, reducing the rate of tax on meals under the meals and rooms tax. This bill would have reduced the meals tax from the current 9% to 8%, but failed ITL RC 184-148.

HB-1435, requiring law enforcement officials to disclose specific information relating to a police checkpoint. Bill requires law enforcement officials to obtain a court order to conduct a checkpoint for the purpose of enforcing criminal law. Requires law enforcement to disclose specific information to the public regarding the checkpoint. A-0196h passed VV. Bill passed OTP-A D 242-49. I voted no.

HB-1226, establishing a committee to study end-of-life decisions. This bill was introduced by proponents of physician assisted suicide and euthanasia. The committee would study “aid in dying” laws in other states Bill passed OTP D 162-126.

HB-1325-FN, relative to death with dignity for certain persons suffering from a terminal condition. This bill would have implemented physician assisted suicide. Bill failed RC 219-66.

On the good side of things.. in addition to the two days at the State House, the Rockingham County Executive Committee spent two evening and the Delegation one putting the final touches on the annual budget and passed “Resolution 10-2014” “That the Rockingham County Convention, in accordance with RSA 24:13, authorize $78,537,624 in appropriations and $157,933 in reserves and encumbrances for the use of the County during 2014. That $44,809,156 be raised in new county taxes; that $29,150,467 be accepted as an estimate of revenues from other sources, and that $4,739,934 is accepted as fund balance for a total of $78,695,557 in resources.

As the Chairman of the Maintenance Sub-committee, I am very happy to report that in 2013, despite the many growing pains of our shift from oil to wood to provide heat and hot water to the nursing home complex of buildings and the jail/sheriff building we had a savings of $514,953. You will see even greater savings this year and after as this Biomass Plant is fully operational. This is just another example of the excellent hard work of Director of Facilities, Jude Gates, continues to do. “Good Work Jude, Well Done”.

Another good bit of news is the ratification of five labor union contracts for our county employees. There are still two more unions in negotiations.

(Editor’s Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at l.mikekappler@comcast.net)