CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

March 28, 2013

My Opinion: March 28, 2013

By NH State Representative L. Mike Kappler
Carriage Towne News

---- — RAYMOND - So, let’s look at speeding and the speed limits in New Hampshire. I believe that the maximum speed of 65 is good for all of the state, except where lower speeds are necessary for public safety.

On HB-164, the House voted RC 292-65 to raise the speed limit from 65 to 70 mph on about 80 miles of Interstate Rte 93, from Canterbury to the Vermont border, except for stretch in Franconia Notch. I was one of the 65 that voted against it. This move will just start a chain reaction, raising speed in other areas later on. An amendment to add a piece of interstate Rte 89, from just northwest of Concord to the Lebanon area failed RC187-165. This stretch is a very winding road and in certain stretches also has high crosswinds. I voted against this amendment also.

On the brighter side, the House killed two other speed increase bills HB-289 (RC 206-148) and HB-291 (RC 252-100). HB-289 would have increased the interstate speed to 70 mph statewide, and turnpike system to 65 mph. It also would have raised the minimum highway speed from 45 to 50 mph. HB-291 wanted to raised the interstate highway speed to 75 mph. I voted to kill both bills.

Marijuana and cannabis is back in the House again. We were able to kill HB-337 (RC 239-112) that would have removed both from the state statute governing controlled drugs. How can we legalize it when it’s against federal law? The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee retained HB-492 that would legalize marijuana and regulate it. With committee retaining bill, it won’t come to the House floor this year. The committee also has HB-621 that would decriminalize possession of less that one ounce of marijuana, recommending it be killed. House floor hasn’t received this bill yet.

Another bill, HB-153, prohibits the designation of industrial hemp as a controlled substance. This bill would allow a new agricultural crop to be grown in New Hampshire. Yea, right... Bill passed Ought to Pass (OTP) on voice vote. I voted no.

At the request of the State Lottery Commission, HB-520 was put in which would establish a joint legislative committee to study the implementation of Keno gaming. The prime sponsor of the bill attempted to get the committee to amend the bill to establish Keno now, without a study, but that idea failed. Study bill HB-520 passed OTP on the consent calendar.

Senate bill SB-1, increasing the research and development tax credit against the business profits tax. This bill passed in senate and came over to the House early. By increasing this tax credit it encourages business growth and investment in new technologies. The credit has been helping businesses now for five years, and this small increase will aide that help even more. SB-1 passed on the House floor OTP-A RC 342-7. Since it was amended by the House, it has to go back to the senate and be passed again, prior to going to the Governor for signature.

With Seabrook Track complex in our neighborhood, and various non-profits relying on revenue from their charitable gaming operation, I am happy to report that both came out of the House in our favor.

HB-654, relative to simulcast greyhound races. This bill would have prohibited the selling of pari-mutuel pools for races simulcast from any jurisdiction that did not make injury records of racing greyhounds available to the public. It would probably have caused the park to close, with a loss of 150 jobs, plus the money loss to the non-profits. Bill was killed ITL RC 243-108.

HB-314 would raise the single wager limit on any game of chance from the current $4.00 to $6.00. It also clears up a problem where some of the gaming complexes were charging a rent and other administration fee against the charity. The charity take was set at 35% period; now the charity take would be at least 30% with no charges allowed.

HB-399, establishing the New Hampshire liberty act. After a motion to suspend House Rules to allow bill to go to 2nd committee, Criminal Justice and Public Safety, passed, the bill passed OTP-A

RC 337-15 (1) would establish the New Hampshire Liberty Act; (2) would prohibit the state from supporting or implementing two sections of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, pertaining to the authority of the United States armed services to detain persons suspected of terrorism.

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