NH Week in Review for Feb. 26: Sununu signs concealed carry permit repeal

Feb 26, 2017

As he said he would, Gov. Christopher Sununu signed legislation that repeals the requirement for a permit to carry a concealed weapon, saying, “This is about safety.”

Sununu signed SB 12 on Wednesday in a well-attended ceremony that notched a victory for Republicans who have tried but failed in the past to rid the state of the requirement that a local police chief decide whether an individual could carry a loaded weapon hidden from view. See a Concord Monitor story here.

“SB12 ensures New Hampshire citizens are guaranteed the fundamental right to carry a firearm in defense of themselves and their families, as prescribed by Article 2a of our state constitution,” Sununu said in a statement. “This common sense legislation aligns our concealed carry laws with that of our neighboring states of Vermont and Maine and states across the country. This is about safety. This is about making sure that the laws on our books are keeping people safe while remaining true to the Live Free or Die spirit that makes New Hampshire the great state that it is. This is a commitment I made to the people of New Hampshire and I am proud today to fulfill that commitment, signing SB12 into law.”

The N.H. Association of Chiefs of Police called SB 12 “dangerous” because it removes the ability of police to deny a permit to someone they deem as a possible threat. Tuftonboro Police Chief Andrew Shagoury, first vice president of the association, said the situation in Maine is different.

“What we're talking about in SB12 is not what Maine has,” Shagoury said in an NHPR interview. “In Maine, it's against the law to carry a concealed weapon in a bar, and it's against the law to be intoxicated, it's actually a crime to do those things, and you lose your license if you do those things.”

With a Republican governor and Republican-majority Legislature, concealed carry is among several items on the GOP platform. Right-to-work was included in that agenda, but that failed in the House last week. Other items came up this week, including school choice.

This week in Concord

The Senate on Thursday passed SB 193, a school choice bill that allows the use of taxpayer money for tuition or other costs at a school of the family’s choice, such as a religious school, or to pay for home-schooling.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley said the bill is designed to help children who need a different educational environment to reach their full potential. Sen. David Watters, D-Dover, said it’s a constitutional issue that will also draw $80 million out of the state’s education fund. See a Union Leader story here.

The Senate also passed SB 8, the so-called “Croydon bill” that allows a public school district to contract with a private school to educate a child if the district does not have a public school at the child’s grade level. And it approved SB 44, which prohibits the state from requiring any school district to use the Common Core educational standards.

“I applaud the Senate’s actions today, passing legislation that further promotes and protects local control in public education through providing parents greater choice and flexibility and empowering local school boards to make the best decisions for their communities,” said Sununu. “I encourage members of the House to embrace this legislation and I look forward to the opportunity to sign these important bills into law.”

There was some division within the GOP ranks in the Senate over a bill -- SB 33 -- that would require public advocacy groups to file with the state their expenditures made within 60 days of an election, if those groups spend more than $5,000 in a given year.

A Senate committee has recommended against the bill, with Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford, saying the bill was contrary to the Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees. But Bradley argued that voters have a right to know who is behind third-party political spending.

The measure passed the Senate 14-9 and moves onto the House. See an NH1 News story here.

The Senate also passed SB 144, which expands the conditions that qualify for a medicinal marijuana prescription; SB 10, which establishes a relief fund for beleaguered dairy farms; SB 224, which prohibits conversion therapy for children; and SB 196, which puts 5 percent of state liquor sales into a fund for alcohol and drug addiction recovery.

Also in the state

U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, and Maggie Hassan, D-NH, held a joint town hall meeting Friday in Concord during which they covered a range of topics, many of them related to the policies and politics of President Donald Trump. See a Union Leader story here.

Gov. Sununu appointed Marty Boldin as his new drug policy adviser. Boldin, who is in long term recovery himself, has a background in substance abuse treatment. The adviser’s job will be to counsel Sununu on drug prevention, treatment and recovery policy. See an NHPR story here.

With such low unemployment in the state - 2.5 percent -- many business owners are complaining they can’t find people to fill the jobs they have. "It's a much different arena that we're dealing with than we were five years ago," said George Copadis, commissioner of employment security. See a WMUR story here.

Over on Facebook we’re talking about a variety of issues. Here’s a question for you: Should NH limit law enforcement use of "stingray" cell site simulators, which cause nearby cellphones to report their location? Let us know what you think.


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