State Representatives and Senators heard testimony today on a bill that proposes moving the Division of Weights and Measures from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Safety.
The division certifies scales and meters for measuring food and commodities like gasoline and fuel oil when sold to consumers.
The Senator Sharon Carson of Nashua, the bill’s sponsor, says she’s heard complaints from constituents who claim the division has been heavy-handed in its enforcement.
But Lorraine Merrill, the Commissioner of Agriculture, says she’s heard very few such complaints in her four year tenure as commissioner.
"It was one response to one consumer complaint that didn’t result in any kind of a fine or violation, but somehow that was interpreted and being heavy handed," Merrill says, "I have a hard time explaining that."
The hearing was packed with farmers who say that this bill would shrink the department of agriculture by 10 percent, and could make it a target for future consolidation.
The Department of Safety says it has its hands full already, but will enforce the bill should it become law.