N.H. House Covers Drones, Drugs and Presidential Candidates

Jan 7, 2016

The New Hampshire House wrapped up its second day of the new legislative session Thursday after voting on dozens of bills and even hosting a few GOP presidential candidates.

Former Governor of Virginia Jim Gilmore was the first candidate to join the House as part of a month-long series leading up to the presidential primary on February 9.

During his speech, Gilmore touched on foreign affairs, gun rights and even addressed his lack of name recognition.  “You know you haven’t heard much about Jim Gilmore in this race, have you?,” Gilmore asked the 400 House members.

This lack of attention Gilmore blamed on the national press. “Ladies and Gentleman the establishment media in this country is trying to narrow your choices," he said Thursday morning. 

Jim Gilmore, former governor of Virginia, kicked off the House's month long series with presidential candidates before the February primary.
Credit Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Later in the afternoon businesswoman Carly Fiorina addressed the House where she talked about the need for an outsider in the White House, but she was quick to say that outsider shouldn't be Donald Trump.

"I don't think our nation will be taken back or our problems will be solved or our wounds will be healed by electing an entertainer who insults everyone and apparently doesn't know the difference between our allies and our adversaries," Fioina told representatives. 

Besides hearing from some White House hopefuls, the House also voted on a bill seeking to regulate the public and private use of drones. 

Although Rep. Neal Kurk of Weare doesn't oppose drone use, he believes oversight is necessary. “What the bill basically does is to encourage the development and use of drones in New Hampshire in a way that does not violate people’s rights and privacy,” Kurk told his colleagues.

Kurk also mentioned safety concerns, pointing to recent incidents where unmanned drones flew over the State Prison. The bill now moves to the House Criminal Justice Committee where it will be fine-tuned before coming back to the full House. 

GOP Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina talked to local and national reporters after she addressed the N.H. House Thursday afternoon.
Credit Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The House also passed a bill that looks to put money seized by police as contraband into the state's General Fund.

Currently, seized money goes into a fund dedicated to drug enforcement efforts, which Representative Dan McGuire of Epson said causes a conflict of interest.

“In general we want police to enforce all of our laws equally, we don’t want them to have an incentive to enforce other laws ahead of others,” McGuire said. The amount seized can reach from $50,000 to $60,000 per year. 

The measure will now head to the Senate. The House will meet again on January 20.