The House not only rejected allowing police to use license plate scanners, it then took the extra step of voting 214-135 to forbid that the issue be revisited in any form this year.
While supporters argued that plates information would be retained in the scanners for just 3 minutes, and might help solve crimes, critics like Manchester Democrat Joel Winters argued they erode privacy and embolden police to improperly conduct surveillance on the innocent.
This week, the legislature returns and hears new bills. Up before the Senate judiciary committee are a proposal to establish domestic violence as a separate crime and one requiring certain persons with mental illness to be barred from owning guns and placed on a federal registry. On Thursday, the House holds its first hearing on a bill to repeal the death penalty.
The debate over the minimum wage will return to the state house this session. A proposal to reestablish a state minimum wage failed last year in the Republican-controlled state Senate. This session, Democrats hope to set a state minimum wage at $8.25 an hour.
We’re sitting down with a panel of leading lawmakers to talk about their top issues for 2014. These will include some repeats from last year such as Medicaid expansion, a gas tax increase, and casino gambling. Other major debates will include guns and mental health, as well as cell phone use while driving.
House and Senate committees are holding public hearings and work sessions on rival plans to expand Medicaid in New Hampshire this week. The House holds its public hearing Tuesday morning while the Senate's hearing on its plan is that afternoon. The committees working on the bills will vote on a recommendation Thursday, but whatever they decide may be superseded by any compromise negotiated behind closed doors by legislative leaders and Gov. Maggie Hassan. The House and Senate plans are essentially the same for the first year, but take different approaches after that.