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House to Vote on Raising Gas Tax

Legislative week: abortion, beer, and road tolls. Plus, Franklin Pierce, NH's only president, gets no respect.

It's school vacation week in New Hampshire, but your dogged citizen legislature is continuing to work. Well, kind of. The House of Representatives is in session Wednesday, Feb. 27. The Senate's next session is March 7. The legislative week ahead includes these hot topics:

Unanimous Support for a Gas Tax Hike? On the House Public Works and Highways Committee, anyway. This is House Bill 617 and it's before the full House on Wednesday. In past sessions, this was a third rail of sorts. And this year? The last increase in the road toll (aka gas tax)? Twenty-two years ago. Rep. David Campbell, for the committee, says the bill begins to resolve an infrastructure crisis. "Only money, not words and not ideology, will fix roads and bridges," according to  Campbell, D-Nashua. Here are four parts of the proposal:

  • raise gas tax by 4 cents per gallon in each of the following three years, and 3 cents per gallon in the fourth, for a total of 15 cents.
  • generate slightly less than $1 billion over 10 years.
  • raise nearly $800 million for the state DOT to finish I-93 and chip away at the number of red-list bridges.
  • raise $200 million more in municipal aid. 
  • (as amended, this bill does not increase the cost of vehicle registration.)

Though the committee had bipartisan support for the bill, it wasn't without its share of Republican critics. Chuck Morse, the Senate Finance Chairman and Salem Republican intent on I-93 widening, panned the bill.. And Corey Lewandowski, state director for Americans for Prosperity, said the bill would be a heavy tax yoke on Granite Staters. 

The Abortion Bill. House Judiciary is calling on the full chamber to defeat House Bill 483, a requirement for pregnant women seeking abortion to be informed at least 24 hours prior to the procedure. The committee majority said it would "impose ideologically driven obstacles to women seeking this medical service and is both impractical and burdensome and could lead to increased health risks for some patients." The minority report calls it a "pro-educational/pro-choice bill. ... there is no reason why an abortion cannot have a 24-hour waiting period."

No luke-warm beer? "Selling warm beer at the roadside liquor stores is just not going to work," according to the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee, which wants the House on Wednesday to reject a proposed pilot program for the sale of New Hampshire microbrewery and nano brewery beers at state liquor stores.

Franklin Pierce panned? A committee voted unanimously to recommend the House rejected a bill to establish Franklin Pierce Day on Nov. 23 of each year. Opponents cited Pierce's support of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which extended slavery to the western territories, according to House reports.

Lobsters and scuba. A two-year pilot program for scuba divers to take legally-sized lobsters in the month of September would be established under House Bill 259. This is up for a vote Wednesday.

Need for speed? The House takes action on three bills Wednesday that deal with driving speeds on state and interstate highways. They are:

  • House Bill 146 – raise speed limit to 70 mph on I-93, from Exit 18 in Penacook to the Vermont border. A committee recommended the bill.
  • House Bill 289 – raise speed limit to 70 mph on the interstate and 65 mph on the central turnpike system. A committee asks the House to reject this, citing safety.
  • House Bill 291 – raise speed limit to 75 mph on the interstate system, among other changes for lanes. The recommendation on this, too, was "inexpedient to legislate."

Budget Review Continues. House Finance has budget presentations throughout the day on Feb. 25, including review of Employment Security, Liquor Commission, Lottery, and Fish & Game department budgets. Rooms 210-211, 212, and 209, in the Legislative Office Building. Finance members are back at it Feb. 26, Feb. 28 and March 1, too.

012017TPP March 01, 2013 at 10:10 AM
When people hear a woman is pregnant they automatically think she is having a baby. Does anyone think she is having a chicken? No! Do people think she is having a blastocyst, zygote, embryo, or even fetus? No! What else could this pregnancy mean except a baby will be born.
Jan Schmidt March 01, 2013 at 12:05 PM
A pregnancy could mean the woman would die, or the family would face eviction, or hunger, or more abuse, or unrepairable damage from drugs the woman was taking, it could mean another person on welfare When an egg is fertilized it does not mean a human has entered the world.
Hardy Har Har Har March 01, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Stupid taxpayers? Too dumb to notice gas tax trick? http://www.unionleader.com/article/20130227/OPINION01/130229287/1004/opinion Funny headline but so true. Are taxpayers too dumb to notice? Hardy Har Har Har
Seamus Carty March 01, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Entered the world? OK, when does that happen? The fertilized egg has different DNA from the mother, the father, or any other human being. Legally we use DNA to differentiate between people. As for the woman dying, how often would that be the case given modern medicine? As for the eviction, hunger, abuse, damage, welfare, those are concerns but do warrant ending a human life. Adoption would be better. If I believed that life began when someone "enters the world", then I'd agree with you. Science indicates otherwise and I'd rather err on the side of life (as I do with capital punishment).
MSNH March 01, 2013 at 07:08 PM
What happened since MAholes widened Rt. 3? More MAholes have move to NH. Lets reduce the size of 93 and keep the MAholes where they belong. If they want to move out, let them go to where they'll feel comfortable. Someplace like CA or France.

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