Should cities and towns be able to ban plastic bags without approval from the state?

Feb 12, 2018

Twice in the past, the Portsmouth City Council has voted to ban the use of plastic shopping bags. But the city can’t carry out the ban because the state Legislature won’t allow them to do so.

That’s because New Hampshire is not among the 32 states with what’s called “home rule”—which allows cities and towns to adopt any policy so long as it is not forbidden in state law. Instead, New Hampshire law only allows cities and towns to take local actions, such as a plastic bag ban, if the Legislature passes legislation specifically granting them that power.

Towns want rights over corporations, Northern Pass

Jan 29, 2018

Residents of Plymouth and Ashland will both vote this week on whether to adopt rights-based ordinances.

Such ordinances state that a municipality has the right to veto actions by large corporations, particularly energy projects like the Northern Pass.

Click here to learn more about the debate over the Northern Pass.

Do you support legislation that explicitly prohibits cities and towns from passing their own gun regulations, and imposes penalties on local officials who knowingly violate state law by passing a gun ordinance?

Jan 04, 2018
local gun laws

In 2018, lawmakers will consider HB 1749. This bill would:

  • reinforce the state’s authority over municipalities to prohibit or regulate firearms and other weapons
  • render null and void any local ordinances prohibiting or regulating weapons
  • impose penalties for local government officials and entities who make such ordinances in violation of state law

Current law for town bans on guns

Should the state allow NH towns to borrow money to improve broadband internet access?

Oct 28, 2017

Does rural New Hampshire need more access to broadband internet? U.S. Sen Maggie Hassan says it does.

Earlier this month, Sen. Hassan told the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee she believes the broadband infrastructure in rural New Hampshire needs to be expanded.

Should NH eliminate statewide education funding, leaving cities and towns free to fund schools as they choose?

Oct 26, 2017

According to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, the constitution requires state government to fund an adequate education for every public school student.

As a result, New Hampshire has a statewide property tax to fund education. School districts get a set amount of state money per pupil. Districts may get additional money for English language learners, free and reduced lunch students, and some other factors.

Click here to learn more about New Hampshire's current school funding system.

Should NH reinstate funding for public school building projects?

Oct 15, 2017
school building aid

For the first time in nearly a decade, New Hampshire public schools will soon have access to state funds for new building projects. This money will come from an estimated-$19 million fund—the spoils of a large budget surplus from the 2017 fiscal year, which ended June 30. The grant money will be awarded to schools with critical building needs involving school safety, security, and/or internet connectivity.

Local meals and rooms tax?

Oct 08, 2017
Hampton Beach tourist revenue

New Hampshire’s abundance of seaside beaches, lakes, and mountain resorts helps make tourism the state’s second-largest industry. While this influx of travelers is a boon to local businesses, it can strain municipal resources – like police and ambulances– during peak seasons. Some believe the answer is to allow towns to collect a local rooms and meals tax to help offset the cost of these extra services.

Rising pension costs?

May 07, 2017
pensions NH Retirement System

Increasing pension payments for police, fire and schools are hitting some cities hard in the Granite State.

For example, Laconia is looking at a 15% increase in retirement expenses for police next year. Retirement expenses are increasing 12% for firefighters and 8% for teachers.

Town Line Perambulation Law?

Apr 05, 2017

Nestled in the midst of New Hampshire’s state laws is a little-known provision dating back centuries, requiring that every seven years, selectmen of adjoining towns meet to “perambulate” or physically inspect town boundaries, finding and renewing any markers.

Senate will vote on funds for local roads, bridges

Mar 20, 2017
local road and bridge repair budget

This Thursday, March 23, the state Senate will vote on a bill to send $36.8 million to local road and bridge projects. 

The funds are intended to come from a projected surplus from the fiscal year ending in June.

Gov. Chris Sununu argued for the bill since his inauguration.

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