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April 2020 Board Election Results

The April 2020 Board election is over and the results are in! The newest members of the board are incoming IT Director, Harrison De Bree and Political Director, Hershel Nunez. They each handily won their seats with 93% and 97% of the votes, respectively. Both are active members of NHLA and have great enthusiasm for liberty. We are excited for what their involvement will bring to the organization!

Congratulations also go out to Angela Harris, who is returning for her second term as Membership Director after receiving 98% of the vote. We look forward to the upcoming term and thank the candidates for volunteering.

The election was conducted with approval voting. Of 110 respondents:

1. IT Director:
a) Harrison De Bree — 96 votes
b) None of these option — 6 votes
c) Write-in — 1 vote
· Seamus Casey

2. Political Director:
a) Hershel Nunez — 104 votes
b) None of these options — 3 votes
c) Write-in — 0 votes

3. Membership Director:
a) Angela Harris – 107 votes
b) None of these options – 2 votes
c) Write-in – 0 votes

We extend our deepest thanks and appreciation to outgoing IT Director, Louis Calitz, whose dedication to the NHLA infrastructure over the past four years is equaled only by his dedication to liberty. We are hopeful that he remains an active part of the organization. Many thanks, as well, to outgoing Political Director, Michael Costable. While his tenure was short, his enthusiasm was great. We are very grateful for his time and hope he considers running again in the future.

Authoritarianism & Homework

Does voting really count? Why bother to vote? These are questions that came to mind recently when I read the text of House Bill 1309. It would amend current law by adding in the following: “Unless restricted by any provision of law, the vote on a petitioned warrant article shall be binding upon the town” and “Unless restricted by any other provision of law, the vote on a petitioned warrant article shall be binding upon the school district.” So, what’s the issue here? If voters approve a warrant, then it becomes law, right?

Not necessarily. It turns out some towns and school boards are totally ignoring the will of the voters. There are several examples of this outrage, but for brevity, I will concentrate on only two instances here. The Newfound Area School Board dismissed as a “giant hindrance” petitioned warrant Article 5, which passed by a margin of 921 to 625 on March 12, 2019, that would have required large capital improvements to be approved by voters in separate warrant articles. On April 9, 2019, Merrimack voters passed, by a margin of 1,771 to 1,478, Article 8, which “seeks to require the following amendment to the “IKB Homework” Merrimack School Board Policy: “At the discretion of the individual teacher, homework assignments will be (1) collected, reviewed, and graded; and (2) the accumulative average of the semester’s homework grade will be counted towards the student’s total cumulative semester grade.” The school board had instituted a policy in 2017 that homework no longer counted toward students’ grades, and angry parents had presented the warrant article for the voters to decide. The school board ruled that the warrant was only “advisory in nature” and ignored it. A local parent filed a civil suit against the school board, but the New Hampshire Board of Education and New Hampshire Supreme Court both ruled in favor of the local school board. As is often the case, judges defer to bureaucrats over regular citizens.

I see a couple of issues here. The most obvious is who works for whom, and who bestowed the bureaucrats with divine knowledge? If you’re going to have representative government—and preferably a republican form that protects individual rights over mob rule—then obviously elected representatives need to listen to what voters have to say. Otherwise that makes a mockery of the whole process, and no wonder so few citizens bother to take the responsibility of voting seriously. Of course, with any issue, honorable people will disagree on the best way to do things, but majority approval for non-fiscal issues and super-majority approval of taxes are the generally accepted and tried-and-true ways to run a government in a civil society. Naturally, it would be best to have as few as possible of these critical areas in the realm of government and leave them up to individuals to decide their priorities—and fund them themselves rather than expecting their neighbors to fund them—but if you’re going to have government, elected representatives have to consider the folks they represent. If they don’t, you can always “throw the bums out” at the next election, but while they’re still in office, they can cause quite a bit of mayhem.

The school board’s attitude on homework is reflective of the dismal state of government schools these days. The board insists that homework is still required, but it just doesn’t count towards students’ grades. So why would students even bother doing it? No homework—what’s next? No grades? The standards just get lower and lower all the time. Why not let the teachers decide? In my time, homework was assigned to reinforce what was taught in school that day. It was also part of a curriculum that stressed time management, discipline, and personal responsibility. It is true that for the very bright, sometimes homework was more busy work than anything of real value, but in a one-size- fits-all compulsory education scenario, that’s inevitable. That’s all the more reason to expand school choice to accommodate individual needs, interests, and abilities.

But what about the less scholarly-inclined students who don’t fare so well in testing? Homework has always been their avenue to making it through school by boosting their grades. It’s generally accepted these days that testing isn’t always the best gauge of what a student actually learned, so why deny those kids the chance to succeed? Even more important, there’s an important life lesson to be learned by doing homework and having it count towards your grade: hard work is to be rewarded. And isn’t that how it is out in the real world? It’s not always the smartest that succeed the most, but those who apply themselves the most. There have been plenty of complaints already of students’ grades dropping due to the new school board policy, which has left some students at a disadvantage when competing for colleges and scholarships. Isn’t it strange that those who deride testing these days are the very same folks who would force the scholastically-challenged to rely more on testing for their grades? Strange or not, hypocritical or not, school board bureaucrats know better.

It is interesting that the school board was unanimous in deciding to keep the new policy, but the voters were about 55% to 45% in favor of going back to the old system. Clearly the bureaucrats felt one way and a significant portion of “the people” felt differently. Perhaps the bureaucrats truly believed they were doing what was “best” for the students and stuck to their guns. Or was it power lust? The truth of the matter is that there is no “best” way for all students, and any attempt to impose it will always give some students the short end of the stick.

By the way, the new homework policy instituted three years ago dictates that teachers may assign homework, and it must be “evaluated” by teachers, but “evaluated” does not mean graded. In my time, part of a teacher’s job was to actually read and grade homework. That was part of their homework. Should a labor contract dispute come up in the future, how convenient for government teachers to have their time freed up to walk the picket line for higher wages and benefits.

Unfortunately, HB1309 was “laid on the table” recently, which doesn’t bode well for its passage. Apparently, school board bureaucrats and selectmen aren’t the only ones infected with authoritarianism virus.

References:

Make lemonade with the new NHLA Forum

The COVID-19 event is the perfect opportunity to observe and analyze the failures of government. It will be fresh in the minds of legislators at the next legislative session, creating the opportunity to argue for better approaches, and pointing out failures. On the other hand, the Authoritarians and Socialists will want to introduce draconian, anti-Liberty legislation.

You can now spend your lock-down productively! Put your mind to work brainstorming legislation that can be introduced in the next session, not only to advance Liberty, but also to handle the next emergency better.

The brainstorming will be hosted on the NHLA’s new Discussion Forum. Access to the Forum is limited to NHLA members, using our new Single Sign-on (SSO) system. If you’re an NHLA member, you already have an SSO account. You just need to reset your password, using your email address on this email, following these instructions.

Once you’re logged in to the forum, read the “About” post in the Legislation Brainstorm category. And then, create!

If you need help at any point, please contact the IT Director directly at itdir@nhliberty.org.

The Snoopers’ Dream

Is there no limit to the lengths school administrators will go to undermine families? Judging by House Bill 1459, a bill I recently weighed in against in a public hearing in Concord, their nerve shows no bounds. Under current law, parents have to give written permission for their children to fill out non-academic surveys. HB1459 would change parental permission needed from “opt-in” to “opt-out,” thus placing the burden on all parents to deny permission, rather than on school bureaucrats to obtain permission.

Why such a big deal over some innocuous questions in a survey? Under the law’s definition of a “non- academic survey or questionnaire,” it is “designed to elicit information about a student’s social behavior, family life, religion, politics, sexual orientation, sexual activity, drug use, or any other information not related to a student’s academics.” First and foremost, what business is it of busybody school administrators to pry into students’ and their parents’ family lives? Where I come from, we call that snooping, pure and simple. These are extremely personal areas—and definitely not in the province of school officials. In case they’ve forgotten what they get paid for, it is teaching the basics like the 3R’s, literature, history, science, and maybe a pinch of The Constitution once in a while, not probing into private lives.

The information the nosey parkers are going out of their way to obtain should be extremely alarming to any parent. Just think about the questions that could be asked in these surveys. Are there firearms in your house? Do your parents ever hit or spank you or your siblings? Do your parents ever leave you alone in the house? Have you ever seen marijuana or other recreational drugs in your house? Have you ever tried to kill yourself?* When you have sex, how often do you and/or your partner use a birth control method such as birth control pills, Depo-Provera shot, an implant, ring, patch, male or female condom (rubber), foam, diaphragm, or IUD?* How many adults have you known for two or more years who do things that are wrong or dangerous?* What political parties are your parents registered under? Who will your parents vote for in the next presidential election? Do your parents smoke or vape? By including the text “or any other information not related to a student’s academics,” the surveys could legally ask just about anything. Whatever happened to privacy and all those millions of privacy forms we see all the time that are supposed to protect our privacy? If it’s wrong for big corporations and private companies in the voluntary sector to share our data without our permission, why is it OK when government school bureaucrats do it? It is well documented that when government employees get hold of personal information, they sometimes misuse the information for nefarious personal purposes. And, even if not for personal misuse, can you just imagine what overzealous Child Protective Services bureaucrats would do with the survey data if it got into their overreaching hands?

All the survey results are supposed to be anonymous and kept confidential, but especially with declining student enrollment and smaller populations in many of New Hampshire’s rural towns, it wouldn’t be difficult for the snoopers to figure out where the responses came from—and possibly pay a surprise visit to a child’s home to check up on his “family life.” Data collection is one of the favorite ways for government bureaucrats to justify expanding their “services” in order to obtain more funding and personnel. Judging by the number of special interest groups who testified in favor of the bill, clearly they were looking for more business if only the schools could provide more data.

So how would the system of getting permission work under HB1459? Right now, if the school doesn’t receive the signed permission slip back from the parents, it’s a no go for the survey to be given to the student. Under HB1459 however, all the school would need to do is send written notice home to the parents via the student, and no signed permission slip would need to be returned. There was much ado by the bill’s proponents that the problem now is permission slips get lost in the shuffle of paperwork and never make it back to the school. The implication is that parents want to grant permission but logistics get in the way. From raising my own son, who always managed to lose not only papers being sent home but even the folder that contained the papers (“No homework, Dad!”), I can definitely agree with the proponents that indeed papers do get lost. However, their solution to the vanishing papers issue doesn’t solve the problem because the permission slip might never make it home in the first place; thus, by default the parents will be deemed to have given permission without ever having seen the permission slip.

Here is a real-life example how this scheme works in practice and enables bureaucrats to pull the wool over the public’s eyes. When I lived in San Francisco, the city was pushing its own government-owned electricity supplier CleanPowerSF over Pacific Gas & Power. Of course, they wanted enough rate payers to choose CleanPowerSF to make it financially feasible, so they have been “opting in” the entire city, one neighborhood at a time, over the last few years stealthily. When the issue happened to surface, a friend of mine who is a certified political junkie and in tune to what goes on at City Hall confessed that he didn’t even notice that he had been “opted in” to CleanPowerSF. He quickly opted out once he realized what happened, but considering that he is well read and generally informed, can you just imagine how little of the general public would even be aware of what had occurred right under their noses? In the olden days, when phone companies used to switch people over to their company without their permission, this was called “slamming” and was widely condemned. If it was wrong for “evil” corporations to pull this shenanigan, why is it suddenly OK when government officials do it? Where is the outrage now?

Also worth mentioning are comments made during the hearing I attended. One committee member noted that he heard from past similar surveys that older students weren’t taking them seriously and were filling in bogus answers. After all, if you’re taking drugs or sleeping around, would you really want to take a chance of your parents finding out, even though the results are supposed to be anonymous? So, after wasting limited resources to gather this data, even if the snoopers didn’t misuse it, it might not even be accurate in the end. Another point brought up by the only other person to oppose the bill was who is vetting these surveys before subjecting the students to them. The lack of oversight really concerned her over the inappropriateness of some of the questions.

Lastly, should there be any question as to the motivation and purpose of the bureaucrats, one of the letters sent home to parents announced that the survey itself would be available for viewing during school hours at the school. Of course, most parents are at work during school hours, so why not just send the survey home for parents to view it themselves before granting permission? OK, for those concerned with wasting taxpayer dollars on hard paper costs, why not just post it online for all parents to see? In fact, parents complained about not being able to take the survey home for review, and some had to file several Right-To-Know requests to get hard copies. The breathtaking depth of the snoopers’ nosiness is surpassed only by their zeal to deceive and circumvent parents.

*Questions extracted from a survey given to students as young as 5th graders.

References:

NH Legislation | 2020 | Regular Session

“Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes & Behaviors”

Letter by Kathy Dunton

Survey Notification Lurgio

“School Misleads Parents On Survey Questions For Students”

“Non-Academic Surveys in the Classroom”

Lemonade Freedom

Do you ever read about something in the news that gets your blood boiling? HB1147, currently in the NH House Municipal and County Government Committee, gets mine up to a thousand degrees. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a positive, simple, and logical piece of legislation that needs to be voted into law without hesitation, but the fact that such legislation is needed speaks volumes about the state of liberty and government overreach these days.

HB1147 prohibits a city, town, or village district from licensing a lemonade stand operated by a person under the age of 18. It is an amendment to RSA 31:102-a which applies to “Hawkers, Peddlers, and Vendors” and allows municipalities to “adopt, by ordinance or regulation, provisions for the licensure and regulation of itinerant vendors, hawkers, peddlers, traders, farmers, merchants, or other persons who sell, offer to sell, or take orders for merchandise from temporary or transient sales locations within a town or who go from town to town or place to place within a town for such purposes.” Lest you think we’re talking about just a “friendly reminder” here, think again: “Any person who violates any provision of such ordinance or regulation shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor, and each continuing day of violation after notice shall constitute a separate offense.” The moment you don’t comply with bureaucrats in power, they start up with their threats and fines and escalate from there.

So why all the interest in lemonade? In case you haven’t heard, police across the country have been shutting down lemonade stands run by kids for years. It could be a coincidence, but the first reported case of a municipality shutting down a kid-run concession stand occurred in Salem Common, Taxachusetts on August 3, 2005 after a nearby sausage vendor complained to the police that a lemonade stand run by a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old was hurting his business. A county inspector in Maryland closed down a kids’ lemonade stand and fined their parents $500 on June 16, 2011. On April 16, 2012, city health officials in Hopkinton, Taxachusetts shut down the Westbury family stand that sold lemonade, cookies, and banana bread from the end of their driveway to spectators at the Boston Marathon and donated the proceeds to the Relay for Life anti-cancer charity. The official explanation was lack of a permit. On August 8, 2013, police in Queens, New York shut down a lemonade stand run by 9-year-old Nora and 11-year-old Jameala Lahoud also because they didn’t have a permit. On July 28, 2018, a New York State Health Department bureaucrat ordered a 7-year old to stop selling lemonade from a stand set up in his backyard in Ballston Spa, New York.

The list of “crimes” committed throughout the country goes on and on.

Why would anyone deny young people the opportunity to become budding entrepreneurs and learn life skills that encourage independence and self-reliance? A study in Educational Psychology Journal found that early youth engagement leads to future entrepreneurs. A Youth Impact Report in 2017 compared kids who had been involved in the national Lemonade Day program (which teaches children how to gain practical entrepreneurial experience by running a lemonade stand) to those who had not been involved. It found that 31% of the Lemonade Day kids are running their own businesses today while only 4% of the non-Lemonade Day kids are running their own businesses.

One father penned “3 Sales Lessons You Can Learn from a Simple Lemonade Stand” after observing what his own son learned from his lemonade stand: fearlessness, cross-selling, and understanding what your customer is really buying. Just ask Warren Buffett or Todd Graves, founder of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers enterprise, where they got their first taste of business smarts: selling lemonade. To most of us older folks, kids selling lemonade was a normal part of childhood on the way to adulthood. Today the growth of government—with its strangulating reach of the administrative state—has coincided with overwhelming efforts to extend childhood later and later and treat young adults like children. (In San Francisco, where I used to live, the voters actually passed a ballot measure extending “youth” benefits up to age 24.) Is it any wonder that there’s a whole crop of “youth” out there in colleges and universities who have been so overprotected by helicopter parents that they can’t deal with the normal responsibilities and stress of adult life and are justifiably called snowflakes? Clearly more children-run lemonade stands are needed, not less.

Another strange twist to this whole lemonade business is the bill only protects those under the age of 18. Aside from the fact that this is age discrimination—something that those who believe “there ought to be a law” for everything we say or do profess to be opposed to—what has age got to do with “public safety”? Isn’t “public safety” the justification for all these types of licensing, fees, and regulations? Is an adult more likely than a child to put arsenic in lemonade he/she is selling to the public? If not, then what’s the reason for the original law and now apparently the need to grant an exemption? It turns out “public safety” is the least of the real reasons for enacting such laws. It’s all about eliminating the competition, and that’s all it’s ever been or will be about. Occasionally the real truth slips out.

Police in Appleton, Wisconsin informed children that despite legally selling lemonade and cookies in their front yard during an annual city festival for the last 7 years, a new ordinance bans these sales in order to protect licensed vendors. In Denver police shut down a lemonade stand last spring run by two young boys who were raising money for Charity International because they didn’t have a permit that would have cost $30. And how did the police happen to notice their stand? They were “informed on” by a lemonade vendor at a nearby festival who was charging 10 times as much as the kids for a glass of lemonade. To me, this sounds a lot more like an extortion racket (“pay to play”) than “protecting” the public.

This brings up the whole question of government licensing and regulation. Don’t get me started! The explosion of licensing of jobs has reached epidemic proportions all over the country, and I am not happy to report that New Hampshire is doing poorly in this department these days. A cursory glance at what current bills state legislators are cooking up to license more jobs this year include art therapists; massage, reflexology, and Asian bodywork therapy; music therapists; pharmacy benefits managers, and locksmiths. At the rate they’re going, will the politicians soon be requiring licensing just to work at McDonald’s?

Lest you think I’m exaggerating how absurd the licensing-industrial complex has boomed these days, here are a few facts to ponder: 1) In 1950, only 5% of jobs required a license, but in 2020, it’s 30%–and getting higher all the time; 2) 37 states require a license just to shampoo hair in a salon; 3) Over 20 states require a license to paint houses; and 4) On average, emergency medical technicians require 120-150 hours of training to be licensed, but interior decorators need to complete 2,200 hours of training. Is there no end to this authoritarian paternalism? Do consumers really need to be treated as helpless children who can’t choose their own service providers based on reputation, word-of-mouth, and voluntary professional association certifications? Does a piece of paper issued by a government bureaucrat really guarantee that an individual or business is going to provide “safe” and sound service?

Another issue HB1147 broaches is local control versus central control. As a general rule, local control is the lesser of the two evils because, just as people differ, so can communities. Certainly urban, suburban, and rural folks tend to all have different political values and sensibilities, so as long as overreaching laws are kept local and not imposed on all communities, at least one can “vote with their feet.”

However, when laws are passed statewide or even nationally, then voting with your feet is less effective.

That said, tyranny is alive and thriving at the local level, and oftentimes the biggest violations of individual rights happen locally when power-hungry selectmen, and planning board and zoning board members throw their weight around and ignore property rights and constitutional protections. So, in this case, though it’s a state law that overrules local control, it does protect individual rights—though in a small way—and puts a harness on local busybodies, so it should get 100% support.

I will keep an eye on what happens with this bill. It was introduced on January 8, 2020 and referred to the Municipal and County Government Committee. It’s due out of committee on March 5, 2020, so let’s see what the politicians do with it. I can’t imagine any reasonable person opposed to this bill, but in politics anything is possible!

References:

  1. The Government War on Kid-Run Concession Stands
  2. Buy From a Lemonade Stand, Take a Stand for Freedom
  3. Op-ed: New law provides more freedom for kids to launch a lemonade business

Protectionist Bill Ends Program That Allows More EMS Workers in NH

A bill proposed by three Republicans and three Democrats would remove New Hampshire from the interstate EMS compact called ‘REPLICA’ (Recognition of EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate CompAct), which is currently comprised of 18 states. The compact was created in order to make it a little easier for ambulance providers to hire EMTs and paramedics who are certified in other compact states while maintaining state control over protocols and standards. Considering the dangerous shortage of EMTs and paramedics that every company in New Hampshire is facing at the moment, who would want to make it more difficult for companies to find workers who can legally work in the state?

Background

Considering that none of New Hampshire’s neighbors (Maine, Vermont, & Massachusetts) have joined REPLICA yet, the EMS compact has not really been utilized. This is unfortunate, because EMS services in New Hampshire are desperate for EMTs and paramedics, offering sign-on bonuses as high as $10,000 and approving every request for overtime without hesitation. Paramedics in New Hampshire can earn six figures if they are ambitious and pick up ample overtime. Chair van drivers enjoy company-sponsored EMT school and EMTs are assisted with tuition for paramedic school by their employers. The goal of REPLICA is to make it a little easier for businesses to hire employees who are not yet licensed in the state, but who are licensed in their home state. Senate Bill 540 would withdraw New Hampshire from the interstate compact known as REPLICA.

Standards

Among the requirements for REPLICA are 1) that the EMT or paramedic be nationally certified by the NREMT; and 2) that they pass a criminal background check. These are essentially the same general criteria that the New Hampshire Dept. of Safety requires from applicants. This ensures that REPLICA could not possibly allow unqualified EMTs or paramedics to treat patients in New Hampshire. The program simply streamlines the reciprocity process. What the compact does not do is allow providers who are not licensed in New Hampshire to work long-term in the state.

Competition

The statute that caused New Hampshire to join the compact was itself somewhat protectionist (anti-market) in nature. Possibly influenced by the firefighters union, the sponsors of the bill ensured that the program would not cause too much competition for the paramedics (many of which work primarily as fire fighters already working in New Hampshire who enjoyed high wages – wages which are largely bolstered by the high demand for paramedics, the result of what is called a “shortage“. They misguidedly feared that a compact which streamlines reciprocity or allows non-residents to work as medics in the state would cut into their beloved overtime, which they understandably enjoy, at least financially. In order to satisfy these individuals and protect them from too much labor competition, the statute prohibited a REPLICA provider from picking up regularly scheduled shifts – they could only pick up shifts when they were truly needed on a per-shift basis.

Additionally, paramedics and EMTS are paid significantly more in Massachusetts than their counterparts in New Hampshire, so they would have little incentive to ‘steal jobs’ from New Hampshire providers. Vermont and Maine have so few providers and they live so far from New Hampshire’s population centers that they should not be considered competitive providers in the same market as New Hampshire’s major metro areas, which are in the Merrimack Valley. The only motive for this bill appears to be protectionism. All six of the bill’s sponsors were contacted and declined to comment on why they proposed this bill.

Considering that New Hampshire’s EMS services and patients are desperate for more EMTS and paramedics, any bill that would place more obstacles between patients and qualified providers should be opposed.

Please contact your Representatives and Senators, the Senate EDA Committee, SB540’s sponsors, and Governor Sununu today. Tell them that New Hampshire believes in a free market and does not want more barriers placed between patients and providers, especially in a time like this.

Reprinted with permission from Liberty Block.

Update: SB540 came out of committee with an Ought to Pass (OTP) recommendation. See docket for further updates.

What is Local Control?

Time and time again when legislation comes up we hear the “local control” argument. More often than not, it’s when the state or federal government propose legislation that infringes on freedom and limits opportunity. Sometimes, it happens when the state or federal government proposes legislation that increases liberty and freedom, and expands opportunity.

In case number one, local control is better than the alternative. You have more freedom under this scenario. You have opportunity, you have liberty.

Under case number two local control is not better. Local control, in these cases, limits your freedom. It limits your opportunity.

In particular, we’ve heard this argument on the Learn Everywhere program. The Learn Everywhere program, put simply, forces school boards and school districts to accept for credit some programs approved by the Department of Education.

Opponents of this program say that local control is more important, that your local school board should have the choice to accept these credits or not. They’re wrong.

Local control when it inhibits your liberties is a net negative.

Students should have the opportunity to learn where they please and have that experience count towards their mandated government education credit tally. The mandated credit tally, in and of itself, is silly, but that’s where we are right now.

In this case, the Department of Education is absolutely right to force local school boards to accept these credits, and give the control to whom it belongs – students and parents.

Reprinted with permission from author. The original post can be found on Granite Grok.

Let’s Make New Hampshire’s Automotive Tint Laws Less Draconian

New Hampshire RSA 265:95 forbids any aftermarket tint on the driver or passenger side windows. The law is primarily enforced during the yearly inspection and will cause a vehicle to fail the safety inspection.

States have progressively been moving to allow aftermarket tint on windows. In 1993, sixteen states did not allow any tint on these front-side windows. Now, only four states have this restriction. New Hampshire is one of the holdouts. The other states are Vermont, Michigan, and New Jersey. In NH, only the rear windows are allowed to be tinted, with the restriction that at least 35% of light must enter the vehicle. The front-side windows are not allowed to be tinted at all, other than what’s supplied by the vehicle manufacturer. In the 32 other states, tinting to 35% or darker is allowed on these front-side windows.

I proposed HB317 so New Hampshire can join 32 other states in allowing 35% tinting on the front-side windows. Legislators have introduced bills like this for years in NH, and they always seem to get voted down, but why?

The State Police usually present three reasons which give legislators pause. First, is that not being able to see into the vehicle presents a danger to the traffic officer. Second, the aftermarket tint film makes the window harder to break in the case of an emergency. The film on the outside of the glass holds the pieces together while the factory tint is located in the center of the glass, is thinner, and breaks easier. Finally, they say that it is dangerous because window tint might hinder nonverbal communication between drivers and other people on the road.

The biggest hurdle to overcome may be the claim that window tint puts the lives of officers in danger, and legislators do not want to take that chance. However, this claim seems to be based on anecdotal evidence and not hard data.

I tried to quantify the danger to officers from not being able to see into a vehicle to determine whether or not the claim could be substantiated with hard facts. I acquired information about every officer death from 1993-2017 and limited the data to traffic stops. What jumped out at me was that during traffic stops, the danger from the passing vehicles was, by far, the most significant threat to the officer.

After breaking the deaths down by state and cross-referencing when the 12 states began allowing tint, I found no correlation of officer deaths. In fact, I found 12 other states that had not had a single officer death during a traffic stop, once I removed any danger from outside the vehicle from the numbers. It could be that dark tink increases stress on an officer, which could turn into a dangerous situation for the vehicle occupants involved in a traffic stop. But, the numbers I found did not indicate a decrease in officer safety due to threats coming from inside the vehicle. Besides, cars from states that allow the front-side windows to be tinted can still visit New Hampshire, so officers need to be able to handle that situation whether our state allows front-side tinted windows or not.

If it’s true that aftermarket window tinting slows down the removal of vehicle occupants in an emergency, then that’s a risk the owner should be able to take. Life is full of risks. Outlawing the acceptance of that risk is government overreach.

Finally, with regards to non-verbal communication at stop signs, the committee tried to address that concern with an amendment that increased the required light transmittance for the front-side windows to 70%. This is a very light tinting in which a person is still quite visible. Tinting to 35% would only make a person’s outline visible, depending on the light. Since hand waving is the most common nonverbal communication, I believe this concern could be addressed with either tinting option, which is better than none at all.

My hope is that, with passage of HB317, NH can finally increase window tinting options for consumers, as seems to be the trend in the rest of the country. While the bill doesn’t allow as many options as I would like, I think it has the best chance to make it legal for residents to install less expensive, aftermarket tinting. Why should we have to buy very expensive, factory-made tinted glass in order to have a much cooler ride?

Tax The Ski Lift Tickets, Too!

A bill filed by five House Democrats could affect one of New Hampshire’s primary tourist attractions: The skiing industry. The current 9% tourist sales tax already applies to all prepared food, hotels, and rental cars. In an effort to increase sales tax revenue for the State and help fund education for underprivileged children and prison inmates, Democrats are hoping to extend that 9% tax to include skiers and snowboarders visiting New Hampshire’s ski resorts.

House Bill 1652 requires all ski resorts to obtain a license, display the license, and begin to collect a 9% tax on ski lift tickets, which must be given to the state government. Understanding how skiers would react to this new 9% tax, the sponsors of the bill mention that the revenue from the new tax would fund ‘education’ for ‘the poorest children in New Hampshire.’

If this Democrat bill passes the Democrat-controlled House and Senate and is signed into law by Governor Sununu, we can all expect an immediate 9% increase in the cost of our lift tickets.

People alter their behavior when incentives or disincentives change. A 9% increase is a significant change.

New Hampshire ski resorts earn millions of dollars from tourists who ski and snowboard in our state. Once out-of-state residents learn that their lift tickets will be at least 9% more expensive than they were last year, some could decide to not return, thus diminishing the important revenue that ski resorts make. This could force New Hampshire’s fifteen (15) ski resorts to increase their prices in order to make up for lost revenue, a considerable unintended consequence.

If you have an opinion on this bill, make sure to contact the sponsors, the House Ways & Means Committee, and your own legislators.

November 2019 Board Election Results

The results of the November 2019 Board of Directors election are in! Congratulations to the newest Board members, Michael Costable, incoming Political Director, and Séamas Oscalaidhe, incoming Treasurer! The candidates won their elections by 92% and 84% of the vote, respectively. We thank each of you for volunteering and look forward to the upcoming term.

The election was conducted with approval voting. Of 93 respondents:

  1. Political Director:
    1. Michael Costable — 82 votes
    2. None of the Above — 4 votes
    3. Write-In — 5 votes
      • Darryl W Perry
      • Vermin Supreme
      • Dan McGuire
      • Derrick J Freeman
      • I do not know the candidate – abstain
  1. Treasurer:
    1. Séamas Oscalaidhe — 77 votes
    2. Matthew Santonastaso — 20 votes
    3. None of the Above — 2 votes
    4. Write-In — 1 vote
      • I do not know the candidate – abstain

Thank you to all candidates who ran! We are very grateful for your interest and enthusiasm, and we hope we can count on your continued involvement.

We extend our deepest appreciation to outgoing Political Director, Dan McGuire, and Treasurer, Stephen Villee. You have both served New Hampshire and the NHLA with dedication, and we are better for it. We look forward to continuing to work together toward a freer New Hampshire!