State House faced many battles in 2013
With the defeat of many Tea Party Republicans, the newly empowered Democratic majority sought to reverse education tax credits for private schools, the stand-your-ground law, abortion restrictions and the photo ID law, only to have the Republican-controlled Senate block the repeals.
Before the budget passed in June, the House killed a Senate-approved bill, which had Gov. Maggie Hassan's support, to establish a casino in the state's southern tier, while the Senate killed a House-approved plan to raise the gas tax 12 cents over three years. The gas tax increase would have paid for the final phase of Interstate 93 expansion between Salem and Manchester, among other road and bridge projects.
Along with the budget, lawmakers came together to pass a law to allow a medical marijuana program to be implemented in New Hampshire. Gov. Hassan signaled support early on, but she agreed with law enforcement officials who opposed a provision that would have allowed patients to grow their own marijuana plants, and the provision was removed.
A law stemming from House Bill 482 delineates parameters for eradicating bed bug infestations and the responsibilities of landlords and tenants to solve a problem.
With much fanfare and little debate, the Senate and House - with the backing of Hassan - doubled the research-and-development tax credit from $1 million to $2 million annually and made it permanent. A year earlier, the credit was a victim of maneuvering between the House and the Senate.
Lawmakers wanted to change the way public insurance risk pools were handled, but after finding little agreement, they eventually settled on forming a study committee to consider the Local Government Center's organization and its retention of millions of dollars in reserve funds to cover medical claims. The committee's recommendations will be acted on during the 2014 session.
Auto dealers won a convincing victory over manufacturers in the 2013 session. The auto dealers' bill of rights changes business practices between manufacturers and their dealers, giving local auto and construction and farm equipment dealers more flexibility to run their franchises. All other states have similar laws.
If you buy a new car, however, you can now legally drive it 70 mph on a section of Interstate 93 from Plymouth to parts north. Attempts to raise the speed limit statewide and on I-89 were not successful, but lawmakers will revisit the issue during the 2014 session.
Currently, children have to be in car seats until they reach age 6 or are 55 inches tall.
Lawmakers also provided more protection for children in child care facilities by requiring background checks for all employees who work with the children.
Fishermen will no longer be able to use lead sinkers and jigs beginning June 1, 2016. Conservationists and environmentalists pushed for the law, saying lead sinkers and jigs are the leading cause of adult loon deaths in the state and the law would finish the work that began more than a decade ago when the state was the first to prohibit small lead tackle.
Landowners who allow the public to use their property for hunting, fishing, hiking and other recreational activities are afforded greater legal protection under a law approved this year.
Lawmakers did decide former Gov. John G. Winant should have a memorial, just not on State House grounds.
Dredging planned for Milford's Osgood Pond
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