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Garry Rayno's State House Dome: Distracted-driving bill getting favorable looks
This week, the Senate will act on House Bill 1360, which would ban hand-held use of a cellphone, GPS, iPad or other communication devices while operating a vehicle, sitting at a stop sign or stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic, unless there was an emergency.
However, drivers younger than 18 would not be able to use any of the devices in a moving vehicle or while temporarily stopped at a sign or in traffic. The only exception would be to call 911.
After the House vote, the same doubters all said, "Dead on arrival in the Senate."
There was opposition to the bill at the public hearing, from all of the Republican House members who had spoken against the bill when it was before the House. They claimed the bill overreached and would prohibit drivers from performing everyday activities that are not a problem.
"We need to hold people accountable to the laws we have on the books," said Rep. Alfred Baldasaro, R-Londonderry. "What's next: cigarettes, or women brushing their hair in the morning?"
If the same breakdown holds in the Senate, and there is no reason to think it will not, come July 1, 2015, we are all going to have to change our ways.
Domestic Violence: Becky Ranes will testify before the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee Tuesday for a bill that would make domestic violence a crime.
She is the mother of 9-year-old Joshua Savyon, who was killed by his father, Muni Savyon, during a court-ordered supervised visit last August in Manchester. Muni Savyon, who turned the gun on himself after he killed his son, was under a domestic violence protective order because he had threatened to kill both Joshua and Ranes.
The public hearing on Senate Bill 318 will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Rooms 202-204 of the Legislative Office Building.
Death Penalty: This week, the Senate will decide the fate of the death penalty in New Hampshire.
After first voting, 2-2, to kill House Bill 1170, the Senate Judiciary Committee last week reversed itself and voted, 3-2, to pass it once Sen. Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, had the opportunity to vote. Soucy had been unable to attend the first meeting.
Senators asked Friday about the vote all said they couldn't predict the outcome, as many senators are keeping decisions close to their vests.
The key is Hassan, who has said she will sign the bill as long as it does not change Addison's death sentence. Former Gov. John Lynch opposed repeal.
But the bill's sponsor, Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, said no change in criminal law can be prospective, meaning whatever sentence you received does not change if the law changes in the future.
Other events to push repeal are planned leading up to Thursday's vote.
Law enforcement has been the constant opposition to repeal, with many saying it would disrespect those killed in the line of duty. They are also doing their own lobbying of senators, knowing as supporters do that if the bill passes the Senate, Hassan will sign it.
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Gas Tax: The 4.2 cent increase in the state's gas and diesel tax is also expected to fly through the House, particularly after representatives have heard from their constituents about the conditions of the roads this spring. Yes, it finally is spring.?
Hassan has said she will sign the bill if both the Senate and the House agree, which is expected.
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