NH Senate Roundup: Marijuana penalties to remain the same in Granite State
Under House Bill 1625, the penalty for having an ounce or less of marijuana or hashish would have been the same as a traffic ticket, and it would have lowered the penalties for growing less than six marijuana plants.
House Bill 1625 was one of four bills the Senate refused to accept from the House because they were killed by senators last year.
Also, House Bill 544 would have had the state expand Medicaid eligibility, but is not needed now that both the House and Senate approved and the governor signed Senate Bill 413, which establishes the state three-year program.
The Senate killed House Bill 1411 that would have used $7 million of the $15 million from fiscal year 2013 to reduce across-the-board budget cuts at the Health and Human Services Department.
“The recent court ruling on the MET (Medicaid Enhancement Tax) alone should provide all the reason we need as to why the state must strengthen its reserve fund balance,” said Senate Finance Committee Chair Jeanie Forrester, R-Meredith. “As stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars, a vote to spend this modest surplus at a time of significant budgetary uncertainly is completely irresponsible.”
The Senate approved House Bill 1125, which repeals the crime of adultery and sends the bill to the governor’s desk.
The bill would remove the penalty from the criminal code.
The Senate passed a plan to allow the state corrections commissioner to grant “earned time credits” to prisoners who participate in educational and rehabilitation programs.
Under the Senate version of the bill, the program would only be available to “least restricted inmates.”
Someone driving without a license will face a criminal charge under a bill approved by the Senate and sent to the governor.
House Bill 1135 would make it a misdemeanor instead of a violation for driving without a license. Currently, someone charged with driving after his or her license has been suspended or revoked is charged with misdemeanor, but if the person never had a license the charge is a violation, the same as a speeding ticket.