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Garry Rayno's State House Dome: Buffer zone ruling by U.S. Supreme Court fuels abortion feud
Opponents of the New Hampshire law immediately declared victory, saying the law should not be enforced once it becomes effective July 30, but supporters said a legal review needs to be done to determine whether there is any impact.
Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, which included the court's four liberals, said the 35-foot zone was unconstitutional because it overreached.
However, the ruling left states and their lawmakers some wiggle room to craft narrow buffer zones to protect patients and staff while not restricting free speech and assembly rights.
"As in McCullen, to the extent SB 319's 25-foot buffer zone deprives individuals of the ability to engage in personal and consensual conversations with women about various alternatives to abortion, SB 319 likely is constitutionally problematic," Bissonnette said.
The ruling also became political fodder for the Republican U.S. Senate contest and the governor's race.
"Scott Brown voted for the buffer zone bill when he was a Massachusetts state senator. Liberal Governor Maggie Hassan also signed the buffer zone into law in New Hampshire, and Senator Shaheen has long been an outspoken advocate for abortion," Smith said. "Once again, Senator Brown finds himself aligned with the left and out of touch with the Republican Party."
Ballot Law Commission: On Monday, the five-member commission will decide whether GOP gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein's name will appear on the Republican primary ballot.
But Democrats argue he received a property tax break available only to Maryland residents, registered his car in that state and held a Maryland driver's license.
But recent changes in state law require anyone claiming New Hampshire as his or her domicile for voting has to register his or her car in the state and have a N.H. driver's license.
Cook, who was one of the attorneys in the protracted 1996 fight between GOP gubernatorial candidates Bill Zeliff and Ovide Lamontagne over petitions needed to break the state spending cap, is not likely to want to see anything like that repeated.
If history is any indication, the commission will need some very convincing evidence, such as Havenstein voting in a Maryland election, to prevent him from appearing on the GOP primary ballot.
Monday will be a long day.
ComeBack: Nuclear power watchdog Stephen Comley believes he is once again making some headway in his quest to hold the nuclear industry and regulatory officials accountable.
"I'm having a ball," Comley said after he went to Bike Week in Weirs Beach, leaving signs along the road asking President Obama to "Protect US Democracy" by investigating the NRC.
Comley said he has been talking to Massachusetts state legislators, as well, and speaking to college students and his fellow residents in the Rawley area to rally support for his cause.
The group's honorary chairman, Tom Thomson, will speak at the event along with others affected by the first increase in the tax since 1991.
The protest takes place at 11 a.m. Monday at Mr. Gas on Route 3A in Hooksett, just off Exit 10 of Interstate 93.
"The role that money now plays in the political process disrupts the free market, encourages polarization, forces politicians to cater to special interests, discourages new candidates from running and leaves the public ever more disillusioned," said the group's executive director, Jeff McLean.
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