To The Daily Sun,
This is my 28th periodic report on what is transpiring in the Legislature in Concord. Like a lot of you, we are slowly coming out of summer vacation mode and into the real world. There were a few bills left over from last session that established sub-committees to review and report back to the committee as a whole. I’ll go through those and then finish up with our visit to the new Women’s Prison.
HB656 is a bill to decriminalize marijuana and in effect make it a commercial enterprise that could be sold ... and taxed. Taxes are the way I believe the proponents are using to get their nose under the tent. We are told that Massachusetts and Maine are doing it and so to “keep up with the Joneses” we need to get on the bandwagon. It is also reported that use by the youth is very harmful to their brains. Additionally, New Hampshire already has one of the highest rate of use among minors. Without going into the pros and cons, I believe in the midst of an opioid crisis the wrong message is conveyed to citizens. There is presently a study committee examining the issue and we should let them do their job.
HB613 addresses prisons and we decided to clean up the language and require certification by an agency. While they may be doing well now, a few years ago they traded certification money to retain personnel. That has to stop. While most departments pass their rules by the legislature for approval, the prisons do not. Should this department be an exception?
HB287 forms a study committee to examine legalizing sex work and trafficking. It is my opinion that the Legislature should vote either yes or no. I will vote against the formation of a study committee as it is a waste of time. The sponsor said she tried to pass this last term. Since it failed she wants to use a study committee to weasel the legislation through. Child and youth trafficking is wrong for America and New Hampshire. This, like the bill above, already currently has a study in existence. This bill needs to find the circular file.
Yesterday I toured the unfinished Women’s Prison. It is located behind the Men’s Prison just north of Concord. As prisons go it will be quite an upgrade from the current smaller and sub-standard one in Goffstown, but it is not a country club ... nor should it be. The building is well designed and will serve not only incarceration but will serve to transition the women back into society. The projected date for opening is in December, but my guess is it will more likely be January.
Representative for Franklin and Hill