April 10, 2013 •

New Hampshire Special Election for State Representative Announced

July 23, 2013

New Hampshire State HouseA special election for the state representative for Sullivan County District 4 (Claremont Ward 2) will be held on July 23, 2013.

A special primary election for the office is scheduled for June 4, 2013. The elections are being held to fill the seat of Representative Tom Donovan, who resigned earlier this year.

Photo of the New Hampshire State House by AlexiusHoratius on Wikipedia.

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August 13, 2012 •

Mayor of Concord Wants Ethics Ordinance Reviewed

Board of Ethics

ethicsConcord, New Hampshire Mayor Jim Bouley is calling for a review of the city’s ethics ordinance enacted just last year.

According to the Concorde Monitor, the mayor has requested the city council ask the Board of Ethics to assess the ordinance to “ensure a fair and efficient review of ethics complaints.” Two complaints filed against the mayor were recently dismissed by the board.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for tonight.

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August 7, 2012 •

Independent Expenditures in New Hampshire

Attorney General’s Recommendation

New Hampshire statuteThe New Hampshire Attorney General’s office has advised the Secretary of State against restricting contributions to political committees that only make independent expenditures.

While New Hampshire’s statute R.S.A. §664:4 sets contribution limits for political committees, the law does not distinguish between political committees in general and committees making only independent expenditures.

The Attorney General made this recommendation, and reviewed the current status of law concerning independent expenditures, in a letter to the Secretary of State on August 1, 2012. The Attorney General also stated in the letter that enforcement of “contributions to any political committee is a fact-specific determination that can only be made on a case-by-case basis.”

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May 2, 2012 •

Here is the Latest Redistricting News

Today we have items from eight states:

U.S. Congressional DistrictsAlaska: “Redistricting map solutions elusive as court battle looms” by Richard Mauer in the Anchorage Daily News.

Kansas: “Kansas Senate OKs redistricting plan” by Brad Cooper in the Kansas City Star.

Kentucky: “Kentucky Supreme Court cites redistricting law as unconstitutional” by Franklin Clark in the Cadiz Record.

Mississippi: “Mississippi Senate unveils its redistricting map” by The Associated Press in the Clarion Ledger.

New Hampshire: “House redistricting plan faces more legal challenges” by Garry Rayno in the Union Leader.

Pennsylvania: “Redistricting panel to receive input on new Pa. maps” by Ali Lanyon (Associated Press) on WHTM.

South Carolina: “Supreme Court considering fate of primary candidates” by Gina Smith in The State.

South Carolina: “SC justices consider fate of dozens of candidates” by Jeffrey Collins (Associated Press) in the Spartanburg Herald Journal.

Vermont: “Vt. lawmakers finish redistricting” on NECN.com.

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September 14, 2011 •

Concord, NH Adopts Ethics Policy

The Concord City Council approved two ethics measures on September 12, 2011.

ConcordOne measure limits gifts to the mayor and councilors to $50 or less. Another measure creates an ethics board to enforce the newly created gift limits.

The measures were somewhat controversial because many thought the gift restrictions were not strict enough.

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July 1, 2011 •

More News from the States

News from Five State Legislatures

DELAWARE: The 146th Delaware General Assembly concluded its first regular session June 30, 2011.

IOWA: The Iowa General Assembly adjourned sine die.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: The New Hampshire Legislature adjourned June 30, 2011.

OREGON: The 2011 regular session of the Legislature adjourned sine die on June 30, 2011. Governor John Kitzhaber has 30 days, excluding Saturdays and Sundays, to act upon any bill he receives within the last five days of the session, or the legislation becomes law without his signature.

RHODE ISLAND: The Legislature’s 2011 regular session recessed today. Any bills submitted to Governor Lincoln Chafee must be signed or vetoed by July 10. There is no pocket veto.

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October 13, 2010 •

New Hampshire Lobbyist Registration Requirement Draws Criticism

Legislator’s Complaint Raises Concerns over New Hampshire Lobbyist Registration Requirement

New Hampshire State HouseA 2006 New Hampshire ethics reform law requiring any non-public official who meets with a lawmaker to discuss legislation to register as a lobbyist has recently come under fire.  The law currently exempts lawyers who are full-time employees of a public body from the registration requirement.  Opponents of the law argue small towns and school districts that cannot afford a full-time attorney are put at a disadvantage to larger governmental organizations in efforts to influence legislation.

Rep. Rick WatrousCiting the law, New Hampshire Rep. Rick Watrous recently asked the attorney general’s office to investigate the actions of attorney John Teague. Teague serves as the Concord School District’s lawyer, but is not a full-time school district employee.  Teague participated in a meeting with Senate President Sylvia Larsen, Sen. Betsi DeVries, and the Superintendent of the Concord School District to discuss a House bill dealing with the school district’s charter.  The attorney general’s office found that Teague ran afoul of the law by meeting with lawmakers privately and issued a public warning and ordered Teague to register retroactively as a lobbyist and pay the $50 annual filing fee.  The finding has raised concerns about the propriety and application of the current registration requirement, including calls for legislative reform of the statute.

Photo of New Hampshire State Capitol Building by Nikopoley on Wikipedia.

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July 23, 2010 •

N.H. Governor Vetoes Executive Ethics Commission Bill

New Hampshire Governor John Lynch has vetoed legislation that would have permitted members of the Executive Branch Ethics Committee to participate in partisan political activities.

Senate Bill 440 would have permitted members of the committee, during their term of service, to participate in elections for federal offices, including allowing their names to be in used in endorsements of candidates. Members would have also been permitted to campaign for candidates seeking federal offices and make contributions to their campaigns.

Citing the potential conflict-of-interest that could arise from members of the ethics committee engaging in political activity, Governor Lynch vetoed the measure on July 20, 2010. “I believe that SB 440 would weaken the Executive Branch Ethics Committee and would compromise the ability of its members to discharge their obligations impartially in the eyes of the public. It could create the perception that partisan politics plays a role in the decisions of the committee,” Lynch said.

For further reading here is the governor’s press release.

Photo by Marc Nozell used under a Creative Commons license.

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