Before the 2017 Legislative Session began, Liberty Lobby LLC CEO Darryl W Perry began identifying bills of interest. This was initially done based solely on the titles of the Legislative Service Requests (LSRs), which are made public shortly after being filed. The text of the LSRs are then made available once the wording is finalized and has a signature from the sponsor. Not every LSR gets a bill number; a Representative or Senator can ask to withdraw the LSR. This often happens if there are multiple LSRs on the same topic with the same objective, or if the sponsor learns there is little chance of passage.
Of the LSRs marked as “of interest” by Liberty Lobby LLC, 39 were withdrawn before the text became available. Another 3 were withdrawn after the bill text became available, but before being assigned to a committee. Once committee hearing began in January, bills could not be withdrawn. However, the sponsor of SB82 (relative to labeling for maple syrup) requested the bill be deemed “Inexpedient to Legislate,” and the public hearing lasted less than one minute.
This Independence Day, I am pushing the meme of New Hampshire Independence. It is its own country of 1,331,000 people with a unique set of cultural, economic, and philosophical values. It’s about time you and I start referring to NH as a country. Forget “draining the swamp” — Leave the swamp!
Just-Flipped-to-Libertarian State Representative Brandon Phinney
The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire held another press conference today announcing the awesome news that now a THIRD sitting state representative has flipped parties to the LPNH! The LPNH has already made two previous historic announcements earlier this year with state representatives Caleb Dyer of Pelham and Joseph Stallcop of Keene changing from republican and democrat respectively to the Libertarian Party of NH and then forming a Libertarian caucus in the state house for the first time in twenty years.
Representative Brandon Phinney, who was elected in 2016 as a republican, said during his official announcement at today’s press conference, that the republican party leadership has been chastising their legislators for not following the leadership’s demands. Phinney said in his speech that he was stifled by party leadership and that he and the other liberty minded reps were labeled “terrorists”! He said, “What I found was that both parties were seeking to manipulate the potential legislation and the legislative process for political gain…I was not elected to do the bidding of a political party at the expense of my principles.” He finished his speech by saying, “Integrity and a clear conscience is desperately needed in the New Hampshire house and together with representatives Dyer and Stallcop, I believe that our cause will ignite a shift in political affiliation in this state”.
Phinney was joined in speaking by the chairman of the national Libertarian Party, Nicholas Sarwark, who came up from their offices in DC to help commemorate the occasion. In his speech, Sarwark delivered an invitation to legislators, politicians, and others saying, “if you’re tired of living a lie, if you’re tired of standing up for things you don’t believe in, come out of the closet. Become a libertarian. Come home. ” It was Sarwark’s first time visiting the Live Free or Die state. Here’s the full press conference from this morning in Concord:
On Friday, New Hampshire’s new governor Chris Sununu signed a bill, HB 436, which makes NH the first state to explicitly protect cryptocurrency like Bitcoin from regulation!
This is a historic day and this move clearly positions New Hampshire as the most bitcoin-friendly state in the United States. NH was already the #1 most free state according to the “Freedom in the 50 States” study and this makes it even more free. New Hampshire also now stands in even more stark contrast to New York, the least free state, since New York a couple years ago did the opposite and attacked cryptocurrency businessess with their oppressive “bitlicense”, which drove bitcoin businesses OUT of NY. Now those businesses can escape safely to NH as this just-passed bill offers them a safe haven from the ravaging, destructive effects of government interference.
Persons who engage in the business of selling or issuing payment instruments or stored value solely in the form of convertible virtual currency or receive convertible virtual currency for transmission to another location.
Liberty Lobby‘s Darryl W Perry, who headed up a campaign to contact the governor about this issue said, “After nearly three years of trying to get virtual currency explicitly exempt from money transmitter laws in the Live Free or Die State, I am happy to see this first major obstacle cleared.”
In 2015, a bill (HB 666) was passed that spooked many in the international bitcoin community as it added cryptocurrency to the “money transmitter” statutes. This caused at least one bitcoin business to cease doing business with customers in New Hampshire and quite a bit of buzz about New Hampshire losing its vaunted crytpo-friendly status. How did this happen in a state with the largest concentration of bitcoin enthusiasts per capita? Honestly, we were caught off-guard, but now that’s all changed. In 2016 a state house committee to study cryptocurrency was formed, whose meetings I attended and video recorded.
Representative Barbara Biggie of Milford, Sponsor of Bitcoin Protection Bill
After hearing from multiple NH bitcoiners in the committee meetings, state representative Barbara Biggie stepped up and filed this bill. As Darryl and I pointed out at the hearing, the bill as filed wasn’t quite what we’d hoped for. It created a new definition and exemption for “virtual currency” in the statutes, but still left in statutes a definition and regulation for “convertible virtual currency”. We explained to them that this was confusing and they should be striking the regulation for “convertible virtual currency” rather than creating the additional terminology.
You know what? They listened AND did us one better! The commerce committee amended the bill and turned it into the best possible protection for bitcoin businesses in New Hampshire! (more…)
This time, it wasn’t even close. The senate of New Hampshire finally did the right thing after years of debate and failed votes. Yesterday, they voted overwhelmingly, 17-6 to decriminalize possession of up to 3/4ths of an ounce of cannabis and up to five grams of hashish! That’s 74% of the NH senate voting in favor, after nearly 90% of the state house did the same.
The bill is certainly not perfect, as it still has civil fines for cannabis possession but it’s no longer an arrestable offense and is no longer going to be charged as a misdemeanor, unless the person is caught three times in three years. In that case, the fourth ticketing would be a class B misdemeanor, but the person still cannot be arrested. The first offense is fined at $100 and subsequent offenses within that three year period would be $300 each. The floor discussion today made it clear this bill was a compromise from both the law enforcement side and those who want to end prohibition.
Besides the continuing fines and the fact that law enforcement will continue to confiscate people’s weed, the worst part of the bill carves out an exemption where 18-21 year olds are treated more harshly than those 21 and up. Possession of cannabis-infused products remains a misdemeanor for those 18-21, sadly. Hopefully this will be rolled back in the future.
The bill is however a step in the right direction. That said, when will we have a state rep with the courage to put forward a total end to cannabis prohibition? New Hampshire needs to stop there and stop trying to do what other states have done and legalize with a regulatory and tax scheme. Let’s just try freedom and watch the cannabis industry boom in the Shire.
UPDATE: 5/12 6:20pm – possession of cannabis-infused products is still a misdemeanor for those 18-21, I misread the bill earlier when I reported wrongly that all possession for those ages is still a misdemeanor.
Not only does New Hampshire now have more sitting state reps than the other 49 states combined, but Dyer and Stallcop, both 21 years old, are forming what is likely the youngest political caucus in the history of the United States.
Now that state reps from both parties have openly defected to the libertarians, the big question is which state rep will be next? Will the courage of these two young men inspire the other libertarian reps who are still operating as republicans and democrats to “come out”? Former state reps Eric Eastman and Joe Lachance also recently revealed they have flipped from republican to join the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire.
State Representative Joseph Stallcop, of Keene’s Ward One
Rep. Stallcop joining the Libertarian Party is also historic as he is the second sitting democrat state representative to have ever done so in the 45-year history of the national party.
New Hampshire, of course, also holds the distinction of having the first-ever democrat state rep to have flipped, when prior to the 2000 election, late state representative Steve Vaillancourt joined the party as a sitting democratic state rep and then ran for re-election in 2000 as a libertarian and won! This fact contradicts those naysayers in the liberty movement who have been claiming it’s impossible for libertarians who make the flip to actually win re-election. What they are saying is impossible has already been proven possible by New Hampshire’s own political history! In addition to Vaillancourt, in the nineties New Hampshire had multiple libertarian state reps who also won re-election.
At this morning’s press conference, Stallcop gave an excellent speech that revealed the command-and-control structure in the NH democratic party, which echoed Dyer’s experience in the republican party. Thinking for one’s self when in the major parties is apparently discouraged and voting his conscience resulted in his democratic colleagues lying to and looking down on him. One was overheard saying of him, “Maybe we shouldn’t have college students doing this job.” (more…)