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June 30, 2013

N.H. Legislature passed lots of new laws

Potato lovers, mark your calendar.

The white potato officially becomes the New Hampshire state vegetable on Aug. 3.

That’s the law.

It’s one of scores of new state laws, or revisions to existing laws, coming on the books as the Legislature concludes a busy session.

The major work of the session — approval of a $10.7 billion, two-year budget — was no small potatoes. But dozens of other issues concerned lawmakers ranging from the economy to public health.

Rep. John O’Connor, R-Derry, joined other Derry lawmakers in sponsoring the potato bill, House Bill 535, on behalf of Derry students.

But potato wasn’t the only thing on O’Connor’s plate this session.

O’Connor also sponsored HB 328, which met with approval from both the Legislature and governor.

The bill, relative to the sale of pets, cleans up state law, making it clear they must be free from communicable diseases and parasites, O’Connor told a Senate panel in testimony in April.

The state veterinarian and the Dog Owners of the Granite State supported the bill.

Yvonne Nanasi, testifying on behalf of the dog owners, said O’Connor’s bill lets breeders and others know, “When you transfer a pet — a dog, a cat, a ferret — you must provide a health certificate.”

Nanasi said the legal housekeeping proposal mattered.

“We’ve been very concerned the importation of dogs from out of state, as well as out of the country, has been on the increase,” she told senators.

The pet law revisions take effect the same day as the potato law.

The Legislature changed New Hampshire law back on May 20 to help business and boost the state economy.

Senate Bill 1 had strong, bipartisan support with more than two dozen sponsors, including GOP Sens. Chuck Morse of Salem, Jim Rausch of Derry and Sharon Carson of Londonderry.

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