EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 28, 2013


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — State colors dead, still hope for potato

CONCORD (AP) — Orange, red and yellow won’t be New Hampshire’s official colors this year.

The House voted, 266-66, yesterday to table a bill that makes the three colors the state’s official colors. A fourth-grade class at Freedom Elementary School lobbied for the bill to highlight New Hampshire’s colorful fall foliage.

The House vote is a parliamentary move that effectively kills the bill unless a supermajority of lawmakers acts to bring the bill back up before a legislative deadline today.

Two years ago, the House killed a bill to make purple the state’s official color.

The House voted last month to pass a bill promoted by a group of Derry fourth graders to make the white potato the official vegetable. The Senate next considers that bill.

Statewide dropout rate up slightly

CONCORD (AP) — New Hampshire’s school dropout rate is up slightly from a year ago, but the state still continues to have one of the lowest rates in the nation.

Education Commissioner Virginia Barry says the rate for 2011-2012 is 1.26 percent. A year ago, it was 1.19 percent.

Barry said with the slowing economy, schools have been forced to reduce their budgets. Also state programs such, as Child in Need of Services have been cut. She said these programs have historically helped reduce the dropout rate.

Seven high schools have reported zero dropouts for two consecutive years. They are: Windham, the Academy for Science and Design Charter, Cocheco Arts and Technology Charter Academy, Belmont, Gorham, Hopkinton and Pittsburg.

License to carry concealed weapon stands

CONCORD (AP) — The House has rejected a bill that would have eliminated the state’s license requirement for carrying concealed weapons.

The House voted, 226-144, yesterday to kill a bill that would have allowed anyone to carry a firearm openly or concealed, loaded or unloaded, with or without a license. The House passed a similar bill two years ago when Republicans were in control of the chamber. It died last year in the Senate.

Supporters argue they have a constitutional right to own and carry firearms, but opponents said the present system ensures that local police don’t issue permits to people who should not have them.

House tables proposed drone ban

CONCORD (AP) — New Hampshire’s House wants more time to consider whether drones should be allowed to spy on or launch attacks on its citizens.

The House voted, 278-87, yesterday to table a bill that would prohibit the unmanned flying machines capable of capturing images or sound of people on the ground, intercepting communications on the ground and firing lethal and non-lethal weapons.

The parliamentary move effectively kills the bill unless supporters can win supermajority support to bring it back up after today due to legislative deadlines.

Rep. Paul Berch, D-Westmoreland, argued the proposal potentially conflicted with federal airspace regulations.

Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, the bill’s sponsor, said the bill only applies to drones, not satellites or helicopters and would protect citizens.