Onward to New Hampshire

After Iowa, of course, it’s on to New Hampshire, where, the Manchester Union Leader reports, state legislators overwhelmingly voted this week to send a bill to the budget committee that would raise the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18.

To give you an idea of the politics of the paper, consider the Union Leader‘s recent endorsement of John McCain as “the man to lead America.” It follows, then, that yesterday’s article on the proposed bill focused almost exclusively on reactions from those who oppose the bill–primarily NH police officers who feel that lowering the threshold was a smart plan and one that’s working. Manchester Deputy Chief Gary Simmons sees “no reason to change” the law and points out that before the age was lowered in his state, those involved in the drug trade were “keenly aware that 17-year-olds could deal drugs in New Hampshire and risk far less than they would in their home states.” (By that logic, when the age was lowered to 17, 16-year-olds became the ideal dealers; lower the age to 16 and 15-year-olds would start dealing in droves–where does it end?)

As the article hopefully points out, “A final House vote, Senate approval and the governor’s signature are still needed before the bill could become law.” William Fenniman, director of the state’s Division of Juvenile Justice Services, plans to submit a cost estimate to the House budget panel next week.


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