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NH: Rival government forming? 2 of 2, New Hampshire
NH: Rival government forming? 2 of 2, New Hampshire
::2010/02/04::
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NH: Rival government forming? 1 of 2, New Hampshire
NH: Rival government forming? 1 of 2, New Hampshire
::2010/01/25::
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Stella Tremblay, New Hampshire Legislator, Says U.S. Government Planned Boston Bombing
Stella Tremblay, New Hampshire Legislator, Says U.S. Government Planned Boston Bombing
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New Hampshire State Rep  Suggests Armed Resistance Against US Government
New Hampshire State Rep Suggests Armed Resistance Against US Government
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Government Agents Seize Oath Keepers Couple
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NH: Do needles need government? (Medical Sharps)
NH: Do needles need government? (Medical Sharps)
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How government shutdown may affect New Hampshire
How government shutdown may affect New Hampshire
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Government Partner jobs in New Hampshire
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Boston Bombing Conspiracy Pushed By New Hampshire Rep.
Boston Bombing Conspiracy Pushed By New Hampshire Rep.
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Ron Paul Discusses View Of Limited Government With Students
Ron Paul Discusses View Of Limited Government With Students
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Restructuring NH Government
Restructuring NH Government
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Cops stealing cameras in Keene, New Hampshire
Cops stealing cameras in Keene, New Hampshire
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Carroll County NH, University of New Hampshire, Agenda 21
Carroll County NH, University of New Hampshire, Agenda 21
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Local Government Officials and the Inevitable New Hampshire Primary
Local Government Officials and the Inevitable New Hampshire Primary
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Romney on FEMA Government Spending
Romney on FEMA Government Spending
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Smaller Government
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My beefs with NH Republicans (Union protests, Irish Free State, New Hampshire, Wisconsin)
My beefs with NH Republicans (Union protests, Irish Free State, New Hampshire, Wisconsin)
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Newt Participates in New Hampshire MSNBC/Facebook Debate
Newt Participates in New Hampshire MSNBC/Facebook Debate
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Video Essay: Ron Paul in New Hampshire
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2014 Election  New Hampshire
2014 Election New Hampshire
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Free Stater convoy to escape California, enter New Hampshire
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New Hampshire
New Hampshire's Next Generation of Conservative Principles
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Court security blocks cameras at 420 trial - New Hampshire
Court security blocks cameras at 420 trial - New Hampshire
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New Hampshire in uproar over US Administration
New Hampshire in uproar over US Administration
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Crackdowns may improve activist quality (New Hampshire)
Crackdowns may improve activist quality (New Hampshire)
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Bizarre behavior @ city council in Keene, New Hampshire
Bizarre behavior @ city council in Keene, New Hampshire
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Why You Should Move to New Hampshire
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Predator DRONE OVER EPPING NEW HAMPSHIRE pt3
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NH man pays tax in Fives - Keene, New Hampshire
NH man pays tax in Fives - Keene, New Hampshire
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People Moving To New Hampshire for Freedom in our Lifetime
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New Hampshire pettiton to secede
New Hampshire pettiton to secede
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John Irish & Stephanie Taylor: New Hampshire State "Thugs" Snatch Newborn Over Political Beliefs 3/3
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Kick ICLEI Out of New Hampshire
Kick ICLEI Out of New Hampshire
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Storm, breakdowns plague PorcFest exodus (New Hampshire)
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EPA Overreach and the Impact on New Hampshire Communities
EPA Overreach and the Impact on New Hampshire Communities
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Site needed to track govt. violence in New Hampshire
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NHFPI 2014 Conference: Government in the Granite State
NHFPI 2014 Conference: Government in the Granite State
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Congressman Frank Guinta fighting for New Hampshire jobs
Congressman Frank Guinta fighting for New Hampshire jobs
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NH: New sovereignty bill - New Hampshire state
NH: New sovereignty bill - New Hampshire state's rights
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NH: Free Stater refuses to show ID (New Hampshire, liberty)
NH: Free Stater refuses to show ID (New Hampshire, liberty)
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Gary Johnson on Government
Gary Johnson on Government
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Winner/Republican Caucus in New Hampshire is Ron Paul-NH PBS
Winner/Republican Caucus in New Hampshire is Ron Paul-NH PBS
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Porcfest: Badnarik, guns & scenery color New Hampshire
Porcfest: Badnarik, guns & scenery color New Hampshire
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Walk For Liberty Day 65 - Move To New Hampshire For Liberty
Walk For Liberty Day 65 - Move To New Hampshire For Liberty
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Tim Pawlenty on the Federal Government
Tim Pawlenty on the Federal Government
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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The State of New Hampshire has a republican form of government modeled after the Government of the United States, with three branches: the executive, consisting of the Governor of New Hampshire and the other elected constitutional officers; the legislative, called the New Hampshire General Court, which includes the Senate and the House of Representatives; and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court of New Hampshire and lower courts.

The New Hampshire state capital is Concord. The capital was Portsmouth during colonial times, and Exeter from 1775 to 1808. The Governor's office, some other executive offices, and both legislative chambers are in the State House. The Legislative Office Building is behind the State House in this photograph; the state Supreme Court and other agencies are in an office park on the other (east) side of the Merrimack River.

Federal representatives[edit]

Like all states, New Hampshire has two senators in the US Senate. Based on U.S. census data, New Hampshire has two members of the House of Representatives.

Congressional districts[edit]

Congressional districts since 2003

The 1st Congressional District consists of: Carroll and Strafford counties; Alton, Barnstead, Belmont, Center Harbor, Gilford, Gilmanton, Laconia, Meredith and New Hampton in Belknap County; Bedford, Goffstown, Manchester and Merrimack in Hillsborough County; Hooksett in Merrimack County; and all of Rockingham County, except Atkinson, Salem and Windham.

The 2nd Congressional District is the remainder of the state, lying to the west and north of the 1st District.

(For historical districts, see here.)

Officials[edit]

Chamber District Official Party Term began Term expires
U.S. Senate Jeanne Shaheen Democrat 2009 2015
U.S. Senate Kelly Ayotte Republican 2011 2017
U.S. House 1st Carol Shea-Porter Democrat 2013 2015
U.S. House 2nd Ann McLane Kuster Democrat 2013 2015

Electoral College[edit]

Based on the total number of its Congressional delegation, New Hampshire has four votes in the Electoral College. The state awards its electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis.

Governing documents[edit]

State constitution[edit]

New Hampshire is governed by its constitution of 1783. The constitution is in two parts, a Bill of Rights and a longer Form of Government. Unlike the United States Constitution, amendments to the New Hampshire Constitution are not set out afterward but edit the text. It is one of the few state constitutions that acknowledge the right of revolution.

The state constitution is one of the few that does not expressly require public schools. However, in 1993, the state Supreme Court ruled in the first Claremont suit[1] that a constitutional duty to "cherish the interest of...public schools"[2] required the state to define and fund equal public schools statewide. The legislature complied slowly; in 2008, the Court ended[3] its supervisory role because the original laws had been replaced, but it did not reverse its earlier finding.

The state constitution has many expressions concerning the character of the people and the criteria that should guide their election of officials.[2][4] It also forbids the legislature from appropriating pensions for longer than the current year,[5] although state employees now do have conventional employment contracts and a retirement system deemed "deferred compensation."

State law[edit]

The current codification of state law under the constitution is the New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated of 1955.

New Hampshire is the only state with no law requiring wearing of seat belts nor use of motorcycle helmets. (The law now does make these demands of those under 18.)[6] A driver does not need to have vehicle insurance but must provide "proof of financial responsibility" to the state after an accident. Failure to do so can result in loss of driving privileges until the injured party is paid in full for their loss.[7] Unlike the neighboring states, New Hampshire has no "bottle bill."

New Hampshire had no law against having an open container of alcohol in a car until 1990, though it has since cracked down on alcohol in numerous ways, including a 2008 enactment that makes underage possession of alcohol include possessing it inside one's body.

Civil unions became legal in New Hampshire at the start of 2008, giving all the rights associated with marriage in the state to same-sex couples.[8] On January 1, 2010, same-sex marriage became legal in New Hampshire, overriding the civil union law.

The state retains the death penalty for specific categories of homicide.[9] The last execution was conducted in 1939. In 2008, a jury voted to impose the death penalty for the first time since 1959.[10]

New Hampshire was the last state in the country to require public kindergarten, which was mandated in 2007.

Administrative rules[edit]

Rules that agencies issue, as authorized by statute, are collected in the New Hampshire Code of Administrative Rules.

Branches of government[edit]

Legislative Branch[edit]

The legislature is called the General Court. It consists of the House of Representatives (400 members) and the Senate (24 members).

The General Court is the third-largest legislature in the English speaking world, behind only the British Parliament and the United States Congress, respectively; and the New Hampshire House of Representatives is the fourth-largest individual chamber (exceeded in number by the United States House of Representatives, the British House of Commons and the British House of Lords).[11] The legislature at one time grew to 443 members due to population growth, but a 1942 constitutional amendment set its size at from 375 through 400 members.[12] There is one Representative for about every 3,300 residents.[13] In order for the U.S. Congress to have the same representation, there would need to be approximately 99,000 Representatives.

The legislature apportions legislative seats based on the decennial U.S. Census. The problem of allocating 400 legislators to 259 municipalities and ensuring equal representation is solved with floterial districts. For example, a city due more than five representatives but not quite six might elect five representing the city itself, and one more in a floterial district that includes some neighboring towns.

State legislators are paid $200 for their two-year term, plus mileage, effectively making them volunteers. The only other benefits are free use of toll roads and of state-owned resorts. A 2007 survey found that nearly half the members of the House are retired, with an average age over 60.[14]

Executive Branch[edit]

The Executive Branch consists of the Governor, Executive Council, and state agencies. The executive branch implements and enforces the laws of the state. The Governor is the supreme executive and is afforded the title of His or Her Excellency, though the Constitution only provides for "His Excellency".

The Governor of New Hampshire is Maggie Hassan (D).

Unlike most other states, the Governor shares executive power with the Executive Council, which the Governor chairs.[15] The Governor and Executive Council must concur on state contracts over $5,000, high-level agency appointments, and pardons. The Governor's veto power and command of the National Guard are not dependent on the Executive Council. The Governor and Councilors are elected to two-year terms. New Hampshire and Vermont are the only states that still elect governors to two-year, rather than four-year, terms. Agency appointments are generally for terms of four or five years, which means that a New Hampshire governor is unable to form a new cabinet when first taking office.

New Hampshire does not have a Lieutenant Governor as most states do. The Senate President serves as Acting Governor whenever the governor is out of the state or otherwise unable to perform the duties of the office. After the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, Secretary of State and State Treasurer are next in line to serve as Acting Governor.

Judicial Branch[edit]

The state's highest and the sole appellate court is the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The Chief Justice is the head of the judiciary and, with the other justices of the supreme court, oversees the judicial branch. New Hampshire has three additional courts and one division:

Political parties[edit]

Registration[edit]

The Republican Party and the Democratic Party are the only official parties, for which the state lets a voter register, holds a primary election, and gives a column on the general-election ballot. Minor parties must poll 4% in a statewide or Congressional election to become official parties, and they lose that designation if they cease to poll 4%. The Libertarian Party had official party status from 1990 to 1994.

A voter who is registered in an official political party cannot vote in a different party's primary election. A voter who is registered "independent" can vote in any party's primary, but is automatically registered in the party in which he or she votes. The voter can change registration at the polls after voting, and can also change registration in periodic meetings of a town's Supervisors of the Checklist or at the City Clerk's office. These rules are designed to impede the casting of a cross-over vote for a different party, which may have the goal of sabotaging its nomination. Registering in a party constrains a voter's choice of ballot, but demonstrates support for the chosen party, and is a prerequisite to being a candidate of that party.

Primary elections[edit]

The famous New Hampshire primary is summarized in the article on New Hampshire.

Nominations for all other partisan offices are decided in a separate primary election held in September of election years. In Presidential election cycles, this is the second primary election held in New Hampshire.

Local government[edit]

New Hampshire's 234 local governments and 25 unincorporated areas are organized into ten counties.

Local government in New Hampshire conforms to Dillon's Rule, as it can exercise only powers granted to it by state law.

Municipalities[edit]

Parts of four articles from a warrant for a Town Meeting

New Hampshire consists of 13 cities and 221 towns, plus 25 unincorporated places,[16] exercising the powers granted to them by NH RSA Title III.[17] For statistics on New Hampshire municipalities and comparisons to municipalities elsewhere in New England, see New England town.

Cities are governed by Boards of Aldermen (in Manchester and Nashua) or City Councils (all other cities).

In towns, the executive power is the Board of Selectmen, except that some towns, especially larger ones, are governed by a Town Council. The Town Meeting is effectively the municipal legislature, of which every registered voter is a member.[18] Town Meeting approves, amends, or rejects the items on the warrant, which must be published in advance. Articles can be placed on the warrant by the town's executive board or by citizen petition.

Town Meeting meets annually, normally on the second Tuesday in March, to set the year's budget. Special Town Meetings can be called to deal with urgent transactions. The municipal election, which selects town officers for the coming year and may approve changes to local law such as the zoning ordinance, is thought of as a session of the Town Meeting.

Government by referendum (SB-2)[edit]

Since 1995, a town may elect to govern itself by Official Ballot Referenda. This procedure is known as SB-2.[19] In such towns, Town Meeting is a "Deliberative" session that decides the wording of each warrant article; the binding decision is taken by secret ballot at the same time that the officers for the next year are elected. A 60% majority is required to adopt or to drop the SB-2 procedure.

Deliberative sessions are less well attended, in bodies that have adopted SB-2, than are plenary Town Meetings in bodies that have not adopted SB-2, as their decisions are not final. However, the final vote by secret ballot attracts more voters than Town Meetings do because of the shorter time requirement, and absentees can vote.

Deliberative sessions have been charged with "sabotaging" the intent of a ballot question; for example, changing a warrant article, "To see if the Town will raise and appropriate (amount) for (purpose)" to merely read, "To see." A 2011 law[20] barred Deliberative Town Meetings from deleting the subject matter of a warrant article.

School districts[edit]

School districts are separate from municipalities and, if governed by a Town Meeting, have a separate budget and agenda and an elected moderator, who may be different from the municipal moderator.

A school district can be governed by Official Ballot Referenda just as a town can.

Towns often combine into School Administrative Units (SAUs), at least for the management of high schools and sometimes for all the schools. If a town is a member of an SAU but operates its own elementary school, voters have a say in both organizations.

Counties[edit]

New Hampshire is divided into 10 counties. Counties have a sheriff's department for rural law enforcement and a jail, and may have a nursing home, an extension service for farmers, social services, and other services. In the smaller towns and unincorporated places, the county may provide services that are usually municipal, such as health inspection of restaurants.

The legislature of a county is the County Convention, a single chamber consisting of the "delegation" of all the state representatives elected from that county.[21] The county's executive power is an elected Board of Commissioners.

From time to time, it is proposed that county government be abolished and its functions transferred to the state or to municipalities.[22]

Funding[edit]

All of the above local governments are funded primarily by a property tax. The government budget, as voted by the county legislature, the Board of Aldermen or City Council, or the town or school-district town meeting, is divided into the assessed value of all property in the respective region, so that each property owner pays a share based on the property value.[23] Some or all of the tax is waived for certain types of property (for example, through religious, educational, and charitable exemptions) and for certain classes of taxpayer (such as the poor, elderly, and veterans). Large parcels will be assessed on their current use rather than their "best and highest use" if the owner cedes development rights. A property owner receives a tax bill that breaks out millage rates that apply to the following:

  • The municipality.
  • Any precinct subject to a higher tax to fund local projects.
  • The school district(s).
  • The county.
  • A statewide property tax. New Hampshire instituted this tax in 2002, in response to court-ordered statewide equalization of education funding (see Claremont suits). The tax, which was lower than the amount previously assessed by school districts, is in theory returned to the school districts, though adjustments by the state legislature create "donor towns" and "recipient towns."

The appraisal of a property is controversial, as it directly affects the property tax. The state requires town-wide reappraisal at least every five years, typically conducted by professional consultants, to ensure that the valuations follow gradual changes in the real estate market and the general price of real estate.[23] The municipality allows a property owner to challenge a reassessment.

If assessments in a town were uniformly increased by 10%, the millage would decrease by 10% and the tax to be paid would be unchanged, assuming that the money budgeted by the various government bodies were unchanged. Even this might be controversial, as the lower millage might eventually be used as an argument for new spending.

Separately, the fact that the assessment is an estimate of market value means that it reflects intangible aspects of the property, a phenomenon criticized as the so-called view tax.

Budget[edit]

New Hampshire's operating budget is set on a two-year basis, the latest period, July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2009, being FY (Fiscal Year) 2008 and FY2009. The FY2008 summary is as follows:[24]

Category Expenditures
Health and social services $1,878,467,014
Education $1,458,949,429
Transportation $554,362,042
Administration of justice and public protection $497,656,860
General government $489,197,174
Resource protection and development $232,532,423
Total $5,111,164,942
Source Revenue
Federal Funds $1,478,263,227
Other Funds $1,694,862,406
General Fund $1,563,832,988
Highway Funds $276,455,391
Turnpikes Funds $76,575,234
Fish and Game funds $12,364,494
Sweepstakes Funds $8,811,202
Total $5,111,164,942

Taxation[edit]

New Hampshire does not have a general income tax nor a general sales tax like many other U.S. states. It does have the following taxes:[25]

  • Interest & Dividends Tax - 5% income tax[26]
  • Inheritance and Estate Tax
  • Business Profits Tax
  • Business Enterprise Tax - 0.75%[27] - an income tax on sole proprietors
  • Communications Services Tax
  • Electricity Consumption Tax
  • Meals and Rentals Tax - 9% sales tax on meals, vehicle rentals, and hotel rooms[28]
  • Tobacco Tax
  • Real Estate Transfer Tax
  • Timber Tax
  • Gravel Tax
  • State Education Property Tax
  • Utility Property Tax
  • Local Property Tax
  • Fuel Tax

Taxation is one of the more controversial issues in the politics of New Hampshire.

External links[edit]

  • NH.gov, official state website

References[edit]

  1. ^ Claremont School Dist. v. Governor, 138 N.H. 183
  2. ^ a b N.H. Constitution, Part 2, Article 83
  3. ^ Londonderry School District SAU #12 v. State of New Hampshire, October 15, 2008
  4. ^ N.H. Constitution, Part 1 See Article 38, Social Virtues Inculcated.
  5. ^ N.H. Constitution, Part 1 See Article 36, Pensions, and Article 36-a.
  6. ^ RSA 265:107-a
  7. ^ RSA 264
  8. ^ "Governor Signs Law Establishing Civil Unions in New Hampshire" (Press release). Office of the Governor of the State of New Hampshire. 2007-05-31. Retrieved 2007-07-14. 
  9. ^ RSA 630:1
  10. ^ "Addison Guilty of Capital Murder in Briggs' Death," Manchester Union-Leader, November 13, 2008.
  11. ^ "House Fast Fact", New Hampshire House of Representatives
  12. ^ NH House Facts
  13. ^ Divide 400 into the most recent estimate of state population in the article on New Hampshire.
  14. ^ Gordon Fraser (December 23, 2007). "N.H. Legislature doesn't mirror population". The Eagle Tribune. Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  15. ^ http://www.nh.gov/council/overview.html
  16. ^ The count is as it appears on the nh.gov municipal list on February 6, 2012.
  17. ^ New Hampshire Statutes Title III
  18. ^ RSA 39 governs the timing of, and warrant for, Town Meetings.
  19. ^ SB-2 means "Senate Bill 2" of the 1995 legislature. The term in context is always understood to mean the referendum option for town government. The statute is RSA 40:13.
  20. ^ Chapter 1, Acts of 2011
  21. ^ RSA 24
  22. ^ For example, "Chandler says county government should be abolished". Conway Daily Sun. Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  23. ^ a b ASB Assessing Reference Manual for Taxpayers, Selectmen, and Assessors
  24. ^ http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/LBA/budget/FY0809/HB 1 CategoryTotals.doc
  25. ^ http://www.nh.gov/revenue/faq/gti-rev.htm
  26. ^ RSA 77 Until 1995, the income tax exempted dividends and interest from institutions within the state (and, reciprocally, from institutions in Vermont). This was found to violate the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
  27. ^ RSA 77-E
  28. ^ RSA 78-A
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