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part series will focus on business climate, first in the nation primary status, tax structure, education, crime and personal freedoms. It culminates with a forum on Thursday, Nov. 17 hosted by The Nashua Telegraph and the Chamber of Commerce.
That mindset is nowhere more apparent than in a motor vehicle. Adults 18 and older do not have to buckle up in New Hampshire, the only state to have such a law.
It's been a slow road for the Free State Project; just under 1,000 members have moved here. But at least a dozen of them now serve as state legislators. And Gericke says the movement has a positive outlook for future growth, especially because the libertarian climate remains strong in New Hampshire.
The bill calls this a "natural right." Anyone who interferes with this "right to carry" faces criminal penalties.
Each year, the New Hampshire Highway Safety Agency sends observers to dozens of spots along busy roadways all over the state to count how many drivers and front seat passengers are wearing seatbelts. If observers can't count every person they see in a 40 minute span, they start over with a 20 minute session to ensure validity, according to agency coordinator Peter Thomson.
More than six decades after New Hampshire adopted Gen. John Stark's saying "Live Free or Die" as its official motto, the Granite State still appears to have a rock solid advantage over most states in preserving and promoting personal freedom.
Sunday: Attracting new businesses and keeping them here. See a video synopsis.
Statistics seem to bear out Bettencourt's view of New Hampshire's motor vehicle safety record.
in prison or jail, or under a court order to be in a mental institution, the right to carry an open or concealed firearm without a license.
"It's always about choice," said Gericke, who lives in West Lebanon. "It's not about trying to change things radically. It's about choice."
Free State Project made headlines in 2003 when members from around the country chose New Hampshire as their future home, with the goal of having 20,000 libertarians influencing state politics and culture.
Bettencourt says the ability to live responsibly and freely is rooted in the state's Yankee heritage, a collective ethos that disapproves of government looking over peoples' shoulders.
For Bettencourt and many others, government regulations infringe on those freedoms. New Hampshire residents have largely demonstrated they can coexist civilly when they have the right to decide how to live their lives, libertarian minded people say.
Some libertarians contend the state could improve its standing as the home of the free. Marijuana, for one, should be decriminalized, they say. And a university study of personal freedom also found New Hampshire lacking in some areas, including parental control of home schooling. But with recent legislative actions aimed at improving individual rights including the law that took effect last year allowing gay marriage New Hampshire is a place to live if you want to live free, they say.
Bettencourt said the bill has moved out of committee, and the House will put it to a floor vote next year.
Another law aimed at personal freedom has started to take shape in the Legislature. A House bill would allow any resident not Wallet Prada
Living free more than state motto Video
"I know a lot of people around the nation who scoff at that notion and Prada Sunglasses For Women we have the safest highways in the nation," Bettencourt said.
"There is a culture of liberty here. I think a lot of people appreciate these liberties," Free State Project President Carla Gericke said.
"The governors I have worked with over the years haven't taken a stand on making a mandatory seat belt law," Thomson said. "And the Legislature hasn't for the most part. Some years, the House has put together a bill for a mandatory seat Prada Eyeglasses Costco
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Hunters don't have to wear blaze orange clothing. Residents who own vehicles outright aren't required to purchase insurance. And visitors to the Statehouse can carry a firearm inside. Bettencourt, a Republican, said. "We're always looking at ways we can shrink government back to its appropriate role to allow people the freedom to perform their passions."
And there's a lot to choose in New Hampshire.
belt law, but it gets bogged down in the Senate."
This year, 75 percent of observed motorists and passengers wore a seat belt, Thomson said. In a state where an unbuckled seat belt symbolizes choice, Thomson is delighted with that statistic, although his agency strives to have every motorist strapped in.
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