The New Hampshire legislature is always working hard to clarify, refine and correct our existing laws. Even as you read this, they are working on new laws for 2016. The following list of selected new laws were all created in 2015. Some became effective last year, while others just went into effect for January 01, 2016.
Although there were many, many other changes to the State laws last year, we simply did not have time to cite them all and have instead presented a selection that we hope is both informative and entertaining.
Hardship Licenses Now Available!
One of the most important new laws of 2016. As discussed recently here, New Hampshire finally established a hardship or work license. House Bill 496-FN amended RSA 263 to include limited privilege license. Now, if you have a first time DUI, you might be able to get to work without risking jail time for driving on a suspended license! This is a great new change to the Law in New Hampshire and we applaud the legislature for making this common sense revision to existing law.
No Tanning of Minors
This law actually became effective August 1, 2015. Whereas you could previously tan with parent’s signed consent form, it is now unlawful in the State of New Hampshire to provide ultra violet tanning services to someone under the age of 18. (With certain exceptions for where that is medically necessary and ordered by a doctor.) So, if you’re under age and need a tan, you will have to go with the old fashion way…or spray on.
Less Confusion at the Secretary of State’s Office
If you’ve ever registered a business in New Hampshire, you may have run into some trouble trying to register your preferred business name. Having searched the corporate database and found your name NOT taken, you may have thought you’d be in the clear- until now, that was not necessarily so. This new law removes a lot of the uncertainty which was formerly created by the discretion inherent in deciding whether a similar name was “likely to be confused with or mistaken for” another name. That language has now been removed from the statute. Hopefully, this helps everyone involved in registering a business with the State.
Bobcat vs. Fisher cat
I’m not sure if anyone alerted the Fishercats, or if a fisher cat even qualifies as a “wildcat”; but ever since August 4, 2015, the bobcat (Lynx rufus) has been the official State wildcat.
Realtors Gone Wild?
If you’ve noticed more tom-foolery at your local real estate office lately, this might be the reason why. As it turns out, prior to August 4, 2015, a responsible principal real estate broker or managing broker had to supervise the office “on site.” That is no more. In 2016, the office need only be “reasonably” supervised. As an aside, our office provides several real estate services, and we are always 100% supervised, on site, by licensed attorneys.
Hike At Your own Risk
This sensible amendment to the law clarifies that if you injure yourself doing something that could be dangerous, that you only have yourself to blame- not an innocent landowner. This change expands on the long-standing New Hampshire tradition that generally, you cannot maintain an action for negligence against someone who opens their land, free of charge, for outdoor recreational activities. These common sense rules benefit us all by allowing generous neighbors and family members to provide opportunities for us all to enjoy nature without worrying about being sued!
Under the Penalty of Perjury
If you’d like to file a document “under oath” with the new State e-Court system you may now officially do so by e-signing “under the penalty of perjury.”
Additional Penalty for Sexual Assaults in the Wild
An amendment to RSA 214:19 adds a five year fish and game license suspension to any person convicted of felonious sexual assault, while engaged in hunting, trapping, or fishing.
Vehicular Assault Redefined – Applies to Boats Too
This item may have been misreported by other media outlets, as the negligent homicide statue at RSA 630:3 http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/LXII/630/630-3.htm appears unchanged. In any event, the definition of vehicular assault was expanded somewhat by removing the word “unlawful” and replacing it with negligent.
Homestead Exemption Increased
The amount of equity in your home that you can protect from creditors has risen slightly, up from $100,000 to $120,000 resulting in a total of $240,000 in protection for married couples.
Schools Must Reign In Facebook Intrusions
This law went into effect September 19, 2015. Generally, no public or private school, college, or university can require or request a student or prospective student to disclose or to provide access to a personal social media account through their user name and password.
Put Down that Drone…and Register It
Fish and game added some additional protections for those lawfully hunting, fishing, or trapping. It is now unlawful to conduct surveillance of these activities by way of a Drone.
PLUS NEW FEDERAL LAW FOR 2016: You now must register your drone with the FAA.
Conclusion… and One More New Law Not Yet Passed:
One might ask: Why do we need to keep making so many laws? And I would often agree with that sentiment. However, one new change they are working on up in Concord will benefit everyone who rents a residential apartment by correcting an inadvertent consequence of a recent New Hampshire Supreme Court case: Mountain View Park, LLC v. Gerald Robson, Jr..
This case essentially made it more difficult for landlords to work out payment plans with tenants facing eviction. A corrective law is being developed that will again allow both tenants and landlords to benefit by encouraging work-out resolutions instead of lock-outs.
DISCLAIMER: As always, the information provided on this site is for general informational purposes only. This is not legal advice. You must consult with a lawyer to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.
Atty. John F. Skinner, III