Focused as ever on the issues that matter, Republican lawmakers in New Hampshire are eagerly pushing a plan to post road signs on the state’s border that would alert travelers to the dangers of entering neighboring liberal Massachusetts.
Drivers who are about to make the mistake of leaving “Live Free or Die” New Hampshire may not be aware, for instance, that regulation-happy Massachusetts has stricter laws on everything from guns to seat belts, fireworks and knives:
Six GOP lawmakers want the Department of Transportation to erect signs along every unmarked road leading from New Hampshire into Massachusetts, stating: “Warning: Massachusetts Border 500 Feet.” [...]
Laws relating to seat belts, guns, cellphones, motorcycle helmets, fireworks and knives are among those lawmakers want to warn people about. That’s not to mention alcohol and tobacco prices and New Hampshire’s tax-free shopping. [...]
The warning signs would let people know they were “no longer in the Live Free or Die state,” she said.
Since New Hampshire is the only state without a mandatory seat belt law, road signs would serve as a useful notice that drivers could receive a ticket if they don’t buckle up. But legislators’ comments make it clear they’re more concerned with denigrating Massachusetts than protecting travelers.
“We don’t need to be building Massachusetts revenues,” lead sponsor Rep. Jennifer Coffey (R) said. New Hampshire businesses have a keen interest in highlighting their state’s lax regulation and drawing a stark contrast to attract customers. And their Republican allies are perfectly happy to help by selling out the government’s seal of approval.
Under the proposal, the state Department of Transportation would erect the signs, but businesses associated with helmets, cellphones, or cars would pay for them — and get their name on the sign. Part advertisement, part official road sign, the plan would blur the line between government purpose and corporate interest.
A Democratic Party spokesman quipped, “No wonder voters have self-identified the Republican Legislature as one of the three most serious problems facing New Hampshire in three consecutive (University of New Hampshire) polls.”