A couple of my fellow Cow Hampshirites run a rather entertaining blog over at Weekend Pundit. They live up in the Lakes Region, a particularly lovely part of New Hampshire that is way, way out of my price range, but I forgive them for that. They have a great way of capturing some of the essence of what makes New Hampshire such a great place to live — for two photographic examples, check out their pictures here and here.
They also reminded me that January 1st is a tradtional time for new laws to take effect, and pointed to this article that summed up some of the more significant changes. And they bring up a great point — the vast majority of these laws are not busybody measures, set up by do-gooders eager to justify their continued public service. Nearly all of them are simple common-sense measures, designed to push people into being a bit more responsible for themselves, as opposed to trying to regulate every single aspect of their lives (as often seems the case in our neighbors to the south).
I think that it is no coincidence that Massachusetts has full-time lawmakers, who earn about $50,000 per year, while New Hampshire pays its legislators $100 a year. I suspect that in Massachusetts, they see their job is to be a lawmaker, so they try to earn their pay by making laws. In New Hampshire, public service is a burden, and mostly taken up by those who see it as a duty. As such, they simply don’t meddle anywhere near as much. Besides, most of them have other jobs or activities that keep them in closer touch with the people who have to live with the laws they pass.
There’s a reason why our motto is “Live Free Or Die.”