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Legislators Consider Moving Division of Weights and Measures

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State Representatives and Senators heard testimony today on a bill that proposes moving the Division of Weights and Measures from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Safety.

The division certifies scales and meters for measuring food and commodities like gasoline and fuel oil when sold to consumers.

The Senator Sharon Carson of Nashua, the bill’s sponsor, says she’s heard complaints from constituents who claim the division has been heavy-handed in its enforcement.

But Lorraine Merrill, the Commissioner of Agriculture, says she’s heard very few such complaints in her four year tenure as commissioner.

"It was one response to one consumer complaint that didn’t result in any kind of a fine or violation, but somehow that was interpreted and being heavy handed," Merrill says, "I have a hard time explaining that."

The hearing was packed with farmers who say that this bill would shrink the department of agriculture by 10 percent, and could make it a target for future consolidation.

The Department of Safety says it has its hands full already, but will enforce the bill should it become law.

 

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

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