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Senators Hear Bill to Limit Political Activity of N.H. Commissioners

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Jason Moon for NHPR
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Senators in the Executive Departments & Administration Committee heard testimony on the bill on Wednesday.

A bill that seeks to limit the political activity of state commissioners had a public hearing today.

The bill would prohibit the heads of state agencies from doing things like donating to a candidate or participating in a campaign while they’re in office.

Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn is the prime sponsor.

“This doesn’t replace good judgment. Nothing in law can replace the good judgment of a commissioner who balances things correctly. But I think we do have to have some guidelines.”

Critics, like Greg Moore of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, argued the bill would be unconstitutional.

"The bill tramples the free speech rights of commissioners," he said.

While his name was never mentioned at the hearing Wednesday, the bill is widely seen as targeting Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut.

Edelblut, who ran for governor before being appointed, has faced criticism for appearing at GOP events around the state.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.

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