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Politics

N.H. House to Meet at UNH's Whittemore Center to Maintain Social Distancing

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Dan Tuohy / NHPR
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The Wildcat statue out in front of the UNH Whittemore Center Arena in Durham, N.H.

The New Hampshire legislature is planning to meet in full session for the first time since March. Legislative leaders say they are taking steps to keep lawmakers safe.

The 24-member Senate will be at the State House, meeting in the chambers of the 400-member House.

The House will meet at UNH's Whittemore Center in Durham on June 11.

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In a message to House members, Speaker Steve Shurtleff said lawmakers will have their temperatures checked before being allowed inside and state representatives will also be issued N-95 masks.

He asked them to wear soft-soled shoes to best negotiate the Whittemore Center's concrete floor and he reminded them that firearms aren't allowed on the UNH campus.

Shurtleff said further details on voting procedures - “House members will likely to cast votes via tablet" - will be announced.

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Republican Leader Dick Hinch, was quick to criticize the plan. He says the House operated for a century without any electronic voting gizmo, and called the purchase of $200,000 of voting technology blatantly wasteful.

Shurtleff says federal COVID-19 aid should cover the costs of the electronics and says they can be reused, including at the State House.

This session will be only the second time in history that the New Hampshire House meets outside of Representatives Hall.

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