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N.H. constitutional amendments both pass easily


Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The two constitutional amendments on Tuesday’s ballot passed easily.

Amendment 1, which would allow taxpayers to sue the government for what they considered to be unlawful spending, was leading by 83 percent to 17 percent with most precincts reporting.

Amendment 2, which provided a right to privacy free of government intrusion, was leading 81 percent to 18 percent with most precincts reporting.

Both amendments required two-thirds voter approval.

The first amendment was prodded by two cases in which residents suing the state over spending had their cases thrown out by the state Supreme Court which ruled that merely being a taxpayer wasn’t enough stake to merit the legal challenge.

The new amendment enshrines the right to “taxpayer standing” in the state constitution, allowing state residents to challenge financial decisions made by state and local agencies if they feel they are unlawful or unconstitutional.

The proposal commanded broad support from legal activist groups, taxpayer advocacy groups and both major political parties.

 The second amendment created a right to “live free from governmental intrusion in private or personal information.”

Supporters argued that it was necessary because technology such as genetic analysis, big data and facial recognition software were overwhelming existing privacy rights. Opponents said the language was vague and would create problems for lawyers and judges trying to interpret it.

“In this daunting era of increasingly invasive technology, we need our right to privacy for personal information to be just as robust as our tech. New Hampshire has demonstrated again why it is a national leader on privacy,” said Jeanne Hruska, ALCU-NH Policy Director.

Monitor staff