- Associated Press - Saturday, January 2, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - It’s straight to work for lawmakers when the New Hampshire House reconvenes on Wednesday, with more than 100 bills already on the docket.

Committees have been working during the off months to amend dozens of bills from 2015 that lawmakers felt needed more work, and many of those bills are up for votes this week. Policies up for debate range from gun licenses to drone regulation.

The House plans to extend its opening session into Thursday, when the Senate also will reconvene.

Here’s a preview of measures up for debate in the House:

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DRONES

Committees recommended passage on two bills related to drones. One prohibits law enforcement from using the aerial vehicles to collect evidence in most circumstances.

Under the bill, officers could use drones to stop attacks by extremists or if they obtain a warrant from a judge specifically allowing the use of a drone to collect evidence. The bill also allows the use of drones when law enforcement has reasonable suspicion that “swift action” is needed to prevent imminent danger to life, in the search for a missing person or to stop the imminent escape of a suspect, among other emergency circumstances.

The second bill sets basic guidelines for the use of drones by individuals.

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GUNS

Gun rights advocates will again try to repeal the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed weapon, a measure that passed both chambers in 2015 but was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. Current state law allows anyone who may legally buy a gun to carry it openly, but anyone who wishes to carry a hidden gun must get a license from local law enforcement or officials.

Another piece of legislation up for a vote identifies civil penalties that law enforcement officers can face if they confiscate a person’s firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition. State law already prohibits law enforcement from confiscating guns and ammunition, but the updated bill adds “firearm accessories.”

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LAW ENFORCEMENT

Efforts to repeal mandatory minimum sentences, which set a minimum number of years that someone must be imprisoned for certain crimes, are back before lawmakers. Some lawmakers tried to repeal mandatory minimum sentences through the budget process last year, but it was ultimately stripped from the budget bill.

The bill coming before lawmakers removes the minimums for armed career criminals, habitual offenders and people who are found driving with a suspended or revoked license. It maintains the penalties for people with sex- or drug-related offenses.

Whether police officers should wear body cameras also is up for debate. Body cameras have become a key topic of discussion in recent years following a number of high-profile shootings by police officers. The bill recommended for passage lays out guidelines for police departments on using body cameras but does not make it a mandatory practice for all New Hampshire officers.

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KENO

Lawmakers eager to find more state revenue are again pushing for legalization of the electronic gambling game keno. The House and Hassan tried to write keno into the 2015 budget bill, but it was ultimately removed. The bill up this week would allow the game in bars and restaurants if local governments approve it. It’s predicted to bring the state an additional $8 million to $9 million in annual revenue.

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