, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 19, 2011

Warning: You are about to enter Massachusetts

N.H. lawmakers propose border signs

Some Granite State Republicans want to make sure people know where they're going before they cross the border into the Bay State.

There would be little doubt about what lies ahead if a proposed bill makes it into law.

Six GOP lawmakers want the Department of Transportation to erect signs along every unmarked road leading from New Hampshire into Massachusetts, stating: "Warning: Massachusetts Border 500 Feet."

The signs would be sponsored by businesses that want to help protect their customers from unwittingly breaking the law because they aren't aware what state they are in, several of the sponsors said.

Cross a state line and laws change. That's especially true between New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Laws relating to seat belts, guns, cellphones, motorcycle helmets, fireworks and knives are among those lawmakers want to warn people about. That's not to mention alcohol and tobacco prices and New Hampshire's tax-free shopping.

"It's always a good idea to let people know when they're in New Hampshire because it's the best place to be," said Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry, a bill sponsor. "We're very proud of our state, who we are, what we do. We think it's the best place for people to live, work, raise their families."

The warning signs would let people know they were "no longer in the Live Free or Die state," she said.

Offer people a warning

The signs, according to lead sponsor Rep. Jennifer Coffey, R-Andover, would give people fair warning and perhaps help them avoid being pulled over by Bay State police for activities that became illegal the second they crossed the state border.

"It was brought to my attention a number of roads are not marked and people didn't know they were leaving the state," Coffey said. "If they were not wearing a seat belt or helmet and ended up in Massachusetts getting pulled over, they could subsequently get into trouble and have to pay fines, fees."

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