Policy Research Shop Testimony: February 18, 2016

PRS Students Testify on the Possible Creation of a Habitual Drug Dealer Registry in the NH House Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety

On Thursday, February 18, 2016, Ray Lu ’18, Jay Raju ’18, and Rachel Scholz-Bright ’18, students from The Class of 1964 Policy Research Shop of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College, traveled to Concord to present their research findings to the New Hampshire House of Representatives Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, chaired by Rep. John Tholl.  The students presented their policy brief, “Establishing a Drug Dealer Registry in New Hampshire,” while testifying on HB1603, sponsored by Rep. James Belanger.  The bill would establish a habitual drug dealer registry in New Hampshire.  The students presented to the committee and responded to questions from the committee members. 

The policy brief and testimony focused on the rationale for the registry, comparisons with drug registries in other states, projections for the size of the proposed registry, assessments of its possible relationships to law enforcement investigation of drug dealers, assessments of its possible deterrent effects, and estimates of its cost and staffing needs.  The students found that the proposed registry would likely include less than 500 individuals each year, might help drug investigations in larger cities but was less likely to help investigations in smaller towns, would likely have little deterrent effect, and would potentially cost less and require less staffing than initially estimated. 

Given New Hampshire’s ongoing drug crisis, there was intense interest in and debate on the proposed registry, with representatives from the Department of Safety, Office of the Attorney General, American Civil Liberties Union, various advocacy organizations, along with interested citizens, offering testimony following the students during the 2.5 hour hearing. 

In addition to their work in the Rockefeller Center’s Policy Research Shop, Ray Lu and Rachel Scholz-Bright also served as Rockefeller Center First-Year Fellows in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2015.