If you’ve been to a farmers’ market, you’ve probably noticed the inspection sticker on the farmer’s scale — it ensures the accurate weight of what we’re paying for. Now imagine what happens when the scales are off by a measure or two, and what’s being weighed is by the truckload. Whether a small handful of potatoes or a large load of grain, farmer and consumer alike lose when scales are out of balance.
Independent third party inspection of weighing and measuring devices used in commerce — this includes scales of all sizes and meters for fuel — is conducted through the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food, and is under immediate threat of being privatized with the passage of SB157. With the resulting loss of licensing fees, SB157 will also reduce departmental resources for monitoring and enforcement. The House will vote on this bill on Wednesday, April 27.
Now is the time to call or email all state representatives and ask them to vote NO on SB157, the bill that would give authority to private technicians to place seals on scales and meters.
To find and contact your NH state senator: www.gencourt.state.nh.us/senate/
At the same time, the House budget, HB1, eliminates the three remaining weights and measures inspectors from the budget of the Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food — even though these positions are self-supported by inspection fees charged the businesses that own the devices. So eliminating the inspectors does not save money in the budget — but it is consistent with the SB157 bill to give private service technicians authority to inspect scales and meters.
This privatized inspection plan would put one group of businesses in charge of regulating other businesses, a situation full of conflicts of interest. In some cases, businesses such as fuel oil dealers, gas stations, or stores would be self-inspecting. The Senate is now working on the budget. Now is the time for state senators to hear from constituents about restoring the weights and measures inspectors to the Department of Agriculture’s budget.
This ‘privatization’ scheme will really affect farmers who purchase grain, silage, fertilizer, lime, sand, etc. by weight. Not to mention fuel purchases. Towns will also pay a steep price without knowing it, with all their sand, gravel, asphalt, road salt, and solid waste transactions that are weighed on the vehicle scales that the Department of Agriculture inspectors found failed inspection at a rate of 36%.
One out of three gas and diesel pumps tested were shorting the customer. People say that NH had private inspectors for 20 years “and it worked well.” It did not work well, as these test results from the first year that we reinstated state inspection demonstrates. Report of the first year of the state inspection program: damf-wm-inspection-program-report-3-15-11.htm
Other documents presented to the legislative committees reviewing SB157 include:
• Letter to Sen. Carson from the National Conference of Weights & Measures:
• Letter from the Hanover-Lebanon Co-op Stores:
• The Department of Agriculture’s testimony to the House committee that just voted SB157 Ought To Pass by a vote of 11-3:
See also this Nashua Telegraph article on the attempt to eliminate state weights and measures inspection: “Checks show not all’s square at pumps, scales”