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Hannah McCarthy for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu delivered his budget address Thursday, outlining his priorities as the state Legislature kicks off its biannual budget writing cycle.

NHPR's newsroom has been reporting on what to expect this budget season — you can find a rundown on that right here — and now, we're offering more context on the things Sununu mentioned in the budget address itself.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Update: Thanks to all who sent in your questions! We received dozens in response, and to allow our team to prepare for Monday's interview, we're no longer soliciting additional questions at this time. 

Make sure to tune in Monday morning (on-air or online) to hear the full conversation with Gov. Chris Sununu — and, potentially, to hear an answer to questions from your fellow New Hampshire residents.

Courtesy/NH Audubon

  There’s a different kind of census happening in New Hampshire this weekend.

Bird enthusiasts across the state will be taking part in the Backyard Winter Bird Survey this coming Saturday and Sunday.

The event is organized each year by the New Hampshire Audubon as a way to keep track of what’s happening with our state’s winter birds.

Becky Suomala is survey coordinator for New Hampshire Audubon. She talked to NHPR’s Morning Edition about the survey.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

A New Hampshire House Committee is recommending against passage of Right-to- Work legislation, which would prohibit unions from forcing non-union members to pay fees to cover the cost of collective bargaining.

Members of the House Labor Committee voted 14-7, with many Republicans joining Democrats in opposition to the often partisan issue.

The bill next heads to the full House, which will take up the measure next week.

Hundreds of opponents filled Representatives Hall in Concord Wednesday, many wearing red t-shirts, to voice their concerns to lawmakers.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

Gov. Chris Sununu helped to announce a new partnership on Wednesday aimed at reducing the stigma of addiction.   

Speak Up New Hampshire is the latest campaign from the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Hampshire. Joined by the Bureau for Drug and Alcohol Services, the Governor’s Commission, and various addiction treatment and prevention organizations, the Partnership is now concentrating on reducing the stigma of addiction in the Granite State.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

A paid family and medical leave bill won’t be voted on this year, despite community and bipartisan support. Representative Mary Gile, the primary sponsor of the bill, is still holding out hope for its future.

The bill, which would establish a paid family and medical leave insurance program in New Hampshire, was given a consolation prize in committee on Tuesday. Legislators voted to retain the bill, meaning that it will move to a subcommittee for further deliberation, and be voted on next year.

NHPR Staff

Governor Chris Sununu delivers his budget proposal to lawmakers this week. It’s the first step in a months-long journey to build a two-year spending plan that will affect nearly every aspect of life in New Hampshire.

To help you prepare for the months of headlines to come, NHPR reporters are highlighting areas of the budget that are likely to generate the most discussion.

 

No one has ever called crafting a state budget easy. There are thousands of decisions and myriad competing interests. And for a new governor, there is also the crunch of getting it all done and printed a mere six weeks after taking office.

But if Gov. Chris Sununu is at all anxious about his final product, he isn’t showing it.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

While Representative Norman Silber, a first-term Republican from Gilford, initially hoped to get rid of same-day voter registration, he now says it seems like more trouble than it’s worth at this time.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Manchester’s public health director says based on last year’s numbers, the city’s drug problem is still serious but efforts to address it are working.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Ottessa Moshfegh says she writes to explore why people do weird things. The daughter of a Croatian mother and Iranian father, she was a serious piano student who knew she didn't want to be a pianist when she felt the call to write - and not just write, but be bold.

We spoke to her before her reading at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass.

Episode Music: Kevin MacLeod, "Trio for Piano, Violin and Viola"
Credit Music: Uncanny Valleys, "Curious or Disconcerting"

SalFalko via Flickr CC

  The debate over whether to bring casino gambling to New Hampshire – and the eventual rejection of any such proposal – has become an annual tradition of sorts at the Statehouse.

Year after year, lawmakers have shot down bills that would legalize casinos, though sometimes by the slimmest of margins; a proposal in 2014 lost in the House by just one vote.

But that history isn’t stopping state Senator Lou D’Allesandro, a longtime casino proponent.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

At first glance, one of the voting bills introduced by Representative David Bates this week would seem to be just a minor change, removing just four words from an existing statute.

The Windham Republican wants to strike part of the state law defining what it means to be a resident or inhabitant, or what it means to claim residency — specifically, the part that extends that definition to include people who intend to remain in New Hampshire "for the indefinite future." Those definitions, in turn, are used to help decide who’s eligible to vote in New Hampshire.

Herry Lanford via Flickr/CC

Repeal, Replace, Repair, Retain. Now that they’re in a position to dismantle Obamacare, some in the GOP appear to be urging restraint. Even President Trump, who joined the Repeal and Replace rallying cry during his campaign, has recently sounded more hesitant, suggesting that a new plan may be in place next year.

Republicans in Congress have meanwhile been contemplating their next steps, said Dan Gorenstein, senior reporter for Marketplace's Health Desk, on  The Exchange.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

New Hampshire’s alcohol fund, which takes a small portion of state liquor sale revenues and puts it towards substance abuse prevention and treatment, has only been fully funded once since it was created in 2000. 

But one Keene lawmaker wants to change that.

Flickr Creative Commons / Brave Sir Robin

  Dartmouth College has announced plans to offer compensation to homeowners impacted by groundwater contamination coming from a site where the New Hampshire Ivy League once dumped animals used in science experiments.

The school's Rennie Farm was used from the 1960s until 1978 to dump carcasses from "tracer experiments," in which scientists used radioactive compounds to see how things moved through life systems. One of the chemicals used in the experiments leaked into the groundwater around the site — raising fears that property values had been impacted.

  Residents in Durham debated whether to declare the community a sanctuary city at a town council meeting Monday night.

Several residents attended the meeting to speak on both sides of the issue.

Those in favor said declaring sanctuary city status would show the town’s support for immigrants in the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive orders on refugees.

But others, including Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig, said it would be a largely symbolic act with potentially dramatic consequences.

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s shaping up to be a busy week for anyone following potential changes to the state’s election laws. At least 17 such bills are on deck for public hearings before House and Senate committees — a majority of which seek to restrict existing rules around voting.

Michael Brindley

There are programs in many New Hampshire communities for those in need, but it’s not always easy for people to get to where those services are available.

Ryan Caron King / New England News Collaborative

New Hampshire’s refugee resettlement agencies are moving fast to bring at least six refugees to the state before February 17th. That’s after a Federal Judge on Friday blocked parts of a Trump Administration executive order, including a 120-day ban on refugee admissions, and an indefinite ban on all immigration from Syria.

joshrogers\nhpr

Four of the last five governors have used judicial selection commissions to help them find and vet possible judges. Governor Sununu says relying on outside advice, from lawyers, businesspeople and law enforcement worked for his predecessors, and helps inspire public confidence in the court system.

"It’s as system that's worked very well, and to make sure you are not just putting your political friends in there.  That's not the way we do things in NH, and so we thought the judicial selection commission was a great mechanism to ensure that type of transparency."

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers face a stack of bills this week ranging election law, drug policy and child protection policies.

NHPR Digital via CartoDB

The state Department of Environmental Services says a residential drinking well in Rochester has tested above the state limit for PFCs, a chemical contaminant.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

It's a rite of passage in New Hampshire -- every year, hundreds of fourth graders make a pilgrimage to Concord for a State House tour. In this audio postcard, students from Woodland Heights Elementary School in Laconia learn the basics of law making -- and how to make their voices heard.

Scroll down for a 360 degree photo of the students in the N.H. Senate chamber.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Standing before a group at the Statehouse plaza Friday afternoon, Rob Spencer, of Concord, recounted how his parents left Austria to escape the Nazis and arrived in America as refugees.

That was part of the reason he showed up wearing a bright gold star pinned to his jacket, just above his heart.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

While President Trump's recent executive order on refugees and immigrants has caused much concern across New Hampshire, there are also plenty of folks in the state who are happy with the new president's first decisive actions. 

Update: Thanks to all who weighed in! More than 400 of you cast your votes, and we'll let have more details soon on the winning question and our plans from here. In the meantime, make sure to keep sending your questions our way here.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees garners strong reaction from around the country, officials in Durham and Portsmouth have begun discussions about potentially declaring themselves sanctuary cities.

Officials in both communities say they’ve heard from residents about the idea, possibly as part of a coordinated campaign.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

To an outsider, Newington is strip malls and the Pease Tradeport. A dark patch opposite all the glowing neon that straddles the Spaulding Turnpike. The small residential section of town sits protected by the brackish waters of Little Bay, seemingly doing its best not to be noticed.

But with its hometown company Sig Sauer winning a $580-million, 10-year contract with the United States Army last month, Newington may find itself with a slightly higher profile.

Philbrick Photography

The Bookshelf from NHPR is New Hampshire Public Radio's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State.  All Things Considered host Peter Biello features authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves. If you have an author or book you think we should profile on The Bookshelf, send us an email. The address is books@nhpr.org.

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