Michael Brindley

Morning Edition producer

Michael came to NHPR in 2012, working as the station's newscast producer/reporter. In 2015, he took on the role of Morning Edition producer. Michael worked for eight years at The Telegraph of Nashua, covering education and working as the metro editor. Michael started his career in journalism working as a reporter for the Derry News. Michael is a New Hampshire native, born and raised in Nashua. He studied journalism at Keene State College.

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  New Hampshire election officials are preparing for the cost of rolling out the next phase of the state’s voter ID law.

Starting with elections this fall, voters without identification must have their pictures taken by a poll worker before casting a ballot.

Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan says his department estimates purchasing a digital camera and printer for each of the state’s 330 polling sites, plus backups, will cost roughly $85,000.

He says the department will also have to hire someone to oversee the new requirements.

Implementation of the state’s Medicaid managed care program continues to stall.

Further delays could lead to a multimillion dollar budget shortfall in the state’s largest department.

Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Nick Toumpas projects a $9 million shortfall in his budget for the rest of this fiscal year.

As he explained to members of the House Finance Committee Thursday, that’s because savings from the managed care program were assumed in the department’s budget.

Courtesy of New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies

A study released this week finds that in the past several years, less state money has gone to cities and towns.  

Chris jensen for NHPR

  U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte says she is pleased the Pentagon is lifting its ban on women serving in combat roles.

Ayotte, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says the announcement "reflects the increasing role that female service members play in securing our country.”

The decision overturns a rule enacted in 1994 by the Pentagon that kept women from serving in combat roles.

Ayotte says she has seen firsthand servicemen and women working together in a range of dangerous operations.

A 29-year-old Shelburne man has died after injuring himself in a snowmobile crash and spending Tuesday night in the bitter cold.

  Opponents of a bill that would increase New Hampshire’s beer tax told lawmakers Wednesday that the move would harm an industry vital to the state’s economy.

New Hampshire-based beer manufacturers and industry advocates urged members of the House Ways and Means committee to reject the proposal. The bill would increase the tax on a gallon of beer at the wholesale level from 30 cents to 40 cents.

Michael Brindley / NHPR

  Students and staff at Saint Anselm College gathered Monday to watch President Barack Obama take the oath of office.

When asked what should be the top priority on Obama’s agenda for his second term, the students were not short on opinions.

“He really needs to get serious about deficit reduction.”

“Probably education I think. All college students are really concerned.”

“I’d really like to see him tackle climate change legislation.”

Red, white and blue streamers were strung across the student center, as big-screen TVs carried the president’s speech.

A Republican state lawmaker want to make passing a drug test a requirement for receiving welfare benefits.

Although it faces near-certain death with a Democratic majority in the House, State Representative Jeanine Notter hopes her bill at least starts a conversation on welfare reform.  

Notter is co-sponsoring legislation requiring drug testing for applicants of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. 

J. Ronald Lee / Flickr Creative Commons

 

  A study finds excessive alcohol consumption is costing the state just over $1.1 billion annually due to factors such as lost worker productivity and medical costs.

The statewide nonprofit advocacy group New Futures put together the study, which also contains several policy recommendations.

Chief among them is incorporating alcohol treatment into Medicaid expansion. But Tricia Lucas with New Futures says that is dependent on lawmakers moving forward with expansion, something they will consider this session.

courtesy University of New Hampshire

  University System of New Hampshire officials are making their pitch to restore cuts made in the last state budget that reduced support for public higher education nearly in half.

State university system Chancellor Ed MacKay relied on a timely economic catch phrase to describe the impact budget cuts have had on public higher education.

“You talk about a fiscal cliff; I think there’s no better depiction of a fiscal cliff than what we experienced in the current biennium.”

MacKay was speaking to members of the House Finance committee on Thursday.

Ryan Lessard, NHPR

A large turnout to a gun show in Manchester last weekend led to the state setting another high for background checks for handgun sales in a single day.

New Hampshire State Police conducted 611 background checks for handgun sales on Saturday.

Sgt. Sean Haggerty says that’s the most ever for a single day in New Hampshire. Saturday was the first day of a weekend gun show in Manchester.

On Sunday, state police responded to 233 requests for background checks.

At the same gun show last year, there were only 283 background checks on the first day.

A University of New Hampshire study finds that while poverty rates stabilized after the recession, recipients of the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, continued to rise.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Carsey Institute.

In 2011, 13 percent of American households relied on SNAP, a program formerly known as food stamps. That’s compared to roughly 8 percent in 2007.

Michael Brindley, NHPR

  U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen wants to lift the Congressional ban on earmarks, imposed under Republican leadership in 2010.

Shaheen says earmarks, often criticized as so-called pork spending, were a useful way for lawmakers to target money to projects in their home states.

When they were in effect, Shaheen says taxpayers could find information online about who was requesting the money and where it was going. Now, she says under the ban those decisions about spending are left to the administration.

  The head of the New Hampshire Community College System says schools could lower tuition if lawmakers can boost funding in the next two-year budget.

Chancellor Ross Gittell says if the state provides another $3 million beyond restoring cuts made in the last budget, that money would be used to reduce tuition by an average of 5 percent.

At a minimum, Gittell is urging lawmakers to restore the 20 percent cut in funding to the community college system.

Michael Brindley, NHPR

 At the New Hampshire Food Bank in Manchester, inventory is high and spirits are up. Just ask volunteer Bob Lodico.

Sam Evans-Brown

  A Democratic state lawmaker wants to repeal New Hampshire’s so-called Stand Your Ground law.

State Representative Stephen Shurtleff says the law goes too far in giving individuals the right to use deadly force in a public place.

Shurtleff has filed legislation to repeal Stand Your Ground in New Hampshire. The law allows people to use deadly force anywhere they have a right to be if they feel their lives are in danger.

Flikr Creative Commons / velkr0

There has been a national debate over gun control since the school massacre in Newtown, Conn. nearly a month ago.

President Barack Obama has backed a proposal to reinstate a federal ban on assault weapons.

The Exchange tackled the gun control debate on Friday morning's show. It was the final installment of a three-day series looking at possible lessons from Newtown.

State Rep. J.R. Hoell, a Dunbarton Republican and State Rep. Stephen Shurtleff, a Penacook Democrat, took part in the discussion.

If you’re a Comcast cable subscriber, expect to see an increase in your next bill.

Comcast subscribers will see an average increase of 1.6 percent in their bills, starting with their next billing period.

The higher rates go into effect January 22.

Different services will see different rates of increases.

Comcast spokesman Marc Goodman says investments in new technology and infrastructure required the increase.

A State Senator is withdrawing plans for legislation that would amend the constitution to alter New Hampshire’s education funding formula.

State Senator Nancy Stiles says lawmakers already have enough on their plates this session, starting with crafting a two-year budget.

That’s part of the reason she is postponing for a year a proposal to change the state constitution to allow for targeted aid to needy school districts.

Stiles says putting the issue off until the 2014 session also gives lawmakers time to craft the right amendment.

Michael Brindley, NHPR

Senator Kelly Ayotte says Congress needs to act now to cut spending or it will face another last-minute decision at the end of February.

“We want to fund our priorities, but there’s some things we can’t afford, programs that have been going on that maybe don’t work anymore. We really have to go through line by line and get that done.”

The deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff pushed the deadline for across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration to March 1.

AP PHOTO/NICOLE TUNG, FREEJAMESFOLEY.ORG

Family members of a freelance journalist from New Hampshire kidnapped in Syria say they are concerned about the lack of information from his captors.

During an appearance on NBC’s The Today Show on Tuesday, Diane Foley, journalist James Foley’s mother, says unlike the last time her son was kidnapped, the family has few details.

Foley, who is from Rochester, was held captive for more than a month in Libya in 2011.

New Hampshire’s two Senators have differing reactions to President Obama’s nomination of Republican Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense.

While praising Senator Hagel’s service in Vietnam, Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte says she has concerns about positions he has taken during his time in Congress.

In a statement, Ayotte pledged to "vigorously question" Hagel on his long-standing opposition to increased sanctions against Iran.

Ayotte says she will also ask Hagel about his views regarding Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as Israel.

Michael Brindley, NHPR

If you’re one of the approximately 5,500 voters who didn’t show an ID at the polls in November, you’ve got mail.

You’ve likely already received a letter from Secretary of State Bill Gardner explaining that someone using your name cast a ballot on Nov. 6. Along with the letter is a small postcard, with postage already paid, that you must sign and send back confirming it was you who voted.

All of this is required by the state’s new voter ID law.

And Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan says his office estimates each mailing cost roughly $3.

New Hampshire isn’t seeing the same kind of economic growth following the recent recession as it has in the past.  And as the governor and lawmakers begin to debate the next two year budget, those forecasted numbers become especially important. 

Lawmakers are beginning this week with an overlook of the state’s economy.  A big part of that economic picture comes from last month’s report by the New England Economic Partnership. 

NHPR

Revenues have fallen millions of dollars short of what lawmakers projected when they lowered the tax on cigarettes by 10 cents two years ago. The theory was lowering the tax would boost sales.

Assuming revenues continue to miss the mark, a sunset provision will kick in and the tax will automatically be reinstated on July 1.

Appearing on NHPR’s The Exchange on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley says Republicans in the Senate are not likely to fight that measure.

Image courtesy of Twitter

An opinion from Attorney General Michael Delaney issued Monday concludes a Nashua woman is ineligible to run for office because of her criminal history.

As a result of the opinion, Stacie Laughton says she plans to withdraw her candidacy for special election to fill the vacant seat representing Hillsborough County District 31.

Voters elected Laughton to the seat in November, but she stepped down after reports surfaced about past felony convictions.

Laughton later reconsidered and filed paperwork last week to run as a candidate in the special election.

Jason Meserve, NHPR

Representative Frank Guinta was the only member of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation to vote against the last-minute deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

Starting  Jan. 1, driving under the influence of prescription drugs, over the counter medications or any other chemical substances is a crime in New Hampshire.

Law enforcement officials say the change will help them prosecute drivers impaired by drugs not previously covered under state law.  Lawmakers expanded the state’s driving under the influence law in 2012 and Gov. Lynch signed it into law last June.

A New Hampshire lawmaker wants to make it a requirement for those purchasing firearms to have to go through safety training first.

State representative Cynthia Sweeney filed her request for the legislation prior to the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

But Sweeney, a Charlestown Democrat, says the tragedy makes the need for training those who own firearms more pressing.

Sweeney’s legislation would make it a requirement for anyone purchasing or acquiring a firearm to attend a gun safety course.

A fish and game refuge has been one of the few places in the state where carrying a firearm remained illegal.

But on Jan. 1, 2013, that changes.

Legislation passed earlier this year and signed into law by Governor John Lynch in June legalizes the carrying of a firearm, concealed or exposed, in a fish and game refuge.

But there’s a provision making it a misdemeanor to discharge the firearm for the purposes of hunting.

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