Paige Sutherland

Reporter

Paige Sutherland reports from a political town hall in Londonderry in 2014=5
Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Before joining NHPR, Paige was a freelance writer for Boston's NPR affiliate WBUR, a freelance political reporter for WATD, and a general assignment reporter at the Boston bureau of The Associated Press.

A graduate of the graduate journalism program at Northwestern University, Paige received her undergraduate degree in Philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Gov. Maggie Hassan has signed off on a bill that expands the use of medical marijuana to those with epilepsy, lupus and Parkinson’s disease. Currently about a dozen other illnesses are included under the law.

AP

As promised, Gov. Maggie Hassan has vetoed a bill that would have allowed anyone who can legally own a gun to carry it concealed without a license.

Currently, people need to get a permit from local officials to carry a concealed firearm beneath a coat or in a handbag. Hassan said although she supports the second amendment, she believes eliminating this step would “compromise the public safety of our citizens.”

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

After officially entering the GOP presidential race in his home state of New Jersey on Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie kicked off his campaign with a five-day trip to New Hampshire.

At a town hall event in Sandown Tuesday night, Christie told voters, "I want to be the next president of the United States and I plan to win the next election." And he's relying, in large part, on his personality to help him do that.

JAMES A. KIMBLE/POOL PHOTO

Arthur Collins of Manchester was sentenced to 30-years-to-life in prison after pleading guilty to second degree murder Wednesday at the Rockingham County Superior Court in Brentwood.

The 46-year-old handyman told the judge that he fatally shot George Jodoin 14 years ago while Jodoin was sleeping in bed at home in Auburn.

FILE

A Manchester man will plead guilty Wednesday to the 2001 fatal shooting of a pawn shop owner, making it the first conviction for the state’s Cold Case unit, which opened six years ago.

Arthur Collins, 46, was arrested back in 2012 after the state’s Cold Case unit reopened the case earlier that year. This is one of 104 unsolved homicides the unit was given to look into starting in 2009.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As of Wednesday, New Hampshire is now living under a six-month temporary state spending plan based on the last budget’s funding levels.

That means some agencies that were guaranteed increased funding in the 2016-2017 budget plan will be in flux until a new plan is crafted. That includes additional money for substance abuse treatment, a 10-bed crisis unit at New Hampshire Hospital and increased funds for winter road maintenance.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie didn’t waste much time hitting the campaign trail after declaring his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination Tuesday morning. Just hours after the announcement at his former high school in his home state, Christie met with voters in New Hampshire.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The 2015 size surplus or lapse has been a point of dispute between the Governor and Republican leaders for some time.

In crafting a new two-year state spending plan, GOP budget writers plan on $49 million rolling over July 1 after the 2015 fiscal cycle comes to a close.

But Sheri Rockburn, the Chief Financial Officer of  the Department of Health and Human Services, told the fiscal committee on Friday that the state's largest department expects to overspend its current budget. This means budget writers may lack a surplus they were banking on in their proposal.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Now that Gov. Maggie Hassan has vetoed the Republican-backed state budget, she wants lawmakers to get right to work on a new one. But when a new two-year spending plan will be crafted is the latest matter of debate. 

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

New Hampshire’s Hands Free Law goes into effect in under five days, which will ban drivers from using hand-held electronic devices even at traffic lights or stop signs.

That means no cell phones, GPS, tablets, iPods, etc. unless they are operated by a Bluetooth or other hand free device.

At a press conference Thursday morning, State Police said starting July 1 all officers statewide will be strictly enforcing the law. Those found to abuse the law will be fined $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense and $500 after that.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

With a Republican-controlled House and Senate, the GOP-backed $11.35 billion budget passed both floors Wednesday as expected. The two-year proposal now heads to the Governor, who repeated her promise to veto it once it arrives on her desk.

The House and Senate will be voting on the $11.3 billion state budget proposal on Wednesday. But what is different from most budget cycles – is this time lawmakers will also vote on a temporary spending plan to extend past June 30, which will keep government running if the governor does make good on her promise to veto it. NHPR reporter Paige Sutherland talks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley 

DOJ

Hillsborough County lawmakers have rejected to fund a drug court in Manchester. The 123-member delegation voted 44-39 Tuesday night against a proposal to spend $450,000 of county funds towards implementing a drug court -- 39 delegates were absent during the vote.

Those who voted against the proposal said they support a drug court but just don't want the county to have to pay for it.

DOJ

Dozens of Manchester officials and advocates testified in front of leaders of the Hillsborough County Legislation Delegation Monday morning, urging lawmakers to fund a drug court in the state's largest city.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

After a stretch of long days at the State House and a threat of a veto from the governor, Senate and House budget writers signed off on a two-year spending plan Thursday afternoon.

The $11.3 billion Republican-backed budget passed without any of the significant changes Gov. Maggie Hassan called for earlier that morning.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

After multiple days of long hours at the State House, lawmakers are putting the finishing touches on the two-year state budget.

But Governor Maggie Hassan last night described the plan as “fiscally irresponsible and unbalanced,” and urged budget writers to go back to the drawing board or she will veto it.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Senate and House budget writers say they hope to have a final two-year spending plan by the end of the week, but after two days of meetings, little to nothing has been settled.

So far, all the major sticking points between the two proposals have been put on hold. That's left no room for discussion on issues such as increased funding for mental health, substance abuse, elderly care or developmental disabilities that were all put in the Senate version.

NHPR Staff

From the start of this year's budget negotiations, Republican leaders, as well as many business groups, have stressed that New Hampshire's corporate taxes, among the highest in the country, are driving away business.

Dave Juvet, senior vice president of the state’s Business and Industry Association, says as other states have made efforts to lower their rates, New Hampshire has lost ground.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Gov. Maggie Hassan says she is likely to veto a bill that would require a person to live in the state for at least 30 days before being able to vote.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Carly Fiorina is campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in New Hampshire this week.

On Wednesday Fiorina spent the morning touring the manufacturing company Cirtronics, a business that makes products such as circuit boards and airport screening devices.

The former CEO of Hewlett Packard walked around the facility sounding both like a candidate and a corporate veteran– greeting nearly every employee she with a blend of small talk and business. But what makes this company a handy campaign backdrop for Fiorina – is that its story mirrors her own.

YouTube.com

The state’s highest court has ruled that protesters who went around following parking attendants and feeding meters in Keene cannot be sued for damages.

Tuesday's decision states these so-called "Robin Hooders" are protected under the First Amendment as long as their actions remain nonviolent.

YOUTUBE.COM

The state’s highest court will rule Tuesday on whether the so-called “Robin Hooders” of Keene, who go around feeding expired parking meters, are protected under the First Amendment.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court will decide whether the city has a right to mandate how far protesters can come to parking meter attendants on the job.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has made it his mission to shine a spotlight on drug addiction as he tests his presidential appeal in the early primary state of New Hampshire.

In Franklin Friday, Christie met with local officials and advocates at Webster Place, a 42-bed treatment house, for a candid, personal discussion.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

After a long debate Thursday evening, the Senate decided to table a bill that would decriminalize the possession of marijuana, essentially killing it this session.

Under the bill, those found with half an ounce of marijuana or less would receive a $100 fine rather than be charged with a crime. 

Currently all other New England states have similar laws already on the books. Although a similar measure has passed the House numerous times, it has never passed the Senate.

The Senate has passed a bill giving immunity to those who report drug overdoses in only certain situations.

The measure aims to encourage people to call 911 by removing the fear of facing any jail time.

But the included amendment, introduced by Sen. Molly Kelly,  is to make sure only true witnesses are given this immunity.

“So the language that was taken out was any thought or anyone would think that they would have immunity from domestic violence, rape or murder,” she told her fellow colleagues.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

The Senate has passed a bill 14-10 that would remove a tax provision brought to the legislators’ attention last week by Planet Fitness.

The New Hampshire based gym franchise, who recently decided to go public, told lawmakers that if the provision remained on the books, they would leave the state.

Currently 200 jobs would be lost if the company moved headquarters. The company, which began in Dover in 1992, has more than 950 locations nationwide.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After hours of debate and more than a dozen failed floor amendments, the Senate voted 14-10 along party lines Thursday to pass a $11.3 billion budget. 

The Senate proposal spends $99 million more than the House version but $66 million less than what the Governor proposed. A fact many Democrats were not shy to point out Thursday, including Sen. Lou D’Allesandro of Manchester.

The Senate Finance Committee presented to colleagues its $11.3 billion budget proposal Tuesday at the State House calling it a "conservative but compassionate budget."

But Democratic Senate leaders say the two-year spending plan is not in the best interest of New Hampshire residents, claiming that it is riddled with “budget gimmicks” such as double counting and unspecified budget cuts to key social services.

Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn also criticizes the plan,  claiming it gives business tax breaks to “special friends” such as Planet Fitness.  

Presidential GOP hopefuls are back in New Hampshire again this week including Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Lindsay Graham.

Lindsay Graham will make his first stop in N.H. Tuesday – a day after he officially kicks off his presidential campaign for the Republican ticket in his home state.

The South Carolina Senator is scheduled to drop by MaryAnne’s Diner in Derry as well as attend a house party later that night in Tuftonboro hosted by Beverly Bruce. Graham will also be in Portsmouth and Manchester on Wednesday.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

It will be a busy week at the State House with the Senate having its chance to weigh in on the state budget. 

After weeks of sorting through the numbers, the Senate Finance Committee has sent its $11.3 billion version of the budget to the Senate floor Thursday – where it is expected to pass.

The Republican-backed plan restores funding to developmental services, elderly care and substance abuse treatment that was cut in the House version. It also puts back money in the state’s rainy day fund as well as the renewable energy fund.

Pages