Paige Sutherland

Southern New Hampshire 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.

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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.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Texas Senator Ted Cruz took a stroll through downtown Concord during his trip to New Hampshire this Friday. 

Cruz first made a stop at the Republican Majority Caucus where he met State Rep. Bill O’Brien and Former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith  – both have already decided to get behind Cruz in the GOP presidential race.

Cruz then made his way down Main Street greeting local residents.  

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan says a lot of work needs to be done to get the two-year state budget in place by June 30 because, as she sees it, the math in the Senate Finance plan just doesn't add up. 

The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday approved along party lines its $11.3 billion state spending plan. The 2-year budget now heads to the Senate floor next Thursday.

The Senate proposal is a $99 million increase over the House budget but $66 million less than what the Governor proposed.

The plan increases funding cut in the House version for social services including substance abuse treatment, elderly care and developmental services.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

 

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is in New Hampshire for the first time since kicking off his presidential campaign Tuesday in Burlington. And despite the heat, dozens of people came out to show their support.

New Hampshire voters packed the small space of the New England College campus in Concord – waving Bernie Sanders signs in an attempt to stay cool while they waited for the Senator to arrive.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

One day after Planet Fitness announced it was going public, the New Hampshire-based gym tells legislators it might not be able to afford to stay in the state.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley introduced a measure Wednesday hoping to keep the company here, by exempting businesses from being taxed on the share they sell to a corporate partner once they go public.

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

AP

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is back in New Hampshire for the eleventh time this year.

That is after the Democratic presidential candidate officially kicked off his campaign Tuesday in Burlington, Vt. with free ice cream and live music.

Sanders is scheduled to host a town hall meeting Wednesday afternoon in Concord followed by visits in Epping and Portsmouth.

The registered Independent says his top priorities are reining in Wall Street banks, reducing college debt and increasing the minimum wage.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

The Senate Finance Committee is finalizing its version of the budget this week.

So far the Senate budget plan spends roughly $65 million dollars less than what the Governor proposed but $93 million more than what passed in the House last month.

That is after the Ways and Means Committee estimated $118 million more revenue over the next biennium than what the House had to work with.

The current plan restores funding cut in the House version including money for developmental disability services, elderly care and substance abuse treatment.

Allegra Boverman/NHPR

New Hampshire Senate budget writers have voted along party lines to cut business taxes starting in 2017. 

Currently the state’s Business Profit Tax (BPT) stands at 8.5 % and the Business Enterprise Tax (BET) at .75 %. Together the two taxes make up the largest source of state revenues.

Under this measure those would drop every year until 2019 when the BPT would be 7.9 % and the BET would be .675 %. These cuts were originally intended to take effect starting in 2016.

Senate budget writers have rejected a $250,000 annual boost in funding for Crotched Mountain,  a rehab center in Greenfield, N.H.

The Governor included the funding in her budget. Currently, 40 people are being treated at Crotched Mountain. 

Senate Finance Chair Jeanie Forrester told her colleagues Tuesday the state’s Health and Human Commissioner did not support the additional funding, adding that it would be cheaper for the state if residents accessed these services elsewhere.

This week Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and businesswoman Carly Fiorina are all planning to return to the Granite State.

On Tuesday morning Fiorina, who was the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, will be in Nashua for a leadership forum at Rivier University. Fiorina is the only woman in the GOP race.

Sanders,  is returning to New Hampshire for the 11th time this year. Sanders will be headlining a town meeting in Concord Wednesday afternoon – the day after his official campaign kickoff event in Burlington, Vt.

A Concord man who sent out a hoax email claiming the Republican candidate had dropped out of an upcoming election will face felony charges.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The Senate Capital Budget Committee voted along party lines on Thursday to not spend $4 million to study building a commuter rail from Boston to New Hampshire.

Democrats proposed the measure, which Governor Maggie Hassan included the money in her state budget, saying a rail would boost the state’s economy.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

On Wednesday the Senate Finance Committee restored millions of dollars for elderly services, the developmentally disabled and substance abuse treatment that was cut by the House.

This includes $23 million for developmental services, $2.9 million for substance abuse treatment and $4 million for emergency shelters. However, these numbers are less than what the Governor proposed in her version. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan is questioning whether Congressman Frank Guinta can still do his job after settling with the Federal Elections Commission over illegal campaign donations. 

Last week Guinta agreed to pay back the more than $355,000 he used from his parents to fund his 2010 campaign. He must also pay a $15,000 fine.

Hassan joins  House Speaker Shawn Jasper, Senate President Chuck Morse and U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte in questioning Guinta’s ability to legislate.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan has signed into law a bill that allows the state to back $28 million in bonds to help pay for the redevelopment of the Balsams.

The resort closed in 2011.  And Hassan says re-opening it is worth the state’s investment.

“It is so important that we find a way to redevelop the Balsams it has been such an anchor for the economy up there, and that of course has a ripple effect for the whole state."

The state-backed bond will help Maine businessman Les Otten fund the $143 million he estimates is needed to reopen the Dixville Notch resort.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Senate budget writers are trying to make good on a promise to fully restore dedicated funds aimed to promote renewable energy.

Last week Senate budget writers fully restored the $50 million the House raided from the renewable energy fund but Wednesday voted to redirect $1.5 million towards homeland security.

Democrat Hosmer of Laconia said the move contradicts the Senate’s stated position on dedicated funds.  

FILE

Robert Breest has been locked up since 1973 for the killing of 18-year-old Susan Randall of Manchester.

Since then the 77-year-old Massachusetts carpenter has always maintained his innocence.

During the trial 42 years ago, the state argued Breest picked up Randall when she was hitchhiking late one night in Manchester, brutally beat her, and then dumped her body into the Merrimack River in Concord.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte sat down with medical staff and first responders at the Catholic Medical Center in Manchester on Monday to discuss the growing number of infants being exposed to heroin and other opioids in the womb.

Ayotte announced she is co-sponsoring legislation along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) to address this issue. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

In the wake of recent developments around Federal Election Commission rules, Senator Kelly Ayotte is calling on Representative Frank Guinta to step down.

Ayotte says she spoke with Guinta over the weekend, telling him, "if she was in his position she would resign."

Guinta has been fined $15,000 and must pay back the more than $355,000  his parents contributed to his 2010 campaign.

N.H. Senate President Chuck Morse along with N.H. House Speaker Shawn Jasper are also calling for his resignation. 

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

For 32-year-old Melissa Vierra, paying the bills with two kids - 19 months and 10 -  is an equation that seems to never add up.

“If I sat down and figured out my monthly bills, just the straight you know rent, car payment, car insurance, not talking groceries, gas, clothes toiletries, I was about 500 dollars short every month,” she said.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A bill allowing doctors to prescribe the overdose reversal drug Narcan may soon become law after the Senate passed the measure on Thursday.

If Governor Maggie Hassan signs off on the legislation– doctors across the state will be able to put Narcan in the hands of family, friends and users. Currently first responders and law enforcement are allowed to administer it.

The Governor would not say if she would back the bill but said she will closely review it.

Republican Andy Sanborn of Bedford says this bill is about saving lives.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire House has again voted to make fetal homicide a crime.

Lawmakers voted 193-159 on Wednesday to amend the Senate’s version, which applies the law to fetuses which have reached the stage of viability.  

Paige Sutherland / NHPR

Ohio Governor John Kasich is back in New Hampshire for his third trip so far this year.

The presidential hopeful has not officially entered the GOP race and says that decision hangs on whether he can raise enough money, but would not specify how much that was.

On Wednesday Kasich mingled with New Hampshire lawmakers at The Barley House in Concord where he touted his record for small business issues and taxes, but ducked invitations from lawmakers to bash other candidates in the race such as Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Hundreds of New Hampshire residents turned out Tuesday to weigh in on the State budget, with more than 400 people signed up to testify during the hearing.

While waiting their turn activists filled the chamber and hallways wearing shirts that read  “addiction kills” or printed stickers with “people can’t wait.”The hearing went well into the night with 30 people left to speak around 11 p.m.

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