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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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.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Officials from the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services are asking Senate budget writers to restore funding that was cut in the House proposal.

The $11.2 billion spending plan passed in April significantly under or level funded services for substance abuse, developmental disabilities and seniors.  

Courtesy of Mt. Washington

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has upheld a lower court's ruling that an out-of-state hiker was responsible for his 2012 rescue. 

 Then 59-year-old Edward Bacon of Michigan will now have to pay the state more than $9,100.

POOL

The state’s highest court has ruled that the 2006 killing of a Manchester police officer by Michael Addison is punishable by death.  

AP/FILE

 The state’s highest court will weigh in Thursday on whether Michael Addison’s death sentence is considered fair. This is the first time the N.H. Supreme Court has ever ruled on such an issue.

The court opinion looks into whether the death penalty sentence given to Addison is out of line based on similar cases nationwide.

Michael Addison, who was convicted in the 2006 killing of Manchester police officer Michael Briggs,  is the only one on death row in the state. The last person to be executed was more than 75 years ago.

Courtesy of Fish and Game

The New Hampshire Supreme Court is set to issue its ruling on whether an out-of-state hiker should have to pay for his rescue back in 2012.

Earlier this year, a Concord district court judge agreed with Fish and Game that Edward Bacon of Michigan acted negligently after he set out on a five-day solo hike in the White Mountains with an artificial hip that he had previously dislocated multiple times.

The current bill rings in at more than $9,100.

If the court rules against Bacon, he says he plans to never hike in New Hampshire again.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

The New Hampshire House has again rejected casino gambling, killing the bill by a vote of 208 to 156.

On Wednesday, more than a dozen lawmakers spoke for or against the measure – many others left the chamber saying “they have heard this all before.”

CREDIT 22860 / FLICKR/CC

A bill repealing New Hampshire’s long-standing law requiring a concealed firearms permit was repealed by the House 212 to 150 on Wednesday.

In a statement Governor Maggie Hassan said before the vote that she would veto the bill, adding that the permitting system allows for local law enforcement to better keep the community safe.

But Republican John Tholl of Whitefield, a former state police officer, told his colleagues these public safety concerns are overblown.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont will be jumping into the Democratic race for president, according to Vermont Public Radio.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Republican Carly Fiorina stopped in Concord for the first leg of her four-day campaign tour in the Granite State. 

On Tuesday the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard mingled with state representatives and business leaders at The Barley House in downtown Concord. 

Fiorina has never held political office and lost a bid for a U.S. Senate seat in California by more than 10 points in 2010, but says her executive background makes her a strong candidate.

Courtesy of VPR

New Hampshire veterans may not have to travel so far to receive services.

That’s after the Department of Veterans Affairs changed its policy to driving distance rather than straight line distance when calculating eligibility for its choice program.

Director of the medical center Deborah Amdur said about 800 more Granite Staters will now be able to get care in their community on the V.A. ‘s dime. The policy change, which effects anyone who lives 20 miles or more from a V.A. hospital, will take effect immediately. 

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