Weekly N.H. News Roundup: May 26, 2017

May 25, 2017

Senate Republicans are confident their state budget plan will clear the full Senate. A  full-day kindergarten proposal is tied to the lottery game KENO.  St. Paul’s School releases a report detailing allegations of sexual assault by faculty and staff decades ago. And Fish & Game Officials are flooded with calls to save trouble-making bears in Hanover.


GUESTS:

  • Dan Barrick - NHPR News Director
  • Kevin Landrigan - Senior Reporter at the New Hampshire Union Leader
  • Dean Spiliotes - civic scholar in the School of Arts and Sciences at SNHU and author of the website NH Political Capital

FROM TODAY'S DISCUSSION:

The Bear Saga:

On Thursday, Governor Sununu jumps into the bear debate, halting plans to euthanize a family of bears that had been wandering around Hanover neighborhoods eating trash and even entering a home

Sununu sounded a somewhat milder note about a day later; on Friday morning, NHPR received this emailed statement from the Governor's office.

Governor Sununu shares the concerns of many of New Hampshire's citizens when it comes to finding a safe and humane way to remove the threat these bears present. Governor Sununu has spoken to Fish and Game and they are working on seeing what alternatives are available to resolve the situation.

Not long afterwards, Fish and Game announced the bears would be trapped and released in northern New Hampshire -- an apparent victory for the thousands who signed a petition objecting to killing the bears. Also a seeming victory for the bears. 

Budget Battles:

Republican leadership is confident the state budget will clear the full senate. That vote is next week.

KEVIN LANDRIGAN: A historic failure of the House to pass a budget has really required this Republican Governor and this Republican Senate President to be on the same page as much as possible because they’re going to have to convince the House to go along.

There was some disagreement over revenue estimates among Republicans but that's perhaps not all that surprising.

DEAN SPILIOTES: When you have unified control of the government, you start to see internal factions and fractures, so it’s not surprising to see this kind of disagreement among Republicans. The goal is to figure it out before you go forward for the good of the party but it’s very common for unified government to get bogged down because people of the party figure, okay, we have control of the government, this is our chance to move our agenda,  whether you're a Republican or Democrat, and there’s a lot of disagreement about how to do that. It’s much easier many times to be in the opposition.

Still, those internal differences have not been overly divisive in the senate. 

DAN BARRICK:  But the process in the Senate Finance Committee over the last few weeks has been remarkably smooth. The people with their hands on the wheel – Senators Chuck Morse, Jeb Bradley, and on the Democratic side Lou D’Allesandro – have been in those seats for years and years and understand the process, understand the budget, understand the politics. 

Kindergarten and Keno

Full-day kindergarten – a top priority of Governor Sununu’s –was not in the senate budget. But there’s been some movement on it in the House.

LANDRIGAN: Keno is a subject that the House in the last several sessions has supported. And it passed the House finance committee 26 to 0,  being attached to this kindergarten bill; it included support from some folks who have never supported Keno before. I think it indicates a strong desire on the part of House budget writers to say to the Senate writers, we’ve got something you want in a separate bill, so why can’t we negotiate some of the other state budget policies in a conference committee? Because to be sure kindergarten looks like it’s going to go to a conference committee.  

St. Paul's School Admits Abuse By Former Faculty.

The allegations range from "boundary violations" to rape and occurred  between 1948 and 1988 according to an independent investigation commissioned by the boarding school. 

BARRICK: The Concord police department has voiced some skepticism about the school’s reporting, including the school's claim that there’s been no credible instances of staff or faculty sexual misconduct since the year 2000. The local police have also been going through their own criminal reports to see how they line up with the school’s accounting of some of these instances. 

A Mass. lawyer says more victims are likely to come forward. 

Other top stories of the week covered on Roundup:  

  • House Democratic leader raises concerns about Secretary of State Gardner's appointment to President Trump's election integrity commission. 
  • Story sparks firestorm of criticism of N.H. freelancer.
  • Former NH Senate candidate Scott Brown is going to New Zealand.