Friday on the Exchange, a news roundup. We’ll look at some of the big happenings in the statehouse over the past week. These include votes on arming teachers, increasing the speed limit on I93, and legalizing marijuana. We’ll find out what happened and also get a quick overview of some of the big themes from town meetings this year.
City Councilors in Concord are considering more restrictive laws about panhandling. Local police are seeing an increased amount of people asking for money and some residents are saying the panhandlers can be aggressive in their approach. But not everyone is on board- some suggest that this ordinance could be a violation of their First amendment rights and that the real focus should be getting the poor and homeless employed and back on their feet. We'll look at this debate.
On Thursday, a House Committee with once again look at a bill for a 15 cent increase in New Hampshire's gas tax. Supporters say it's high time, the tax hasn't been raised in more than 2 decades and NH's roads and bridges are in serious need of repair. Opponents however say that this amounts to a 1 billion dollar tax on Granite Staters at a time when the state is recovery slowly from the recession. We'll hear from both sides of this debate.
A new report from the NH Center for Public Policy Studies shows that one of the biggest challenges facing cities and towns in the Granite State is reductions in state aid, while the demand for public services remains high. This is even more amplified during our town meeting season as residents sort out what they can truly afford. But some lawmakers argue that local control means local responsibility for funding these services. We'll explore the arguments around this debate.
Today we sit down with New Hampshire's Health and Human Services Commissioner, Nick Toumpas. After many years of budget cutting, Toumpas may see some funds restored to his budget... from mental health to children in need of services. Also, he's working on figuring put what the Affordable Care Act could mean for his department, with the 2014 deadline of full-implementation looming. We'll talk to him about that and take your calls and emails as well.
Next week on the Exchange, we begin with Health and Human Services Commissioner, Nick Toumpas and looking at the latest issues he's working on from Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act to improving mental health services in the state. Then, as we enter town meeting season, we look at a recent report showing the impact of 'downshifting' of cost from state, to country to town. And New Hampshire fuels up over a debate on the Gas Tax.
A lot of news is happening in New Hampshire this week. At the Statehouse there have been votes on if New Hampshire should expand gambling, also a tussle on the gas tax and the House is looking to increase the cigarette tax. Also members of the House Finance Committee are about to hit the road to get the reaction of Granite Staters on the Governor's budget and New Hampshire lost a entrepreneur and philanthropist this week, Manchester's May Gruber. We'll talk about the biggest stories this week in New Hampshire with a roundtable of reporters.
A New Hampshire House Committee votes tomorrow morning on a bill allowing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. If the bill becomes law, it would make New Hampshire the last New England state to allow medical marijuana. Supporters say that, for some patients, it's the only hope and that New Hampshire needs to catch up with the rest of the region. But concerns of medical marijuana remain, like how to ensure it's only used by truly needy patients and fears that this is just the first step to legalizing pot.
For our special March Fund Drive kick-off, we bring you an extra program with our "Book Buffs." Two New Hampshire independent booksellers talk about the latest literary offerings, including some from New England authors. We’ll hear what’s coming this spring from the publishing world. We’ll also take your suggestions on what new fiction is tops on your list.
Catholic cardinals from around the world are meeting now, as the process of choosing a new leader gets underway at a time of tremendous upheaval for their church. We’ll find out what religious leaders and others in the Granite state are saying about this and what they think it means for the future.
More than a year ago, Congress and the President agreed to these spending cuts, said to be so unpleasant they’d force leaders to craft a better deficit reduction plan. Now, with the cuts set to begin, some predict a major hit to our economy but others believe that fear is exaggerated. We’ll get the latest and reaction in the Granite State.
Next week on The Exchange, we begin with frustration over sequestration, we’ll catch up on the latest news and what it means for the Granite State. Then, a roundtable of Granite State Catholics reflect on changes at the Vatican. The Exchange’s “Book Buffs” join us, our independent booksellers for a special program during our March fund-drive. And later, gossip over the Gas Tax, and whether New Hampshire should raise it or not, to pay for highway, road and bridge repair. Join us all next week for the Exchange every morning live at 9/and again at 8 p m here on NHPR!
New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan joins us. We’ll cover some of the major proposals in her new budget, especially the inclusion of eighty-million dollars in revenue from a casino that hasn’t been approved yet. We’ll also talk about her first two months in office; from relations with the legislature to how much of her agenda she thinks she’ll be able to accomplish and we'll take your calls as well.
Governor Maggie Hassan - Governor of New Hampshire
Although the death of Osama bin Laden was a major blow to the terrorist group, al Qaeda, it has found new life in Africa, where groups aligned with its goals and terrorist methods have created what NATO is calling an arc of instability stretching from West African into continent's Horn. We’ll talk with experts on this development and find out what’s at stake for the U.S.
After more than three decades working in higher public education, New Hampshire University System Chancellor Ed Mckay is stepping down this week. We’re talking to him about challenge during his term, as well as what awaits his successor.
Ed MacKay - Chancellor of the University System of New Hampshire. Previously, he served in the office for 30 years - as vice chancellor, treasurer, and in senior capacities in budgeting and financial planning.