NH Legislature

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: January 11, 2018

Jan 11, 2018
Allegra Boverman

It’s a special edition of the Weekly New Hampshire News Roundup - recorded in front of a live audience at The Barley House in Concord.  The legislature tackles a lengthy, snow-delayed slate of bills including marijuana legalization, family medical leave and a possible state department of veterans affairs. Plus a new transitional housing unit signals a new approach to mental health care in N.H.  

This show was taped Thursday, January 11, 2018.


Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The legislature is debating whether utilities should tell customers how much of their electric bills go toward renewable energy. 

Monthly energy bills already show how much each customer pays for things like transmission. Now, Rep. Michael Harrington is proposing adding a line, showing the cost per ratepayer of the Renewable Portfolio Standard, or RPS.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted Tuesday morning in favor of legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

N.H. Banking Examiner Todd Wells says financial institutions may be even less likely to work with marijuana businesses after the federal government signaled a tougher stand on legalization.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions canceled an Obama-era memo last week that federal authorities would not pursue states that legalize pot for recreational or medical purposes.

The move comes as a New Hampshire commission is studying marijuana legalization. Wells referenced the AG's action during a commission meeting today.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

State lawmakers on Wednesday put off voting on the future of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in New Hampshire.

They’d planned to consider two opposing bills about the program known as RGGI during their first session day of 2018.

One would have repealed the cap and trade program in New Hampshire entirely. Similar proposals have failed in the past.

The other bill would redirect the rebate money that residential energy users currently get from RGGI, and put it toward more energy efficiency projects in schools and low-income areas.

Wikimedia Commons

A bill that would strengthen rules to prevent childhood lead poisoning is one step closer to the governor’s desk.

The New Hampshire House passed the proposal by a wide margin on the first session day of the year Wednesday.

The bill, which was a holdover from last year, mandates lead testing for all New Hampshire kids aged 1 and 2, though parents can opt out.

It also lowers the blood-lead level at which the state will intervene, and creates a loan fund to help landlords deal with lead paint issues.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire's Senate President Chuck Morse says work on Medicaid expansion in 2018 will be a balancing act that weighs federal requirements, fiscal impact on the state, and critical services.

“In any case we have to make sure that we protect the New Hampshire taxpayers,” he says.

It's clear that Medicaid remains a top priority for both Republicans and Democrats on the opening day of the legislative session Wednesday.

The common ground is agreement that Medicaid expansion is playing a role in helping the state combat the opioid crisis.

New Hampshire Lawmakers Look Ahead To A New Year

Jan 1, 2018
NHPR FLickr

We hear from State House and Senate leaders about their priorities for 2018.  Among them: Medicaid expansion, voting rules, water contamination, and school choice.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The nine states of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, including New Hampshire, have set a new, more ambitious goal for reducing carbon emissions by 2030.

They want to cut pollution by 30 percent -- or more, if that proves too easy.

The states in RGGI agreed this month on that new goal and other updates to the eight-year-old program. It lets polluters either reduce emissions, or buy credits to keep emitting. The proceeds from those credits go to rebates and efficiency projects.

 

Via USGS.gov

Lawmakers will consider at least a dozen bills about water contamination and other environmental hazards when they return to session in January.

Analysis Points to 2 Conflicts of Interest in N.H.

Dec 6, 2017

 An analysis of financial disclosure forms and legislative records highlights two possible conflicts of interest in New Hampshire.

The Center for Public Integrity and The Associated Press analyzed disclosure reports filed nationwide in 2015 and found numerous examples of lawmakers who introduced and supported legislation that helped their own businesses, employers or personal finances.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Twelve years ago, a sexual harassment scandal at the New Hampshire State House ended with the institution being forced to pay $85,000 in public funds toward a settlement. It also prompted a broader reckoning about how the Legislature handled misconduct within its ranks.

Related Story: Women Lobbyists, Legislators Describe Coping With Harassment At N.H. State House

NHPR Flickr

As we head into a midterm election year, Dean Spiliotes, civic scholar in the School of Arts and Sciences at SNHU and author of the website NH Political Capital, talks with political analysts from around the state about the current political mood in the state, and public opinion on a variety of issues. We also check in with midterm elections, and the shifting leadership in the state legislature. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Tours of the New Hampshire Statehouse are once again being held on Saturdays.

Free tours have been scheduled for Oct. 7 and Oct. 14. The tours will take place every 30 minutes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Additional weekend tours will be available on Dec. 9, when the Statehouse is decorated for the holidays.

The tours will depart from the Statehouse Visitor Center at 107 North Main Street.

Last year, the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce conducted a successful pilot program that helped determine the demand and future possibility of weekend Statehouse tours.

Tracy Lee Carroll; NHPR

We're talking with the three candidates who want to be the next state senator from District 16. The issues they're talking about impact all of the Granite State, including public education, child protection, taxes, and workforce development. 


How many retirees represent Merrimack County in the Legislature? What percentage of state reps are under the age of 35? And how does the State House's male/female ratio vary by political party?

The makeup of the New Hampshire House of Representatives has a major impact on daily life in the state. After all, these are the people who make the laws that govern us.

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

New Hampshire has the largest state legislature in the country - by a lot. The 400 members of the House of Representatives are supposed to be “citizen legislators” - people who are just like the constituents they represent. They earn $100 a year, making them essentially volunteers, albeit volunteers with major responsibility and time commitment...and volunteers who don’t always show up.

Just ask Rep. Jim Belanger, chairman of the House Municipal and County Government Committee.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: March 24, 2017

Mar 24, 2017

Governor Chris Sununu made an unannounced trade mission to Montreal, re-affirming his support for Northern Pass and urging updates to NAFTA. House budget writers craft their version of the new state spending plan, eliminating 18 million dollars in kindergarten funding.  And flags are lowered to half-staff on the news of the death of State Senator Scott McGilvray. 


Mike Mozart

Proposed Senate Bill 247 aims to prevent lead poisoning in children by strengthening lead testing requirements for children, and placing stricter requirements on properties containing lead paint. For some families, lead poisoning has caused long-term health problems that sometimes don't appear until years after exposure, and experts think the restrictions are not strong enough. However, landlords worry that the new requirements would be difficult to comply with, and come at a huge cost, and funding will be insufficient. For example, companies like Brady Sullivan are still managing fallout from lead poisoning several years ago that contributed to health problems in children living at their properties. We'll look at all sides of this issue.


Who Should Have Access To Medical Marijuana?

Feb 8, 2017
Pixabay.com

Several bills in the New Hampshire legislature would extend the list of qualifying conditions for therapeutic cannabis, including chronic pain and PTSD. But a new report from the National Academy of Sciences finds that "cannabis has both therapeutic value and public health risks."


Todd Bookman

We tackle two of the hottest issues of the week at the Statehouse: repealing concealed carry and Right-to-Work legislation.  In the first half-hour we'll address SB12, which would allow gun owners to carry their weapons concealed without a special permit.  In the second half-hour, we look at SB11, which prohibits unions from collecting dues from nonmembers.  Both have come up repeatedly in recent years, but with Republicans in control of both the legislature and executive branch, they have a good chance of becoming law. 


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Hearings for the new legislative session officially kick off this week in Concord. And lawmakers are getting right to business with two controversial bills already on the docket.

NHPR

We sit down with state House and Senate leaders, on their goals for the new session.  The state budget will be their first priority, but other policy matters, from Medicaid to gun laws to voting rules, will be debated. What do you hope the Legislature does this year? 


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

By the end of this week, New Hampshire will — technically — have had three different governors in the span of just a few days.

Governor-Elect Chris Sununu will be sworn into his new role Thursday afternoon, becoming the country’s youngest sitting governor and the first Republican to lead New Hampshire in 12 years. (Former Gov. Craig Benson, whose term ended in 2005, was the last Republican in the corner office.)

Tax Credits via Flickr Creative Commons

Among the slate of economic measures state lawmakers will consider next session is a bill to impose an income tax. The sponsor is well aware of what he’s up against.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

State lawmakers will chose the next Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives Wednesday.  

Current Speaker Shawn Jasper looks in good position to keep his speaker’s gavel, with Republicans holding a solid majority in the House. 

Allegra Boverman; NHPR

For the first time in fourteen years, New Hampshire Democrats lost the governorship to Republicans, who also held onto the legislature.  These trends are playing out at statehouses around the country, with Democrats now controlling the smallest number of legislatures, ever.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Eight New Hampshire senators have announced they'll be moving on -- some to other offices, some back to private life.  We'll sit down with four of them, looking back at the accomplishments and challenges of their tenure and discussing how New Hampshire politics and the legislature has changed over the years.

This program was hosted by Dean Spiliotes, Civic Scholar in the School of Arts and Sciences at Southern New Hampshire University.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

The classic gerrymandered map you learned about in high school civics class is full of oddly-shaped legislative districts, drawn with obvious intent to boost one party.

But in New Hampshire, that’s rarely the case: It’s very hard to see, just by looking at the election maps, which districts might help or hurt a certain party’s chances.

So has gerrymandering been a factor in the state’s politics? And if so, how much?

Digitization supported by the Cogswell Benevolent Trust. / Image obtained via the New Hampshire Historical Society

Here’s a confusing reality about New Hampshire politics today:

Democrats are having success like never before, scoring wins that would have been unimaginable just two decades ago.

But despite that shift, there’s one place where Republicans still have a leg up on Election Day: the state Legislature.

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