Millennium Gaming brought leaders from Washington County, Pennsylvania to Concord to tout the benefits of a casino to lawmakers at a lunch meeting today. Millennium runs The Meadows casino and racetrack in Washington. If New Hampshire allows a casino at Rockingham Park, Millennium would develop it.
With a new governor, a divided statehouse, and continued uncertainty over federal spending, New Hampshire lawmakers are preparing to hammer out a budget. It’s never a particularly easy process. But hopes are high at the statehouse that this session, the inevitable fiscal fights will be more muted.
In her inaugural address earlier this month, Democratic governor Maggie Hassan struck a bipartisan tone about the state’s finances.
The city of Franklin will hire a lobbyist this legislative session to follow the Northern Pass project.
The town stands to gain about $4.2 million dollars annually in property taxes, if the Northern Pass project goes through. The taxes would be paid by PSNH on a converter station, which will be built in Franklin.
The creation of a new fraud unit at the state Attorney General’s office has stalled again. Thursday, the Legislative Fiscal Committee voted to table a request to approve funding for it.
The governor and Executive Council have approved the unit, which would be funded by the state’s mortgage settlement with big banks. But the Republican-dominated committee has resisted allocating money to it, saying it would ultimately add staff to the government payroll. But the AG’s Consumer Protection Bureau Chief James Boffetti says a fraud unit is needed.
A proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot this November would give the legislature final say over judicial rules and procedures. That has some in the legal community incensed over what they consider to be a power grab by the legislature. But others in that same legal community think it simply restores authority appropriately to the people’s representatives.
The Legislature has overridden Governor Lynch’s veto of a voter ID law. The bill allows a variety of forms this fall—including student IDs. Starting next year, only government issued identifications, including driver’s licenses, military ID’s and passports will be accepted.
Representative David Bates of Windham told colleagues that tighter restrictions are needed to ensure fair elections.
With 15 vetoes, the most ever by a Governor in a single session, John Lynch hasn’t been shy about wielding his power. Now, Republicans will work to override some of those measures when they gather in Concord on Wednesday.
Since the Claremont decision of the mid 90s, New Hampshire has debated the locus of authority and responsibility in funding our K-12 public schools. Over 80 proposed amendments have seen their way to a vote in state legislative chambers over the past several years. Last year marked the first time any such amendment passed the house and the senate passed a version of its own. The two chambers failed to reconcile their differences, however, and the issue was tabled.
Enacting any constitutional amendment is tough. It requires a three-fifths vote by both House and Senate, and two-thirds support from voters at the polls. Add to this the fact this amendment deals with school funding and that lawmakers have killed 80-odd Claremont-inspired amendments over the past 14 years, and the guardedness of even the boldest of lawmakers is understandable.