NH Legislature

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Gov. Maggie Hassan said her administration will “closely review” how Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Massachusetts’ law that restricts protests outside abortion clinics will affect a similar law that will take effect in New Hampshire next month.

Hassan, who is in Turkey on a trade mission, signed a bill June 10 that authorizes reproductive health facilities that perform abortions to establish 25-foot buffer zones around the entrance. The law is set to take effect July 10.

Legislative Roundtable: Reflections On 2014

Jun 9, 2014
Rachel James / Flickr/CC

We're sitting down with a panel of House and Senate leaders to look back on the year in the legislature. It was a year of victories for supporters of Medicaid Expansion, but of disappointment for casino backers and death penalty opponents.  And it ended with several major players announcing they’re getting out of the game and retiring from politics. 

GUESTS:

Wet Summer
BEV Norton / Flickr Creative Commons

State lawmakers will vote this week on whether to accept a deal that would give 18 towns about $540,000 in back tax payments.  A state House and Senate committee of conference approved a measure addressing back payments from Massachusetts to towns along the Merrimack and Connecticut River watersheds on Friday. 

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

New Hampshire will seek a waiver from the federal government Friday hoping to get $275 million more in matching funds over five years for health care services provided by the state, county and local governments.

The joint legislative Fiscal Committee approved the waiver application Wednesday.

Jeffrey Meyers, director of intergovernmental affairs for the Department of Health and Human Services, said the federal government is not sharing the cost of about $80 million in annual health care spending in New Hampshire. The waiver asks the federal government to pitch in.

Statehouse
Amanda Loder / NHPR

New Hampshire's House has twice passed legislation to repeal the death penalty with the governor's blessing, but the second attempt has cost them a key supporter in the Senate.   Republican Sen. Bob Odell, who voted for repeal, said Friday that he won't vote to take up the issue again.  The first bill stalled in the Senate on a 12-12 vote last month, but supporters may have overplayed their hand by sending a second bill to the Senate for a vote Thursday. The Senate has the option of passing the amended bill, killing it or asking the House to compromise.

N.H. "Paycheck Fairness Act" To Become Law

May 14, 2014
What Would Ben Think?
jypsygen / Flickr Creative Commons

A bill designed to close the wage gap between men and women will become law, after it cleared its final legislative hurdle today.

NHPR News Primer: N.H.'s Cell Phone Ban

May 12, 2014
Sara Plourde

Gov. Maggie Hassan is expected to sign legislation making it illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving or stopped in traffic.

The bill, passed by the New Hampshire House last week, represents “the most comprehensive distracted driving bill in the nation,” according to legislative testimony from Earl Sweeney, assistant commissioner of public safety.

This week the New Hampshire Senate is set to vote on a House bill designed to protect home heating fuel customers.  This comes after hundreds of Fred Fuller Oil Company customers suffered shortages and late deliveries in January.  

Slot Machines
Raging Wire / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire's House is voting Wednesday whether to legalize two casinos about a month after representatives said `no' to one casino.  The Ways and Means Committee voted 11-9 to recommend that the House reject the bill, which includes $25 million in aid to communities as a sweetener. The House has never approved video slots legislation.  The Senate bill proposes legalizing two casinos sharing a total of 5,000 video slot machines and 240 table games. The House killed a bill a month ago that would have legalized one casino licensed to have 5,000 video slot machines.

News Primer: N.H.'s Cell Phone Ban

Apr 15, 2014

Gov. Maggie Hassan is expected to sign legislation making it illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving or stopped in traffic.

The bill, passed by the New Hampshire House last week, represents “the most comprehensive distracted driving bill in the nation,” according to legislative testimony from Earl Sweeney, assistant commissioner of public safety.

SalFalko via Flickr CC

Casino supporters are betting that a plan to distribute more than $25 million in gambling revenue to New Hampshire cities and towns will convince House lawmakers to reverse their historic opposition to expanded gaming.

Less than a month after it killed a casino bill favored by Gov. Maggie Hassan, the House will begin discussion on Senate Bill 366, which proposes to authorize two casinos in the Granite State.

'Halftime' At The Statehouse

Apr 1, 2014
Rachel Ford James / Flickr/CC

It’s halftime at the New Hampshire Statehouse, with last week’s so-called “crossover day”, where those bills that have passed the House go to the Senate for a vote, and vice versa.  Major issues that remain in play include a gas tax increase, a death penalty repeal, and once again, expanded gambling.  We’re checking the score thus far, and seeing where these bills go from here.

GUESTS:

New Hampshire lawmakers are considering whether to bar municipalities from limiting where the state's more than 2,500 registered sex offenders can live after recent court rulings said the restrictions are unconstitutional.    The House passed a proposed ban by a vote of 231-97 in February. The bill now moves to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it faces an uphill battle.   The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union successfully challenged sex offender residency restrictions first in Dover, then in Franklin.

News Primer: Gun Bills At The Statehouse

Feb 11, 2014

New Hampshire lawmakers are mulling two bills that would expand background checks for gun purchases.

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on legislation that would require private sellers to conduct sales through licensed firearm dealers who, under federal law, must perform background checks on prospective buyers.

The Sidebar: Eyes On The State Of The State

Feb 5, 2014
Chris Jensen, NHPR News

Gov. Maggie Hassan will deliver her first State of the State address Thursday to a joint session of New Hampshire lawmakers.

Hassan ended her first year in office with decent job-approval ratings – 51 percent versus 21 percent who disapprove, according to a recent poll.

She begins her second with a heightened national profile: In December, she was elected vice chair of the Democratic Governors Association, which spent heavily to help her defeat GOP challenger Ovide Lamontagne in 2012.

A bill that would add the option of choosing "none of the above'' on New Hampshire ballots seems like a quintessential proposal for the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state that prides itself on having discerning voters.    But the measure's sponsors say it's probably doomed, with one acknowledging it would be humiliating for a candidate to be defeated by no one rather than an actual opponent.  But Keene Rep. Charles Weed says real choice means giving voters the chance to withhold their consent and express dissatisfaction with all the candidates.

BIA Announces Bills Targeted For Opposition

Jan 29, 2014

The Business and Industry Association has come out in opposition to seven bills before the legislature this session.  

News Primer: Legalizing Marijuana

Jan 29, 2014

Earlier this month, the New Hampshire House became the first legislative body in the United States to pass a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana use.

The legislation faces numerous – some would say intractable - hurdles, beginning with Thursday’s public hearing before the House Ways & Means Committee.

JV via Flickr CC

Update: The Senate Ways & Means Committee approved SB 366, 4-1, this morning. Sen. Bob Odell, R-Lempster, was the lone vote in opposition to the bill, which would license two casinos. Senate President Chuck Morse said the legislation will now move to the full Senate. Morse said the Senate will likely table it and wait for the House to act on its own gambling bill. That legislation, drafted by members of the Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authorityenvisions a single casino, which Gov. Maggie Hassan supports.

Department of Safety Road Toll Bureau

A year after failing to agree on how to pay for a long list of road and bridge improvements, lawmakers will take another shot at bolstering the state’s chronically underfunded infrastructure this session.

Several bills are on the table, including one that would channel proceeds from a casino into the state’s highway fund.

Amanda Loder / NHPR

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. 

The N.H. House votes 211-151 to give gun owners immunity if their weapons are stolen and then used in a crime.

Governor, Legislature Prepare To Hammer Out Budget

Jan 17, 2013
Emily Corwin / NHPR

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.

Elizabeth Dragon, the city manager of Franklin, says the city is looking for someone to follow relevant legislation and alert Franklin officials when necessary, “so that if there is a bill that requires us to travel to Concord to testify, we can do that.”

Republicans Caucus Over N.H. House Leader

Nov 15, 2012

Cast into the minority by the election, New Hampshire's Republicans representatives are caucusing to pick a leader.

A.G. Fraud Unit Proposal Stalls Again

Nov 8, 2012

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.

Coos: A Summary

Nov 7, 2012

Here’s what happened in Coos County on Tuesday, according to a tally by the Associated Press. Official counts from the Secretary of State are not yet available.

* Jeff Woodburn of Dalton was elected senator, defeating Debi Warner of Littleton. He takes the place of Republican John Gallus who chose not to run.

* In District 1 with all ten precincts counted Republican incumbent Duffy Daugherty of Colebrook lost to  Democrat Larry Enman of Errol by 20 votes.

Enman had 1,158 votes.

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.

From the Statehouse:

Jun 27, 2012

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