NH News

NH News
2:22 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Finance Committee Looks at Implications of Eliminating USNH Chancellor

Brainlesssteel via Flickr CC

 

The House Finance committee is taking a hard look at a bill that would eliminate the Chancellor of the University System of New Hampshire. University trustees say that as written, the bill will cost the universities more money.

Milton Republican Robbie Parson’s bill has the backing of House leadership, and has already been approved in a preliminary vote on the house floor.

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NH News
5:51 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Marijuana Decriminalization Clears House

 

   

 The New Hampshire House has moved to decriminalize a person’s first two possessions of less than a half ounce of marijuana. 

It passed by a single vote.

 “162 members having voted in the affirmative, 161 in the negative. The chair declines to vote."

 Republican Speaker Bill O'Brien decision to not vote against the bill sends it to the senate, where its prospects are unclear.

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NH News
4:45 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

House Votes Through Contraception Exemption

Josh Rogers NHPR

 The New Hampshire House voted to allow any employer with a religious objection to deny workers insurance coverage for contraceptives.

Adding an exemption to New Hampshire’s 12-year-old law requiring contraceptives be covered in all drug plans has become a priority for House Speaker William O'Brien. And his leadership team pushed the bill through over strong objection from Democrats and a gallery full of protesters.

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NH News
3:44 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Mixed Data on Housing Market

Photo by 'Images of Money' via Flickr Creative Commons

New data from the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority paints a mixed picture of the State’s housing market. 

288 New Hampshire homes slipped into foreclosure in January. That’s a 22-percent decrease from the prior month, but still well above pre-recession levels.

“It is not a case of 'bam', we wake up one morning and the foreclosure issue is gone,” said Jane Law with NH Housing. She said the market is showing signs of a slow recovery. 

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The Two-Way
12:01 am
Wed March 7, 2012

How Do You Ship A Horse To The London Olympics? Carefully, And Via FedEx

U.S. Olympic Equestrian rider Phillip Dutton jumps with Zeizos in West Grove, Pa., in this 2010 photo. Dozens of horses will fly from America to England for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 7:08 am

The elite athletes who travel to London for this summer's Olympic Games will include petite gymnasts, huge wrestlers — and elite horses, which compete in dressage and other events. Getting these strong and delicate animals to the Olympics is no job for an amateur. In fact, it's the job of Tim Dutta, who owns an international horse transport company.

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NH News
6:19 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Contraception Fight Heading To House Floor

House Speaker William O'Brien's bill to allow any employer with a religious objection to exclude contraception coverage from employee health plans draws fire from Democrats and leaves GOP Gubernatorial hopefuls leery.

Democrats’ problems with this bill are by far the more pronounced. Gubernatorial hopeful Jackie Cilley, for instance, has urged supporters to “take to the streets” over the issue. Fellow candidate Maggie Hassan, meanwhile, took to the statehouse for a morning press conference.

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NH News
3:36 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Homelessness Numbers Fall for First Time in a Decade

Flikr / Quinet

 

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services says that homelessness has dropped by 3 percent since last year.

The numbers are from an annual one-day count on January 25th that targeted welfare offices, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and other organizations. According to Maureen Ryan of the Bureau of Homeless and Housing Services, it’s the first time in a decade that homelessness has fallen in New Hampshire. 

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NH News
10:11 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Court Orders HHS to Assess Medicaid Cuts

Hospitals hope a recent federal court ruling forces New Hampshire to spend more money on Medicaid services.

A federal judge has given the state 15 days to meet with interested parties over cuts made to the Medicaid program in 2008.

The court ruled the Department of Health and Human Services failed to measure how Medicaid cuts would affect services, a violation of federal law.

10 New Hampshire hospitals argue rates are now so low they’ve had to cut care for the poor.

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NH News
10:06 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Failing Grade Given in Mental Health Update

Mental Healthcare providers say New Hampshire is failing to meet critical targets in the 10-year improvement plan.

They say  most signs point to a crumbling infrastructure.

Since 2008, when the 10-year plan was adopted, mental health services have slipped....and then some.

At least that’s how the state’s 10 community mental health centers put it in a recent update they've published on the plan.

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NH News
6:09 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Finally, a Little Winter

Snow piles up at the intesection of Nichols & Nichols in Peterborough

In case you forgot what a New England winter is supposed to be like, Mother Nature decided to drop in with a reminder. Snow impacts everything from checkbooks to yardwork in New Hampshire, but has gone missing for most of this winter. 

While I was busy shoveling my car out, a neighbor of mine was tackling a completely different winter chore.

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NH News
7:06 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Heavy Snow Causing Hazardous Roads

Snow outside NHPR studios

After a mild winter with little snow, New Hampshire is being hit with a late-season storm.

The National Weather Service says up to a foot of snow is expected in some areas by this evening.    

There are more than 200 closings, although most schools are closed due to winter break.

New Hampshire Department of Transportation says drivers should take extra precautions.

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NH News
9:53 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

An Uncommon Priest: Father Joe Remembered

Friends and the people he served say Monsignor Joseph Desmond practiced his own brand of Catholicism – putting people before rules.

An uncommon practice in the top down Church.

The 89-year old priest was put to rest Tuesday.

Many mourners described Desmond, who served more than a dozen parishes over his 40 year career, as their friend.

Moira Valenti was just a kid, maybe 8, 9 years old.

She loved her church, St. Anne's in Manchester.

And one day she asked the man she called Father Joe a pretty complicated question.

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NH News
5:35 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Is New Hampshire Putting Skilled Immigrants to Good Use?

Many educated immigrants are unemployed or underemployed
Flikr Creative Commons / jurvetson

You’ve heard of “Brain Drain,” but how about “Brain Waste”?

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NH News
5:06 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Legislators Consider Moving Division of Weights and Measures

Flikr Creative Commons / cafemama

 

 

State Representatives and Senators heard testimony today on a bill that proposes moving the Division of Weights and Measures from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Safety.

The division certifies scales and meters for measuring food and commodities like gasoline and fuel oil when sold to consumers.

The Senator Sharon Carson of Nashua, the bill’s sponsor, says she’s heard complaints from constituents who claim the division has been heavy-handed in its enforcement.

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NH News
6:18 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Prosecutors Call First Witness in Genocide Case

U.S. Prosecutors charge a Manchester woman with lying about her role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

They say she concealed her past to become a U.S. citizen.

Government lawyers say Beatrice Munyenyezi “encouraged killers to kill and rapists to rape.”

They told jurors that their witnesses – who are being flown in from Rwanda - will make it clear Munyenyezi “acted enthusiastically in these events.”

Munyenyezi’s lawyer David Ruoff argues those witnesses are being pressured by the Rwandan government.

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NH News
6:32 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

AG Promises More Mortgage Relief

The Attorney General’s Office is ramping up operations to help troubled homeowners.

State leaders say residents should expect more assistance in the near future.

Earlier this month, the Attorney General’s Office announced New Hampshire will receive $43 million dollars as part of a national settlement agreement with the nation’s five largest banks.

Much of that money is aimed at rewriting mortgages and reducing principal for homeowners who have loans with Wells Fargo, Citibank, Bank of America, JPMChase or GMAC .

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NH News
4:12 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

House Passes Contraception Resolution

Todd Bookman, NHPR

 

The resolution asks the federal government to undo a rule requiring insurance companies to provide contraceptives to employees of religious organizations.

House republican leaders say religious liberty is in jeopardy under the federal rule, even though it no longer requires religious organizations to directly pay for contraceptives. House Speaker William O’Brien says the 227-to-121 vote sends the message that either way, the requirement’s intent is simply wrong.

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NH News
3:45 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Genocide Case Gets Underway in N.H.

Opening statements in the trial of a U.S. citizen accused of lying about her role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide will be heard Thursday.

Federal prosecutors allege Manchester resident Beatrice Munyenyezi  falsified documents to gain entry into the United States.

The federal government claims Munyenyezi participated and ordered “kidnapping, rape and murder” during the genocide that killed 800,000 people.

U.S. prosecutors say the witnesses they’ve flown in from Rwanda have a compelling story to tell.

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NH News
2:01 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Alternative Sentencing Program Faces Verdict

Hagar at home with two of his daughters.

Recovering alcoholics can usually pinpoint their rock-bottom. For Michael Hagar, it was the night of July 28, 2009. That evening, he met up with some friends to drink behind the Hannaford’s supermarket in Keene. 

“And that is where the whole incident took off from,” said Hagar.

Behind the grocery story, Hagar believes he drank about 18 beers. Then someone jumped him, hitting him in the face with a log. His pants and wallet were stolen. Gushing blood and enraged, he staggered into the store's parking lot.

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NH News
6:32 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

State Broadens Case against LGC

DAN GORENSTEIN: State regulators charge the Local Government Center for failing to return tens of millions of dollars in surplus to New Hampshire cities and towns.

That charge is part of a new and expanded set of allegations against LGC.

Last summer, state regulators charged LGC with violating multiple state laws, and argued the group owes municipalities upwards of $100 million dollars.

Part of the argument has consistently been that LGC – which provides insurance to cities and towns – has held too much surplus in its bank accounts.

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NH News
3:18 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

Home Made Foods Bill Stirs Cheese Makers

 

 The New Hampshire House of Representatives has passed a bill that would make it easier for the smallest farmers to break even. If it becomes law it would allow residents to sell some home-made baked-goods, preserves, and cheese at home or at farmers’ markets.  

When the homemade foods bill came out of a House committee, it had unanimous support.

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NH News
5:00 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

O'Brien Pushing Back On Contraception Mandates

The New Hampshire House will likely vote next week to ask the federal government to rescind a rule forcing insurers to provide contraceptives to employees of religious organizations. House Speaker William O'Brien says he'll also work to undo a similar state law. 

O’Brien told the house state and federal relations committee it's unconstitutional for governments, federal or state, to tell insurers to offer contraception to workers at religious organizations.

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NH News
8:49 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Lawmakers Seek Final Say on Collective Bargaining Deals

The New Hampshire House has passed a bill giving lawmakers final say on collective bargaining agreements with the State. The legislation is just the latest effort by Republicans in Concord to rein in the costs of public employee contracts.

"This gives the legislature the ability to look at an entire contract and say whether it is fair, and whether we should fund it," says Republican Neil Kurk of Weare.

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NH News
6:27 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Bragdon, O'Brien Differ On Tax and Spending Caps

 

Top house and senate republicans are at odds over constitutional amendments designed to keep government small. 

The state senate's proposed constitutional change would require a 60 percent vote by lawmakers to increase state spending beyond the rate of inflation. As passed by the house, the proposal would have required that same super-majority to borrow money or raise taxes.

According to Senate President Peter Bragdon the senate version amounts to common sense -- low taxes, he says, result from low spending.

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NH News
4:44 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Senate Adopts School Funding Amendment

 

The New Hampshire Senate has approved a constitutional amendment to give the state more leeway in how it distributes school aid. 

The amendment would make it easier for lawmakers to target money to poorer communities but not explicitly undue the Claremont rulings that require the state to fund an adequate education for every child. After the vote Governor Lynch described the proposal as “a significant milestone.”

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Governing
12:01 am
Wed February 15, 2012

N.H. Lawmakers Consider Rolling Back Gay Marriage

Couples Gretchen Grappone and Rose Wiant (left). and Wendy Waterstrat and Holly Henshaw hold hands before their civil union, in front of the Statehouse in Concord, N.H., on Jan. 1, 2008.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 1:31 pm

As several states debate measures to legalize gay marriage, New Hampshire is considering a repeal of its same-sex marriage law. The repeal has the backing of some top leaders in the GOP-controlled Legislature. But rescinding rights is never easy, particularly in a state that takes its liberties seriously.

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NH News
6:19 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Ed. Amendment May Falter in House

Every year Governor Lynch has been in office there’s talk that this is the year an education funding constitutional amendment finally passes.

But amendment supporters say this time – for real - the stars are almost in perfect alignment....almost...in perfect alignment.

The GOP-dominated state Senate is poised to overwhelmingly pass the education funding amendment.

Senate President Peter Bragdon expects some 15 Republicans to support the Senate version.

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NH News
4:48 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

(Please) Stand for the Pledge of Allegiance

Flickr Creative Commons/Just Some Dust

A bill requiring New Hampshire students to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance passed a house committee today.

"Standing is a sign of national patriotism," says Republican Representative Lawrence Kappler.

Current law permits students to remain seated, as long as they are silent and respectful. The constitutionality of the bill is in question, however. Representative Gary Richardson believes that requiring someone to stand is clearly an issue of free speech. 

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NH News
3:47 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

If At First You Don't Succeed... House Reconsiders RGGI Repeal

A House committee reserved Representatives Hall for the hearing on RGGI, but turnout was much more sparse than the space warranted.
Sam Evans-Brown

The House is again considering a bill that would repeal the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, a carbon cap and trade program.

Opponents and supporters of RGGI wearily filed into the Statehouse, ready to go over the well-rehearsed talking points that they used the last time the program was on the chopping block.

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NH News
3:36 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Mapping the Legal Status of Same Sex Unions

The Geography of Love Same-Sex Marriage & Relationship Recognition in America
Book Cover Courtesy Peter Nicolas & Mike Strong

With the constant legal and legislative changes affecting same-sex couples across the country, it might seem an impossible feat to keep track.

In The Geography of Love: Same-Sex Marriage & Relationship Recognition in America (The Story in Maps), authors Mike Strong and Peter Nicolas do just that. They offer a concise view of the political landscape regarding gay marriage.  And they do so in a unique way: offering visual representations of votes and legal rights.

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