NH News

NH News
7:05 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

State: Primex Deal Possible Game Changer

This week, state regulators reached what they consider a landmark agreement with a group that provides insurance to cities and towns.

State officials believe the deal could change how other so-called public insurance risk pools are run.

Primex, one of three public risk pools in New Hampshire, has agreed to return at least $16 million dollars back to its clients - cities and towns.

The deal comes after regulators determined Primex is holding excess surplus.

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NH News
4:04 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Transportation Bill Hits Traffic Jam

You can add transportation to the long list of issues hitting a roadblock in Washington. Funding for New Hampshire’s I-93 expansion may get stuck in the beltway traffic jam.

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NH News
5:58 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Executive Council May Slow Down Managed Care

The Executive Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a new Medicaid contract worth an estimated $2.2 billion dollars.

It is believed to be the largest contract in state history.

But signs from an Executive Council meeting today suggest that vote may be pushed back.

The state may struggle to meet its July 1stdeadline.

Dan Gorenstein: This Medicaid contract is huge.

It’s huge financially, handing over several billion dollars to three managed care companies to run the state’s Medicaid program.  

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NH News
5:55 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Controversy Surrounds Teacher Preparation

Most people agree that good teachers help students succeed.
But how do good teachers learn to be effective?

One D.C.-based, private nonprofit is asking just that. They want colleges to participate in a study that ranks teacher preparation programs.

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PSNH
5:16 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Major Business and City Leaders Oppose Move To Get PSNH To Sell Power Plants

A house bill that would consider giving the Public Utilities Commission authority to force PSNH to sell its power plants to open up market competition is getting vocal opposition from business leaders and mayors in the state.

Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier says the move will raise electric rates and scare businesses away from his community.

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NH News
5:08 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Gambling Has Shot In House

Panchenks Flickr

No bill authorizing slot machines or casinos has ever passed the N.H. house, but this plan, which would use the revenue -- projected at 290 million dollars -- to lower business taxes, is seen as having a shot. House ways and means chairman Steve Stepanek (r-Amherst) says N.H. must act.

“The game plan has changed because Massachusetts has expanded gambling passed. And Maine is pushing their expanded gambling. We have got to respond.”

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NH News
4:44 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Sarah Long Bridge Side Railings Hazardous

Another bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery Maine is undergoing emergency repairs.

Side railings on the Sarah Long, or Middle Bridge are so rusty; they present a hazard to any vehicle that accidentally slides into them. So, the two states are taking emergency measures to protect motorists.

Bill Boynton, with New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation, says that steel Jersey Barriers will be installed along the length of the 2800 foot span.

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NH News
3:49 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

HHS Officials Campaign for the Affordable Care Act

 

An official with Obama administration came to Manchester today to tout the achievements of the Affordable Care Act.

At an event organized by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, New Hampshire residents told their stories of how the health-care law had improved their lives.

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NH News
1:54 am
Thu March 22, 2012

House Rejects Gay Marriage Repeal

The 211-116 margin was a victory for gay rights advocates. It was also a shock to social conservatives, who thought a 3 to 1 GOP majority combined with a party platform that defines marriage as a between a man and women, would secure the bill’s passage. 

Deep into a debate that lasted 2 hours and included 10 separate votes, Kingston Republican David Welch stated what by then was plain: gay marriage is topic that divides House Republicans.

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NH News
6:29 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Senate Walks Away from Payday Loans

The Senate has blocked the return of so-called payday loans.

An attempt to overturn a gubernatorial veto fell well short of the necessary votes.

The measure would have lifted the current 36% interest rate cap on small loans.

In place of that cap, Senator Matt Houde told colleagues companies could charge borrowers up to 403% interest.

“Lenders could charge consumers over $1100 to repay a $500 loan, over a 6 month term. I will let that speak for itself.”

Payday loan supporters argued that some need these loans to get through the hard times.

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NH News
6:05 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Effort to Repeal Same-Sex Marriage Fails

The House on Wednesday decided to keep the state's gay marriage law in place. 

Same-sex couples have been able to marry legally since 2009. 

The Republican-controlled House voted 211-116 against a repeal. 

Gov. John Lynch had pledged to veto the repeal bill if it had passed. The debate on the House floor took more than two hours. New Hampshire is one of eight states that allow gay marriage.

NH News
5:33 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Senate Pulls Lever on Another Voter ID Law

Along party lines, the New Hampshire Senate today passed a second, more restrictive voter ID measure. Earlier this month, a bill requiring voters to show valid photo identification or sign an affidavit was approved with the backing of Town Clerks and the Secretary of State.

This new Republican-backed legislation would require those seeking to vote in New Hampshire to also register their vehicles in the State and apply for a New Hampshire driver’s license.

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NH News
5:19 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

School Choice Bill Passes Senate Despite Constitutionality Concerns

 

The New Hampshire Senate passed a bill sponsored by school choice advocates that would create a tax credit for businesses that donate to scholarship organizations.

Many public school educators oppose the measure saying that it would sap schools of already scarce resources, but opponents in the senate tried to block the bill by calling into question its constitutionality.

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NH News
2:48 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Bill Would Rein in Risk Pools

Legislation is making its way through the Senate that would tighten regulations for groups that run public insurance risk pools like the Local Government Center.

Bill supporters want more accountability for how taxpayer dollars are spent.

Lawmakers want tighter restrictions for so-called risks pools – groups that sell insurance to cities and towns – after regulators charged the Local Government Center with violating state law.

For example, the Local Government Center failed to return surplus back to municipalities, despite what's on the books.

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NH News
6:17 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

O'Brien Pushes Welfare Fraud Crackdown

With House deadlines looming, Speaker Bill O'Brien has introduced legislation that would make significant changes to the state's welfare programs.

O'Brien believes the state must do more to fight fraud in the system.

The measure also caps a family's aid even if that family's need grows.

It's far from clear whether the Speaker's plan would save the state money.

GORENSTEIN: There’s one sweeping theme to House Speaker Bill O’Brien’s welfare proposal, which includes Food Stamps and several other cash programs.

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NH News
5:11 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Lawmaker Drops Gun At Hearing

 A member of the New Hampshire House's criminal justice committee dropped a pistol on the floor of the legislative office building at a hearing on a controversial bill dealing with abortion.

Kyle Tasker, a Northwood Republican, dropped the loaded gun, one of two .45 caliber pistols he wears in shoulder holsters, as he took his seat in a crowded hearing room.

“I just gave blood and I might not have latched it quite properly. All I could think of was, it was bound to happen one of these days, I come here too often for that not to have happened.”

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NH News
3:50 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Contentious Education Tax Credit Bill Headed to Senate

Correction: an earlier version of the story stated the tax credits would initially be capped at $3.4 million. 

The New Hampshire Senate is set to vote tomorrow on a controversial bill that would create a tax credit for businesses that donate to private school scholarship organizations. The bill’s supporters are confident that it will pass.

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NH News
3:33 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Wildfire Season Comes Early

 

The state agency responsible for protecting forests from wildfires is warning that state forests are more at risk of burning this year.

Forest Ranger Bryan Nowell says state forests are now seeing conditions that usually are more typical of mid-April.

"That's due to the fact that pretty much since the first of the year we haven’t had a lot of snow events or rain events, so all the leaves and brush and debris that’s come down over the winter has been there drying all winter long," Nowell says.

NH News, Gay marriage
5:45 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Opponents Call For Defeat of Gay Marriage Repeal

 

About two-dozen members of the pro-gay marriage group Standing Up For New Hampshire Families held a news conference to urged the defeat of the bill slated for a vote in the House Wednesday. State Rep. Mike Ball, chairman of the Manchester Republican Committee, compared the repeal effort to a segregation law, and added he can’t back his party platform’s opposition to gay marriage.

"The Republican platform is wrong on that issue. That’s the bottom line. Much as I’d like to say we are a hundred percent right, on this one we are not right. This is a civil liberties issue."  

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NH News
12:42 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Manchester P.D. Calling

The Manchester Police Department has adopted new technology to help them fight crime.

The department is using a new telephone app that they believe will help the public help the police.

If you sign up for this app, the Manchester PD can now send an alert to your phone.

The alert could contain a photograph, text or video.

Maybe a blizzard is coming, a rash of car thefts have occurred at the Mall of New Hampshire, or says Captain Nick Willard a kid is lost at a Fisher Cat’s game.

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NH News
8:07 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Mistrial in Genocide Case

Jurors deadlocked in a case over whether a New Hampshire woman played a role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The federal judge has declared a mistrial.

Federal prosecutors accused Beatrice Munyenyezi of lying on documents – concealing her role in the genocide - to gain citizenship here.

Lawyers alleged Munyenyezi encouraged killers to kill and rapists to rape.

The defense argues the case was politically motivated, that the Rwandan government is threatened by ex-pats who challenge that Hutus committed genocide against the Tutsis.

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NH News
6:08 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

State Cuts Nursing for Sick Kids; Parents Raise Alarm

Over the last year, dozens of families have lost state subsidized nursing support to care for their sick children.

Some parents say the reductions have made it hard to juggle work and keep their kids healthy.

New Hampshire hired a private company, Schaller Anderson to manage these cases.

Frustrated parents accuse the company of making decisions based on money, not the health of their children.

There are about 150 families in the state of New Hampshire with children so ill most of them need medical care every day.

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NH News
4:49 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

NH House Passes Refugee Moratorium Bill

 

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted today to pass a bill that would allow the city of Manchester to ask for a moratorium on refugee resettlement.

The bill is a seen as a victory for Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, who has been calling for a moratorium since last July.

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NH News
2:26 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

NH House Reconsiders 24-Hour Abortion Waiting Period

 

The New Hampshire House has moved to reconsider passage of a controversial bill requiring pregnant women to wait 24 hours before receiving an abortion. The bill would also require them to receive explicit information on fetal development.

NH News
2:08 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Right-to-Work Redux Passes NH House

 

 The New Hampshire House of Representatives has for the second time passed a so-called right to work bill. But  the margin was well short of what would be needed to override Governor Lynch’s promised veto.

Barring unions from requiring non-members to pay for representation has been a priority for House Republican leaders. Last year governor John Lynch vetoed a Right-to-Work bill, which republicans failed to override.

Republican Marshall Quandt told colleagues this year’s version will fare no better.

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NH News
5:54 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

State Supreme Court Considers Counsel for Indigent Parents

NHPR Staff

Do indigent parents have a constitutional right to a lawyer when the state charges that parent with abuse or neglect of their child?

That’s the question put to the state’s top court.

Last year, lawmakers passed a historic budget – making cuts to General Fund spending for the first time since World War II.

One of the casualties....the $1.2 million dollars provided to indigent parents for legal representation in child abuse and neglect proceedings.

Over the past several years, 350-400 parents a year are charged, typically for neglect.

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NH News
5:00 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

How the Darjees Pay the Bills

It’s a Friday night at the Darjee home. After a long work week, Ram, his wife Saraswarti, their daughter Angel and Ram’s mother are preparing for a fun evening with relatives.

(sound up)

Sitting with the Darjees, it’s hard to imagine that just 9 months ago they were living in squalor in a refugee camp in Nepal.  Their apartment now has comfortable furnishings, colorful decorations lining the walls, a computer and lots of cooking equipment to prepare a nice meal.

(sound of cooking and talking )

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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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