NH News

NH News
12:15 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

No Child Left Behind Withdrawal Stalls in NH House

Flikr Creative Commons/ evmaiden

The New Hampshire House voted to put off making a final decision on a pair of bills that would withdraw the state from No Child Left Behind, and forego $61.6 million dollars in federal funding.

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt from Salem cited the lost money as he urged collegues to table the bills.

"There are significant and justifiable concerns about withdrawing from this program," Bettencourt said, "concerns regarding the potential loss of significant federal funds currently being received by our local school districts."

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NH News
10:53 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Timeline: History Of The Memorial Bridge And Events Leading To Its Replacement

After a history of closures, repairs and re-openings which mottle its 88-year lifespan, the Memorial Bridge replacement project has begun. The bridge which crosses the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine, is set for completion as early as July, 2013.

The "float-out", which is the removal of the lift span and the first stage of demolition, is scheduled for today.

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NH News
6:12 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

N.H. Eyes Blockbuster Bank Deal

Good news could be on the horizon for New Hampshire homeowners with mortgage troubles.

Later this week, the state may sign onto a multi-billion dollar settlement with the nation’s five largest banks over past foreclosure abuses.

More than 40 states are negotiating with the country’s top banks to reduce principal and in some cases refinance mortgages.

Nationwide, the deal could be worth up to $25 billion, depending on which states ultimately join this lawsuit.

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NH News
4:40 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage Opponents Rally At Statehouse

Josh Rogers, NHPR

 

About 200 people showed up to hold signs and hear speeches by gay marriage critics. House speaker William O’Brien, GOP gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne and  Republican national committeewoman Phylliss Woods all said its time to undo the two year old law allowing gays to marry.  David Bates, a State Rep. from Windham, wrote the repeal bill and MC'd the rally.

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NH News
3:51 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Raw Milk Bill Sails out of Committee

Flikr Creative Commons / BohemianTraveler

A bill that would allow small farmers to sell some home-made food without a license has cleared a major hurdle in the House of Representatives.

The bill lets farmers sell up to 20 gallons a day of unpasteurized milk or cheese, and less than $10,000 dollars worth of homemade food from their home or at a farmers market.

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NH News
4:41 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Demolition of Memorial Bridge Begins With "Float Out"

Photo: Roger Wood

The demolition of the Memorial Bridge begins Tuesday. The 90-year-old lift bridge, which crosses the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth and Kittery Maine, has long been in a state of disrepair.

The bridge closed permanently to vehicle traffic in July of last year.

Weather and barge setup permitting, the removal and “float out” of the lift span of the Memorial Bridge is expected to begin Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m.

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NH News
3:08 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Study Finds Improved Diets for Low-Income Women and Children

NHPR Staff Photo

The Department of Health and Human Services says that changes in the foods offered through the Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program or WIC have resulted in improved diets. 

WIC is a national program that gives nutrition education and nutritious foods to pregnant women and new mothers with income up to 185% of the federal poverty line.

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NH News
5:23 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

School Choice Advocates Pitch Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Flikr Creative Commons / evmaiden

Many proposals encouraging educational choice are pending in Concord this year. One with strong backing would use tax credits to encourage businesses to pay for school scholarships.

Critics say this would starve public schools of much needed funding, but supporters say this is a way to give students more options while avoiding constitutional concerns that have doomed past proposals for school vouchers.

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NH News
5:43 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Court Ruling Protects Some Public Workers

Last year, lawmakers made huge changes to the state’s public pension system.

The plan cuts benefits and forces employees to pay more for their retirement.

But Wednesday’s Superior Court ruling found some of those changes go too far.

The ruling has left lawmakers and workers claiming victory.

The best news for employees in this decision is that people with at least 10 years of service are more or less untouchable.

The court struck down language that required the senior workers to kick in more for their retirement.

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NH News
4:59 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Report: Prescription Drug Abuse Rampant

Flikr Creative Commons / Dvortygirl

A governor’s commission has released a report detailing surprising levels of prescription drug abuse in New Hampshire. The commission’s findings give weight to a push to create a prescription drug monitoring program in the state.

According to the report, almost 17 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds in New Hampshire say they have abused prescription drugs in the past year. That’s the second highest rate in the country.

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NH News
12:09 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Settlement Reached In Bone Marrow Testing Scandal

The Attorney General Offices of New Hampshire and Massachusetts have settled  with UMASS Memorial  Health care in a scandal tied to bone marrow testing.

UMASS Memorial Health Care owned the testing lab that housed the Caitlin Raymond International Registry.  High testing fees triggered an investigation a bit over a year ago.

Under the settlement, UMASS Memorial agrees to pay a total of about $850,000.  About two thirds of that goes to Massachusetts where most of the bone marrow donors lived.  The hospital will pay New Hampshire about $250,000.

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NH News
8:04 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

Court Shoots Down Key Pension Provision

Public employees say they were awarded a significant victory yesterday in Superior Court.

A judge has ruled that it’s unconstitutional to ask certain workers to pay more for their retirement.

Last year, lawmakers overhauled the state’s public pension system for firefighters, police, teachers and others.

One key provision called for all workers to kick in more money towards their retirement.

But yesterday in Superior Court, a judge ruled that it’s unconstitutional to raise so-called contribution rates on anyone who has more than 10 years on the job.

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NH News
5:25 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

Senator Says Goodbye to Constituents Moving Away

State Senator Jack Barnes (R, Raymond) delivered floor remarks Wednesday about losing several communities due to redistricting.

NH News
4:35 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

State Senate Adopts Redistricting Plan

 

The State Senate has passed a new redistricting plan on a partisan vote.

The new map is expected to give Republicans an advantage over the next decade.

New Districts  |  Old Districts

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NH News
3:01 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

House Votes to Take Away Emergency Powers

American Red Cross

 

The New Hampshire house voted today to repeal the Emergency Powers Act, which allows the government to take private property during a declared state of emergency.

The bill’s supporters call the Emergency Powers Act a government overreach.

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NH News
1:57 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

House Bill Would Outlaw GPS Tracking

Flikr Creative Commons / avlxyz

 

The state House of Representatives has passed a bill that would ban the use of GPS devices to secretly track people. The bill would make such tracking illegal someone without a court order.

This was a bill that seemed destined to disappear: in committee it was voted 14 – 0 to refer it for more study. With an election coming up, that would almost certainly mean that the bill would never be seen again.

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NH News
6:17 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Lynch Challenges GOP In Final State of State

Governor John Lynch used his final state of the state address to ask GOP lawmakers change the tone in Concord, and to reverse course on cuts to higher education and a reduction to the state tobacco tax. 

 Drawing sharp lines has never been Governor Lynch’s style, but in this speech, Lynch did, repeatedly.

“The cut in the tobacco tax was nonsensical……”

 “We hear from some a lot of anti-government talk, but to me that doesn’t make any sense,

 Sadly, it has become too commonplace to attack state employees, and that needs to stop.”

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NH News
5:47 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

A New Poverty Definition: Liquid Asset Poverty

When we talk about poverty- you always think about somebody else right?

Poor?...Me?...Not me.

Well, a report released today says when you look at poverty in terms of assets – not income - then a whole lot more of us are poor.

At least something called ‘liquid asset poor.’

 

Ask Stratham-resident Lois Matheson where she and her husband keep their money.

“In a savings account, in a 401 account, in a retirement account of some kind, an annuity account.”

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NH News
2:38 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

NECAP Scores Are In; Math and Reading Up, Writing Down.

Flikr Creative Commons / Renato Ganoza

 

New Hampshire students continue to improve academically, according to the results of the latest round of standardized tests.

The New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, test students in grades 3 through 8 and eleventh graders.

The test shows that 67% of all students are proficient in math, up two percentage points from last year. 79% are proficient in reading, and only 54% are proficient in writing.

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NH News
4:17 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Lynch Vetoes Bill Allowing 400% Annual Interest Rates

  

Under the bill, lenders could charge 15 percent monthly interest. 

Governor Lynch’s veto message notes the annual percentage interest rate on these so-called installment loans translates to more than 400%. Lynch says allowing such rates would hurt New Hampshire families, communities and the economy.

Lynch’s message also says the bill limits the state’s regulatory authority.

Lenders would get advance notice before the banking department conduct exams and regulators would have reduced power to levy administrative fines.

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NH News
6:36 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Budget Cuts Threaten Parental Rights

Until last July, when the state charged low-income parents with abuse or neglect of their children, the state provided them with a lawyer.

But to help balance the budget, that funding was eliminated.

New Hampshire is believed to be the only state in the country that’s ever taken such a step.

The people charged with enforcing the new policy are worried that it doesn’t serve parents or their children very well.

 

When Governor John Lynch and his staff were preparing his budget proposal last year, the governor made a decision.

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NH News
4:48 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Senate Puts the Brakes on Looser Gun Laws

Flikr Creative Commons / velkr0

After hearing nearly four hours of public testimony, a senate committee set aside a trio of bills that would loosen gun laws. 

The first bill would give the legislature the exclusive power to prohibit guns on public property – like colleges and the state-house. That would mean that if UNH wanted such a restriction, it would have to get lawmakers to agree.

For Ed Mackay, the chancellor of the University of New Hampshire system, that’s not a good recipe.

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NH News
5:49 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

House Hears Bill To Allow Students To Drop Any Class

The New Hampshire House is considering a plan to allow students replace any two public school courses with courses designed and taught by a parent or their designee. 

Under the bill, schools couldn’t veto subjects or teaching methods of parents but would have to grant students credits toward graduation. The measure’s sponsor, JR Hoell of Dunbarton, says the proposal affords parents a needed bit of freedom.

“Parents are taking a greater role in overseeing the academic progress of their children; the school system is taking a reduced role.”

 

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NH News
5:09 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Senate Passes Tighter Eminent Domain Rules

The New Hampshire Senate has voted to strengthen the rules for taking private property by eminent domain. But there are questions as to what the wording of the final Senate bill really means.

Mark McCulloch lives in North Stratford, way up North on the Vermont-New Hampshire Border.

His house is smack in the middle of the route for the hydro-electric transmission project, Northern Pass, the 180 mile transmission line that would bring electricity from Canada to New England.

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NH News
6:07 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Voter ID Bill Wins Key Backers

 

State and local election officials get behind Senate proposal.

The bill would require voters to present a photo ID or be photographed to receive a ballot starting in 2016, but still allow those without an ID to vote. The bill’s author, Kingston Senator Russ Prescott, hopes his plan can forge accord on a topic that tends to produce partisanship.

"People will come to the polls, present their ID, and not be presented a provisional ballot if they don’t have an ID; they would fill out a affidavit and vote. We are working within the system that we have today."

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NH News
5:22 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

House Committee Wants Out of No Child Left Behind

A House Committee has voted to recommend that New Hampshire pull out of No Child Left Behind.

Republican lawmakers on the House education committee cited local control and small government as reasons to withdraw the state from No Child Left Behind.

The vote was along party lines.

The dissenting democrats say they too are frustrated with the federal education laws, but are concerned about the federal money the state would lose if it withdrew from the program.

If the bill passes the state would forfeit $63 million in federal grants.

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NH News
6:04 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Lawmakers Consider Education Tax Credits

Lawmakers heard testimony Monday about a bill that would give public school students an average of $2,500 for homeschooling or private school attendance.

The funds would come from a tax credit given to businesses that donate to state-certified scholarship programs.

 “In the last decade eight states have launched education tax credit programs to expand educational opportunities for hundreds of thousands of students,” said House Majority DJ Bettencourt, who sponsored the legislation.

“Education tax credit programs have saved money in other states,” said Bettencourt.

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NH News
6:00 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Competing Studies Dispute Northern Pass Jobs Claims

Sam Evans-Brown

 

An industry group has put out a new study that disputes Public Service of New Hampshire’s claims about the number of jobs the Northern Pass project will create.

The study cuts PSNH’s jobs prediction in half.

A trade group representing power plant owners commissioned an independent analyst to study how many jobs the Northern Pass project might create.

That analysis found that the project could expect to create just over 600 jobs in New Hampshire, about half of the 1,200 jobs figure released by Northern Pass.

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NH News
5:45 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Traumatized Refugees Struggle to Make New Hampshire Home

Flikr Creative Commons / IRIN Photos

 

Every year New Hampshire takes in hundreds of refugees from all around the world.

They have fled wars, persecution, and even torture in their home countries, and some bear scars – both inside and out. After the trauma they have endured some refugees arrive with undiagnosed mental illness, but identifying and treating these patients is no easy task.

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NH News
4:18 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

House Takes Up Bills To Curb Unions

 

N.H. House lawmakers took testimony today on several bills that would reduce the power of unions.

They include a repeal of collective bargaining for state employees, and banning public sector unions from charging non-members the cost of negotiating contracts. The hearings drew a big crowd of opponents, including many union members. Diana Lacy is president of the state employees association.

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