NH News

Liveblog: House Right to Work
1:35 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Liveblog: Right To Work House Committee Hearing

Liveblog: House Right to Work
12:53 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

We’re Liveblogging Today’s House Right To Work Hearing!

Michael Sauers Flickr

Today at 1:30, the resurrected Right To Work bill comes up for public hearing at the Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee.  Given union reaction to the legislation last year, and to other bills targeting collective bargaining this session, it promises to be an eventful hearing.

And we’ll be liveblogging it at Representatives hall, shortly before the hearing begins.

NH News
5:56 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Senate Shoots Down House Gun Bills

The New Hampshire state Senate rejected several controversial gun bills Wednesday.

All of the proposals originally passed the House.

The move suggests that the Senate’s patience for 2nd Amendment legislation may be about up.

The Senate made brisk work of the so-called gun bills in front of them.

“We spent a grand total of 6 minutes on 5 bills because we want to focus on the issues that are important to the New Hampshire people,” Senate President Peter Bragdon said.

Read more
NH News
5:35 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Proposed Pawn Shop Regulations Aim To Recover Stolen Goods

Sheryl Rich-Kern

New Hampshire is known for being one of the safest places to live in the United States. According to a recent study, its crime rate is the fifth lowest in the country.  

But that doesn’t mean detectives have an easy time recovering stolen merchandise. In fact, police officials say they could respond to crime faster by tightening regulations among pawnshops and second-hand dealers.

Read more
NH News
4:52 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Memorial Bridge "Float Out" Begins

Roger Wood

Removal of the historic Memorial Bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine is finally underway. 

Shortly after noon-time Wednesday, the center lift-span was lowered into position to be placed on a barge.

(Memorial Bridge photos by Erik Swenson, view gallery on flickr.)

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NH News
3:28 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Report: End of Year Spike in Home Foreclosures

Flikr Creative Commons / Sean Dreilinger

A report shows that home foreclosures spiked at the end of last year, up 35% from November.

Jane Law of New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority says foreclosures have been declining since their peak in 2010, and December’s jump might be an anomaly.

Law says, "The biggest factor is just mortgage companies are kind of clearing out some inventory before the end of the year, which is the end of their tax year usually" 

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NH News
3:25 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

House Votes to End Chancellor's Office

The New Hampshire House today voted to eliminate the Chancellor’s Office within the University System. The bill calls for many of the responsibilities of the Office to be shifted to the Board of Trustees and to school presidents. Created in 1974, the Chancellor’s duties include government relations, purchasing and audits.

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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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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

Read more
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.

Read more
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.”

Read more
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.”

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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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