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.
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.
The New Hampshire House has voted to bar any organization that performs elective abortions from receiving any state or federal funds.
The measure backed by GOP leaders means Planned Parenthood of Northern New England would no longer be eligible to enter into contracts with the state to provide non-abortion reproductive health services to the poor – a role the organization has played in NH for 40 years. Warren Groen of Rochester is the measure’s lead sponsor.
“Mr. Speaker, this is our opportunity to reclaim the sanctity of life in one small area -- public funding.”
The 251 to 101 vote exceeds the 3/5th needed to send the proposal on to the state senate. Prior to the vote, Manchester Republican Keith Murphy warned that while the income tax isn’t popular in Concord right now, that could change.
“Lest we forget in 1999 this body did pass an income tax of 4 percent, and every year since an income tax has been proposed in this body. We need to take the temptation off the table now and forever.”
The Legislature holds the purse strings and House Speaker Bill O’Brien wants to prove it. O’Brien is backing a measure to divert money generated by the state’s insurance tax to New Hampshire’s rainy day fund. NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports
The measure aims to fatten the rainy day fund by $26 million, which was the state’s surplus in fiscal year 2011. Speaker O’Brien told the House ways and means committee that socking the money away amounts to simple prudence.
A house committee heard public testimony on a bill that would withdraw the state from the federal education requirements under No Child Left Behind.
But pulling out would mean the state would forfeit more than $60 million in federal money.
The sponsor of the bill, twenty-year-old representative Weeden from Dover, says that No-Child-Left-Behind, or NCLB, has created a culture of teaching to the test that has reduced the quality of education overall.