NH News

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 .

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.”

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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. 

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
NH News
5:26 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

No NCLB Waiver Yet; Officials Eye Spring Deadline

Flikr Creative Commons / Renator Ganoza

The New Hampshire Department of Education says it will not yet ask the federal government  for flexibility with the requirements of No Child Left Behind, the federal education law. The DOE is gearing up to request a waiver this spring.

According to state education officials New Hampshire is not ready to ask for a waiver from the toughest testing standards required under No Child Left Behind. Paul Leather from the Department of Education says  in order to get a waiver, the state must first build a system that will evaluate teacher and principal effectiveness.

Read more
NH News
5:58 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

Group Sues the State Over Mental Health System

A federal class action lawsuit has been filed against New Hampshire for failing to take care of people with mental illness.

The suit comes less than a year after the U.S. Department of Justice charged the state with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Plaintiffs want the state to invest in more community services so more people can live independently.

Some lawyers say New Hampshire’s current mental health system is interrupting and in some cases, destroying people’s lives.

Newport resident Mandy D., 22, is confident.

Read more
NH News
4:52 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

NH to Get $43.6 Million from Foreclosure Settlement

Sam Evans-Brown

The New Hampshire Attorney General announced the details of a settlement between the nation’s five biggest banks and forty-nine states. The deal means that borrowers who are struggling could start seeing relief within a few months.

Read more
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.)

Read more
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" 

Read more
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.

Read more
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."

Read more
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.

Read more
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

Pages