NH Politics

Emily Corwin / NHPR

  Congressman Frank Guinta worked the counter -- and met with lobbyists from the National Association of Convenience Stores during a stop at Cumberland Farms in Portsmouth.

He said he would work to make sure compliance with federal regulations like the new food labelling law isn’t unwieldy for convenience stores:

I will now,  when I’m back in Washington,  take a look at the current rule. And there’s legislation to fix that – proposed legislation -- so I’m going to take a look at all of that.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The Senate is weighing a bill that would give those who report overdoses immunity from possession charges if they remain on scene.

The measure aims to encourage people to call 911 by removing the fear of facing any jail time.

Devon Chaffee, head of the New Hampshire ACLU, says 22 states currently have a similar law on the books.

“If a person dies of a potential overdose, as we know, they can’t go into treatment, so what this bill is really about is providing second chances for those individuals,” she told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. 

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A bill aimed to decriminalize marijuana in New Hampshire is now being considering by the state Senate.

Under the measure, those found with a half an ounce of marijuana or less would receive a $100 fine rather than be charged with a crime. Currently all other New England states have similar laws already on the books.

But in New Hampshire no decriminalization bill has ever passed the Senate, and Governor Maggie Hassan said if it passes she would veto it.

Spotlight On The 2016 N.H. House Budget

Apr 7, 2015
Jimmy Emerson, DVM / Flickr/cc

Last week, New Hampshire House Lawmakers sent their plan for state revenues and spending to the Senate.  We’ll dig into what they did –and didn’t do– with two House Finance Committee members.  We’ll also examine some of the rhetoric you might have heard and find out what’s true and what may be a matter of interpretation.

Guests:

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

On The Political Front is our weekly conversation with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. This week, a look at the state budget, as Senate lawmakers begin work on crafting their own version of a two-year plan.

The New Hampshire House did what some thought it wouldn’t – or couldn’t –  pass a budget. The process  now begins anew in the state Senate.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

With the House having passed its $11.2 billion two-year state budget this week, it’s now up to the state Senate to come up with its own version of a spending plan.

Jeanie Forrester is a Republican from Meredith and chairs the Senate Finance Committee.

She joined Morning Edition host Rick Ganley to talk about the task ahead.

There’s a perception by some that the Senate will simply start from scratch, without any regard for what the House ended up passing. How accurate is that?

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A $11.2 billion budget was signed off on Wednesday by the New Hampshire House.

Although the plan is a modest increase from the last biennial, it cuts hundreds of millions from what the Governor proposed.

The reductions include $6 million less for substance abuse treatment programs as well as $53 million less for developmental disabilities.

Denise Colby of Belmont says these cuts would force her to quit her job to care for her six-year-old autistic son.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The House version of the $11.2 billion budget passed along party lines with reductions to the Governor's proposed funding for social services still left on the books. 

Advocates for the developmental disabled filled the capitol, but those in favor of more funding for substance abuse treatment drew out the largest crowd.

Three-hundred – that is the number of lives that were lost in New Hampshire last year from drug-related deaths, and that is the same number of people who came to the State House on Wednesday to advocate for more funding.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire house has passed an $11.2 billion state budget.

The proposal includes no tax and fee increases and lifts state spending by about $400 million, some $300 million dollars less than the plan proposed by Governor Maggie Hassan.

“This was an effort to look under every cushion of the sofa to look for loose change.”

Sean Hurley, NHPR

With House lawmakers set to vote on proposed two-year state budget Tuesday, one program that’s facing a potentially significant cut is the Meals on Wheels program.

The House Finance Committee is recommending a $10.6 million cut in general non-Medicaid appropriations, a 50 percent reduction to the fund that helps pay for Meals on Wheels.

Roberta Berner is director of the Grafton County Senior Citizens Council.

She joined Morning Edition to talk about how the proposed cuts could affect the people her program serves.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

On the Political Front, NHPR's Josh Rogers speaks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley about the state budget going before the House this week.

The state budget, the version crafted by House budget writers, heads for a floor vote this week. House Speaker Shawn Jasper has indicated he’s ready to lock lawmakers in to get the job done. Is it going to come to that?

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is in New Hampshire for the first time since he announced his bid for President on Monday.

Ted Cruz made his first stop at a VFW hall in Merrimack where he told the hundred plus crowd that the country needs a president who honors the logic of the founders.

“This country was built on a promise. It was built on an extraordinary idea that our rights don’t come from government they come from God and our founding documents, the declaration, the constitution were designed to rein in government and protect those God-given rights, ” Cruz said on Friday.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The state’s chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group backed by the Koch brothers,  are behind the House Finance version of the state's spending plan, which passed committee along party lines Thursday. 

The $11 billion budget trimmed hundreds of millions from Governor Maggie Hassan’s proposal including reducing spending for the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Transportation and University funding.

AFP State Director Greg Moore said the budget isn’t perfect but it is fiscally responsible.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan joined Morning Edition Friday to talk about her reaction to the moves made Thursday by the House Finance Committee.

You’ve made clear your opposition to many of the recommendations made in the House budget. What particular proposals give you the greatest concern?

The House budget that was proposed earlier this week made unnecessary, very harmful cuts that will pull us backwards and will make it much more difficult to make the kind of economic progress we need to.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The New Hampshire House Finance Committee has voted along party lines to send an $11 billion state spending plan to the full House, for a second time. 

For the past week or so Finance Chairman Neal Kurk has described this budget as “business as usual.”

But cobbling together this year's budget wasn't easy, as lawmakers scrambled to find money to fill a $68 million hole needed to avert deep layoffs in the Department of Transportation, after Kurk’s plan to hike the gasoline tax failed to gain traction.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The House Finance Committee is heading back to the drawing board to come up with the money to avert deep funding cuts and hundreds of layoffs within New Hampshire's Department of Transportation.

DOT officials say the $88 million reduction from the Governor's proposed budget would result in more than 700 layoffs and severely limit road maintenance. 

During Wednesday's House session, House Speaker Shawn Jasper of Hudson disallowed the debate over the gas tax, he said, for procedural reasons 

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The New Hampshire House Finance Committee has wrapped up its work on the state budget proposal, which now heads to the House floor next week. 

The roughly $11 billion budget cleared the committee Tuesday with all Republican backing – undoing many spending increases from the Governor.  

They spent $88 million less for the Department of Transportation, $46 million for education aid and $140 million less for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

House budget writers are backing a proposal that would eliminate probable cause hearings for those facing felony charges in New Hampshire. 

The House Finance Committee voted in favor of the measure on Monday,  saying the change would save the state money. Meanwhile criminal defense lawyers say it will make it harder for anyone charged with a felony.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The New Hampshire House Finance Committee voted along party lines Monday to eliminate the cap on education aid as well as reduce funding for the state's stabilization grants by 40 percent in effort to trim $46 million from the state's budget. 

Under this proposal, districts with growing enrollments would see more money meanwhile shrinking districts would receive less.

Karen Umberger, a Republican from Kearsarge, says with enrollment dropping in many school districts these cuts are needed.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

On The Political Front is our weekly conversation with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. This week, a look at the politics behind a push for an increase to the gas tax from the head of the House Finance Committee. 

The Finance Committee in the New Hampshire House hopes to finish its work on the House’s budget this week. Some of their decisions have been controversial, and there’s even been talk that mustering the votes to pass a budget in the House may be tough.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Kentucky US Senator Rand Paul is in New Hampshire again. He's one of a number of Republicans considering a presidential bid for 2016.

He spoke with All Things Considered following an event in Manchester.

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Updated at 3:45 PM:

N.H. House speaker Shawn Jasper is demanding an apology from the state rep who made an abortion remark during debate over the bill proposed by fourth graders to designate the Red Tailed Hawk as the state's official raptor. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The business profits tax (BPT) stands at 8.5%; the business enterprise tax (BET) at .75%.

Under these bills, those would drop every year  until 2019, when the BPT would be 7.9% and the BET  .675%.

Senate majority leader Jeb Bradley told colleagues the cuts are an overdue recognition that N.H. isn’t as business friendly as it needs to be.

“To ignore the fact that we have an uncompetitive corporate tax rate is nothing worse than the most myopic short sightedness that we could have.”

Democrats, like David Watters, countered that cuts are ill-conceived.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A bill that would cut more than $88 million from the Governor Maggie Hassan’s proposed transportation funding will move to the House floor.

The House Finance Committee voted 15 -11 along party lines Thursday in favor of a measure, critics say would send a blow to New Hampshire’s infrastructure.

Deputy Commissioner of the DOT Patrick McKenna said these cuts would lead to more than 600 layoffs, the closure of nearly 200 bridges and devastate the state’s maintenance and plowing operations.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The Department of Transportation is warning New Hampshire House budget writers from voting to slash more than $88 million in funding from the Governor’s proposed budget.

The House Finance Committee is expected to vote on the bill Thursday morning.

Deputy Commissioner of the department Patrick McKenna said he is appalled by the cuts,  adding that it would result in the loss of more than 600 jobs, the closure of hundreds of bridges and would drastically affect the state's infrastructure by limiting road maintenance and plowing. 

NHPR Staff

 

House budget writers are preparing to vote on whether to cut millions of dollars from the Department of Transportation's budget, forcing layoffs and a decline in road maintenance.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

The Department of Health and Human Services is warning House budget writers against cutting $160 million from the Governor’s proposed budget.

So far the House Finance Committee is proposing roughly $117 million less from the H.H.S budget. Meanwhile a proposal to cut more than $28 million from the state’s mental health services remains on the table.

Deputy Commissioner of the department Marilee Nihan tells the committee these cuts are “aggressive.”

NHPR / Josh Rogers

It’s Monday morning. NHPR’s Josh Rogers joins Morning Edition to discuss developments on NH’s political front.

Lots of political activity over the weekend Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Ted Cruz all paying their respects to local Republicans. House budget writers busy. Let’s start with presidential politics.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

 

The Republican-led House passed several bills Wednesday aimed at weakening aspects of the Common Core education standards and affirming the importance of local and parental control in education.

“We can fire a shot here today in the battle over federal intrusion,” Republican Rep. Glenn Cordelli of Tuftonboro told the chamber to loud cheers. “You will make a statement today, you will stand tall. No more unfunded federal mandates, no more federal control of education, no more.”

NHPR

The New Hampshire House backed a measure to put fetal homicide on the state’s books.

The bill, which was approved 208 to 155, would allow prosecutors to charge anyone in the death of a fetus over eight weeks.

To the bill’s lead sponsor, Republican Leon Rideout of Lancaster, this issue is personal. Nearly two years ago his daughter was seven and a half months pregnant when a driver ran a stop sign and struck her car – ending her pregnancy.

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