The NH House is backing a bill that seeks to remove a potential financial incentive for county prosecutors who pursue liquor law violations.
The bill is fallout from mismanagement in the office of former Rockingham County Attorney, Jim Reams. Among other things, the state accused Reams of misusing fees his office collected while prosecuting liquor violations. Reams said current law allowed him to collect and spend the liquor fines.
The N.H. House is again hearing arguments to make marijuana possession punishable by civil penalties, not criminal.
Tuesday at a Criminal Safety Committee hearing crowded with supporters, cosponsor Representative Joe LaChance argued New Hampshire is the only state with criminal penalties for simple possession.
“What’s the repercussion for that person who may not be able to afford college? Now he has a marijuana conviction, and according to federal law, you may not be eligible for student loans, public housing. What have we done to that person for the rest of their life?”
Lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday on a House bill to bring keno to New Hampshire bars and restaurants. Sponsors say the electronic game could raise some $8.5 million annually for education, while Gov. Maggie Hassan’s two-year budget projects $26 million in keno revenue.
NHPR’s digital journalist Brian Wallstin reported on keno legislation a year ago that died in the Senate, and he joins us now to give us an update on this year’s proposal.
The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will hear arguments this Tuesday afternoon for a bill that would decriminalize marijuana possession of an ounce or less. It would also reduce criminal penalties for greater amounts and would make it a misdemeanor to grow up to six marijuana plants.
Penalties for possessing less than an ounce would be a $100 fine for adults or 35 hours community service for a minor.
Possession of any amount of marijuana currently carries with it a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
Governor Maggie Hassan will include a new, administrative position for state government: a Chief Operating Officer.
The position, modeled after COOs in the private sector, would improve the state’s efficiency. The idea came from a commission convened by Hassan in twenty thirteen. It released its final report last month, which says the Chief Operating Officer would oversee operations for staff and IT across state agencies.
New Hampshire's U.S. senators are supportive of President Barack Obama's decision to pursue a congressionally approved authorization for the use of military force against Islamic state fighters. Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte says as the Senate begins hearings on the language and scope of Obama's request, she wants to learn more about whether he is prepared to fully execute an effective strategy to defeat ISIS under the terms of the authorization. Democratic Sen.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was talking about the weather when he told New Hampshire voters he's "just warming up," but he also says he's carefully preparing for a possible presidential campaign.
In Bedford on Wednesday, Perry joked about the 80-degree difference in temperature between New Hampshire and Texas this week. But his main message to business leaders was that the federal government has failed them by not providing predictability and stability in taxes and regulation.
Governor Maggie Hassan will today present her spending plan for the next two years on Thursday. Budget writers face several key challenges this year.
Will the Governor again include a casino in her budget? Will she propose spending on commuter rail, a goal she called crucial when she was sworn in? We’ll have to wait for the speech to see. Hassan didn’t tip her hand in brief comments to reporters.
Planned Parenthood is suggesting New Hampshire lawmakers replace the state law creating "buffer zones" around facilities that provide abortions rather than repeal it.
New Hampshire's 25-foot buffer zone law has not been enforced since its passage last summer because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down a similar Massachusetts law. The House Judiciary Committee took testimony Tuesday on a bill to repeal the buffer zone law outright. Its sponsors say the state will face a costly lawsuit if the law remains in place.
The high cost of two major lawsuits against the state are complicating the next state budget, and it's not the first time that's happened.
A settlement over mental health services will cost the state $24 million in the upcoming budget, and another suit over a hospital tax could take up to $80 million from the general fund. These costs won't be easily swallowed in an already tight budget of roughly $10.7 billion.
A legislative committee overseeing implementation of the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire may be taking on new duties.
State Sen. Jeb Bradley, a Republican from Wolfeboro, is sponsoring a bill to increase the powers of the joint health care reform oversight committee to include the state's newly-expanded Medicaid program. The bill would require the committee to provide oversight, policy direction and recommendations for legislation.
The fraught topic of education funding is again before lawmakers as two bills seek to eliminate a cap aid to local schools that was imposed in 2011. The bills hope to head off a possible lawsuit from school districts that have missed out on millions of dollars because of that cap.
The push for change has bipartisan support, even though it could result in less funding for many schools.
On The Political Front is our weekly conversation with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. This week, what Mitt Romney's exit means for 2016, and a look at the issues up for debate this week at the N.H. Statehouse.
Let’s start with Presidential politics – Mitt Romney won't make said a third run for president. What was more surprising, that he said no, or that he was thinking of running again in the first place?
Mitt Romney’s decision to skip a third run for president leaves the New Hampshire's GOP presidential primary without a clear early front-runner.
Mitt Romney had been publicly flirting with a 2016 run for the past three weeks. On Wednesday he made a campaign-style trip to Mississippi, but little more than a day later he used conference calls to tell his staunchest backers that he’s decided it is best to clear the way for others leaders in his party.
Jim Merrill ran both of Romney’s N.H. campaigns. He said he didn’t see this coming.
Health and Human Services commissioner Nick Toumpas told lawmakers he will make up most of the $58 million hole in his budget through $45 million in cuts and savings, including trims for community health centers and family planning programs.
But the issue rankling lawmakers the most is $7 million of payment cuts to nursing homes.
Toumpas told the legislature’s fiscal committee those cuts were a tough call.
“I just had not a whole lot of options, in terms of what we needed to do.”
New Hampshire's top health official warned lawmakers his department’s current budget has what amounts to an $82 million shortfall. The legislature’s fiscal committee meets Friday to consider a proposal by the Governor to balance the state budget by July.
As he briefed the house finance committee, Health and Human Services commissioner Nick Toumpas stressed what many lawmakers already know – that his department faces a tough balance sheet.
Two progressive groups – Democracy for America and MoveOn.org – launched a campaign in New Hampshire this weekend to urge Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to run for president.
On Saturday, around 75 fans of Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren packed a small conference room in one of Manchester’s mill buildings. Many held signs that promoted a presidential candidate as much as it did a populist cause.