State House

NHPR Staff

Lawmakers will debate fetal homicide laws, restrictions on synthetic drugs and more in this week's upcoming sessions.  

The Republican majority in the House is likely to amend a Senate version of fetal homicide legislation. The bill would allow for criminal charges to be brought in the death of fetuses beyond eight weeks of gestation. It says criminal charges cannot be brought against a woman or a doctor in cases of abortion. Advocates for the bill say it's necessary for women who lose their pregnancies as a result of criminal acts such as assault or car accidents.  

Brady Carlson, NHPR

The House Ways and Means committee has narrowly voted to recommend passage of a bill to authorize casinos in New Hampshire.

Before the 11 to 10 vote, committee members exchanged arguments familiar to anyone who’s followed casino debates in the past. Backers like Republican Gary Azarian of Salem said that, in addition to boosting jobs and economic growth, casinos would give the state revenue to fund its priorities without increasing taxes or fees.

Via Flickr CC

A state Senate committee has recommended passage of a gas tax increase in New Hampshire.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted 4-1 Tuesday in favor of the increase.

The 18 cent tax would rise about 4 cents per gallon in July under the bill. It has not been increased since 1991 and is the lowest in New England. That increase is projected to raise $32 million annually for road improvements and the Department of Transportation.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill March 13.

The New Hampshire House has passed a drug testing bill inspired by the hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital. 

The bill, approved 289 to 48 by the House on Wednesday, would require hospitals to set up policies to prevent misuse of drugs by employees to maintain their licenses. It would also require they test employees for drugs if there was a reasonable suspicion of drug use.

The State House has narrowly approved a proposal on recreational marijuana that it voted down earlier in the day.

The bill would legalize up to 1 ounce of marijuana for recreational use for anyone age 21 and older; it would also allow people grow up to six marijuana plants in a controlled environment

The House first voted down the measure this afternoon, by a vote of 170 to 168. But lawmakers immediately took up a motion to reconsider that vote, and it passed, which restarted debate.

New Hampshire's House has given its preliminary OK to giving negligent hikers a chance to buy a hike safe card that forgives rescue expenses they'd otherwise owe the state. 

Under current law the Fish and Game Department can seek reimbursement for its rescue costs if a person acts negligently and then needs rescuing.  Those costs can run from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

Minimum Wage Debate To Return To N.H. State House

Jan 7, 2014

The debate over the minimum wage will return to the state house this session.  A proposal to reestablish a state minimum wage failed last year in the Republican-controlled state Senate.  This session, Democrats hope to set a state minimum wage at $8.25 an hour

NHPR’s Josh Rogers talks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley about the political impact of the shutdown resolution for New Hampshire Senators Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen.

Rogers also talks about Shaheen’s fundraising efforts with her reelection coming up, and action at the State House in Concord.

NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers joins Morning Edition host Rick Ganley to talk about the state's $76 million surplus and what it means for Governor Maggie Hassan politically.  Rogers also touches on the government shutdown and the reactions among members of New Hampshire's Congressional delegation.

    

On the Political Front this morning, NHPR's Josh Rogers talks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley about the state of Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire and how the race is shaping up in the 1st Congressional District.

It was six months of battles, bargains and balancing. Debates on medical marijuana, voter ID, and taxes all took center stage. A proposed casino was nixed, and after months of number crunching, a biennial budget was built, and all of this done under the watchful eye of a new governor. We’ll look back at some of the biggest political debates of 2013.

Guests

Ben McLeod / Flickr Creative Commons

State budget negotiators reached accord today on a $10.7 billion spending plan.

The budget still needs approval from the full legislature, but leaders in the House and Senate, as well as Governor Maggie Hassan, agree the proposal meets many shared goals.

NHPR's Josh Rogers tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about the negotiation process, what's in the final budget deal and its chances when it goes before the full House and Senate next week.

A Thursday deadline is looming for House and Senate lawmakers to come to an agreement on the next two-year state budget. NHPR's Josh Rogers gets us caught up on the state of the negotiations, and what chance there is of Medicaid expansion being wrapped into the final deal.

It's committee season at the State House, as the legislative year nears its end. In the next couple of weeks, the budget will be getting the most attention, with some contention over Medicaid expansion, school building aid, charter schools, and personnel cuts. Other bills to watch for include medical marijuana and voter ID. US Senator Kelly Ayotte announces she supports a bipartisan immigration bill.

The NH Senate will be voting on its budget this Thursday; their plan calls for $10.7 billion in spending over two years, coming just under the House's budget, which calls for $11b, but doing it with large policy differences. One of those differences is Medicaid expansion, which the Governor and House favor. Looking forward to the 2014 US Senate election, in which incumbent Jeanne Shaheen is expected to run for re-election, Jim Rubens has been added to the list of possible Republican contenders, along with Jeb Bradley, Frank Guinta, and Scott Brown.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

The State House has rejected a bill to legalize a casino in southern New Hampshire, by a vote of 199 to 164.

NHPR’s Michael Brindley was on hand for the debate today in Representatives Hall. He joins All Things Considered host Brady Carlson with the latest.

The New Hampshire House makes its first key vote as the casino bill is voted on by a supercommittee comprised of the House Finance and Ways & Means Committees; various amendments will be considered on Tuesday, with a committee vote and recommendation coming Wednesday. The New Hampshire Senate, meanwhile, continues to work on its budget, and the Senate Finance Committee prepares to hear from some of the larger state agencies - Health & Human Services, Transportation, and Environmental Services - on their budget needs.

With April being a big month for state revenue, New Hampshire could end the biennium in the black; things are looking tougher for the casino proposal, as the legislature continues to work on the budget; Senator Ayotte held a handful of town halls meetings last week, getting questions and a bit of backlash on her gun control positions.

Senator Kelly Ayotte has been in the news for her opposition to expanded background checks for gun sales; the NH Senate set to vote on a number of bills this week, with a number of them expected not to pass; one bill that may find bipartisan support is the proposed freeze of the Voter ID law, which would mean that more stringent requirements set to go into effect in September would be put on hold.

In the wake of the bombings in Boston, NH Senator Kelly Ayotte and other lawmakers are arguing for treating the remaining suspect as an enemy combatant, which would break new legal ground; the national gun bill fails to pass, with Senator Ayotte being the lone New England Senator to oppose the bill; the casino bill backed by Governor Hassan and the NH Senate is now being examined by the NH House Finance and Ways & Means committees; both branches of the NH Legislature continue to work on their budgets.

John H. Sununu announces he will not challenge Jeanne Shaheen in the 2014 US Senate race; former Senator Scott Brown visited New Hampshire this weekend, but is not saying yet if he intends to make a Senate run in NH; other possibilities for 2014 include Frank Guinta and Jeb Bradley.

The House passes their budget, which does not include gambling, but funds some of Governor Hassan's priorities, such as mental health and higher education; the budget-writing process now moves to the Senate, where it is likely to see numerous changes; the Senate hears several high-profile bills this week, including a reinstatement of the state minimum wage; Scott Brown announces he "would not rule out" a Senate run in NH.

The House votes this week on their State budget bill; an as-yet-introduced amendment to the casino bill seeks to limit any future casino from competing with the Verizon Wireless Arena with a large audience entertainment venue; gambling looks to have staying power in the legislative budget process.

The House votes on the "Stand Your Ground" repeal, which would again require people to attempt to retreat before using deadly force, and a bill to increase the state's gas tax; gambling remains a heavily-debated issue, with differing proposals in the House and Senate, and one that could be affected by who replaces Michael Delaney as Attorney General.

Some key votes are coming up within a busy House docket: the tobacco tax increase, expected to pass, but at less than the Governor's proposed level; freezing the second phase of the Voter ID law, halting provisions set to take effect this fall that would eliminate some of the current acceptable forms of identification, namely college students' school IDs; a change of the "Stand Your Ground" law, reinstating the requirement that people make an effort to retreat before using deadly force.

The casino proposal faces its first major vote this week, is expected to pass in the Senate; the gas tax comes before the House Ways & Means Committee; medical marijuana legislation may have new life with Governor Hassan in the corner office; the House works on a revised budget.

As the NH house readies to vote on a 15 cent increase to the state’s gas tax, Former house speaker Bill O’Brien is pushing to ensure all gas tax money pays for infrastructure.  

Former House speaker Bill O’Brien knows something about diverting gas tax revenue to pay for things other than roads. The state budget he passed as speaker did just that, as so have pretty much every state budget in memory.

But now, as the House stands ready to increase gas taxes for the first time since 1991, O'Brien says it’s time for the practice to stop.

Votes are expected in the House this week on whether the state will allow the building of one casino, as outlined in Governor Hassan's budget, and the proposed raise to the gas tax; The House Finance Committee gets to work on the budget.

The New Hampshire House votes this week on whether to raise the gas tax for the first time since 1991; considerations over this proposed tax and expanded gambling will affect implementation of the governor's budget.

Commissioner Christopher Clement of NH DOT testifies before the House committee
Jonathan Lynch / NHPR

The House Committee on Public Works and Highways held a hearing on a bill that would increase the state's gas tax and vehicle registration fees.

The bill would raise 800 million dollars over eight years in new revenue by increasing the state's gas tax by 12 cents over three years and tacking on five dollars to vehicle registration fees.

Representative David Campbell, the bill's primary sponsor, urged lawmakers to pass the legislation, arguing that New Hampshire's transportation infrastructure is in a state of crisis:

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