Some Northern Pass opponents are hoping Governor Maggie Hassan will sign Senate Bill 99, which they think may complicate approval of the controversial hydro-electric project. The bill may reach Hassan's desk this week but she says she hasn’t decided what to do.
“I haven’t reviewed the bill yet in any kind of detail so I’ll do that and then make up my mind,” she told NHPR Saturday.
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.
The gambling bill goes to the floor of the NH House for a full vote on Wednesday, after receiving a narrow 23-22 supercommittee vote resulting in a recommendation to kill the bill; the recommendation means that none of the amendments being debated in the House will be under consideration unless Wednesday's vote also fails to approve the bill. One such amendment would look to beef up regulation, while allowing for more revenue. Issues on the docket in the NH Senate include the Stand Your Groud repeal, Voter ID, the gas tax, the tobacco tax, medical marijuana, and the minimum wage.
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.
Millennium Gaming brought leaders from Washington County, Pennsylvania to Concord to tout the benefits of a casino to lawmakers at a lunch meeting today. Millennium runs The Meadows casino and racetrack in Washington. If New Hampshire allows a casino at Rockingham Park, Millennium would develop it.
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.