State Government

Mike Ross / UNH

 

The University of New Hampshire is seeking $10 million in state funding to begin building new research laboratories to better prepare students for careers in regenerative medicine, bioengineering and other competitive growth industries.

Officials made their pitch Thursday as Republican Gov. Chris Sununu opened a hearing on the capital budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. Sununu said he would recommend spending no more than $120 million.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

New Hampshire's state agencies are starting to make their case for major long-term capital investments for the next budget cycle.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu will open capital budget hearings Thursday. Seventeen departments will be making presentations for fiscal years 2020 and 2021, starting with the University System of New Hampshire.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is making a bet on itself. The state agency is investing heavily in refurbished outlets and supermarket-sized new facilities. It’s part of a long-term strategy to increase sales and ward off competition from other states.

Lawmakers who count on liquor profits to help fund state government are watching closely to see if these expensive projects pay off, with some concerned about the early results.

 

New Hampshire is about to debut a new online system that will display current wait times for the busiest N.H. Division of Motor Vehicles locations.

Starting Thursday, information available at the DMV website will show the number of customers currently waiting at a specific DMV location and the longest wait time currently being experienced by any customer.

Wait time information will be available for offices in:

N.H. Bill Would Establish State Demographer

Jan 24, 2018
NHPR File Photo

New Hampshire's demographics are changing, and some lawmakers want to make sure policy makers keep that in mind.

The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee is holding a public hearing Wednesday on a bill that would create a new position of state demographer. The bill also would create a commission to develop long-term migration goals and would require lawmakers to consider how proposed legislation would affect the state's population trends.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu is backing a bill that he says will reform how New Hampshire’s state government works

Regulatory reform has been on Sununu’s to-do list since running for office. He once called New Hampshire a “regulatory police state.”

Last year, he pulled together an all-male group of lawmakers and business owners to figure out the best ways to cut red tape.

On Monday, they sent him a nearly 50-page list of suggestions that include processing permits faster and making fire marshals solely responsible for the fire codes in foster homes.

NHPR File Photo

  Helen Hanks began her first four-year term as commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Corrections in November. She'd served as assistant commissioner previously and she comes into this new role at a time when the department is struggling to retain staff. It's a problem that some say is exacerbated by comparatively low pay for corrections officers. This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED on NHPR. I'm Peter Biello. Commissioner Hanks joins me now to talk about the state of the department.

 

 Welcome to All Things Considered.

Britta Greene / NHPR

NHPR News covered hundreds of stories in 2017. They ranged from the sublime (see Todd Bookman's story about an amateur synchronized swimming team in Hancock), to the tragic - such as Jack Rodolico's Heroin Diaries, in which a wife of an overdose victim discovers his videos chronicling his struggle.

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

 

A commission studying marijuana legalization will be seeking data on youth pot use to establish a New Hampshire baseline.

The move comes after the panel heard testimony Monday from Andrew Freedman, the former director of marijuana coordination for Colorado, which has legalized marijuana.

"The problem is that baseline data doesn't exist in a lot of the metrics that we're looking at. He gave us some good ideas," Rep. Patrick Abrami, chairman of the commission, said after the hour-long presentation.

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

 

Lawmakers studying marijuana legalization meet again today and this time they will hear from the former state administrator of pot policy in Colorado.

 

Andrew Freedman is now a consultant on marijuana regulation. He served three years as Colorado's first director of marijuana coordination.

 

State Rep. Patrick Abrami, chairman of the New Hampshire commission studying legalization, says Freedman is scheduled to speak via video conference call.

 

Britta Greene / NHPR

A new Civil Rights Unit in the New Hampshire Department of Justice shines a spotlight on the need for greater diversity and inclusion. Gov. Chris Sununu's announcement this week follows months of news reports about racial incidents, from Claremont to Durham and the University of New Hampshire.

Tackling the state's workforce issues

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

Stories of alleged sexual harassment or misconduct are not just relegated to Washington or New York. They ricocheted from Congress to Concord, as Casey McDermott reported this week. Her story, "Women Lobbyists, Legislators Describe Coping with Harassment at N.H. Statehouse," pulled the curtain back on serious complaints. 

Peter Biello/NHPR

  House Speaker Shawn Jasper spent some time this afternoon in his office on the third floor of the Statehouse filling a box with stuff. All Things Considered host Peter Biello caught up with Jasper as he packed up.

NHPR: What's in the box? What are you taking home?

Jasper: Papers. Cards. You know, a Gavel in there. Just a lot of personal stuff that I'm taking home that I'll sort through later. 

When it comes to marijuana legalization, the conflict between state and federal laws appears to be cause for concern for New Hampshire banks.

Todd Wells, Chief Bank Examiner for the New Hampshire Banking Department, says it's a matter of "reputation risk" for state-chartered banks and credit unions hesitant to establish direct relationships with marijuana-related businesses.

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper says he’s disappointed that roughly one-quarter of his chamber has not signed a form acknowledging they’ve read the official Statehouse sexual harassment policy. The way he sees it, “there should be 100 percent compliance.”

Sununu Seeks to Hire From Within for Corrections Chief

Oct 25, 2017
FILE

Governor Chris Sununu Wednesday nominated the No. 2 person at the state Department of Corrections to run the agency.

But the nominee still has to get approved by the Executive Council.

NH.GOV

All DMV offices in New Hampshire will be closed on Monday and Tuesday with online services suspended from now until Wednesday.