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Hassan Seeks to Call Lawmakers Back to Concord to Address Drug Crisis

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Maggie Hassan is asking lawmakers to return to Concord nearly two months early to begin working on legislation aimed to help those battling drug addiction. 

Hassan will officially ask the Executive Council to approve the session at Wednesday’s council meeting in Newport. In order to convene a special session, a majority of the five-member council must vote to support Hassan’s request.

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Hassan wants lawmakers to take up proposed legislation that would impose stricter penalties on the sale and distribution of fentanyl, fund a statewide drug court program and increase dollars for local anti-drug efforts. 

Republican State House leaders have proposed their own slate of anti-drug reforms, but they have said they want to deal with them in January, when the Legislature is scheduled to formally return to Concord.

Majority Leader Jeb Bradley worries that rushing this process will do more harm than good. “If we do it with due diligence, with stakeholder input, with the normal committee process, all of which we were preparing for in January, we are going to be able to address the opioid crisis much better,” Bradley told reporters Tuesday at the State House.

Hassan has proposed bringing lawmakers back to the State House on Nov. 18. Since 2014, more than 500 people have died of drug overdose in New Hampshire. 

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