Weekly N.H. News Roundup: Nov. 8, 2019

Nov 7, 2019

In a long-held political ritual, several presidential candidates file their paperwork at the Statehouse for the 2020 New Hampshire Primary, while Vice President Mike Pence files on behalf of President Trump. Cities around the state hold elections for mayor — and on whether to allow sports betting in their communities. And the Statehouse has been a busy place, as deadlines loom for committees to complete their work on156 retained bills from last session.

Original air date: Friday, November 8, 2019. 

GUESTS:

Sarah Gibson - NHPR's Southern N.H. and Education reporter.

Dean Spiliotes - Civic scholar in the School of Arts and Sciences at SNHU.

Paul Steinhauser -  N.H. - based political reporter who writes for Fox News, the Concord Monitor and Seacoast Online.

Paula Tracy - Senior reporter covering Statehouse and environmental issues for InDepthNH.org.  She previously worked at the New Hampshire Union Leader for 25 years and for several years at WMUR. 

For more on this week's stories:

Read Paul Steinhauser's story on Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado filing primary paperwork this week, setting themselves apart as leaning moderate. Bennet called Medicare-for-all a "losing battle," and Klobuchar called herself a "proven progressive."  

Also in the state this week: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Vice President Mike Pence who filed primary paperwork on behalf of President Trump.

Andrew Yang joined The Exchange for a 2020 forum and discussed his plan for dealing with the waves of automation that he says have led to massive job loss among Americans.  Yang, who is expected to file for the primary on Friday, Nov. 8,  also discussed foreign policy, immigration, and his thoughts on restoring civility in the country. 

Paula Tracy of InDepthNH.org reports:

  • It's "crunch time" at the N.H. Statehouse, with committees coming up against deadlines to complete work on 156 retained bills from the last legislative session.  Tracy reports  more than 600 bills in the House and almost 200 bills in the Senate are expected to be debated next year.
  • Among the 2019 issues revisited recently: the debate over plastic bags. An amended bill would create a uniform bag law, requiring a  10-cent charge for single-use plastic bags.  The bill is opposed by the N.H. Retail Association, which called it a "cookie-cutter solution." 
  • The latest conflict involving lawmakers: House Speaker Stephen Shurtleff removes Rep. John Burt from his seat on the House Criminal Justic and Public Safety Comtmittee due to a post on social media about outgoing Fish and Game Executive Director Glenn Normandeau. 
  • Executive Council members voted Wednesday  in favor of a resolution zeroing out the cost of going through the Merrimack tolls.  The resolution is expected to go before the full Executive Council on Nov. 25 and to pass. Governor Sununu's offfice issuesd a news release this week also calling for elmination of the tolls. 

Citizens Count previews the 2020 legislative season. Among issues likely to reappear after being debated last session: a proposal to legalize marijuana, a road-use fee to help boost funding for repairing the state's roads and bridges, and numerous gun-control bills.  

Also this week, NHPR's Sarah Gibson reports on a committee's recommendations for addressing  an increase in reports from teachers who say they were injured by students, and apparent confusion among educators about what they are legally allowed to do when handling violent behavior. 

Read The Concord Monitor's reporting on some of the latest developments involving school administrators in the months following the arrest of a former teacher in April on charges of sexually assaulting a former Concord student.   Concord High School principal Tom Sica resigned days after former Superintendent Terri Forsten did the same, following months of public pressure. 

A roundup of results from municipal elections, including mayoral races and votes on  allowing sports betting.

And an uplifting story about an owl by Jason Schreiber of The Union Leader, who frequently writes some of the best animal-related stories in the state.