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Executive Council

EPA New England

A former chemical industry lobbyist and top official in the Trump Administration's Environmental Protection Agency will serve as the assistant commissioner for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.

Jack Rodolico/NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu announced Wednesday that he will re-nominate Attorney General Gordon MacDonald to serve as the next Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court.

Staff photo

New Hampshire voters will choose a number of local political leaders, from county officers to state reps, on Nov. 3.

Every Friday leading up to the election on Weekly N.H. News Roundup, we talk about one of these down-ballot offices, from what powers they hold, to how they impact your daily life.

We talked with Josh Rogers, NHPR's senior political reporter, about the Executive Council. Check out Civics 101's in-depth explainer on the position.

N.H. State House
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Several high profile races are on the New Hampshire primary ballot next week, including for governor and the Senate seat held by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. But one of the most crowded and competitive primary races this year is quite a bit further down the ballot: the Democratic contest to represent District 2 on the state's Executive Council.

NH Fish & Game / Facebook

The N.H. Fish and Game Department has a new executive director, following a contentious nomination process.

North Country dairy farmer Scott Mason was confirmed by a 3 to 1 vote at the Executive Council Wednesday.

Mason's nomination had support from business leaders and Republican lawmakers.

The Executive Council voted Wednesday to deny the nomination of Ryan Terrell to the State Board of Education.

Terrell’s nomination, by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, was voted down by the Democratic majority on the five-member body, who cited concerns about Terrell’s qualifications. But Terrell, who is black, said the debate “turned into a conversation about race” that discounted his other qualifications.

Josh Rogers | NHPR

A committee of House and Senate lawmakers voted Monday to accept a fact-finder’s report on state employee contracts rejected by Gov. Chris Sununu.

In November, following months of impasse between the Sununu administration and seven bargaining units representing state workers, the fact-finder recommended workers get a 4 % raise over two years, almost twice what Sununu had indicated he would support.

The Executive Council on Wednesday approved Martin Honigberg to serve as a Superior Court judge. The vote came more than a month after Gov. Chris Sununu froze the nomination in response to Democrats blocking his pick for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Honigberg will leave his current post as chair of the state Public Utilities Commission. He previously worked in the Attorney General’s office and as counsel for Gov. Jeanne Shaheen.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: July 12, 2019

Jul 11, 2019

The Executive Council shoots down the nomination of Attorney General Gordon McDonald to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Two-thirds of Medicaid recipients in New Hampshire failed to comply with the new work requirement, prompting a delay of the penalties; the Concord School Board examines how it handles allegations of sexual abuse. 

GUESTS:

  • Ethan DeWitt - Concord Monitor statehouse reporter.
  • Sarah Gibson - NHPR Reporter.
  • Jason Moon - NHPR Reporter.
  • James Pindell – Political reporter for The Boston Globe.
  • Dean Spiliotes - Civic scholar in the School of Arts and Sciences at SNHU.

The Executive Council is a peculiar New Hampshire institution made up of five “citizen” councilors that, together with the governor, make up the executive branch. Why do we have one? And how does it work?

 

Then, overpopulation was one of the biggest environmental issues of the 60s and 70s, arguably bigger than saving the whales, planting trees, and acid rain. But then it seemed to disappear from the conversation.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: April 12, 2019

Apr 12, 2019

The Democratic-led House passes its version of the state spending plan, with funding for the secure psychiatric unit restored.  A bill to repeal the death penalty in the state clears NH Senate with a veto-proof margin. N.H.'s 400 state legislators get paid $100 a year; we examine the conflicts of interest they sometimes encounter in this small state. And another Democrat jumps into the 2020 primary race.

GUESTS:

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

A New Hampshire auto shop owner facing deportation to Lebanon will get a chance to seek a pardon for crimes he committed as a teenager 14 years ago.

Thirty-four-year-old Alain Ata came to the U.S. at age 10. He spent several years in prison for burglary, conspiracy and receiving stolen property incidents when he was 18, and is seeking a pardon that will allow him to remain in the country.

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

Feb 8, 2019

A bill to legalize recreational marijuana gets a hearing in Concord.  A seemingly routine request for a pay raise at the Executive Council became a tense discussion of the financial management of the state's Liquor Commission.  And Dover school officials stand by their decision to NOT fire a teacher at the center of a controversy over racist song lyrics. 

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission will pay an armored car company more than $3 million to collect cash from state-run retail liquor stores. The contract with Loomis Armored, which runs through 2024, also includes the placement of safes at each of the approximately 80 liquor stores statewide.

Civics 101: New Hampshire, our local look at how state government works, brings us a look at the governor. Not our current governor specifically, but the office of the governor itself. What does the NH state governor do? And what makes our governor position different than in other states?

Then, a thought experiment: How fast could people go before the combustion engine and other technologies drastically increased the speed of the human race? And how did they pull it off?

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire’s five-member Executive Council flipped to Democratic control in November. We sit down with two newly-elected members to find out what, exactly, the council does and the key issues before it this year.

There's only one place in the world that you can find the axolotl—the Mexican salamander—in the wild. This creature is the living embodiment of the Aztec god of heavenly fire, of lightning and the underworld.But the wild axolotl’s fate might be bound to the Aztecs by more than myth in a story from Outside/In.

Then, the Executive Council. What is it? Why do we have it? And what does it do?

The Executive Council has voted unanimously to approve more funding for substance-use treatment providers.

Part of that money will go toward guaranteeing a reimbursement rate high enough to cover the cost of care.

Mental health and substance abuse treatment providers raised concerns earlier this year that rates would drop in 2019 under the new Medicaid expansion program, forcing them to shut down services and beds.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  The Executive Council voted Wednesday to approve the pardon of a man convicted of resisting arrest during an incident at a Newmarket polling place in 2014.

 

Former Newmarket GOP Committee Chair Joe Barton's conviction stemmed from an altercation he had with an investigator from the Attorney General's office during the general election.

Barton had allegedly made verbal complaints about a voters eligibility at the poll.

At a hearing last week, Barton said he believed his arrest was politically motivated.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Today Governor Chris Sununu and Executive Councilors heard testimony in a rare pardon hearing. 

The request for a pardon came from Joe Barton, who was convicted of resisting arrest during an incident at a Newmarket polling place during the 2014 general election.

Barton says he didn’t know that the person trying to arrest him was a police officer.

Barton was chairman of the Newmarket Republican Committee at the time. During his hearing Monday, he accused the arresting officer of having political motivations.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Dan St. Hilaire was a county attorney, worked in private practice, has a passion for amateur astronomy, and currently works for the New Hampshire Liquor Commission. But it was his vote against a contract for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in 2011 while serving on the Executive Council that generated the most discussion during his confirmation hearing Monday to serve as a Superior Court judge.

NHPR File Photo

Next year, Republican Governor Chris Sununu will be working with a Democratic majority in the legislature and on the Executive Council. 

The last time the five-member council was majority Democrat was in 2014.

The Council reviews the Governor's hiring decisions and approves state contracts.

Historically, it has been seen as non-partisan, but in recent years it has become more political - with fights over Planned Parenthood, light rail, and staffing appointments.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

The Executive Council on Wednesday approved contracts for new addiction hubs across the state, sending millions of dollars in federal funds to local hospitals to build out resources for those struggling with substance use.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

The city of Manchester is reinventing itself. Some think its best hope lies in the high-tech industry based in the booming Millyard. But for others, old-school, neighborhood relationships are still the way to move Manchester forward.

Nowhere are these opposing visions more on display than the race between Republican Ted Gatsas and Democrat Gray Chynoweth for the District 4 seat on the Executive Council.

The state has chosen Granite Pathways to operate a new substance use disorder treatment facility for teenagers on the grounds of the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester.

The Executive Council approved a four-year contract with the group during its meeting on Wednesday, with services expected to begin in early November.

The 36-bed facility will be open to children ages 12-18 who are in need of inpatient treatment, making it the first residential program for minors in the state.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

 Governor Sununu and the Executive Council approved more than $168,000 for the Attorney General's office to raise salaries.

 

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald says his attorneys make less than they would in many county offices, and that some are leaving as a result.

Primary Preview: Downticket Races in N.H.

Aug 17, 2018

Down-ticket races are heating up in N.H. as summer winds down.  We dig into the lower-profile elections that can have a big impact: State Senate, Executive Council, and other key races to watch as the mid-term campaigns pick up in the weeks before September's primary elections.  Today's guest host is Dean Spiliotes, civic scholar in the School of Arts and Sciences at SNHU and author of the website NH Political Capital.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: July 13, 2018

Jul 13, 2018

The N.H. Supreme Court decides that the voting bill defining residency/domicile, HB1264, is constitutional. Candidates for New Hampshire's First congressional district hold their first debate, amid new allegations about State Senator Andy Sanborn. State lawmakers return to Concord to figure out how tax-free New Hampshire can fend off an internet sales tax.  And Attorney General Jeff Sessions visits N.H. to discuss the opioid crisis.

AP

The Executive Council green-lighted additional state funds for drug recovery centers Wednesday.

In February, one of the state's largest operators of such facilities, Hope for New Hampshire Recovery announced it needed to roll-back its services across the state to stabilize its balance sheet. That included closing centers in Claremont and Concord.

New Hampshire's Executive Council has approved a new leader of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and a new state supreme court justice.

Sarah Stewart was confirmed as department commissioner on Wednesday. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said she has what it takes to drive the department forward into the future by supporting and growing the state's creative economy while protecting forest, lands, and waterways. Stewart works for a small business she started called B-Fresh Consulting.

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