Legislature

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

State legislators vote Thursday on whether to override two controversial vetoes of bills about energy.

One would subsidize biomass power plants. The other would expand net metering in New Hampshire.

Governor Chris Sununu says both bills would cost residents and businesses too much.

But supporters from the state’s established timber industry and its newer renewable energy sector disagree.

U.S. Geologic Survey

A new version of a bill in the state Legislature could require environmental officials to devise a stricter limit on arsenic in drinking water.

Rep. Mindi Messmer, a Rye Democrat, originally sponsored the proposal with what she admits was an unrealistically strict standard.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A bill that seeks to limit the political activity of state commissioners had a public hearing today.

The bill would prohibit the heads of state agencies from doing things like donating to a candidate or participating in a campaign while they’re in office.

Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn is the prime sponsor.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

Have you ever gone to an ER that you thought was in-network, but ended up getting stuck with a surprise bill because the doctor you saw there was out-of-network? That’s known as “balance billing,” and New Hampshire is one of a growing number of states looking at ways to protect patients from these unexpected — and often large — invoices.

A new poll shows widespread support in New Hampshire for a constitutional amendment that would give crime victims more say in courtroom proceedings.

According to the poll, 85 percent of New Hampshire voters would support a constitutional amendment known as Marsy’s Law.

The amendment would require that victims be notified of all court proceedings involving their offender. It would also give them the right to be heard in things like sentencing hearings or plea deal negotiations.

N.H. Lawmakers Reviewing Voter Registration Bills

Jan 25, 2018
NHPR File Photo

  New Hampshire's newest voter registration law is still tied up in court, but lawmakers are considering several additional proposals on the often controversial topic of voting.

Proponents of such measures argue they are trying to restore confidence in elections, while opponents say the goal is to prevent certain groups of people, such as college students, from voting.

NHPR File Photo

Gov. Chris Sununu says he supports a bill that would increase the state's minimum age for marriage to 16 years old.

 

In a letter to lawmakers Wednesday, Sununu described the marriage of a 13-year-old girl as "unconscionable." That's the minimum age for girls to marry in the state; for boys, it's 14, though both require parental consent and approval of a judge.

 

The Republican-led House rejected a bill last year that would have raised the minimum age to 18. Lawmakers are now considering a bill to raise the minimum age to 16 for both genders. 

 

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.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Some schools around the state will soon be getting security upgrades as lawmakers Friday approved about $10 million in grants for school safety projects.

The money comes from a surplus in last year’s state budget. It will pay for 170 different projects at schools around the state. Most are security upgrades, like improved locks, alarm systems, or surveillance cameras.

Governor Chris Sununu urged lawmakers to approve the funds at a hearing Friday morning.

Sununu Sends Transportation Plan to Lawmakers

Jan 17, 2018

  Republican Gov. Chris Sununu says his recommended 10-year transportation improvement plan for New Hampshire focuses on preservation, maintenance and safety of existing pavement and bridge infrastructure while "living within our means."

Sununu released a draft plan on Wednesday to be considered by lawmakers.

The plan, which emphasizes interstate as well as individual projects, assumes a level federal funding of about $185 million a year. 

Pixabay

Legislators are considering sharply lowering how much arsenic New Hampshire allows in drinking water – but regulators said in a committee hearing Wednesday it'd be easier said than done.

Right now, New Hampshire uses the federal arsenic limit of 10 parts per billion in drinking water.

Renewvia Energy Corp

State legislators vote Tuesday on a range of energy-related bills that were delayed last week, including two about the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Photo Credit woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

A new bill would increase the level of oversight over homeschool students in the state.

Each year, homeschool students in New Hampshire are required to demonstrate their educational progress. They can do that in a lot of different ways, including with a standardized test or an evaluation by a teacher.

New Hampshire Lawmakers Look Ahead To A New Year

Jan 1, 2018
NHPR FLickr

We hear from State House and Senate leaders about their priorities for 2018.  Among them: Medicaid expansion, voting rules, water contamination, and school choice.


via greenenergytimes.org

Two proposals in the next legislative session would slap extra fees on hybrid and electric vehicles, but but environmental advocates say it's an unfair penalty.

New Hampshire sets annual vehicle registration fees based on weight -- $30 or $40 for a small car, into the hundreds for a big truck. Then there's the fuel tax to cover road maintenance. But electric cars don't use gas, so they don't pay the tax.

Via USGS.gov

Lawmakers will consider at least a dozen bills about water contamination and other environmental hazards when they return to session in January.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Since taking office in February, Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut has drawn criticism that he’s politicizing what’s supposed to be a nonpartisan office — by speaking at Republican party meetings, for example, or using his official Twitter account to take a jab at Democratic executive councilor Chris Pappas.

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. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Twelve years ago, a sexual harassment scandal at the New Hampshire State House ended with the institution being forced to pay $85,000 in public funds toward a settlement. It also prompted a broader reckoning about how the Legislature handled misconduct within its ranks.

Related Story: Women Lobbyists, Legislators Describe Coping With Harassment At N.H. State House

NHPR File

Don't expect school bus passengers in New Hampshire to be required to buckle up anytime soon.

A committee of state lawmakers studying a school bus seat belt requirement is not recommending any such legislation. The committee was formed in compliance with a House Bill that was signed into law in April.

“There’s just not a lot of data to support that an effort this massive is really going to help,” says Rep. Steven Smith, the committee's chairman.