Maggie Hassan | New Hampshire Public Radio

Maggie Hassan

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: July 31, 2020

Jul 30, 2020
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Sen. Maggie Hassan joins us for the first part of the Weekly N.H. News Roundup for an update on the debate over a new coronavirus relief package in the Senate. Later in the hour, NHPR reporter Annie Ropeik and Concord Monitor reporter Ethan DeWitt join us, to talk about the week's news, including Gov. Chris Sununu lifting the state's ban on reusable bags, but continuing to refuse calls for a statewide mask requirement.

Air date: Friday, July 31, 2020

Flicker CC / https://flic.kr/p/drsrm8

Federal regulators have declined to act on a challenge to a pro-solar energy law from a group with ties to conservative New Hampshire politics and Gov. Chris Sununu.

The New England Ratepayers Association’s petition to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission dealt with net metering, where customers can generate and sell their own, often renewable power back to the grid to save on their utility bills.

Rob_ / Flickr CC

New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation is opposing a federal petition that would erode states’ control of a major solar energy policy.

Zoom screenshot

Democratic state lawmakers say they'll push for renewable energy development as part of the economic recovery from COVID-19.

State senator and gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes addressed the issue during a virtual Earth Day town hall Wednesday.

Click here to sign up for our coronavirus newsletter to get the latest updates.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

U.S. Sen Maggie Hassan says although she is eager to get the economy up and running again, that decision should be based on science and data.  

Hassan was among a bipartisan group of senators who spoke with President Trump Thursday about reopening the economy – a move Trump has been eager to get underway.  Hassan spoke with The Exchange hours before that discussion.  

“What experts tell us is that as we reopen the economy, the way we will prevent a further surge of this illness or a resurgence of it, and the need to then shut everything down again, which would also be disastrous for our small businesses, for individuals, for the whole economy, we will need to have a truly robust diagnostic testing system and public health resources to do contact tracing," Hassan said.

(To hear the full Exchange conversation, see below. )

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Lawmakers in Washington are moving forward on a $2 trillion coronavirus bill, the largest stimulus package in U.S. history. The bill would provide direct payments to taxpayers, loans to small businesses and create a $500 billion corporate bailout fund.

Senator Maggie Hassan spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello about the bill, and about whether she thinks New Hampshire is ready for a shelter-in-place order.

Editor’s note: This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Governor Chris Sununu has joined bipartisan calls for Congress to permanently fund a key federal land and water conservation program.

The decades-old Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF, has provided nearly $40 million in grants for hundreds of New Hampshire's state parks, heritage sites and other outdoor preservation projects.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

Senator Maggie Hassan is meeting with students in Nashua on Tuesday to discuss a bill she's sponsoring to expand early college programs for high-schoolers.

The bill - Fast Track To and Through College - is inspired by New Hampshire's own college high school dual enrollment program, Running Start, which allows high schoolers to enroll in community college classes that count toward college credit. 

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

 

Hundreds of veterans, their families, and state officials gathered on Monday under a gray sky for a ceremony at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen. The annual event included remarks from veteran's affairs officials, Gov. Chris Sununu, and all four members of New Hampshire's congressional delegation.

Sen. Maggie Hassan thanked veterans and current members of the military for their service.

NHPR

Senator Maggie Hassan is spearheading a bill to reinstate a homeowner tax credit for energy efficiency upgrades.

The bill would also increase and update the credit, which expired in 2017. It would give tax refunds to homeowners who invest in weatherization or efficient heating and cooling systems.

Hassan, a Democrat, has bipartisan co-sponsors on the bill, including Republican Susan Collins of Maine.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

Amid a spike in hate crimes nationwide, New Hampshire's Democratic congressional delegation announced Friday that seven houses of worship in the state are getting funding to help bolster security.

The $150,000 in grants will go to four churches, two temples and a chabad. The delegation also announced the state was getting more than $4 million from the State Homeland Security Program to support terrorism prevention and preparedness efforts.

Senator Maggie Hassan was one of a group of bipartisan lawmakers who introduced a bill on Thursday designed to stop surprise medical billing.

The plan would set up an arbitration process where medical providers and insurers could work out who pays for an out-of-network visit without involving the patient.

“That's really the key part of our legislation,” said Hassan at a press conference in Washington, D.C., “taking the patient out of these payment disputes between plans and providers.”

c-span

Senator Maggie Hassan said leaders in China are making progress toward stemming the illicit flow of fentanyl into the U.S. She indicated some headwinds, however.

 

Fresh off of a congressional delegation trip to East Asia, Hassan applauded Chinese efforts to further classify components of fentanyl as controlled substances.

 

"In New Hampshire, where we are losing almost 500 Granite Staters to the opioid epidemic, 80 percent of the opioid deaths come from fentanyl," Hassan said.

 

Ali Oshinskie for NHPR

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan said the ripple effects of opioid addiction will be felt for generations. 

She joined NHPR's The Exchange Monday to discuss the federal and state responses to the crisis, as well as the role the FDA may have played in either "wittingly or unwittingly" encouraging overprescribing of opioids. 

Listen to the full interview here, or watch a video of the program below

Hassan also addressed climate change -- she prefers a series of steps, rather than the sweeping Green New Deal. And she's concerned about the possible impact of  Medicare for all proposals now under discussion.

"As you transition people from one system to the next, it can be very disruptive...especially if you're somebody with complex medical needs," she said.

Allegra Boverman/New Hampshire Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan joins The Exchange on Monday to discuss national security, health care, and education. We also get her take on the Democratic candidates in the 2020 presidential race and on proposals such as the Green New Deal and Medicare-for-all. 

Hassan serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; the Finance Committee; and the Joint Economic Committee. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire's U.S. Senators want toxic PFAS chemicals to be officially designated as hazardous substances at Superfund sites.

Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan are backing a bill in Congress that says sites with PFAS contamination should qualify for federally managed Superfund cleanup.

Via NPR

The U.S. Senate confirmed a new Environmental Protection Agency administrator Thursday, with New Hampshire’s two senators among those voting “no.”

Andrew Wheeler will become permanent EPA administrator. He filled the post after former administrator Scott Pruitt resigned last July.

Via NPR

New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan was among the lawmakers asking questions of the nation's biggest drug companies in Washington today.

While much of the hearing before the Senate Finance Committee focused on the high price of prescription drugs in the U.S., Hassan focused her questions on the sales tactics the companies used when promoting opioids to doctors.

Jim Cleveland / courtesy Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

All four members of New Hampshire's Congressional delegation signed a letter to President Trump Tuesday opposing his plan to divert funding for a border wall.

In the letter the delegation says taking money from the Department of Defense to pay for a border wall could hurt two projects in and around the Granite State.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

Democrats in Congress released their ambitious Green New Deal plan this week. It suggests sweeping reforms to rapidly de-carbonize the nation’s economy.

New Hampshire’s two representatives backed the idea of the plan while it was still in the works.

At a ribbon-cutting for a solar array at Newfields’ wastewater treatment plant Friday, Sen. Maggie Hassan said she's still studying the proposal.

But she says she welcomes any discussion in Congress of ways to tackle climate change while creating jobs.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The federal government shutdown continues as President Trump and Democratic lawmakers have yet to come to an agreement on funding for a border wall.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with New Hampshire Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan about what's going on in Washington as those negotiations continue.

(Editor's note: this transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.)

 

Some U.S. senators, including New Hampshire's Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, want Senate leadership to take action before the end of the year to protect small businesses from red tape following a court decision on collecting sales taxes from online shopping.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Senator Maggie Hassan met with constituents in Concord Monday to hear about their concerns over health care.

Participants in the round-table discussion brought up coordination of care and prescription drug costs as issues they're dealing with in the day-to-day.

At five months old, Laura Beaudoin’s son was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric cancer.

“The post-chemo drug that he took -- Neulasta -- was covered for us for the most part,” Beaudoin said. “But that drug costs about $6,000 for a very small dose.”

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

The New England office of the EPA has awarded grants to Keene State College and the Nashua Regional Planning Commission for projects that aim to reduce kids' exposure to toxins.

Keene State College will use the $25,000 for a project that trains citizen scientists to monitor and reduce air pollution from wood smoke, which exacerbates childhood asthma.

 

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan were in Manchester on Tuesday to discuss a major opioid bill awaiting President Trump's signature.

The U.S. Senate passed the sweeping legislation, called the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, last week. 

AP

 

A former staffer for Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire has been charged with posting private, identifying information about one or more senators on the Internet amid the impassioned fight over whether to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Screenshot via US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

The U.S. Senate held a major hearing on PFAS chemical contamination Wednesday, with testimony from a local advocate.

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan, who sits on the Senate subcommittee that held the hearing, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who was a guest, questioned federal regulators for two hours.

They pushed for answers on the government's plans for more PFAS research, stricter standards and cleanup plans.

Both of New Hampshire U.S. Senators went on record last week saying they would vote against Brett Kavanaugh.

But the Democrats now say the Senate should hold off on any vote on Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court until the Senate can examine the accusation made against him by Christine Blasey Ford.

In a statement, Maggie Hassan says Ford, now a California college professor, has shown great courage in speaking out and that "we must ensure the process treats her with dignity."

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Both of New Hampshire's Democratic U.S. senators said Monday they will vote against Brett Kavanaugh as a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Shaheen said the nominee is out of step on the scope of a president's executive power, women's right to abortions and pre-existing conditions under the Affordable Care Act.

She also said she's frustrated by the "lack of documentation" produced by Republicans and the nominee's "refusal to answer basic questions about his judicial record and philosophy." She said she believes Republicans are deliberately concealing his record.

File Photo

New Hampshire's senators are joining an effort to hold the U.S. military more accountable for water contamination at sites like Pease International Tradeport.

The senators are co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill called the PFAS Accountability Act, along with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, lead sponsor Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and others.

Pages