Some bills still waiting on Hassan

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As of August 1, roughly three dozen 2014 bills are still waiting for a signature or veto from Gov. Maggie Hassan (D).  Some of the more notable bills include:

• HB 1135, increasing the penalties for driving without a license.  Rep. Renny Cushing (D-Hampton) introduced the bill after Darriean Hess, an unlicensed driver, struck and killed two cyclists in Hampton.  However, Department of Safety Assistant Commissioner Earl Sweeney testified that the bill will cost the state an additional $28,125 each year without making the roads significantly safer.

• HB 1282, adding regulations intended to protect residents who sign prepaid heating oil contracts.  The bill is a response to complaints about Fred Fuller Oil and Propane Co., Inc., which failed to deliver oil on many occasions this past winter.  Some business advocates argue that pre-buy contracts should simply include "buyer beware" language, and this bill will over-burden small oil companies.

• HB 1602, adding new rules for wind farm siting.  The bill is in response to citizen opposition to wind farms in several New Hampshire towns.  Bill opponents point out that the Site Evaluation Committee is in the middle of reviewing and revising its siting criteria, and this bill will add confusion to that review.

• HB 1630, tightening charitable gaming regulations.  Much of HB 1630 came from the Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority, a group of legislators and stakeholders tasked with studying regulations for a possible casino in New Hampshire in 2013.  However, the Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission and the Department of Justice say they need additional employees to investigate and enforce the requirements in HB 1630.  They estimate those employees would cost the state roughly $700,000 in fiscal year 2016, but the bill did not appropriate any money.

Do you have an opinion on any of these bills?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.
 

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The nonpartisan, nonprofit Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) serves New Hampshire citizens by providing objective information about issues and candidates; promoting the civil exchange of opinions in a variety of forums, online and in person; and connecting citizens with their elected officials.

Show your support for our mission: join the LFDA community today! 

Membership is always free, and gives you posting privileges on our website.

Want to learn more about us first?  Visit our About Page to learn about our mission, our Issue pages to learn about hot topics in New Hampshire government, our Voter Resources section to learn about elected officials, or our Member Posts to see what fellow Granite Staters have to say.  And don't forget to like us on Facebook!

"Pledge politics" - good or bad?

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This week the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) asked candidates to sign a five-point pledge.

The five points are: to cut taxes, to cut spending, to pass a Right to Work law, to oppose the Affordable Care Act (known as "Obamacare"), and to uphold the Constitution.

Supporters of the AFP pledge - and other pledges - argue that such promises keep candidates honest and help voters know where candidates stand.

Opponents argue that such "pledge politics" over-simplify issues and prevent elected officials from considering all possible policy solutions.

The AFP pledge also faces criticism because the organization is based outside New Hampshire.

"We're in a period now in American politics where the third parties like the Koch brothers or some on the left can dictate what campaigns will be talking about and campaigning about, not just giving donations," said James Pindell of WMUR.

What do you think about the AFP pledge, or other pledges?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from WMUR.  The slide image depicts a still shot from WMUR's coverage of the AFP pledge signing ceremony.

Should NH change compost laws?

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The federal Environmental Protection Agency estimates that food scraps take up 21% of landfills, but New Hampshire regulations make it difficult to set up food composting businesses in the Granite State.

New Hampshire regulations require a separate, expensive permitting process for composting meat and dairy.

Supporters of the regulations worry that meat and dairy composting causes odors and attracts animals, more so than fruit and vegetable composting.

Others point out that meat and dairy composting businesses are safely and successfully operating in Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts. 

Do you think NH businesses should be required to get a permit to compost meat and dairy products?  CLICK HERE to answer the question on our Facebook page.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHPR.

Hassan vetoes employee bully bill

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On Monday Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed HB 591, a bill intended to combat bullying in state agencies.

In her veto message, Gov. Hassan said the bill attempts to legislate manners and politeness among state employees, while opening the state to unwarranted lawsuits. 

The Business and Industry Association also feared the bill would lead to similar laws for the private sector.

The State Employee Association of New Hampshire argued that state employees are under unreasonable pressure after budget cuts and lay-offs from the John Lynch administration.  Furthermore, employees have limited avenues to file complaints.

Rep. Dianne Schuett (D-Pembroke), the bill's sponsor, may try to organize a vote to override Gov. Hassan's veto.

Do you think New Hampshire should have a law protecting state employees from an abusive work environment?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Union Leader.

What is an "adequate network"?

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The New Hampshire Insurance Department released a draft of new network adequacy rules last week.  The rules move beyond specific travel time and provider access, and instead focus on access to services.

According to a press release from the Department, "'core' services, such as primary care, pediatrics, substance abuse, and mental health would be accessible within a patient’s nearest community," while more specialized services, such as oncology, might require travel within the state or New England.

Patients in the North Country might be expected to travel farther than patients in urban areas.

The Insurance Department started the rule revision process after approving Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield's "narrow network" for 2014.  Anthem's narrow network excluded 10 of the state's 26 hospitals, but allowed Anthem to offer lower premiums.  Many lawmakers and policy holders protested the decision of the Insurance Department, especially because Anthem is currently the only company offering health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchange.

The proposed new network adequacy rules may require Anthem to revise its network.  However, the focus on services over providers may still allow insurance companies to exclude some hospitals.

The Insurance Department is accepting public comment until August 21.  E-mail your thoughts to Danielle.Barrick@ins.nh.gov.

Want to discuss network adequacy rules on our website?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts.

CLICK HERE to learn more about health insurance debates in New Hampshire.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Eagle Tribune.

Some bills still waiting on Hassan

Join Our Community

"Pledge politics" - good or bad?

Should NH change compost laws?

Hassan vetoes employee bully bill

What is an "adequate network"?

Political Tracker
 
Senate passes VA reform bill, including key provision meant to benefit NH veterans

Concord Monitor — 8/01/2014

The Senate passed a veterans reform package last night that contains a provision benefiting those in New Hampshire, where seeking care at Veterans Affairs facilities can sometimes mean traveling outside the state.
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Attorneys general to Market Basket leadership: Be mindful of state employment laws

LFDA Virtual Town Hall — 8/01/2014

The attorneys general of New Hampshire and Massachusetts have warned Market Basket officials to be aware of the rights of workers if they fire any employees.

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Issue Tracker
Common Core in NH  
Common Core in NH 

Manchester school district's Curriculum and Instruction Committee has voted to approve a draft version of the Manchester Academic Standards, an alternative version of the Common Core State Standards, and send them on to the school's full board.
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The Affordable Care Act and NH  
The Affordable Care Act and NH 

Hospitals Androscoggin Valley, Weeks Memorial, Littleton Regional Healthcare, and Upper Connecticut Valley are looking to form a nonprofit to help provide better care at reduced prices in the face of growing healthcare costs and lacking Medicaid payments.
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Gun Laws
Gun Laws 

New Hampshire firearms manufacturer Sig Sauer announced that it will be instituting adjustments to its workforce due to the soft gun market on a national level and declining firearms sales. Sources indicate that more than 180 employees could be laid off.
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In The NH News

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Gregory Carson
While 99.9% of people don't know what the IM-EX Bank does, .5% are economists and bankers and the last .5% are comments without the educational or business experience to be creditable.

Last year the IM-EX bank brought in $1 BILLION in revenues to the US. It's kind if hard to say it should be abolished when it's one of the few federal agencies making a profit.
Keith DeSantis
The Import / Export bank enables corporate welfare. It's a crony capitalist institution.
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