Workers comp costs high, but falling

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A newly released study from the National Academy of Social Insurance found that worker compensation costs are decreasing in New Hampshire, while rising elsewhere.

The study follows a state report released in May that found worker compensation costs in New Hampshire are currently much higher than the regional and national averages.

Medical payouts are at the center of the issue.  The May report found that the charge for medical procedures in New Hampshire is sometimes three times the charge in other New England states.

However, some medical providers argue that New Hampshire provides higher quality health care, which may get workers back on the job sooner.  That quality care might help explain the decrease in overall worker compensation costs.

On the other hand, the overall decrease in worker compensation costs may have more to do with the overall decrease in employment during the recession.

Do you think New Hampshire is on the right track with worker compensation, or should the system be reformed?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHBR.

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Stand up for the LFDA mission!
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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!

"satellite" marijuana dispensaries?

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Earlier this month the state Department of Health and Human Services published draft rules for New Hampshire's medical marijuana dispensaries.  The draft included a new concept: satellite dispensaries.

A satellite location would operate in an area outside the range of the four treatment centers authorized by law.

"It’s an idea that we wanted to introduce to start a conversation about the potential need for satellite dispensaries in order to be able to service the entire state," said coordinator Michael Holt.

However, the idea was not included in the medical marijuana bill passed last year.  Satellite dispensaries are likely to face resistance from legislators and law enforcement officers concerned about the ability of the state to control and regulate marijuana.

Holt said the references to satellite dispensaries will likely be removed from the final rules.

What do you think about the idea for satellite dispensaries?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the debate over medicinal marijuana in New Hampshire.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Concord Monitor.

NH has new law on wills

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Under a new 2014 law, New Hampshire residents can take a will to court - before the person owning the estate is dead.

The law aims to reduce messy, prolonged disputes over inheritance by verifying the legality of a will while the person is still alive.

For example, the law may have prevented the ongoing dispute over the estate of Portsmouth resident Geraldine Webber.  Webber left behind two wills: one divides her estate among many individuals and charities, and the other leaves most of her estate to a Portsmouth Police Detective.  Some inheritors argue Webber suffered from dementia, invalidating her legal decisions.  If those inheritors were able to bring that argument to court while Webber was still alive, a judge would have been able to examine Webber directly.

Citizens from out-of-state can also take advantage of the law under certain circumstances.

However, New Hampshire is one of very few states with such a law, and there may be unforseen legal ramifications.

Would you like to be able to defend your will in court, while you are still alive?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from Seacoast Online.

NH lacks the 'last mile' of broadband

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According to the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, roughly 4,500 homes and businesses do not have any high speed internet connection in New Hampshire.  However, internet providers are not likely to build that 'last mile' of broadband infrastructure without some government incentive.

The problem is the cost to build in those locations.  Patrick McHugh, FairPoint’s state president, estimates it would cost $2,000 to $5,000 per access line per home.

Carol Miller, director of broadband technologies for the Department of Resources and Economic Development, says the state government is seeking federal and local grants to fund broadband construction.

The state legislature considered another alternative this year.  House Bill 286 would have allowed towns to bond for broadband infrastructure, putting it out to bid.

Ellen Scarponi, director of government and economic development for FairPoint in New Hampshire, said the bill would put towns at risk by overbuilding existing telecommunications infrastructure.

Bill supporters countered that a town was unlikely to vote for a bond if it was not in the town's best interest. 

The House passed HB 286, but the Senate voted to send the bill to study.

How do you think New Hampshire should handle the 'last mile' of broadband infrastructure?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHBR.

Hassan, Havenstein lead money race

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This week New Hampshire's gubernatorial candidates filed their first campaign finance disclosures for the 2014 election.  Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan and Republican challenger Walt Havenstein have almost $2 million more than any other candidates.

Hassan is leading the pack with $2,097,392 raised and $889,736 spent.  According to Hassan's campaign, a large portion of that money came from individual donations of $100 or less, indicating "strong grassroots support."

However, Hassan has been criticized for accepting several large donations from PACs prior to officially declaring her candidacy.  The Attorney General's office ordered Hassan's campaign to return some of those donations received after Hassan filed for re-election.

Havenstein is a close second in the fundraising race, having raised $1,989,876 and spent $675,905.  "Walt is the only candidate with the capacity and resources to take on Maggie Hassan in November," said Havenstein’s communications director Henry Goodwin.

However, a large portion of Havenstein's war chest - $1,474,000 - is a personal loan from Havenstein to his campaign.  Some voters may find that sort of self-financing unappealing.

Andrew Hemingway, the other Republican challenger, is a distant third in the fundraising game.  Hemingway raised $100,245 and spent $62,209.

Among several lesser-known gubernatorial candidates, only Jonathan Smolin (R) disclosed campaign finance to the Secretary of State.  Smolin raised $1,144 and spent all of it.

Click on any of the names above to learn more about the candidates, or CLICK HERE to see profiles for all the 2014 gubernatorial candidates.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHPR.

Workers comp costs high, but falling

Join Our Community

"satellite" marijuana dispensaries?

NH has new law on wills

NH lacks the 'last mile' of broadband

Hassan, Havenstein lead money race

Political Tracker
 
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AG's office says it won't investigate donation to Hassan

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In The NH News

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Fred Goulet
There are good arguments to both sides of this question, but the underlying thought is that we should all seek good legal advice at a point in our lives where we can make clear decisions and get our wills in order way before our mental capacity could be called into question.
Joey Martin
as far as I understand, a legal will already requires witnesses to attest to a person's soundness of mind...seems we are making laws on top of laws on top of laws...what's happening to New Hampshire?
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