Nashua drug court gets grant

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The drug court in Nashua is celebrating two milestones this week: its first "graduate" and a $325,000 federal grant to keep operating.

Drug courts allow non-violent drug offenders to go through treatment programs instead of jail.  The first "graduate" of the Nashua court has spent a year in drug treatment and is now training to become an EMT.

Drug court supporters argue that nonviolent drug offenders do not belong in already crowded jails. Drug offenders are also less likely to relapse after treatment.

Those against drug courts point out that many drug offenders fail program requirements and end up in jail anyway; drug courts therefore increase costs without a different outcome. 

Do you support drug courts in New Hampshire?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the fight against prescription drug abuse in New Hampshire.

CLICK HERE
to read coverage from NHPR.

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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!

UNH pitches tuition freeze

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The New Hampshire University System Trustees are offering to freeze tuition for two years if the state restores funding to 2009 levels.

In the most recent budget cycle the University negotiated a tuition freeze in exchange for a partial funding increase.  However, the legislature did not fully restore the roughly 50% cut from Rep. Bill O'Brien's tenure as House Speaker.

The Trustees are also offering tuition reductions for students in some critical Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.

A tuition freeze might help reduce student loan debt in New Hampshire.  A 2014 report found New Hampshire has the second-highest student debt in the nation.

Opponents of a funding increase argue that the cuts forced the University System to operate more efficiently, like any private business.

Do you think New Hampshire should increasing University funding in exchange for a tuition freeze?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHPR.

Hassan signs pipeline regulations

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On Friday Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) signed three bills related to fossil fuel pipelines in New Hampshire: SB 325, HB 1224, and HB 1376.

SB 325 gives the state Department of Environmental Services the authority to go beyond federal regulations in governing oil spill preparedness.

HB 1224 directs the Public Utilities Commission to ask the federal government to let state officials take over pipeline inspections.

HB 1376 forms a committee to study fossil fuel transportation through New Hampshire.

Sheridan Brown, legislative coordinator for the New Hampshire Audubon Society, said federal pipeline regulations are weak and inspections infrequent, leaving New Hampshire vulnerable to spills.

Bill opponents argued that regulations and inspections should be left to the federal government, especially since pipelines cross state lines.

Do you think New Hampshire should be responsible for regulating the pipelines within the state? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Union Leader.

House back in session Wednesday

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Next week the state legislature will reconvene to decide whether or not to override four of Governor Hassan's vetoes.

The House will take up three bills: HB 1244, HB 591, and HB 685.  The Senate will reconsider SB 391.

HB 1244 forbids the state from disclosing the names of lottery winners.  Gov. Hassan vetoed the bill, arguing that it would hurt the financial transparency of state government.  Supporters of the bill assert lottery winners have a right to privacy.

HB 591 is intended to protect public employees from abusive work environments.  In her veto message, Gov. Hassan says the bill attempts to legislate politeness among state employees, while opening the state to unwarranted lawsuits.  Supporters of the bill argue that state employees are under unreasonable pressure after budget cuts and lay-offs from the John Lynch administration.

HB 685 shifts deciding power from the Attorney General's office to a legislative committee when the Legislative Audit Division requests information that state agencies consider confidential under attorney-client privilege.  Gov. Hassan argues that the bill threatens the separation of powers.  Bill supporters argue that there should be increased transparency on the legal advice influencing agency decisions.

SB 391 revises the administration of the juvenile justice system in New Hampshire.  According to Gov. Hassan, the bill isolates juvenile justice services from other services to children and youth, emphasizing incarceration over treatment.  Bill supporters argue that SB 391 will strengthen the juvenile justice system by instituting more accountability.

Do you think the legislature should override any of Gov. Hassan's vetoes?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

Spent fuel OK in Seabrook?

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This week the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) cleared Seabrook Station to store spent fuel on-site.  That decision moves the nuclear plant one step closer to a license renewal. 

Environmentalist groups, such as the New England Coalition, maintain that the nuclear power plant was not built to handle long-term spent fuel storage. 

However, a presidential commission recently ruled that certain safety measures allow spent fuel to be stored on-site in dry casks indefinitely.

According to a NRC spokesman, only one issue is still holding up Seabrook Station's license renewal: the alkali-silica reaction (ASR) causing small cracks in concrete at the facility.

The NRC maintains that the cracks do not currently threaten public safety.  However, environmentalist groups insist that any defects in the concrete are cause for concern.

NextEra Energy, which owns the plant, is paying for specialized tests at the University of Texas to study the long-term effects of ASR.

Do you think the NRC should renew Seabrook Station's license?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the debate over Seabrook Station's license renewal.

CLICK HERE
to read coverage from Seacoast Online.

Nashua drug court gets grant

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UNH pitches tuition freeze

Hassan signs pipeline regulations

House back in session Wednesday

Spent fuel OK in Seabrook?

Political Tracker
 
Shaheen, Ayotte concerned about domestic threat from ISIS

WMUR — 9/17/2014

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said they're concerned about he homegrown threat and what the intelligence community is doing about the ISIS recruitment of Americans.
Read More... 

 
NH unemployment rate unchanged since April at 4.4 percent

LFDA Virtual Town Hall — 9/17/2014

The New Hampshire Employment Security office said the state's unemployment rate still hasn't changed since April, registering at 4.4 percent for August.

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Walt Havenstein discusses campaign momentum
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Issue Tracker
Hiker Negligence  
Hiker Negligence 

New Hampshire Fish and Game officials held a public hearing on proposed rules to establish a hike safe card, which would forgive hikers for incurred rescue expenses if found to be negligent. The cards will be available in January and will cost $25 per person or $35 per family.
Learn More About the Issue...

Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant  
Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant 

Earlier this month, a presidential commission approved an environmental study and passed down a ruling maintaining that states' spent fuel from nuclear power plants can be stored on site for an indefinite amount of time, permitted that certain protective strategies are in place.
Learn More About the Issue...

Marijuana Decriminalization  
Marijuana Decriminalization 

A committee led by Democratic State Senator Molly Kelly is working toward legislation to regulate the availability of synthetic marijuana, which is the subject of scrutiny after several overdoses this summer. The legislation will be reviewed at a meeting on September 25.
Learn More About the Issue...

In The NH News

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Cheryl Heymans
This story was sad but James Foley was rescued once. Its his own fault for going back. At least he died doing what he loved to do. No....US citizens should not be allowed to do private ransom with terrorists. If that was the case, there would be a price on every American's head who travels over seas.
Joe Turcotte
Obama is personally responsible for every single death at the hands of isis by withdrawing from Iraq so soon and arming isis in the first place.
That said, I don't think the us government has the authority to tell the foley family what they can and can't do with their own money. If they tried to, then they should sue.
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