Lakeview still open, for now

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After an investigation that confirmed "systemic" abuse and neglect at Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center, the state has stopped new admissions - but current patients are still living at Lakeview.

The problem is a lack of alternatives for patients.  New Hampshire's community-based treatment system cannot accommodate all potential patients.  Lakeview is often a last chance for patients - from across the country - who may otherwise end up in jail or psychiatric hospitals.

The state Department of Health and Human Services is implementing all of the recommendations from the investigation and restructuring the department that licensed Lakeview.

Some advocates still argue that a lack of alternatives is no justification for keeping Lakeview open. 

"The Area Agencies and the state need to determine for how long they will allow inadequate care of their citizens to go on without measurable improvement. ... It is more difficult for New Hampshire to make an objective decision about Lakeview's future while it does not have sufficient community resources to fully respond to the needs of Lakeview's current residents," wrote Kathryn du Pree, the consultant that conducted the state investigation.

How do you think New Hampshire can best serve the patients at Lakeview - close the facility or try to improve it?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHPR.

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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!

Supreme Ct hears voter registration case

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This week the New Hampshire Supreme Court heard arguments in a case challenging the affidavit citizens sign when registering to vote. 

For decades New Hampshire has required voters to sign a form that confirms they are domiciled in New Hampshire.  In 2012 the New Hampshire Legislature rewrote that affidavit to include the following sentence:

"In declaring New Hampshire as my domicile, I am subject to the laws of the state of New Hampshire which apply to all residents, including laws requiring a driver to register a motor vehicle and apply for a New Hampshire’s driver’s license within 60 days of becoming a resident."

Four out-of-state college students challenged the rewrite in court, arguing that the wording suggests citizens must register a car and apply for a driver's license in order to declare domicile and vote.  Neither registering a car nor obtaining a driver's license is required.

"The form clearly burdens fundamental rights in New Hampshire," said New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union lawyer Bill Christie. "It would impose a poll tax in the state of New Hampshire. It would impose a fee to vote."

Assistant Attorney General Stephen LaBonte argued the form merely reminds voters that they may also be subject to residency laws.

Former House Speaker Bill O'Brien (R), who oversaw the change of the form in 2012, said at the time, "Allowing non-residents into New Hampshire to dictate who will be our presidential choice, who shall be our governor, and who shall represent us in the Legislature takes away our voting rights."

The New Hampshire Supreme Court did not indicate when they will issue their ruling on the case.

Do you think the Supreme Court should rule for or against the affidavit?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the student vote in New Hampshire.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Nashua Telegraph.

Hassan: 2 casinos is too many

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On Tuesday a House committee approved SB 113, a bill to license one large casino and one small casino in New Hampshire.  On Wednesday Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) said she does not think New Hampshire should have two casinos.

"I do not think the market supports a second casino," said Hassan.

Legislators who agree with Gov. Hassan may point to recent casino closings in New Jersey as evidence of a saturation of casinos on the east coast.

Sen. Lou D'Allesandro (D), the sponsor of SB 113, disagrees.  He notes that Maine has two casinos and is exploring adding more.

"It will be market driven," said D’Allesandro. "You got to mitigate this nonsense, if you only have one [casino] you favor one area of the state or favor one entity. Having two makes a great deal of sense."

The full House will vote on SB 113 in the coming weeks.  If the bill passes, it faces review from a second House committee before a final vote in the House.

Gov. Maggie Hassan generally supports expanded gambling in New Hampshire, but her recent comments cast doubt on whether should would sign SB 113 into law.

Do you think New Hampshire should authorize two casinos?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the debate over expanded gambling in New Hampshire.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Union Leader.

NH ranked 7th most eco-friendly

Happy Earth Day! read more →

According to a recent study from Wallethub, New Hampshire is the seventh most eco-friendly state in the U.S.

Wallethub ranked states based on fourteen factors, such as air and water quality, carbon dioxide emissions, renewable energy consumption, and recycling.

Some New Hampshire policymakers may point to this ranking as evidence to support the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). 

RGGI is a "cap and trade" program that requires carbon dioxide emitters to buy "allowances" for every ton of carbon dioxide.  RPS requires electricity suppliers to provide a certain percentage of electricity from renewable sources or pay the state a fee.  The proceeds from RGGI allowances and RPS fees are intended to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

In a recent letter, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) credited RGGI with reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 40% over the last decade.

However, RGGI and RPS have many opponents. 

Both programs have contributed to higher electricity rates in New Hampshire.  According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, New Hampshire has the 6th highest residential electricity rates in the U.S.

Additionally, the funds from RGGI and RPS have been "raided" in past state budgets to cover costs unrelated to energy.  The New Hampshire House just passed a budget that uses the energy funds to cover transportation and education costs.  That practice of "raiding" arguably makes RGGI and RPS an indirect tax on electricity consumers.

What do you think of New Hampshire's eco-friendly ranking?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about RGGI.

CLICK HERE to see a summary of Wallethub's eco-friendly rankings.

Medicaid budget estimates increase

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The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has increased its estimated costs for the next state budget.

The increase comes from monthly payments for Medicaid patients with substance abuse problems.  DHHS estimates an increase of $12 per month per patient.  That translates to an additional $9-15 million each year, depending on the Department's caseload.

The increased budget estimate from DHHS adds another chapter to the ongoing debate over how to fight drug addiction in New Hampshire. 

The Union Leader recently reported that more people died from heroin overdoses than traffic accidents last year; some stakeholders are calling the rise in heroin abuse an "epidemic."

In her budget proposal, Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) included an additional $6 million for substance abuse treatment and prevention.  The House scrapped that increase due to competing budget priorities, particularly funding for critical road and bridge maintenance.

Many House Republicans also argue that DHHS would not be over-extended if the state rolled back expanded Medicaid eligibility.  Although the federal government is providing funds for the additional Medicaid patients, Medicaid is still the single largest item in New Hampshire's budget.

Do you have an opinion on the cost of substance abuse in New Hampshire?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the state's ongoing budget process.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from NH1.

Lakeview still open, for now

Join Our Community

Supreme Ct hears voter registration case

Hassan: 2 casinos is too many

NH ranked 7th most eco-friendly

Medicaid budget estimates increase

Political Tracker

Guinta looks to help fishing industry survive

Seacoast Online — 4/25/2015

U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, R-N.H., met with roughly 30 members of the local fishing industry in Hampton on Friday morning to talk about the fishing industry, which several fishermen said was on the brink of collapsing.
Read More... 

Hassan backs amended two-casino bill ahead of House vote

WMUR — 4/25/2015

Gov. Maggie Hassan on Friday afternoon changed her position and announced her support for legislation that would allow for two casinos in New Hampshire.


Law that bans handheld cellphone use takes effect July 1
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Issue Tracker
Common Core in NH  
Common Core in NH 

The New Hampshire House has passed a bill that prohibits the state from requiring school districts to adopt the Common Core State Standards. The bill, SB 101, was previously approved by the Senate and now heads to Gov. Hassan for her signature or veto.
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Prison Reform  
Prison Reform 

The American Civil Liberties Union is reviewing a new policy at state prisons. In an effort to stop the inflow of drugs, effective May 1, inmates are prohibited from receiving greeting cards, decorative postcards, or stationery that features drawings or stickers.
Learn More About the Issue...

Minimum Wage  
Minimum Wage 

In a recent event sponsored by the Social Justice Associates, a panel of legislators from the Seacoast discussed minimum wage challenges. The panel included Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, Sen. David Watters, and state Rep. Jackie Cilley, among others.
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Johnny Wishbon
It can support at least 3. Salem, Lakes Region, and Coast.
Anthony Nino
Hell, I don't think it can support even one. We have gambling just over the border, why try and make money off a saturated market?
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