UNH tuition freeze ends

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The University System of New Hampshire will raise tuition next year, ending a tuition freeze.

The school says a lack of state funding is to blame.  New Hampshire is last in the nation for per-capita funding of higher education.

This year UNH asked the state to restore funding to 2009 levels.  The 2015 legislature voted to give UNH roughly 80% of the funding it asked for.

Opponents of a funding increase point out that UNH received a record amount of private donations last year. 

Opponents also note that no other public university in the U.S. has frozen in-state tuition for four consecutive years.  UNH froze tuition after the last state budget cycle, two years ago.

Do you think the state should give more or less funding to UNH?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from Foster's Daily Democrat.

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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!

Hassan vetoes sex ed bill

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On Friday, June 26 Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) vetoed HB 332, a bill that would require schools to notify parents at least two weeks before "course material involving discussion of human sexuality or human sexual education."

Gov. Hassan vetoed the bill in part because of the broad language.

"This bill would make it more difficult for young people to receive critical public health education and it could affect a wide range of curricula – including science and the study of important literature, ranging from Mark Twain to Shakespeare," Hassan wrote in her veto message.

Speaking in favor of the bill, Rep. Victoria Sullivan (R-Manchester) wrote HB 332 would "open communication between schools and parents, resulting in greater parental engagement and necessary conversations with their children regarding these sensitive issues."

Do you have an opinion on Gov. Hassan's veto?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to read Gov. Hassan's veto message.

Population changes in NH

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According to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the New Hampshire population is growing in Hillsborough, Rockingham and Strafford counties.

Much of that growth is due to people migrating into the Granite State.  Migration to New Hampshire dropped sharply after the 2008 recession, but rebounded in the past two years.

On the other hand, the population is rapidly decreasing in Northern New Hampshire, and residents age 65 and older are the fastest growing age group in the state. 

There are many public policy challenges related to an aging population, such as a shrinking labor pool and increasing demand for state assistance. Conversely, an aging population may help New Hampshire attract businesses that offer services to older residents, from medical device technologies to driverless cars.

As for the population decrease in the North Country, the New Hampshire government has greenlighted several projects aimed at stimulating the Northern economy.  Most recently, the 2015 legislature authorized a $28 million loan for redevelopment of the Balsams Resort, pending approval from the Business Finance Authority.

"The state does have concern about aging population, but I think New Hampshire is doing a little bit better right now," said Ken Johnson, a senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy. "I wouldn’t break out the champagne, but it looks like things are getting a little better with reference to migration."

Do you have an opinion on how state government should respond to New Hampshire's population changes?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE to learn more about New Hampshire's changing population.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Nashua Telegraph.

Sup. Court upholds subsidies in NH

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On Thursday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states do not have to set up their own health insurance exchanges for residents to receive federal health insurance subsidies.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides a tax subsidy for any individual who purchases health insurance through an online health insurance exchange "established by the state." 

Opponents of the ACA argued that this language meant subsidies were only available in states that established their own health insurance exchanges.  Over half of states - including New Hampshire - instead use the health insurance website built by the federal government.

Thursday's Supreme Court ruling affirms that Congress intended the subsidies to be available to all residents, whether they buy insurance through a state exchange or the federal exchange.

According to an analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation, this ruling upholds tax breaks for roughly 30,000 low-income New Hampshire residents.

Justice Antonin Scalia argued that the majority of the Court was using "jiggery-pokery" to change the meaning of the phrase "established by the state."

"We really should start calling the law SCOTUScare," Scalia said.  SCOTUS is the acronym for the Supreme Court of the United States.

Do you have an opinion on the Supreme Court ruling?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE
to learn more about the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire.

CLICK HERE
to read coverage from the Union Leader.

When will NH have a new budget?

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On Wednesday the New Hampshire House and Senate passed a 2016-2017 budget that Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) has vowed to veto.  The legislature then passed a resolution that will continue the old budget for another six months.

House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R) told reporters that he does not expect budget negotiations will resume until September or October.  Waiting until the fall will allow legislators to see final accounting numbers for fiscal year 2015, which ends June 30.

Gov. Hassan would like to start negotiations sooner.  "The responsible thing to do is to come to the table as quickly as they can," she said.

Business tax cuts are a major sticking point in negotiations.  Hassan says the tax cuts are irresponsible when the state is struggling to fund essential services such as mental health treatment.  Republican legislators counter that business tax cuts will stimulate the economy, eventually increasing tax revenue overall. 

The tax cuts are covered in part by a surplus predicted in the 2015 budget.  Final budget numbers from 2015 will show whether that surplus is available as expected.

The last New Hampshire Governor to veto a budget was Craig Benson in 2003.  Legislators started negotiating a revised budget with Benson in July.

Do you have an opinion on the budget negotiations?  CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.

CLICK HERE
to learn more about the 2016-2017 state budget debate.

CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Concord Monitor.

UNH tuition freeze ends

Join Our Community

Hassan vetoes sex ed bill

Population changes in NH

Sup. Court upholds subsidies in NH

When will NH have a new budget?

Political Tracker

Despite controversy, Guinta poised to run again
WMUR — 6/30/2015
Despite a controversy over illegal campaign donations and calls from his own party for him to resign, U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta appears to be ready to run for re-election.
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New Hampshire's unique, complicated path to same-sex marriage
LFDA Virtual Town Hall — 6/30/2015

When organizers planned Portsmouth’s first Pride festival, they expected a few hundred participants. In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision on marriage, they got thousands.

Read More...


 
Guinta says he's moving forward after FEC investigation
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Issue Tracker
Demographics Shift  
Demographics Shift 

New population models from the state's community college system that predict future trends show that Rockingham County will have 30 percent fewer school-aged children in 2030; the state as a whole will have 20 percent fewer school-aged children.
Learn More About the Issue...

Family Planning in NH  
Family Planning in NH 

The House and Senate failed to agree on the language of a controversial fetal homicide bill, sponsored by Rep. Leon Rideout, that would define an unborn fetus as a person under criminal law. Thirty-eight other states have similar legislation.
Learn More About the Issue...

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative  
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative 

A committee failed to agree on how to disseminate the $20 million the state receives from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. A compromise could have led to lower electric rates for businesses and more money for municipal energy-efficiency projects.
Learn More About the Issue...

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Jonathan Dodge
No. Marriage is a union of man and woman which is sanctified by the church. It is not the same as a civil union of two individuals joined by a government servant which is a civil right. The terminology is the sticking point and while both receive the same government recognitions it is beyond the authority for government to control religion and forbidden by the United States Constitution !
Andrea Alexander
I'm against activist courts EXCEPT in the cases of Civil Rights. We'd still have segregation if it weren't for courts, but left entirely up to popularly elected legislators. BRAVO!!
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