N.H. House Speaker Shawn Jasper this week selected his political leaders and committee chairs, wary of the lingering acrimony from supporters of the man he beat out for the speakership, Rep. William O’Brien.
Gene Chandler of Bartlett is Jasper’s deputy speaker and Jack Flanagan of Brookline is his majority leader.
According to NHPR, the key budget-related committees of Finance and Ways and Means will both be led by lawmakers who have previously held those posts. Neal Kurk of Weare of Plaistow will again run House Finance and Norm Major will oversee Ways and Means.
Both men held those committee chairs the last time Republicans held the majority in the House.
See a full list of committee assignments here courtesy of NHPR.
Jasper became the speaker last week in a stunning turn of events. O’Brien had been selected by the Republican caucus to become the speaker, but Jasper offered himself as an alternative choice to lawmakers who remember the tension of O’Brien’s last term as speaker in 2011-12.
When it came to the vote, O’Brien had a majority of Republicans on his side, but Jasper had the House Democrats and enough Republicans on his side to pull off the upset.
The Concord Monitor reported that two representatives turned down leadership offers, but Jasper declined to name who they were.
In a related move this week, Jasper announced that Chuck Douglas, a former New Hampshire Supreme Court justice and congressman, will serve as legal counsel.
There could be some political infighting among Republicans in the next couple of weeks as Jennifer Horn seeks to retain the job as NH GOP chair. She didn’t like what she saw with the election of Jasper.
There is a spot on the NH GOP executive committee for the majority leader. O’Brien and his supporters may seek someone other than Flanagan for that spot.
See a Union Leader story on the GOP machinations here.
Also in the news
A natural gas pipeline that would run through several southern New Hampshire communities has people concerned. The route for the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. project includes 71 miles of pipeline through the Granite State. Local officials have lots of questions. See an Eagle-Tribune story here.
Another proposal has been made for a medical marijuana dispensary, this one in Franklin. Epping officials are considering a proposal for a dispensary there. The Franklin proposal is reviewed in a Concord Monitor story here.
U.S. Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster split on the $1.1 trillion spending bill approved in the House on Friday night. Shea-Porter voted against it; Kuster for it. See an NHPR story here.
U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte say they will vote for the spending bill when it comes to the Senate for a final vote. Both senators lauded a consensus military spending measure in the bill that includes money for improvements at the New Hampshire Air National Guard in Portsmouth to prepare for delivery of a new fleet of in-air refueling tankers. There is also money for new submarines that will be serviced by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. See an NHPR story here.
The senators also commented on this week’s release of the so-called torture report that criticized the abusive treatment of people held captive and interrogated after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. See a Union Leader story here.
The state Supreme Court this week upheld a 3-year-old pension reform law for public employees that shifted more costs onto workers. See a Seacoast Online story here.
Here is a sample of discussions on Facebook this week:
- Should teachers be reimbursed for school supplies they buy out of pocket?
- Do you believe the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques have ultimately helped or hurt the U.S. after 9/11?
- Should the NH Site Evaluation Committee re-consider the Antrim wind farm proposal?
We’ll see you back here next week.