Gov. Maggie Hassan didn’t get very much of what she wanted from the New Hampshire Legislature this week.
She wanted the legalization of a casino. She didn’t get that. And she wanted the Legislature to hold onto a law that requires a permit to carry a concealed weapon. She didn’t get that either.
The Senate had passed SB 113, the so-called two casino option. Anticipation of the vote in the House was very high because the House -- whether dominated by Democrats or dominated by Republicans -- has never approved a casino bill.
Even though Hassan didn’t think the New Hampshire market could sustain two casinos, she supported the bill because it included language that a second casino wouldn’t be licensed until after the first casino was in operation for at least a year and its operations audited and reviewed.
But the House on Wednesday, by a healthy 52-vote margin, defeated the measure. See a Concord Monitor story here.
The House voted to repeal the requirement for a concealed firearms permit. SB 116 already had the Senate’s approval.
The repeal was opposed by law enforcement and by Gov. Hassan. In fact, in her statement opposing the repeal, she invoked former Gov. Meldrim Thomson, a conservative Republican, saying the late governor “said that the current permitting process for concealed carry is ‘a sensible handgun law that leaves the issuance of handgun permits to the discretion of [local law enforcement]’. That is as true today as it was then.”
She said she will veto the bill, and it appears there aren’t enough votes for the two-third required to override a veto. See a Union Leader story here.
In other legislative action this week, the Senate passed a measure that says students can’t be forced to give their social media passwords to school administrators. Proponents say the measure helps protect privacy, while opponents say it will inhibit investigations of cyber-bullying. See a Nashua Telegraph story here.
A bill key to the redevelopment of the Balsams resort in Dixville Notch in the North Country received a key endorsement from the House Finance Committee. The bill allows the formation of a tax district in the unincorporated area around the closed Balsams Resort. That’s needed so the state’s Business Finance Authority can consider whether to put a state guarantee behind a $28 commercial million loan to developer Les Otten. See an NHPR story here.
And the Senate approved and sent to the governor a law that prohibits the use of indoor tanning booths by anyone under 18 years old. See a Union Leader story here.
As the Senate considers its imprint on the next two-year budget, Gov. Hassan took to the road this week to lobby on behalf of the spending she proposed in her $11.5 billion budget that she presented to the Legislature in February. The House version of the budget stands at $11.2 billion, and in her comments to the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce and to a N.H. Department of Transportation garage she encouraged the Senate to restore the cuts. See the Seacoast Online stories here and here.
In the NH Supreme Court
The state’s highest court issued two important decisions this week. It upheld the death penalty verdict of Michael Addison, convicted of killing a Manchester police officer. See an NHPR story here. And it upheld the state’s negligent hiker law in a case in which the measure was challenged by a hiker with an artificial hip whose rescue costs topped $9,300. See a Union Leader story here.
Former high tech executive Carly Fiorina was in the state this week to bolster her campaign for the Republican nomination for president in 2016. See a Concord Monitor story here.
And Bernie Sanders, the independent U.S. senator from Vermont, declared his candidacy for the presidency, as a Democrat. That means that Hillary Clinton, who’s expected back in the state soon, has some opposition in the primary. A question is whether Sanders, who isn’t a declared Republican or Democrat, can run on the Democratic ticket. Our secretary of state, William Gardner, said he’ll have to register as a Democrat. See an NHPR story here.
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