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NH Senate Refuses To Address Gerrymandering In New Hampshire Districts

Senate Kills Fair Redistricting Reforms, Sticks with Partisan Process

Gerrymandering

Concord – Yesterday, the New Hampshire Senate killed the common sense legislative approach to eliminate gerrymandering, the political power play that creates nearly guaranteed election wins for specific parties. SB 425,  would have established an independent redistricting commission to take power out of the hands of politicians restoring democracy to the people. 

“The voters of New Hampshire should be choosing their legislators; legislators should not be drawing district lines to choose their voters,” said Sen. David Pierce (D-Lebanon). “SB 425 would have enacted needed reforms and removed partisan politics from the process of drawing election district lines by creating an independent redistricting commission that would propose, not mandate, where the district lines are to be drawn after the 2020 census. I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the entrenched politicians in the Senate majority chose to defeat this legislation and stick with the partisan process.” 

After Republicans took control of the state legislature in 2010 accusations of gerrymandering were rampant.  The GOP did not even try to hide their attempts to create more GOP favorable districts by redrawing districts and creating floaterial districts to add more predominate Republican communities to give themselves an advantage in future elections.

SB 425 would create a seven-member independent commission to develop an apportionment plan for election districts following the decennial census. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Senate President, and Senate Minority Leader would each appoint 1 member to the commission and the Governor would get 2 appointments. No member of the commission could be an elected official in a partisan office, political party official, or a relative or employee of a member of the NH House, NH Senate, or US Congress. 

“As evidenced by the results of the presidential primaries across our country, voters have had enough of elected officials who prioritize their own political survival over the interests of the people. As a state, we need to listen to our constituents and ensure we have a redistricting process that voters can have faith in. We need to restore confidence in the people’s government, not continue to subordinate it to politicians’ selfish desire to stay in office. Free, fair, and competitive elections should be the goal, not gerrymandered districts to protect incumbents and create artificial majorities.”

NH Senate Kills “Ban The Box” Legislation, Passes Flexible Work Schedules Bill

Still more work to be done to protect workers who need flexibility to take care of their families and ending the discrimination of applicants with prior criminal convictions. 

Concord –  Yesterday, the New Hampshire Senate passed SB 416, which prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who request flexible work arrangements.

“The hard working families of New Hampshire should not have to choose between work and family,” said Sen. Dan Feltes. “SB 416 takes an important step forward in protecting workers who need to request a flexible work schedule due to family obligations and I thank the Senate for their support.” 

“This legislation sends a strong, positive message to our families and businesses. Flexible work schedules can mean the difference between the financial security of keeping a job and the financial stress of having to leave the workforce to take care of a child or family member. For businesses, flexible work schedules mean a stronger ability to retain good employees who need a little flexibility rather than having to go through the costly process of replacing a good employee. SB 416 empowers workers to request flexible work arrangements without the fear of retribution, retaliation, helping to attract more young families to our state, which is good for our businesses and our economy.” 

As introduced, SB 416 would have required employers to consider employee requests for flexible work arrangements. Under the original proposal, employers did not have to grant flexible schedules if the request was inconsistent with their business operations and employers were prohibited from retaliating against employees who made these requests. The Senate amended the bill down to simply prohibit retaliation.  

“And while I am pleased at the progress we’ve made on this important issue, there is still much more to be done to ensure that employers consider flexible scheduling requests in good faith. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to ensure that we continue to make New Hampshire the best place to work and raise a family.”   

Senator Feltes was also disappointed to announce that SB 413, the Ban the Box, legislation was defeated in the Senate.

“There is nothing more important to someone’s economic future than getting a job. Unfortunately, many people with substance use disorders have criminal records and are unable to find a good job because they have to check a box on a job application declaring their criminal records, which usually eliminates them from consideration,” said Sen. Feltes. “SB 413 would have ‘banned the box’ on employment applications to allow people with a criminal history the opportunity to compete for jobs, and I’m disappointed that the Senate tabled this bipartisan reform that has worked well in other states.”

SB 413 was modeled after the New Jersey “ban the box” legislation that Gov. Chris Christie signed into law in 2014. Studies show that applicants who report criminal backgrounds are 50% less likely to even get a job interview, and that “banning the box” reduces recidivism. According to testimony at the public hearing on SB 413, 70% of people in prisons have Substance Use Disorder, many of which were convicted for non-violent crimes. 

“We are in the midst of a heroin and opioid epidemic and ensuring that people struggling with addiction have a chance to compete for and get a good job is the best way to ensure they get their life back on track. We have seen this modest, common-sense approach work in other states, including reducing recidivism, and it’s disappointing that the Senate chose to table this reform this year.” 

Very Active Day In The NH Legislature: Round Up Of Legislation Moved Today

NH House-2Today a ton of bills were passed and killed in the NH House and Senate.  They range in topics but all have an impact on the future of our state.  Below are press releases on a variety of bills that had votes today.


 

Senator Bette Lasky Applauds Senate Passage of Online Voter Registration

Concord, NH –Today, the NH Senate passed SB 507, authorizing online voter registration on a voice vote. Senator Bette Lasky (D-Nashua), the prime sponsor of SB 507 released the following comments after the Senate vote:

“Making the process of registering to vote and casting your ballot more consistent and accessible is something we can all agree on and I’m pleased that my Senate colleagues supported this important legislation,” said Senator Lasky. “Allowing our citizens to register to vote online would help create a more accessible system and increase the number of citizens exercising one of their most important rights. As the First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary state, New Hampshire needs to continually move forward as technology advances and be an example to the rest of the country.”

23 states have already implemented online voter registration and 5 more states will be added to that list this year. Research has also shown in these states that online voter registration has sustained or increased voter registration.  

“New Hampshire has built a strong reputation for voter participation, but we can always do more to help busy Granite Staters take part in our elections. I thank my Senate colleagues for their support and for creating a more effective and efficient election process for our Granite State citizens.”


Statement from Governor Hassan on House Passage of Ten-Year Transportation Improvement Plan 

CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan issued the following statement on the Ten-Year Transportation Improvement Plan passed today by the New Hampshire House of Representatives: 

“A solid and modern transportation infrastructure is critical to the success of our people and businesses, and the Ten-Year Transportation Improvement Plan passed by the House today advances a number of critical transportation goals that will help build on our bipartisan progress over the last several years. This includes maintaining and preserving our roads and bridges, completing the widening of Interstate 93, accelerating construction of Exit 4A in Londonderry and Derry and the first phase of widening the portion of Route 106 critical for access to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“However, I am disappointed that the leveraging of federal funds for the environmental and engineering work necessary to bring commuter rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester was removed. The business community continues to call on us to take action because commuter rail will improve access to the entire region, provide new housing and transportation opportunities, spur economic development and create jobs. I remain committed to working with members from both parties, local communities, the federal government, our businesses and Massachusetts to find a consensus and make this vital project a reality.”


Senator Bette Lasky Praises Passage of Public-Private Partnerships for Intermodal Infrastructure and Transportation Projects

CONCORD- Today, the NH Senate pass SB 549, which would allow the state to enter into agreements with private entities in order to fund intermodal infrastructure and transportation projects. After the vote, Senator Bette Lasky (D-Nashua), prime sponsor of SB 549, released the following comments: 

“Enabling public-private partnerships (P3s) is an important step toward meeting our infrastructure needs with limited financial resources from the state and I thank the Senate for their support,” said Senator Lasky. “Improving our transportation infrastructure benefits all Granite Staters and by enabling the state to work with private funders, our state can access additional funding opportunities with greater efficiencies, which will save the state money.”

SB 549 was developed through the work of a public-private partnership (P3s) study committee and the committee’s recommendation that New Hampshire pursue this funding option. According to the study committee’s report, 33 other states already have laws authorizing P3s for highway and bridge projects. 

“A strong and dynamic transportation infrastructure helps sustain our families and businesses. Finding creative and innovative solutions to help finance transportation projects when state funds are unavailable is essential to not only expanding economic growth, but expanding opportunity for all Granite Staters. I am happy that the Senate moved this legislation forward so that we can sustain and promote the growth of our state’s businesses and economy, while protecting taxpayer dollars and minimizing the financial risk to our state.”


Senator David Pierce Statement on Tabling of SB 531 (Senate version of the Medicaid Expansion)

CONCORD – Today, the State Senate agreed to table SB 531, which would have reauthorized the NH Health Protection Program, in order to take up the reauthorization in HB 1696, which passed the House yesterday on a bipartisan vote. After the conclusion of the Senate session, SB 531 prime sponsor Sen. David Pierce (D-Lebanon) released the following statement: 

“While Senate Democrats would have preferred to reauthorize the NH Health Protection Program as drafted in SB 531, we are committed to finding a solution on reauthorization that has broad, bipartisan support and agreed to table our bill. Just as we did two years ago, we need to come together, across party and ideological lines to ensure that 48,000 hard working Granite Staters continue to have access to quality, affordable health care the health and financial security that comes with it.” 

“There’s no question that the NH Health Protection Program has been a success and met the goals we set out to achieve when we passed SB 413 in 2014. Our hospitals have seen a significant decline in inpatient, outpatient and emergency room visits by uninsured Granite Staters, leading to a decrease in uncompensated care, which is a hidden tax on us all. By reducing uncompensated care, we also reduce the healthcare cost-shifting onto our people and businesses.”

“Continuing the program is also essential as we continue to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic. Thousands of Granite Staters have accessed substance abuse and behavioral health services through coverage under expansion and reauthorizing the program is critical to increasing treatment capacity in New Hampshire.” 

“HB 1696, which was passed by a strong bipartisan vote in the House yesterday, will ensure that we continue this critical program that strengthens the health of our workforce and boosts our economy. I, along with my Senate Democratic colleagues, stand ready to renew this important program and we look forward to working with our Republican colleagues in the Senate to get this critical legislation to the Governor’s desk as soon as possible.”


Senator Martha Fuller Clark Praises Senate Passage of Legislation to Protect Children from Illegal Adoptions

Concord, NH –Today, the Senate passed SB 543, which prohibits unauthorized advertising for adoptions and ensures that all adoptions follow state guidelines. Senator Martha Fuller Clark (D-District 21), prime sponsor of SB 543, released the following comments after today’s Senate session:  

“SB 543 addresses a gap in our current law that we could have never thought about just a few years ago: advertising children for sale or adoption online. While this problem may seem outrageous, at the public hearing, we heard examples from other states where babies and children were being offered for sale or trade on websites.” 

“In our ever-changing world, we must make sure to protect our children and SB 543 ensures that if a parent decides to make the difficult decision to give a child up for adoption, it is done so through a safe and regulated process. I thank the Senate for unanimously supporting the passage of this much needed important legislation.”


Governor Hassan on House Vote to Pass Net Metering Legislation 

CONCORD – Following a bipartisan vote by the New Hampshire House of Representatives to pass House Bill 1116, relative to net energy metering, Governor Maggie Hassan issued this statement:

“The solar industry is a critical part of our growing clean energy economy in New Hampshire, which recently ranked New Hampshire as one of the top five states for renewable energy and is creating good-paying, high-quality jobs, spurring economic development and helping combat climate change. Businesses and families across the state are utilizing solar to lower their energy bills and to increase their energy independence, contributing to the diverse and reliable energy supply that is critical to a more affordable and more innovative energy future.

“Lifting the cap on net metering is essential to the continued success of New Hampshire’s solar industry, and I applaud the House for its bipartisan vote to pass this critical measure. The Senate has already supported this legislation, and I urge them to concur with the version passed by the House and send this bill to my desk as quickly as possible so that we can lift the cap on net metering.”


Senator Woodburn Praises Addition of Biodiesel to List of Renewable Energy Sources 

CONCORD – Today, the NH Senate passed SB 386, which adds biodiesel producers to renewable energy classes in order to incentivize more biodiesel production. After the vote, North Country Senator Jeff Woodburn released the following comments: 

“Encouraging the production and use of local renewable fuels like biodiesel not only makes sense for our environment, but helps boost our local economy. Innovative companies like White Mountain Biodiesel in the North Country are already using biodiesel to power the Mount Washington Cog Railway and passage of SB 386 helps to encourage more companies to do the same. As a co-sponsor of this bill, I was very proud to support not only expanding the use of domestically-produced renewable fuels, but I was proud to stand up for our North Country businesses.”


Senator Woodburn Praises Passage of Legislation to Protect Victims of Unauthorized Disclosure of Sexually Explicit Images

CONCORD – Following the bipartisan passage of SB 465, which closes a loophole in current law in order to protect victims of nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images, Sen. Jeff Woodburn released the following statement:

“Disclosure of sexually explicit material without consent and for no legitimate purpose causes immediate, devastating, and potentially irreversible harm to victims of this crime,” said Senator Woodburn. “Unfortunately, rapid advances in technology have created a loophole in our state laws that prevent prosecution of this crime. SB 465 closes this loophole and establishes a penalty for this devastating crime.”

Twenty-six other states have enacted similar laws to deal with the unauthorized disclosure of sexually explicit materials. 

“The ability of people to gain access to and distribute private, sexually explicit material has raised all sorts of issues that we could have never imagined even just a few years ago. Police and prosecutors are seeing an increase in these types of crimes, but need the tools to protect victims of this crime. I thank my Senate colleagues, especially the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who worked to make this a better bill, for their support.”

NH Senate Commerce Committee Passes SB 488, Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Bipartisan vote calls for an end to workplace
discrimination against pregnant women
 

Pregnant Woman (Image John Ted Daganato Flickr)CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Senate Commerce Committee voted today to pass SB 488, the New Hampshire Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The bipartisan bill is a companion bill to the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act sponsored by both of New Hampshire’s US Senators, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R). 

SB 488 would guarantee the rights of pregnant women in the workplace. It calls on employers to offer reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, including more frequent or longer breaks, temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position, job restructuring, and other temporary modifications.

“Despite existing protections, pregnant workers in the United States still face discrimination,” said Kary Jencks, executive director of NH Citizens Alliance. “Pregnant workers are too often forced out of their jobs and denied reasonable accommodations that would enable them to continue working and supporting their families. Pregnancy discrimination complaints are actually on the rise nationally, and the nearly 70% of New Hampshire women who work throughout their pregnancy deserve workplace protections that guard against discrimination.”

“No woman should have to choose between her job and a healthy pregnancy,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress & Education Fund. “We applaud the Senate Commerce committee for standing with women and their families to ensure they have the workplace protections they need to remain in the workforce. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act seeks to end discrimination and promote healthy pregnancies and the economic security of pregnant women and their families.”

SB 488 passed Senate Commerce Committee with only minor changes, including removing the section stating that “the employer shall have the burden of proving undue hardship.” The bill is expected to be voted on by the full Senate next week. If it becomes law, New Hampshire will join fifteen states, the District of Columbia and four cities that have already passed laws requiring some employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers.

The prime sponsor is Sen. Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth). Co-sponsors include Senator Molly Kelly, Dist 10; Senator Bette Lasky, Dist 13; Senator David Boutin, Dist 16; Rep. Tom Sherman, Rock. 24; Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, Hills. 30; Rep. Becky McBeath, Rock. 26; and Rep. P. Gordon, Rock. 29.


The Stand With Women or Stand in the Way campaign of NH Citizens Alliance and Granite State Progress Education Fund believes that instead of protecting outdated workplace policies that discriminate against women and limiting reproductive rights, our priority in New Hampshire should be to guarantee fair opportunities for women to succeed and to take care of their families.

Republicans In The NH Senate Kill Two Bills Designed To Help Working Families

2015-03-26 Senate Passes SB136 3

Senate Passes SB136 (2015-03-26). Image by Marc Nozell Flickr CC

The NH Senate Republicans strike back against working families.

Today, Republicans in the NH Senate voted to send two new bills to an “interim study” or in laymen’s terms killing the bills for the rest of this session.  Both bills were killed by Republicans straight down party lines with one exception.

SB 479 would have created a tax credit for businesses who implement employee profit sharing. This bill would encourage more New Hampshire companies to give back to their workers through profit sharing. Corporations like Market Basket proudly give back to their workers through profit sharing creating a very loyal and dedicated workforce that gets extra benefits from their hard work. 

“Once again, the Senate has turned its back on hard working New Hampshire families. Even though our economy continues to improve and jobs are coming back to the state, incomes are not rising for our workers. This legislation was an innovative way to encourage businesses to share their profits with their employees,” said Senator David Pierce. “I’m very disappointed that my Republican colleagues again chose to reward bigger corporate profits rather than increasing workers wages. Just last year, we came to a compromise to cut corporate taxes for those at the top, yet today we rejected a common sense approach to help increase wages for those in the middle.” 

Senate Bill 479 creates a tax credit against the business taxes for companies that implement employee profit-sharing. Under this legislation, the tax credit would be available for each qualified employee of up to 15 percent of the compensation paid as profits in which employees share. There would also be a cap of 10 percent of the employee’s wages. 

“Profit-sharing gives everyone a stake in a company’s success, boosts productivity, and puts more money directly into employee’s pockets. This legislation is good for workers and good for businesses. Employee-profit sharing is a practice we should be encouraging in our state and rewarding businesses for implementing a profit-sharing plan supports both our workers and businesses.”

SB 511 would have established a refund of a portion of state education property taxes for child and dependent care expenses. 22 states have already adopted a similar supplement to the Federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. If SB 511 had become law, families who claim the Federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit would be eligible for a property tax refund of 50% of the federal amount. 

Republican Senator Gerald Little (R-Weare) was the only Republican to stand up for working families and voted to support SB 511.

“Once again, the Senate has chosen to maintain the status quo rather than do something to help hard-working Granite State families. Child care is one of the largest costs for families in New Hampshire and SB 511 would have helped reduce that cost,” said Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia). “If we can afford to give businesses tax breaks like we did last year, we can certainly afford to help our hard working families.” 

“Not only would this legislation help reduce the cost of child care for our families, but it helps New Hampshire’s businesses retain good employees who might otherwise have to choose between working and taking care of their children and encourages our economy to grow. New Hampshire’s working families need state government to be responsive to the rising costs of child care services and I’m disappointed that the Republican majority voted against reducing the cost of affordable child care for Granite Staters.”

Republicans are always claiming they want to reduce taxes for working families and for local businesses but when push comes to shove they fold like a cheap suit.

NH Senate Passes Bill To Expand Renewable Energy In NH

Rooftop Solar Panels (Elliott Brown FLIKR)

Rooftop Solar Panels (Elliott Brown FLIKR)

Bill will allow New Hampshire to continue to expand renewable energy by raising the cap on net metering

Senate Democrats praised the passage of legislation to ensure the growth of renewable energy in New Hampshire during today’s Senate session. SB 333 raises the cap on group net metering and SB 378 ensures that space under the group net metering cap is being taken up only by those who are participating in the program, not speculators trying to game the system. 

“Passage of this critical legislation is great not only for our growing renewable energy market, but also for our economy and all electric ratepayers,” said Sen. Molly Kelly, author of the original group net metering law enacted in 2013. “Even though we have only had group net metering for a few years, renewable energy, particularly the solar market, has exploded across New Hampshire thanks to this program. It is critical for us to raise the cap to ensure the sustained growth of solar and other renewable energy sources here in New Hampshire that not only save Granite Staters money, but sustains thousands of good-paying jobs.”

“In the rapidly-growing renewable energy market, making changes to a vital program like group net metering is no easy task. But SB 333 and SB 378 offer meaningful progress to allow our renewable energy market to grow,” said Sen. Dan Feltes, member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “I urge our colleagues in the House to move quickly to pass SB 333 and SB 378 to continue the growth of renewable energy and our green job sector.”

“It was only a year ago that utilities testified that they were nowhere near the metering cap,” said Sen. Donna Soucy, prime sponsor of SB 378. “But the market has grown so rapidly that we needed to address the group net metering cap as soon as possible, as we did with SB 333. Part of the reason why we reached the cap so quickly was due to speculative developers taking up space under the cap while not yet providing service to customers. SB 378 addresses these concerns and ensures that families and businesses that the program was designed to benefit can take advantage of this rapidly-growing market.”

Governor Maggie Hassan also praised the passage of SB 333.

“Solar is one of many clean energy resources in New Hampshire that contributes to a diverse and reliable energy supply, and businesses and families across the state are utilizing solar to lower their energy bills and to increase their energy independence. The success of New Hampshire’s clean energy economy is creating good-paying, high-quality jobs, spurring economic development and helping combat climate change, and New Hampshire recently ranked as one of the top-five renewable energy states,” stated Hassan. 

“We must continue to build on this progress, and lifting the cap on net metering is essential to those efforts. I commend the Senate for its bipartisan vote to pass this critical measure, and I encourage the House to take similar action as quickly as possible so that we can continue our efforts to build a more innovative and more affordable energy future,” added Hassan. 

Once Again, Republicans In The NH Senate Kill An Increase To The Minimum Wage

Image from @OFA_NH pic.twitter.com/ZG7B0GfERQ

Image from @OFA_NH pic.twitter.com/ZG7B0GfERQ

Republicans Kill Minimum Wage Increase That Would Benefit More than 141,000 Granite Staters    

CONCORD- Senator Donna Soucy (D-Manchester), Deputy Democratic Leader and sponsor of SB 412, issued the following statement after Senate Republicans defeated a minimum wage increase along a party line vote:

“While 17 other states have increased their minimum wages in the last 4 years, I am disappointed that NH Senate Republicans have killed an increase in the minimum wage for the third time. Today, the Senate again failed the people of the New Hampshire and turned their backs on our workers,” said Senator Soucy.

“People working full-time in New Hampshire should be able to earn enough to support their families and they must be confident in their own financial circumstances in order to expand our economy. SB 412 would have strengthened the financial security of more than 141,000 Granite Staters and benefitted many more higher up the pay scale.” 

SB 412 would have increased New Hampshire’s minimum wage to $12 per hour. According to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute, raising New Hampshire’s minimum wage to $12 would have benefitted 141,000 New Hampshire workers, 60% of which are women and 84% of which are above the age of 20. 

“Paying decent wages is a good investment for our economy. Well-paid workers are better employees and better customers; their spending helps sustain our businesses and our economy. Increasing the minimum wage was a common sense step forward we could have taken to support our working families and grow our economy. While I’m disappointed our Republican colleagues continue to fail our workers, Senate Democrats will continue to push for an increase in our minimum wage and will continue fighting to expand opportunity for all.”

Senator Bette Lasky Introduces Bill To Authorize Online Voter Registration

CONCORD- Senator Bette Lasky (D-Nashua) introduced SB 507, which would establish online voter registration for New Hampshire voters. Following the Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee public hearing on SB 507, Sen. Lasky released the following comments:

“Allowing our citizens to register to vote online would help create a more accessible system and increase the number of citizens exercising one of their most important rights,” said Senator Lasky. “As the First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary state, New Hampshire needs to continually move forward as technology advances and be an example to the rest of the country.” 

Twenty-three states currently use online voter registration. Five more states will implement it this year, bringing that number to 28 by 2017.

“New Hampshire has built a strong reputation for voter participation, but we can always do more to help busy Granite Staters take part in our elections. Its 2016– we can pay our taxes, utility bills, and bank online. Why shouldn’t we be able to register to vote or update our voter registration online? I urge my fellow committee members to support this common sense legislation to move our voter registration system into the 21st century.”

NH Senate Democrats Blast Republicans For Passing Bill To Restrict Voting Rights

Senate Democrats’ Statement on Passage of Unconstitutional Legislation to Restrict Voter Rights 

CONCORD — Senator Bette Lasky, Senator David Pierce and Senator Molly Kelly condemned the passage of Senate Bill 4, which imposes an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote. Senate Bill 4 as amended by the Senate is identical to Senate Bill 179, which was vetoed by Governor Hassan in 2015.

“As we have been stating since last year, this legislation will only serve to further complicate the voting process for New Hampshire citizens. SB 4 proposes a new standard for what constitutes a domicile that is more confusing and less concise than the current law,” said Sen. Bette Lasky. “Voters need consistency and clarity in their voting laws and this bill fails that test. It is unfortunate that our Republican colleagues continue to push legislation that discourages and disenfranchises our citizens from exercising their fundamental right to vote.”

In 1972, the Supreme Court clearly ruled in Dunn v. Blumstein that durational residency requirements for voting in state and local elections were unconstitutional.  

“I am disappointed to see my Republican colleagues support such legislation even though the Supreme Court has been clear on this issue,” said Sen. David Pierce. “These unconstitutional assaults on our constituents’ right to vote in free and fair elections have got to stop. Unfortunately, the Republican majority continues to push these attacks to disenfranchise Constitutionally-eligible voters in order to produce election results that are more to their liking.”

“Unlike other states, New Hampshire’s Constitution explicitly guarantees the equal right of every citizen to vote,” said Sen. Molly Kelly. “As we approach the 100th anniversary of our cherished First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary, we should be encouraging all eligible citizens to vote instead of making the process more confusing and disenfranchising Constitutionally-eligible voters.”

NH Democrats Stand United As Gov. Hassan Intends To Veto The GOP’s Reckless Budget

Governor Says Republican Budget is “Unbalanced, Dishonest about what it Funds, and Includes Unpaid-For Corporate Tax Cuts that Create a More Than $90 Million Budget Hole”

CONCORD – Calling the nearly finalized Republican budget fiscally irresponsible and unbalanced, Governor Maggie Hassan today reiterated her intention to veto it if it comes to her desk as it is.

“Their budget is unbalanced, dishonest about what it funds, and includes unpaid-for corporate tax cuts that create a more than $90 million budget hole at the expense of critical economic priorities,” Governor Hassan said. “It is also left unbalanced by relying on misleading budget gimmicks. It double counts fiscal year 2015 dollars, it does not adequately fund basic services and it does not honestly fund the services we all agree are critical to our people, families and businesses.”

In February, the Governor presented a fiscally responsible, balanced budget – without a sales or an income tax – that was transparent and honest about how it supported critical economic priorities such as making higher education more affordable, strengthening public safety, ensuring access to affordable health care, and repairing roads and bridges. Unpaid-for tax cuts and budget gimmicks that leave the near-final Republican budget unbalanced threaten the state’s ability to support those priorities and keep New Hampshire’s economy forward.

“Their unfunded corporate tax cuts will create a significant hole in this budget and budgets well into the future – making college tuition more expensive; hurting our ability to ensure workers can access health-care without financial ruin; leading to unplowed, unsafe roads for commuters and businesses; and failing to adequately address substance misuse in the midst of a heroin crisis,” Governor Hassan said. “This fiscally irresponsible approach undermines our economic future, putting out-of-state corporate special interests ahead of New Hampshire’s families, small businesses and economy.”

Governor Hassan has been at the table with Republican leadership, and she has been clear throughout the process about her priorities and that she believes there is room for compromise to find common ground and achieve a bipartisan budget that addresses the shared priorities that legislators from both parties agree on.

“Our families deserve better. Our businesses deserve better. And the hard-working people of the Granite State deserve better. Republicans need to join me in putting New Hampshire’s families, businesses and economic interests first, and to get back to work immediately, prepare a continuing resolution and negotiate in good faith to develop a fiscally responsible, balanced and bipartisan budget that builds on our progress of the last two years to keep our economy moving forward.”

House and Senate Democrats Stand Strongly with Governor Hassan Against Republicans’ Fiscally Irresponsible, Unbalanced Budget

House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff and Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn released the following statement in support of Governor Hassan’s fiscally responsible budget leadership:

“Governor Hassan proposed a fiscally responsible, balanced budget that makes smart investments in critical economic priorities like higher education, health care, roads and bridges, and public safety, without an income or sales tax.”

“But Republicans chose instead to put forward an irresponsible plan that blows a $90 million hole in the state’s budget to benefit big, out-of-state corporations at the expense of New Hampshire middle class families and small businesses.”

“We’re proud to stand with Governor Hassan as she continues to fight for the priorities that will move New Hampshire’s people, businesses, and economy forward, including affordable college tuition, safe roads and bridges, access to quality and affordable health coverage, and protecting our communities.”

“We look forward to working with our Republicans colleagues when they decide to put partisanship aside and actually negotiate in good faith to pass a responsible, bipartisan budget that meets the needs of our state.”

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