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Entries in Gov Hassan (295)

Friday
Feb132015

NHDP - ICYMI: Nashua Telegraph: "Gov. presents budget to build future" 

Key Point: "Hassan outlined a 'fiscally responsible' budget with modest revenue adjustments that her administration asserts will build on the bipartisan progress from the last biennium to support job-creating businesses and keep more young professionals in the state by offering greater incentives in health and school-related services, as well as a renewed commitment to public safety."

See below for additional excerpts or visit NashuaTelegraph.com for full coverage: 

Nashua Telegraph: "Gov. presents budget to build future"

"The budget, completed without an income or sales taxes, as proposed would spend approximately $5.7 billion in total funds for fiscal 2016 and roughly $11.48 billion over the two-year biennium, according to the governor’s staff. The total budget increase is 6.4 percent. Proponents of the budget say it is approximately $250 million less, when adjusted for inflation, than the state spent in 2004."

On the next step for commuter rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester:

"The governor, who had been tight-lipped about her budget following her second inauguration in January, included $4 million in her capital budget for an environmental and engineering assessment for expanding commuter rail into Nashua and Manchester. Implementing the Capital Corridor Rail Study, according to Hassan, would help “set the stage” for future economic growth by keeping young professionals in the Granite State."

On holding down costs across state agencies: 

"In an effort to better streamline state government, Hassan proposed merging several commissions and will allow agencies to electronically submit their reports to cut down on paperwork. She called for a new position in the Department of Justice to negotiate best contracts for taxpayers. Twenty-two agencies are funded at or below their current fiscal year appropriations. The Hassan administration told reporters they cut agency budget requests by more than $1 billion and general fund requests by $523 million."

On maintaining a healthy workforce: 

"Funding for alcohol and drug abuse prevention, treatment and recovery programs triples in this budget. The state’s health protection program will also expand to combat the growing narcotics problem. Reiterating her commitment to health care expansion, Hassan pushed to keep building on the bipartisan work from the previous session."

On renewing the state's commitment to higher education: 

"Hassan’s budget calls for sizable returns to the University System of New Hampshire and the state’s Community College System by $13 million and $6.5 million respectively."

Friday
Feb132015

NHDP - ICYMI: Concord Monitor: "Gov. Maggie Hassan urged lawmakers to invest in the state’s future" 

Key Point: "Gov. Maggie Hassan urged lawmakers to invest in the state’s future through increased spending on education and health care as part of an $11.5 billion budget she presented yesterday. Hassan’s two-year spending plan also includes money for many smaller initiatives, including $4 million for commuter rail, $2 million for an affordable housing fund, hiring new state troopers and a judge, and creating a new executive position to make government more efficient. [...] Hassan also plans to increase funding for mental health services, health care for veterans and substance abuse prevention."

Click here for the full Concord Monitor story or see below for additional excerpts:

On holding down spending increases: 

"Hassan’s two-year budget proposal is a 6.4 percent increase over the current $10.8 billion budget, and increases the state’s general fund spending by roughly 5 percent. Under her plan, 22 state agencies would not see any increase in their budgets." 

On investing in education:

"Under her proposal, the state’s community colleges would see an increase of $6.5 million over the two-year budget and allow them to decrease tuition. [...] Charter schools would see an additional $19 million over the biennium to account for enrollment growth. Hassan’s plan would make changes to education funding by raising a cap on the state money each district can get annually. To pay for that, Hassan would reduce state grant funding to schools that have fewer students on free and reduced lunch."

On maintaining New Hampshire's status as one of the healthiest states in the nation:

"Hassan focused many of her other policy goals on the health care arena. She included $12 million in her budget plan to fund Medicaid expansion past 2016, when federal funding is set to decrease and the Legislature must vote on whether to reauthorize the program. About 34,000 New Hampshire residents have signed up for the state’s Medicaid expansion program, which covers people whose incomes fall within 138 percent of the federal poverty level. [...] Hassan’s plan would fund a new mental health crisis unit at New Hampshire Hospital in Concord, add 25 more beds at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton and triple the funding for the governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery."

On making state government more innovative and efficient:

"Hassan focused heavily on finding efficiencies in state government. She proposed hiring a new position to oversee operating performance and merging together several state boards and commissions. The plan to hire a chief operating officer is based on a recommendation from a commission that Hassan convened in 2013 to come up with ways to make New Hampshire’s government more efficient, effective and transparent. Drawing from that report, she is also pitching the creation of a $1 million fund to pay for efficiency projects in state government. She hopes to consolidate the Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission into the Lottery Commission and to merge the state’s 27 boards – from health care licensing to real estate – into one central office."

"Those efficiency proposals, aimed at saving taxpayer dollars, earned the most praise from Republican lawmakers. Most of Hassan’s proposals still require legislative action."
 
Friday
Feb132015

NHGOP BLASTS HASSAN'S RECKLESS BUDGET PROPOSAL 

Concord - New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn released the following statement today on Governor Hassan's annual budget address:

"Two years ago, Governor Hassan was embarrassed when her budget proposal fell apart after the legislature rejected gambling revenue that she had hoped would cover her reckless spending increases. Hassan's decision to include more imaginary gambling revenue in her latest proposal proves that she didn't learn her lesson and that she is out of new ideas to balance the budget.

"Governor Hassan's proposed billion dollar spending increase and reckless tax increases demonstrate her lack of commitment to New Hampshire's fiscally responsible values. The governor's budget is a the wrong approach, and it will threaten New Hampshire's fiscal integrity."

Thursday
Feb122015

NHGOP APPLAUDS SENATE RIGHT TO KNOW REFORM BILL 

Legislation Also Forbids Public Employees From Campaigning On Taxpayers' Time

 

Concord - New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn issued the following statement applauding a new bill introduced by Senate Republicans that will strengthen the Right to Know law. New Hampshire Journal reports that the legislation will make it clear that the law applies to the governor's office:        

 

"New Hampshire's Right to Know law clearly applies to the office of the governor, and it is unfortunate that Governor Hassan believes that she should not be held to the same transparency requirements that apply to local boards of selectmen.  We applaud Senate Republicans for working to strengthen this important law and make New Hampshire state government more open and transparent.

 

"Governor Hassan is not above the law, and she should not be able to simply ignore Right to Know requests as she prepares to use the corner office as a stepping stone for her political career. New Hampshire deserves a full-time governor who is focused on moving our state forward instead of moving on to a United States Senate campaign." 

Tuesday
Feb102015

NHGOP CHALLENGES LIKELY SENATE CANDIDATE HASSAN'S INTERPRETATION OF RIGHT TO KNOW LAW 

Concord - New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn today challenged Governor and likely Senate candidate Hassan's response to a recent NHGOP Right to Know request. The party requested Hassan's political travel schedule for January 2015 and will submit similar requests for every month going forward as she gears up to use the corner office as a stepping stone for her United States Senate campaign:

Governor Hassan:

 

            This responds to your recent letter regarding my request under RSA Chapter 91-A, the State's Right-to-Know Law, regarding records relating to Governor Hassan's out-of-state travel.  Your letter raises several troubling issues that call into further doubt the Hassan Administration's commitment to transparency and compliance with the law.

 

            You state that it has been the "long-standing position of the New Hampshire Department of Justice that RSA 91-A does not apply to the Governor's office."  I am asking that you immediately provide all written guidance produced by the Attorney General to that effect.  On its face, this position appears to be completely inconsistent with the very clear legislative intent and requirements under New Hampshire's Right-to-Know Law, as well as Supreme Court precedent.  The preamble to that statute states:

 

Openness in the conduct of public business is essential to a democratic society.  The purpose of this chapter is to ensure both the greatest possible public access to the actions, discussions, and records of all public bodies, and their accountability to the people.

 

RSA 91-A:1.

 

            My request was made pursuant to RSA 91-A:4, I, which provides:

 

Every citizen during the regular or business hours of all public bodies or agencies, and on the regular business premises of such public bodies or agencies, has the right to inspect all governmental records in the possession, custody or control of such public bodies or agencies, including minutes of meetings of the public bodies, and to copy or make memoranda or abstracts of the records or minutes so inspected expect as otherwise prohibited by statute or RSA 91-A:5.

 

RSA 91-A:4, I.

 

            The definition of "public agency" is:

 

"Public agency" means any agency, authority, department, or office of the state or any county, town, municipal corporation, school district, school administrative unit, chartered public school, or other political subdivision."

 

RSA 91-A:1-a, V.

 

            The definition of "governmental records" is:

 

"Governmental records," means any information created, accepted, or obtained by, or on behalf of, any public body, or a quorum or majority thereof, or any public agency in furtherance of its official function. 

 

RSA 91-A:1-a, III.

           

            The governor's office is clearly an "office of the state," and the records I have requested are clearly "governmental records" within the definitions of RSA 91-A.  Even if there were any doubt, the New Hampshire Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that the statute is to be construed broadly:  "Our ultimate goal in construing the Right-to-Know Law is to further the statutory and constitutional objectives of increasing public access to all public documents and governmental proceedings, and to "provide the utmost information to the public about what its government is up to," Prof'l Firefighters of N.H. v. Local Gov't Ctr., 159 N.H. 699, 705 (2010)(quoting Goode v. N.H. Legislative Budget Assistant, 148 N.H. 551, 555 (2002)). 

 

As such, the Supreme Court long ago concluded that, "all State executive branch agencies and departments were meant to be and are included within the provisions of RSA ch. 91-A."  Lodge v. Knowlton, 118 N.H. 574 (1978).  The Attorney General's Memorandum on the Right-to-Know law, available at the Department of Justice's website, states the same thing.  Id. at pp. 3-4 ("The Right-to-Know law establishes a person's right of access to meetings of public bodies and to the records of public bodies and public agencies..."All State executive branch departments and agencies" are subject to records requests).  Over the years, the Supreme Court has determined that RSA 91-A reaches various quasi-governmental agencies, including the Local Government Center and the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.  Union Leader Corp. v. New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, 142 N.H. 540 (1997).  In the latter decision, the Court noted that the Housing Authority was performing "public and essential governmental functions of the state."  Id

 

It is inconceivable that the Housing Authority meets this test and the office of the governor does not.  In fact, my records request is directed to the most essential of government functions: the discharge of executive authority under the State's Constitution.  As a citizen, the governor is, of course, free to leave the state at any time for personal and political reasons, in addition to official business.  However, as governor, her absence from the State - regardless of the reason - has significant consequences that are clearly matters for public concern. Specifically, Part II, Article 49 of the Constitution provides that, "[i]n the event of the death, resignation, removal from office, failure to qualify, physical or mental incapacity, absence from the state, or other incapacity of the governor, the president of the senate, for the time being, shall act as governor until the vacancy is filled or the incapacity is removed."

 

New Hampshire citizens are entitled to know when executive authority is transferred to the president of the senate under this provision of the New Hampshire Constitution.  Your letter is plainly not fully responsive.  Therefore, I renew my request, under both Part I, Article 8 and RSA 91-A:4, I, for all governmental records within the possession, custody or control of the office of governor, a public agency, relating to the absence of the governor from the state for any reason and at any time during January 2015.  To the extent you withhold any responsive documents, please prepare an index with detailed descriptions.

 

 The Hassan Administration's commitment to transparency has been troubling.  It cannot and should not be true that local boards of selectmen are subject to the Right-to-Know Law but the only state official elected by all New Hampshire citizens, the governor, is not.  Moreover, the recent invocation of "Executive Privilege" - made infamous during a Watergate-era attempt to withhold materials subpoenaed by a special prosecutor, see United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974) - in response to a recent Concord Monitor Right-to-Know request suggests an inclination to stonewall rather than be forthright with Granite Staters.  I hope that practice will end, and that the records I have requested will be promptly produced.    

 

Sincerely,


Jennifer Horn

Chairman

New Hampshire Republican State Committee

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