In a follow up to a story we brought you yesterday, it looks as if the New Hampshire General Court will expedite legislation designed to enable the creation of drug courts in all ten of the state’s counties and provide funding. In response to an inquiry from Girard at Large yesterday, State Senate Spokesman Kate Giaquinto said that because the drug court bill had a fiscal note, there were extra legislative steps involved that would take more time. As a result, the bill will technically be considered a quote un quote “early bill” versus an expedited one. Giaquinto provided a copy of the interim final report from the Joint Task Force for the Response to the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic that laid out the legislative battle plan for all items considered.
On Tuesday, the General Court issued a press release announcing which bills would be expedited. It did not include the drug court legislation and included a quote from House Majority Leader Dick Hinch of Merrimack saying, quote: “We will take action as appropriate and move forward on other initiatives as our legislative session plays out in 2016.” The report defining how various pieces of legislation would be considered was not included with the release. We are currently working to arrange a time to host Senate Majority Leader and Joint Task Force Chairman Jeb Bradley for an interview to discuss the process.
The joint task force’s final report has been posted with this news read at Girard at Large dot com.
RealClearPolitics will be holding a political and policy issue forum this evening entitled “Powering the Road to 2016.” The event will feature insight and analysis from top political and polling experts on energy and other important issues.
The event is free and food and beverages will be provided. You can RSVP at: https://powering.eventbrite.com.
Welcoming remarks will come from Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas and an opening interview with New Hampshire First District Congressman Frank Guinta. Throughout the program, attendees will hear from leading political analysts and pollsters who have been listed in this news read so you can take a look. They include:
- Scott Conroy, Senior Political Reporter, Huffington Post
- Caitlin Huey-Burns, National Political Reporter, RealClearPolitics
- Jacqueline Alemany, CBS News
- Steve Koczela, President, The Mass INC Polling Group
- Jeb Bradley, Majority Leader, New Hampshire Senate
- Juliana Bergeron, RNC committeewoman from Keene
It all happens from six to eight tonight at the Center of New Hamsphire Radisson Hotel in downtown Manchester. Twitter users can follow along or be followed at Hashtag: #Powering2016.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The Manchester Board of School Committee slipped a bunch of contracts past the public on Monday night. Not surprisingly, approved were the tabled contracts for Business Administrator Karen DeFrancis and Assistant Superintendent David Ryan. Ward Two Committeewoman Debra Langton had tried to keep contracts for both positions and Superintendent Debra Livingston on the table so that newly elected board members would be able to have input given that the contracts span the board’s entire term, depriving them of any input on administrators they will directly oversee.
A tentative agreement between the board and the Manchester Educational Support Personnel Association, that’s the secretary’s union, was also ratified with Ward Nine Committeeman Arthur Beaudry abstaining because his wife is covered by the contract. Imagine that, someone who followed the charter!
And, in a surprise move, Ward Ten Committeeman John Avard, Chairman of the board’s Negotiation Committee, brought in a tentative agreement with the district’s Directors and Coordinators union under new business, which means it wasn’t on the agenda and had no public prior notice. That’s okay, though. It’s just a tiny union and it didn’t have much of an impact on the budget, so they passed it. (Oh My HEAD!) Inasmuch as both it has to make its way to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for final approval, the public should get a chance to see it.
Speaking of which, the B M A approved four outstanding union contracts on Tuesday night. Workers in the city’s library, Fleet Management and Welfare departments, and the Police Department Support Staff saw their contracts ratified. And yes, they were on the agenda this time, unlike the multiple contracts approved two weeks ago. We’re still sorting through them to discover just what was approved.
By the way, those contracts are going to put budgets for the Police, Fire and Welfare departments in the red, requiring funds from other parts of the budget to cover the shortfall.
And, after a bitter confrontation, the board approved spending thirty five thousand dollars from off budget economic development funds to identify places in the Millyard where parking can be built, develop an ordinance to create a special assessment district and figure out an assessment formula to pay for it so that the rest of the city’s property taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.