Gov. Maggie Hassan quarrels with legislative leaders about talks that led up to next week's special session on the opioid crisis.

Nov 13, 2015 7:06 PM

Landrigan: NH Political Report. Gov. Maggie Hassan and Republican legislative leaders can't even agree on how they disagree when it comes to the opioid crisis

CONCORD - Here’s how bad it’s gotten. The two sides can’t even agree on how they disagree.

We speak of the tactical rift between Gov. Maggie Hassan and the Republican-led legislative leadership.

This week House Speaker Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, and Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, revealed that going back as far as September they had been trying to convince Hassan to go along with their plan for a task force to analyze all the possible, legislative solutions to the opioid crisis.

"We have spent too much time arguing about this," Jasper says.

According to the GOP leaders, Hassan wanted no part of delaying final action on proposals to deal with the heroin and fentanyl epidemic.

"We didn’t get anywhere," Jasper says.

That’s not how Hassan and her team remember the private discussions. According to them, House and Senate GOP leaders behind closed doors refused to make any commitment to take up drug-related legislation early on in the 2016 session.

"I became very concerned that if we were not singularly focused on this, final action could drag on into March even May or June," Hassan told NH1 News during a recent interview.


State Sen. David Boutin, R-Hooksett, can afford to go easy on his peers serving on the Child Fatalities Commission. There’s no rush for them to get to a final resolution on changes in the bureaucracy because in all likelihood, legislators will extend the life of the commission to the end of 2017.

"We’ve got time to do this right," Boutin said.

The panel will next be meeting on Dec. 3 and is expected to finalize its recommendations for legislation to be taken up during the 2016 session.

This would include ending the practice of purging all files on abuse cases after a short period of time and also to give law enforcement the express access to records regarding suspected abused children who end up dying.


They clearly aren’t getting along on the campaign trail but GOP presidential hopefuls Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio employing the same tactics in the first primary state this week.

The Super PACs supporting both candidates did major mailings to independent and Republican registered voters.

Rubio’s Conservative Solutions Project promoted Rubio’s proposals on education to include doing away with the Common Core and making sure students in the future can get college credit for ``real world experiences.’’

"I believe we need to have alternate accredited programs that allow people to get the equivalent of a degree from alternate institutions that allow them to package learning no matter how they acquired it," Rubio said. "Let people learn online for free. Give them credit for what they’ve learned on their own."

Bush’s Right to Rise USA sponsored a mailing that depicted Bush as the Godfather calling him ``Veto Coreleone’’ for the record number of times the former Florida governor used the line item veto to cancel out spending approved by the Democratic-controlled Legislature in that state.

"Jeb Bush is the best-qualified conservative to take on Washington DC’s bloated budgets and crony capitalism," the mailing concludes.


With the state’s Highway Fund dripping in red ink and no hope for increasing the state’s gasoline tax or registration fees in an election year, lawmakers need to get creative if they are going to get more money to support infrastructure.

Enter State Rep. Patricia Higgins, D-Hanover, who has more than 15 co-sponsors for her idea which would lift a current cap on how much cities and towns can raise their own car and truck registration fees to support local projects.

The current fee that’s allowed is $5; Higgins bill would raise it to $10.

This is total local control, ie, the local town meeting voters or town or city council in a larger community would have to vote to assess the fee in their own communities.

The New Hampshire Kids Count Coalition endorses the measure in part because the money could be used to expand walking and biking trails in the community. Greater access to these trails can help reduce childhood obesity, the group says.


Take this one to the bank - the Ballot Law Commission isn’t going to kick either Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz off the first-in-the-nation presidential primary ballot.

Both Sanders and Cruz received challenges to their New Hampshire bids.

For the Sanders camp, the development is largely an expected one. The Vermont senator has identified as an Independent for much of his political career, and declined the nomination from the state Democratic Party in both of his U.S. Senate runs.

He has been embraced by the Democrats this year, though, and was accompanied by party representatives as he filed.

Bringing this challenge is Andy Martin, a New York Republican who ran for the U.S. Senate here in 2014 and mounting his own White House campaign.

"If you go to [Sanders'] website, he says he's the longest serving independent" in Congress, Martin said. "If you identify as an Independent in Washington and Vermont, how can you be a Democrat in New Hampshire?"

Secretary of State Bill Gardner says he took Sanders at his word that he’s now a Democrat.

Then there’s Ted Cruz who handed over his own paperwork later on Thursday. Two different protests were submitted. The petitioners said Cruz should be ineligible to be president because he was born in Canada.

"He is not a natural born citizen, as he was not born in the United States," both documents read.

Cruz was born in Calgary in 1970, where his parents had moved to work in the oil business. His father was a Cuban national at the time and became a naturalized American in 2005.

His mother is an American from Delaware.


House and Senate Democrats say they are determined to oppose the special session move of Republican legislators to create a task force instead of give final approval of legislation that Gov. Maggie Hassan had proposed.

But House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff, D-Concord, said his members will not boycott and in fact will be happy to serve on the task force once it is created.

Jasper and Senate GOP leaders got pilloried by Democratic leaders in the state for suggesting that it would be difficult to get legislators to work during the holiday period on this issue.

But many of those same veteran Republicans insist that some Democratic lawmakers they spoke to had the same complaints.


Quote of the Week:

"Today in Lebanon and all across this country in large cities and small towns at just this moment, 11 o’clock, people are saying a profound thank you to the millions of men and women who have put their lives on the line to defend our country." Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaking at Veteran’s Day ceremony in Lebanon.

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