Legislators okay changes to NH court system

Last week the New Hampshire Senate approved the so-call “circuit court bill” sponsored by Rep. Gary Richardson (D-Hopkinton) that will revamp the state’s court system.

“The reorganization would bring lots of staffing and management changes and reductions, with an overall projected savings of almost $1.5 million in staffing costs in the next four years,” wrote Senator Bob Odell (R-Lempster) in this week’s Capital Comments. “Our state courts are going to look different in the future.  While there is no change ahead for the Supreme Court and our superior courts, the new state circuit courts will replace the current probate and district courts and the judicial branch family division.  Each county will have a circuit court.”

The bill awaits action by Governor Lynch.

Visit Front Door Politics for background info; the Daily Dispatch (posted an article before the Senate vote) that puts the bill in context.

You can read the text of the bill via E-Lobbyist, another handy site.

Senate Budget Hearings Today | Front Door Politics

Today’s Daily Dispatch from Front Door Politics reports on today’s budget hearing in Concord. Click on the link below for the entire article.

Today’s Dispatch also mentions that the House budget would abolish the Department of Cultural Resources and defund the New Hampshire State Council of the Arts.

“If passed, that would make New Hampshire the only state in the country without an arts council or commission.”

Amongst those worried about these cuts are small business owners Sue and Steve Russell of Newbury. Sue and Steve are professional potters. You can read their opinion by viewing yesterday’s Sunapee News articles.

Now, back to today’s Dispatch…

Later today, the Senate Finance committee will hear public testimony for the first time on the overall $10.3 billion biennium budget passed by the House last month. Expect a long list of speakers to line up in Representatives Hall to support or oppose the myriad proposals for revenue and spending in 2012-2013. Senate budget writers have until June 2 to complete their version of the budget, at which point the House and Senate will have to hammer out any differences.

via Senate Budget Hearings Today | Front Door Politics.

Bill Tracker Upgrade and Updates | Front Door Politics

From Front Door Politics…

Bill Tracker: tracking the laws that matter to you. Search, sort, understand.Want to know who voted for what in the N.H. House and Senate? Our 2011 Bill Tracker now includes links to all roll call votes, as well as links to the text of every bill we’ve covered so far this session.

via Bill Tracker Upgrade and Updates | Front Door Politics.

Front Door Politics delivers jargon-free, non-advocacy reporting about state government written for the general public. We provide timely and accessible information as part of our mission: to foster a robust democratic process in New Hampshire by encouraging citizen engagement with state government.

They Said It! | Front Door Politics

They Said It! Tensions are running high in Concord this session, as the following references to demons, jalapeno peppers, and a hostile press in this week’s “They Said It!” reflect.

via They Said It! | Front Door Politics.

NHPTV and Rooms & Meals Go to Vote | Front Door Politics

In what is shaping up to be the busiest period yet for lawmakers this session, the House will meet twice next week to vote on dozens of bills — on Tuesday after Gov. John Lynch’s budget address to the Legislature and on Wednesday for its regularly scheduled session.Two bills that we have reported on this session in Front Door Politics — one to cut state funding for public television and the other to cut the state’s rooms and meals tax rate – will have full House votes next week.

Read more via NHPTV and Rooms & Meals Go to Vote | Front Door Politics.

Back to Basics: Repealing Public Kindergarten | Front Door Politics

More than three years after the Legislature mandated public kindergarten in New Hampshire, the debate has returned with a House proposal that would repeal the law.

via Back to Basics: Repealing Public Kindergarten | Front Door Politics.

Testing Tax Cuts | Front Door Politics

Republican leadership at the State House has made tax cutting and budget balancing top priorities and today, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold public hearings and may have executive session votes on nine tax-related bills.

They include three measures we are watching that could lead to tens of millions in tax cuts on tobacco sales, rooms and meals and gambling winnings — but possibly make budget balancing even more difficult.

Read more via Testing Tax Cuts | Front Door Politics.