Governor Lynch’s vetoes of five bills were all sustained last week. That means the bills involved, while they were passed by the legislature, are now dead. Legislators will have to introduce the bills all over again if they want the ideas in the bills to be considered next year.
Most of the attention in the Senate was on SB 500, the bill to allow convicts to get out of prison nine months before their prison term is up with the requirement that they be under intense supervision. The goal is to help parolees and those on probation succeed in the community.
The state parole board has objected to the discretion they feel they lose under the new law and there is much opposition to the early release of violent offenders and sexual predators. There was an attempt to vote to suspend Senate rules so a bill could be introduced to change the new law to meet some of the criticism. The motion failed along party lines.
The debate over the suspension attempt reminded me that it is not good for the legislature to meet in the closing weeks of an election. Everything has a political tone and thus we should do our legislating, as much as possible, outside the election season.
While the rain poured down, a group of state and local officials performed the traditional ground breaking exercises for the new taxi way at the Claremont Airport. Fire Chief and airport director Peter Chase and other city officers deserve credit for securing a $466,000 federal grant for the project.
The new taxi way will make the airport safer because soon there will be taxi ways on both sides of the main runway. It is an improvement that will make the airport more attractive to private aircraft owners and pilots, and part of a national effort to upgrade our smaller airports. For Claremont, a modern, safe airport is an asset that helps make the city more attractive to investors and those looking to locate businesses here.
Ray Burton, Executive Councilor for district 1 which covers much of our region, is a champion of the state’s network of small airports including Parlin Field in Newport as well as the Claremont Airport. Each year Ray does a fly around visiting airports in his district which consists of about one-half of the state’s geography.
New Hampshire, as Ray pointed out to another meeting on Saturday morning, is a special place to serve in public office. It is easy and expected that elected officials will be in contact with departments, including commissioners, as problems arise. In the case of the airport grant for Claremont, the acceptance of the federal money required approval by the five member executive council. It was set to be taken up late this month and thus would delay construction possibly into next year as the upcoming closure of asphalt plants would mean there would be no material for the paving.
A call from the contractor had Ray and me in touch with the Department of Transportation to move the approval request up to the Executive Council’s October 6th meeting. In less than a day, the department responded and the request was moved up as a "late item" on the council agenda. It was approved unanimously and construction has begun insuring that the new taxiway will be completed this year.
The 4-H program has a proven track record having served generations of young people. That is certainly true of 4-H in Sullivan County. I was honored to be invited to help with the installation of new officers for positions in each club in the county. It was part of the annual 4-H Rally and Awards Night held at the Claremont Middle High School last Friday. I was surprised, but very appreciative, for a "thank you" presentation of an alumni pin to me for my involvement with 4-H going back to my childhood.
4-H is part of the work of the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension with support from Sullivan County, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the financial assistance of local donors.
Last week’s column was written in a hotel room in California. I had two grandsons waiting to go to the hotel pool and I was pretty elated to have been sworn in the prior day as Deputy Commissioner for Civil Marriages so I could officiate at the marriage of my niece the next day. In any event, Norm Beaudry and I were together at meeting last week and he asked me how good I was with math. I said "not too good." He said he noticed and pointed out a couple of errors in my recent analysis of the state’s revenue situation.
The key paragraphs should have read: "Through September 30, in the first quarter of the new fiscal year, the state took in $380.7 million while the budget plan called for revenue of $378.6 million. That means the state is ahead of plan by 0.6 percent.
"A second point to consider is that overall revenue for this last quarter is up over the same quarter in fiscal year 2010, $380.7 million to $377.6 million, for an increase of 0.8 percent. That is a small positive but small is better than a decline."
My apologies for the errors. Thanks to Norm and other faithful readers for their close scrutiny of my columns.
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