On the record - how your representatives voted - Feb. 15-16

The NH House met Wednesday, Feb. 15, and Thursday, Feb. 16, taking several recorded votes of interest.

• On "Inexpedient to Legislate" (killing the bill) of HB 350 which would have prohibited bringing a firearm into a polling place,
Reps. Abear, Aldrich, Fields, Flanders, Fraser, Howard, Lang, Maloney, Plumer, Silber, Spanos, Sylvia, and Vadney vote YES in favor of killing the bill; Rep. Huot voted NO to allow the bill to be voted on; Reps. Comtois, Fisher and Varney had excused absences.
The vote was 204-144 in favor of killing the bill.

• On passage of HB 647 which would establish education freedom savings accounts for children with disabilities when the parents opt out of public school and put those state funds aside, Reps. Abear, Aldrich, Fields, Flanders, Fraser, Howard, Lang, Maloney, Plumer, Silber, Spanos, Sylvia and Vadney voted YES; Rep. Huot voted NO; Reps. Comtois, Fisher and Varney had excused absences.
The bill passed by a vote of 184-166.

• On "Inexpedient to Legislate" for HB 203 which would have established an independent redistricting commission,
Reps. Abear, Aldrich, Fields, Flanders, Fraser, Howard, Lang, Maloney, Plumer, Silber, Spanos, Sylvia and Vadney voted YES to kill the bill;
Rep. Huot voted NO; Reps. Comtois, Fisher and Varney had excused absences.

• On passage of HB 413 which would restore the state's contributions to the NH Retirement System, Reps. Aldrich, Fields, Flanders, Huot, Lang, Maloney, Plumer and Silber voted YES; Reps. Abear, Fraser, Howard, Spanos, Sylvia and Vadney voted NO; Reps. Comtois, Fisher and Varney had excused absences.
The bill passed by a vote of 267-83.

On "Inexpedient to Legislate" for HB 201 which would have required background checks for commercial firearms sales at gun shows or online, Reps. Abear, Aldrich, Comtois, Fields, Fisher, Flanders, Fraser, Howard, Lang, Maloney, Plumer, Silber, Spanos, Sylvia, Vadney and Varney voted YES to kill the bill; Rep. Huot voted NO to allow the bill to be considered.
The vote was 221-151 to kill the bill.
• On passage of HB 389 which would insure that voters with physical disabilities who cannot access the polls would be granted an absentee ballot, Reps. Aldrich, Comtois, Fields, Fisher, Flanders, Fraser, Huot, Lang, Maloney, Plumer, Sylvia and Vadney voted YES; Reps. Abear, Howard, Silber, Spanos and Varney voted NO.
The bill passed by a vote of 312-62.

• On "Inexpedient to Legislate" of SB 11 which would have prohibited collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join/contribute, otherwise known as Right to Work, Rep. Huot voted YES to kill the bill; Reps. Abear, Aldrich, Comtois, Fields, Fisher, Flanders, Fraser, Howard, Lang, Maloney, Plumer, Silber, Spanos, Sylvia, Vadney and Varney voted NO to let the bill be considered.
The House voted 200-177 to kill the bill.

The House will meet next at the call of the Chair.

The Senate met on Thursday, Feb. 16, and took a recorded vote on one bill:

• On SB 66, which would include a viable (20 week) fetus in the definition of "another" in the commission of certain criminal offenses such as first and second degree murder, manslaughter and homicide, Senators French, Giuda and Gray voted YES.
The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 14-10.

The Senate meets next at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23.

– Kate Miller

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WBIN-TV sold to give more space to wireless communications

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

CONCORD — WBIN-TV failed to break WMUR-TV's monopoly on New Hampshire's television market, but Bill Binnie, the president of Binnie Media, reaped a tenfold return on his investment of $9 million by selling his company's broadcast rights to Federal Communication Commission and its television license to a major network in complex transaction worth nearly $100 million.

Binnie Media announced the sale in a prepared statement on its website, NH1. com, on Friday. Robb Atkinson, general manager of NH1News, the company digital news outlet compromised of NH1.com and NH1 Radio News, com, could not be reached for comment.

Binnie Media operates two radio stations — WLNH-FM and WEMJ-AM — and a television studio in Laconia. The company is headquartered in Concord, where it purchased, renovated and equipped the Walker Street School. The impact of the transaction on the company's operations in Laconia and Concord has not yet been disclosed.

The Federal Communications Commission, in what it calls a "spectrum auction," is purchasing local television stations and reselling their broadcasting rights, or "spectrum," to mobile telephone and wireless communications firms to increase the capacity for wireless broadband use and hasten the transition from 4G to 5G wireless internet service.

WBIN-TV sold its rights for $68.1 million and at the same time sold its remaining television licensing rights for an undisclosed amount estimated to fall between $10 million and $30 million. Binnie Media purchased WBIN-TV five years ago for $9 million. "The deal makes WBIN-TV one of the most valuable media properties in the history of New Hampshire media," Binnie said in a prepared statement. He added that the company foresaw the opportunity offered by the Federal Communications Commisison and "will reinvest the proceeds with an eye to future growth. Our commitment to New Hampshire and local news ," he stressed, "has never been stronger."

The company's television operations will go dark in the coming months. Meanwhile, the company said that proceeds from the sale will be applied to acquiring digital, radio and outdoor media assets and to investing in its 19 radio stations in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine as well as its digital news operation, NH1.com. Binnie said that many employees at WBIN-TV will remain with the company.

"NH1 Radio News and NH1.com," Atkinson said, "will continue to provide breaking news and information to our viewers and listeners. We are investing significantly in new technologies so we can deliver content where people want it — digitally. The days of running home to watch news on a television set are quickly disappearing."

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Wolfeboro hosts FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship

02 17 FIRST robots Wolfeboro

Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), is shown on the left, watching as students participate in a FIRST robotics event. (Courtesy photo)

 

By DAVID CARKHUFF, THE LACONIA DAILY SUN

WOLFEBORO — For the first time, middle and high school robotics teams will compete at state championships in New Hampshire, when students gather Saturday at Kingswood Regional High School for the inaugural New Hampshire FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a robotics challenge conceived by inventor Dean Kamen. Tailored to high school competition, FIRST also branched out to involve younger students.
Tech Challenge is a global program "created to get students excited about science and technology, by offering a unique varsity sport for the mind," according to organizers.
"FIRST has a number of programs for students of different ages, starting from early elementary all the way through high school. This one covers both middle school and high school students," said Frank Grossman, affiliate partner for New Hampshire. Grossman is in charge of coordinating the FIRST Tech Challenge state championships.
In the past, the Tech Challenge students went to Massachusetts, but New Hampshire now has enough teams to host its own championship event, Grossman said.
Twenty robotics teams from middle schools and high schools across New Hampshire will gather at Kingswood Regional High with autonomous and remote-controlled robots that they designed, built and programmed.
In the high school version of FIRST Robotics, three-team alliances compete with 120-pound robots. In the Tech Challenge version, two-team alliances bring robots no larger than 18 inches cubed.

Roughly 50 volunteers joined to oversee the championship.

"Taking this on was basically taking a risk that we could run this whole program and find enough volunteers to pull this off," Grossman said.
Like its high school counterpart, the Tech Challenge emphasizes teamwork and sportsmanship.
"A big, big part of FIRST is a thing called 'gracious professionalism.' You're always competing hard but you want to compete at your best so you're willing to help others," Grossman said.
One of the founders of FIRST, Woodie Flowers, co-chair of the FIRST Executive Advisory Board, will attend the event and speak, according to the schedule. Donald E. Bossi, president of FIRST, also is scheduled to give remarks during opening ceremony, which begins at 10:15 a.m. The official rounds of competition will kick off at 11 a.m.
The Annubles team from Tilton and two teams from Wolfeboro are scheduled to compete.
"It's going to be an amazing event. It's free and open to anyone," Grossman said, encouraging the public to attend.

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