LACONIA — State Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) says that he sees dealing with Medicaid expansion, gambling and infrastructure issues as the top priorities of the 2014 session of the state Legislature, which begins next week.
Speaking before the Laconia Rotary Club Thursday, the first senator in over 50 years from Laconia, said that Medicaid is the top priority and pointed out that 2014 is only two days days old but the state has already lost a million dollars in federal funds through its failure to expand Medicaid, which for the first three years of the expansion is 100 percent federally funded.
A special session of the Legislature failed to reach agreement on Medicaid expansion in early December.
''I'm optimistic we'll reach common ground on Medicaid expansion,'' said the first-term senator, adding that he believes 2014 can be a very good year for the Legislature ''if we don't let politics get in the way of good public policy.''
Questioned on whether or not he was confident that the federal government would make good on the promise of 90 percent funding for Medicaid expansion after the first three years of the program, Hosmer said, that, unlike special education funding, the federal government has kept its promise on Medicare funding since 1967.
He said that he wants to see a trigger provision in the state's medicaid expansion that would allow the state to back out of the program if it wasn't funded at the promised level.
Hosmer also said he would support a casino gambling bill that had a more transparent and open process for licensing than last year's bill and one which had a strict regulatory structure.
''It (the tax income from gambling) won't solve a lot of problems, but if we don't have gambling we're going to lose money to states like Maine and Connecticut that do. I'd like to keep that $25 million or so that we're losing in rooms and meals taxes in the state.'' said Hosmer.
He said that the state's roads and bridges need to be maintained and upgraded as part of maintaining an infrastructure which can support economic growth and, while not endorsing a gas tax increase, noted that gasoline prices in New Hampshire are higher than those of neighboring states which have higher gas taxes.
Hosmer said that the economy and jobs are his major focus and that he thinks that social issues should be off the table in 2014.
A lawyer and the vice president of the AutoServ dealership, Hosmer serves on the Commerce and Ways and Means committee in the Senate
He said that many food things happened in the 2013 session, including passage of a balanced budget with no new fees or taxes and passage of $23 million for mental health services, which he said have been severely underfunded and as a result placed additional burdens on the criminal justice system and hospital emergency rooms.
He said that passage of investment tax credits and doubling them from what had been allocated in previous years was a good step in helping the growth of advanced manufacturing and urged doubling the credit in the next couple of years to create more investment in the state.
He said that he worked with Senator Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) to rewrite the corporate code to make it easier to start businesses in the state and said that he took particular pride in making changes in the water navigation fund so that it would be non-lapsing for the Department of Safety, so that future surpluses wouldn't vanish into the ''black hole'' of the state general fund.
Hosmer pointed out that of the fund had been non-lapsing the state would have built up enough money in the fund that it would have had the funds on hand to build a new $9-$11 million building for Marine Patrol in Glendale.
He said that he has sponsored a number of bills this session, including one which permits cooperative agreements between hospitals which would provide better use of resources and another which would address tax code inequities which discourage mutual fund companies (there are only two operating in the state) from locating offices in the state.
Hosmer said the former State School property in Laconia would be an ideal site for a corporate campus for a large mutual fund company.
He also said that he supports a study commission to look at ways that New Hampshire can help state-based banks deal with provisions which are still being written to implement the Dodd-Frank bill regulating financial institutions.
State Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) talks about his priorities for the 2014 legislative session. Hosmer was guest speaker at a meeting of the Laconia Rotary Club on Thursday. (Roger Amsden Photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)
Last Updated on Friday, 03 January 2014 01:52
LACONIA — A former Bay Street woman was sentenced to serve one to two years in the N.H. State Prison for Women yesterday after pleading guilty to one count of possession of heroin with intent to distribute it.
Carrie Conway, 34, was arrested by Laconia Police after they obtained a search warrant for her home and found about 4 grams of heroin — most of it in individual baggies.
The warrant for the search of her house stemmed from a police arrest of Conway's teenaged son earlier in the day, when he was found to have heroin package for resale and $624 in cash on him.
Conway had been being held on cash bail told Belknap County Superior Court Judge James O'Neill that she had been clean and sober since her arrest and has participated in AA and parenting classed while awaiting trial.
"I know I messed up," she said. "I want to move on with my life and get over this and be there for my kids."
"Were you thinking of them when you had the drugs?" asked O'Neill while he was considering whether or not he would accept her guilty plea in exchange for the 1-to-2 year sentence.
She said that both of her children were in court yesterday and that she wasn't thinking of them at the time.
Her attorney offered that her addiction likely drove her to sell the drugs and since being incarcerate she has "new insight" into her life.
Conway has a criminal record that dates back to 1998. There has been one felony conviction for forgery and a number of convictions for simple assault, resisting arrest, and receiving stolen property.
O'Neill said he had some reservations about accepting her plea and reminded her that the maximum sentence was 3 1/2 to 10 years in prison. He told her was she was getting a new chance and that she should think about how her children must feel about seeing her get sent to prison.
Conway was credited with 163 days of time served and ordered to pay a $350 file plus $84 in administrative costs. Credited with $292 seized during the arrest, she said she could pay the balance yesterday. One year of her sentence is suspended pending her good behavior. She has agreed to three years of probation and to be on parole during the suspended portion of her sentence.
Last Updated on Friday, 03 January 2014 01:44
LACONIA — WMUR television has agreed to give the the N.H. State Attorney's Office a complete copy of its taped interview with accused double ax murderer Shawn Carter.
According to a filing obtained in the Belknap County Superior Court, one of WMUR's reporters interviewed Carter on December 3, during his incarceration at the Belknap County Jail.
While a portion of the interview was aired by WMUR, Senior N.H. Asst. Attorney General Jeffrey Strelzin told them he felt he was entitled to view the entire session. Strelzin contacted Carter's defense team of Robin Wight and Eric Wolpin who said they also wanted to see the entire interview.
WMUR initially refused to give the state the entire interview, citing its internal policies as well as reporter privilege, offering the state the portion that was aired.
Rather than filing for a search warrant, the state filed a motion in court asking for the entire tape. On December 23, Strelzin filed a notice in Belknap County Superior Court saying that WMUR has agreed to give him the tape and the motion he filed was moot.
Carter is accused of chopping his mother Priscilla Carter and brother Timothy Carter to death on either May 23 or May 24 in the Sunset Drive home the three shared in the Winnisquam section of Belmont. Carter was arrested on May 24 for driving without a license and was formally charged with four counts of second-degree homicide on July 9.
Since May 24 he has remained incarcerated in the Belknap County Jail.
The WMUR reporter interviewed him and showed him the affidavits filed in support of his arrest arrest warrant.
In the course of the interview, the WMUR reporter showed Carter the police affidavits filed in support of his arrest warrant and asked him if he committed the murder. He replied that he was being charged with murder.
In his motion, Strelzin had argued that the interview didn't fall under the privilege accorded to reporters to protect their sources because there was no "source" in this case. He said the state wanted to review the entire interview to see if Carter made any admissions because the state prosecutor has an obligation not just to obtain convictions but to use "'every legitimate means to bring about a just (conviction.)'" He said the taped interview may also contain exculpatory information that Carter's defense could use.
Carter defense team has also raised issued on his competency to stand trial.
Strelzin also argued that the defendant's interview is evidence of his mental health and that he was able to speak to a stranger and review the affidavits has a bearing on whether or not he competent and is able to assist in his own defense.
Last Updated on Friday, 03 January 2014 01:37
LACONIA — Belknap Economic Development Council Executive Director Carmen Lorentz has been nominated by Governor Maggie Hassan to become the state's new director of the Division of Economic Development. The appointment was made public Thursday by State Senator Andrew Hosmer during a speech before the Laconia Rotary Club.
''I'm thrilled with the opportunity and welcome the challenges of the new position,'' said Lorentz, a Lakes Region native.
''We're very sorry to see her go. It's a loss for Belknap County but a gain for the state of New Hampshire,'' said Sean Sullivan, chairman of the board of directors for BEDC.
He said that Lorentz had provided strong leadership, notably in the areas of advanced manufacturing and workforce development through the 200 by 2020 initiative, which links students with job internship opportunities.
Sullivan said the BEDC is in the process of starting a search for her successor.''We want to continue with the strong momentum that she has provided us with.''
Lorentz lives in Gilmanton with her husband, Jonathon, and son, Julius, and has headed the BEDC since March of 2011. Prior to that she was a senior economic development specialist for the consulting firm of Carmoin Associates of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where she assisted more than 50 communities across the Northeast in economic development planning, business attraction, and downtown revitalization.
A 1995 graduate of Gilford High School, Lorentz (then, Carmen Reed) went on to study International Affairs at George Washington University. She spent several years in Washington, DC, lobbying Congress on foreign policy issues and working at an international foundation.
Lorentz focused on state and local government policy in her Master's degree program at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. She subsequently participated in New York's Public Management Institute, which afforded her the opportunity to analyze state economic development policies.
Her nomination is expected to come before the Executive Council for confirmation on January 15, and, if confirmed, she is expected to start work late this month.
The Division of Economic Development is a division of the state's Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) and is currently led by interim director Christopher Way.
Hassan had nominated Rochester Community Development Director Karen Pollard, who also served as deputy city manager in that city, to the economic development post in October but Pollard withdrew from consideration in November, electing to remain in her position in Rochester.
Last Updated on Friday, 03 January 2014 01:31
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