THE SHOWDOWN OVER paid family and medical leave between the Democratically led Legislature and Gov. Chris Sununu will play itself out pretty soon.
Legislative leaders put final signatures on their bill (SB 1) and sent it to Sununu’s desk for his signature.
He’s now got five days, including Saturday, to decide but there’s not much mystery here.
“No one should have to choose between caring for a loved one and financial security. I’m honored today to sign SB 1, which would ensure every hard-working Granite Stater has access to paid family and medical leave, and I hope Governor Sununu considers this legislation with an open mind,” Senate President Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, said in a statement.
Sununu has repeatedly branded the bill as an “income tax” and clearly has enough Republicans in both the House of Representatives and the state Senate to uphold his veto if he chooses to do that.
Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes, D-Concord, has been the target of state Republican web ads attacking the plan, even as Feltes considers whether to mount a campaign for governor in 2020.
“Paid family and medical leave is a critical tool to help New Hampshire attract and retain the workforce of tomorrow, meet the care-giving needs of our aging population, and combat our opioid epidemic,” Feltes said. “After years of work on this issue, it’s time to finally enact this bipartisan legislation to ensure Granite Staters can maintain financial security when they need to take time away from work to care for themselves or a family member.”
The governor spent part of Wednesday in New York City, according to spokesman Benjamin Vihstadt.
“Governor Sununu is down in New York to advocate for New Hampshire’s priorities in front of a national audience. No fundraisers, all state business — highlighting New Hampshire’s innovative solutions to the country’s most pressing problems,” he said.
Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley criticized Sununu’s travel plans.
“If Sununu cared about creating paid family and medical leave, then he would have agreed to work with legislators as they crafted their paid leave legislation instead of spending the day promoting himself on conservative media,” Buckley said in a statement. “Selfish Sununu lied to Granite Staters by promising to establish a program on the campaign trail, and now that it’s time to act he is out-of-state leaving New Hampshire families behind.”
Sununu and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott proposed a voluntary medical leave bill for state workers that private companies could join.
Booker’s mom hits NH campaign trail
When Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker gives a commencement address at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester on Mother’s Day Sunday, his mom, Carolyn, will be in the audience.
She’s flying in from her home in Las Vegas and will join Booker on his other campaign stops here. Those are in Keene on Saturday, Laconia, Berlin and Littleton on Sunday and Concord on Monday.
Mrs. Booker introduced her son at his campaign kickoff event in Newark last month.
Last weekend, Booker fielded several questions from New Hampshire residents during a Facebook Town Hall on the PFAS issue.
Bail reform looks like done deal
Efforts to amend the 2018 bail reform law had some fits and starts but it looks as if the final version is acceptable to all the major stakeholders.
The House passed a Senate bill (SB 314) on a voice vote Wednesday.
Sununu had said previously he wanted to review the latest version, but signaled Wednesday it was fine.
“Earlier this year I called for strengthening New Hampshire’s bail reform law and I am pleased to see that the Legislature has taken bipartisan action,” Sununu said.
“It is critical to close loopholes that could potentially allow dangerous suspects from causing harm in our communities while they await trial. This bill is another step in the right direction.”
Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, said it strikes the proper balance.
“By providing judges more discretion and greater consideration when determining if a person presents a danger to themselves or others and addressing concerns about people who repeatedly fail to appear after being released, this legislation brings further clarification to last year’s reform,” Cushing said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire maintained there was no need to make any changes.
Legislative leaders and Sununu had heard from local and state police that last year’s measure made it too easy to release offenders that authorities could still have concerns about.
(For more Granite Status, go to www.unionleader.com.)
Potential Senate hopeful has the means
Bryant Corky Messner hasn’t made any final decision on a Republican run for the Senate in 2020 but he could be a self-funded candidate if he goes that route.
Messner is the founder and CEO of a Denver-based law firm with more than 100 lawyers as of 2017.
According to real estate documents, he had an 8 percent stake in a Denver office building that sold for $21 million in 2015, which meant he likely received nearly $1.8 million as his share.
One of his major corporate clients, according to the firm’s website, has been Chipotle Mexican Grill.
According to Securities Exchange Commission filings, Messner’s firm was paid $8 million in legal services from 2004 through mid-2006 and the firm has continued to represent the chain this year.
Messner’s vacation lake house in Wolfeboro was most recently assessed at $637,800.
And he co-owned another house in Colorado that sold for over $1.7 million in 2007.
Health care reform
House and Senate Democratic leaders have acted and will soon put another ticklish bill on Sununu’s desk, this one to enshrine the basic provisions of the Affordable Care Act into state law.
This would ensure that whatever Congress does with regards to repealing all or part of the ACA, its protections would remain in place here. Those include coverage for pre-exisiting conditions, mental health and substance abuse services and maternity care.
“I urge Governor Sununu to sign SB 4 into law, allowing families to breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that New Hampshire believes that the insurance industry deserves consistency,” said Rep. Edward Butler, D-Hart’s Location, who chairs the House Commerce Committee.
“Affordable and accessible health care is a right, not a privilege, and the health care of New Hampshire citizens should not be compromised by political turbulence in Washington.”
Sununu has backed these sections of the ACA but agreed with President Trump that states need to have more flexibility to make health care coverage more affordable.
Garcia becomes a mom
Congratulations to former state representative and 2014 Republican nominee for Congress Marilinda Garcia, who recently became a mom for the first time with the birth of her son, Leon.
Garcia has been the national spokesperson for the LIBRE Initiative, a non-partisan, non-profit that promotes free market values among the Hispanic community in America.
She was first elected to the New Hampshire House at 23 and served four terms, ending with her 2nd Congressional District campaign against Rep. Annie Kuster, D-NH.
RNC names NH spokesman
The Republican National Committee continues to add staff to New Hampshire. The latest is Khrystina (Nina) McLaughlin as its communications director.
McLaughlin’s experience includes political and government work in Maine, where she worked as communications director for the Maine GOP in 2016 and 2018.
In between those stints, she was director of policy and legislative affairs for Maine’s Department of Labor.
Fallen Patriots DaySununu will sign a proclamation next Monday declaring it as Children of Fallen Patriots Day in New Hampshire.
This has been a pet project of businessman
, who has been a champion for these college scholarships that go to family members who have died while in service to America.
”I am proud to say that New Hampshire has been a leading state in spreading the word about the positive work we are doing,” said Lucas, who hasn’t ruled out his own political campaign in 2020 for the U.S. Senate.
Buttigieg staffs up, heading back soonDemocratic presidential candidate
recently made New Hampshire staff hires in advance of his next visit here, a town hall Fox News is hosting in Claremont on Sunday, May 19. The town hall will be nationally televised from 7 to 8 p.m.
Michael Ceraso is state director, having been executive director of Winning Margins, a firm that brought resources to candidates in under-served communities.
In 2016, Ceraso was deputy state director for Bernie Sanders‘ campaign and then ran California for the candidate.
Rep. Cole Riel, D-Goffstown, is outreach coordinator. He has served as executive director of the Manchester City Democratic Committee, along with other roles.
Kevin Donohoe is communications director. He grew up in Hampton and in 2017 was chief spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party and also worked on the party’s coordinated campaign in Virginia.
Shaheen joins Second Lady at presserU.S. Sen.
, D-NH, joins Second Lady
and a bipartisan group of lawmakers to improve the process of transferring occupational licenses for military spouses.
The Portable Certification of Spouses Act has Republican and Democratic sponsors from the House and Senate led by Shaheen and is the subject of a Capitol Hill news conference Thursday afternoon.