With a Death Row of 1, New Hampshire Is Poised to End Capital Punishment

On Thursday, though, New Hampshire moved closer to becoming the last state in New England to end capital punishment as the State Senate voted to repeal the death penalty. That followed a vote for repeal in the State House last month.

Twice before — in 2000, and again last year — both chambers have voted for repeal, only to be blocked by a governor’s veto.

But this time, the House and the Senate each voted with the two-thirds majority necessary to override another threatened veto by the governor, Chris Sununu, a Republican who is a capital punishment proponent.

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Andrew Gorrill
Death penalty repeal sweeping across states as both parties get on board "I think with the death penalty, we've crossed the tipping point on the question of innocence," one expert said.

Cushing noted that in New Hampshire, "there’s wide, broad bipartisan support for repeal of the death penalty.”

"The legislation in New Hampshire has always been bipartisan and it is this year again. The past two years, Republicans have taken the lead," he added.

His bill passed the state House with a vote of 279-88 and Cushing expects it to be considered by the full Senate soon. Though Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has vowed to veto it — just like he rejected almost identical legislation last year — Cushing said he thinks the strong show of support in the House bodes well for the possibility of overriding a veto, which would need a two-thirds majority from both legislative chambers to pass.

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Andrew Gorrill
Live Free and Fly: N.H. House approves state raptor

It was a good day for red-tailed hawks and a bad day for coyotes Wednesday as the New Hampshire House voted in favor of honoring one predator but against protecting another.

Four years ago, lawmakers made national news by refusing to pass a bill promoted by Hampton Falls fourth-graders designating the red-tailed hawk as the state’s official raptor. Opponents called the bill unnecessary and the bird too violent, and one suggested it would make a good mascot for Planned Parenthood because it tears its prey apart, “limb from limb.”

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Andrew Gorrill
Law signed for New Hampshire State House Bicentennial Week

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill into law Friday declaring June 2 to June 8 as New Hampshire State House Bicentennial Week. A commission has been planning numerous events, including music, fireworks, a panel discussion for former governors and a Legislative Old Home Day to invite back all living former lawmakers on June 6.

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Andrew Gorrill
Cushing optimistic about end of death penalty in NH

HAMPTON -- On state Rep. Renny Cushing’s living room wall is a picture of him and his father, who was fatally shot in the chest during a home invasion in 1988.

Cushing, a Hampton Democrat who was a state representative when his father was killed, has since advocated for the death penalty’s repeal in New Hampshire, having said a “ritual killing” by the state does not bring back loved ones who have been murdered. The House’s passage of a death penalty repeal bill Thursday leaves him optimistic the Legislature will be able to override a veto by Gov. Chris Sununu, who vetoed a similar repeal bill in the last session.

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Andrew Gorrill
Marijuana Bill Preview: Cannabis Legalization Proposal Estimates A $33 Million Windfall For N.H.

A bill to legalize marijuana in New Hampshire in 2019 would raise $33 million a year and regulate cannabis in a way similar to alcohol in New Hampshire. 

In a first preview of his bipartisan bill, State Representative Renny Cushing says it builds upon the work of a recent marijuana study commission. He provided NHPR a draft copy of the legislation, which has yet to be made public, for review. 

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Andrew Gorrill
Beatrice Coulter and Wanda Duryea: Awaiting the truth about Secure Psychiatric Unit

Beatrice Coulter and Wanda Duryea: Awaiting the truth about Secure Psychiatric Unit
By BEATRICE COULTER and WANDA DURYEA 
For the Monitor Saturday, December 08, 2018

A recent article by InDepthNH.org has reported that the Secure Psychiatric Unit is the subject of an “ongoing law enforcement proceeding” by the federal government. This information came to light after a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by Rep. Renny Cushing was denied. The U.S. Department of Justice stated in a letter that releasing any information “could reasonably be expected to interfere with law enforcement proceedings.” 

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Andrew Gorrill
Capital Beat: Sneak peek at the next legislative session

Cushing, a prolific LSR producer, has re-submitted a proposal for death penalty repeal, a heartfelt and hardfought issue for Cushing, whose father’s murder 30 years ago turned him into a national advocate against the practice. Both chambers of the Legislature passed a repeal bill this year for the first time since 2000, but advancing it around Gov. Sununu’s veto pen will require a stronger majority in the state Senate this time around.

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Andrew Gorrill
CLG spends $63K to fight a Right to Know lawsuit

PORTSMOUTH -- The Coakley Landfill Group has so far spent $63,629 on high-priced attorneys to fight a Right to Know lawsuit.

City Attorney Robert Sullivan, who also chairs the CLG’s executive committee, said all of that money was spent hiring lawyers from the firm of Rath, Young and Pignatelli to fight the lawsuit filed by a group of state lawmakers and former longtime Assistant Mayor Jim Splaine.

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Andrew Gorrill