Executive decisions on federal stimulus money and appointments; a parting shot; and three challenges to gay marriage. It’s all in today’s dispatch by Michael McCord.
Plus: How steep is the legislative learning curve? More than 150 newly elected lawmakers are finding out today as they begin their two-day orientation session at the State House to learn the basics of being a legislator. You can see our earlier post about the orientation process here.
Gov. John Lynch and the lame-duck Executive Council will hold a public meeting tomorrow to consider a 213-point agenda that includes accepting $41 million of federal stimulus money for education. On Monday, the joint legislative fiscal committee voted to send half the money to schools and the other half to the state’s General Fund.
The current 3-2 Democratic majority on the Executive Council evaporated on election night and in January, Lynch will begin to work with an all-Republican council.
Among the many issues and appointments to come include the fate of state Banking Commissioner Peter Hildreth. Hearings begin Nov. 29 on whether to fire him for his role in the Financial Resource Mortgage scandal (see our earlier post for more background). The Executive Council will also take up the job of replacing retiring Supreme Court Justice John Broderick.
>> The Executive Council will meet at the State House on Nov. 17 at 10 a.m.
Outgoing Democratic Sen. Jacalyn Cilley of Barrington isn’t leaving town quietly. Yesterday, she released a statement taking aim at the Local Government Center (LGC) after a recent interim report by the Secretary of State. Cilley called on the LGC to end “its arrogance, subversive tactics and deceptive behavior regarding the operation of its Health Trust, tell cities and towns the truth about the money it spends and obey the law by returning surplus monies to the taxpayers.”
The Local Government Center, which provides programs and support for the more than 200 cities and towns in the state, has come under fire and investigation for how it is organized as a non-profit, how it spends money and how it returns surpluses to its clients.
The city of Portsmouth has asked for a refund of more than $280,000 from money paid into a pooled health insurance plan — and yesterday, the Portsmouth Herald reported, town employees in North Hampton protested against the LGC.
A major investor protection law passed earlier this year (House Bill 1393) allowed the Bureau of Securities Regulation to investigate the LGC, which said it is reviewing the interim report and that it has already begun to implement reforms that address many of the issues brought up in the report.
Three and Counting
Three new bills to repeal the state’s equal marriage law are pending for next year. The law was passed in 2009 and went into effect Jan. 1, 2010. The three challenges to it will come from Republican House members Mike Kappler of Raymond, David Bates of Windham and Leo Pepino of Manchester. Yesterday (Nov. 15) was the first day for lawmakers to file complete information for their LSRs. The deadline is Dec. 3.
This Daily Update was written by Michael McCord.
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