ARG Poll: Hassan job approval jumps

A new survey from American Research Group indicates 47% of New Hampshire voters approve of the job Gov. Maggie Hassan is doing compared to 31% who disapprove.

Hassan’s net job approval, the percentage of voters who approve of her performance minus the percentage who disapprove, now stands at +16%. Just three months ago, Hassan’s net approval was +7% with 33% approving of her job performance and 26% disapproving.

The survey was completed before the legislature approved, and Hassan signed, a compromise budget that was passed unanimously by the Senate and almost unanimously by the House.

Hassan’s 47% job approval is similar to that of former Gov. John Lynch at the same point in his first term. Lynch’s job approval stood at 51% in June, 2005.

American Research Group surveyed 600 Granite State adults including 539 registered voters on June 22-25, 2013. The poll has a +/-4.0% margin of error for the total sample and a a +/-4.2% margin of error for the sample of registered voters.

Gov. Lynch on O’Brien: I underestimated the venom

In an interview with Kevin Landrigan, outgoing Gov. John Lynch lambasted former House Speaker Bill O’Brien for an intentional lack of communication that led to a total breakdown in trust. Lynch conceded “he underestimated the venom that would greet him” from the former Speaker:

I thought that I would still be able to work together in a collaborative way, much like I was able to do in 2005 with the Republican leadership at that point,” Lynch began.

“Before you can trust each other, you have to be able to communicate with each other. I stayed very much in close communication with the Senate, with the Senate leadership, but the speaker didn’t want to communicate with me at all.”

“When there is no communication, there is no trust and that is where that relationship really fell apart and it fell apart not only between the House and the Senate, between the House and myself but within the Republican caucus,” Lynch declared.

“Nobody trusted each other, and you can’t get something done if that’s the case. It’s true for this building as it is for private companies.”

John Lynch: Bill O’Brien was ‘kind of a fluke’

Gov. John Lynch refrained from publicly criticizing former state House Speaker Bill O’Brien during the tenure as Speaker. But in an interview with the Concord Monitor, the outgoing governor broke his silence and expressed disdain for the former Speaker:

That one person is no longer in the leadership position, which is a benefit of two-year terms, I guess, that people saw that and didn’t like what they saw and so they decided to, basically, move the pendulum in the other direction,” Lynch said. “It’s not a good thing that happened. It could happen again. I don’t think it’s a comment on New Hampshire. I just think it was kind of a fluke that it happened.”

Quote of the day: New Hampshire values

Maggie Hassan understands that it takes bipartisan leadership focused on the issues that matter most to our people: growing jobs, strengthening the economy, improving education, lowering healthcare costs and increasing public safety. … I have known Maggie Hassan and worked closely with her. I can tell you that she is a person of integrity, a person of compassion, a person with smarts and common sense and the New Hampshire values that we need to move our state forward.

— Gov. John Lynch, endorsing Democrat Maggie Hassan for Governor.

NH voters oppose tax ban, marriage repeal & GOP

The latest WMUR Granite State Poll finds New Hampshire voters are evenly split on the constitutional amendment to ban a state income tax, oppose repeal of same-sex marriage, favor Democrats for the state legislature and really like Gov. John Lynch.

  • 40% of those surveyed support the constitutional ban on a state income tax. 41% oppose the amendment. 2/3 of voters must support the amendment for it to be ratified.
  • 61% of New Hampshire adults oppose repealing the state’s same sex marriage law. Only 28% would support repeal.
  • New Hampshire voters favor Democrats for the state legislature by a 4-point margin, 39%-35%, a similar result to this week’s Public Policy Polling survey.
  • 67% approve of the job Lynch is doing as governor, compared to just 19% who disapprove. Even a majority of Republicans (53%) approve. 

The Granite State Poll is sponsored by WMUR-TV and conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. The results are based on telephone interviews of 581 adults with a margin of error of +/- 4.1% and a subsample of 555 likely voters with a margin or error of +/- 4.2%. The interviews were conducted on August 1-12, 2012 on landline and cellular telephones.

Kevin Smith’s plan could make NH next porn Mecca

GOP gubernatorial candidate Kevin Smith has spent the campaign running away from his past as an advocate and lobbyist for the religious right. “I haven’t made this campaign about the social issues,” he says in an understatement.

Smith has attempted to shed his controversial skin by focusing his rhetoric on improving New Hampshire’s business climate and making the state more attractive to out-of-state businesses. Companies are mobile,” he says, “they are going to go the path of least resistance.”

His surrogate, former party chair Wayne Semprini, emphasizes the point. “Kevin won’t be afraid to pick up the phone and convince new and expanding companies to come to New Hampshire.”

Well, here’s an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone:

Spurred by the recent condom ordinance, in Los Angeles, producers, talent, and spectators have contemplated that the adult entertainment production industry might move from its traditional San Fernando Valley home to Las Vegas.

The Granite State (no snickers, please) would appear to be well positioned to lure this recession-proof business away from the Golden State.

In late 2008, 20 years of California exceptionalism ended with New Hampshire vs.Theriault. In that case, the New Hampshire Supreme Court held, like its California counterpart, that paying someone to be in a porn film was not the same as paying a prostitute for sex. Going a little further, the Theriault court held that the New Hampshire free speech clause would not permit the state to enforce the prostitution statutes against adult filmmakers.

This did not, however, augur the mass migration of the industry to the 603 area code. Despite being a tax haven and a libertarian bastion, New Hampshire was simply not destined to become the next porn Mecca.

Gov. Lynch apparently failed to act on this opportunity. “I would be much more hands-on,” Smith said.

Pindell: Lynch “insanely popular and insanely irrelevant”

In a Governing magazine study of how governors are working with legislatures controlled by the other party, Louis Jacobson writes that Gov. John Lynch has “largely been overtaken by events.”

"In New Hampshire, the reform push is coming from the Legislature, and Lynch has not had enough legislative backing to keep several of his vetoes from being overridden," said Andrew E. Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. James Pindell, the political director at WMUR-TV in New Hampshire, puts it bluntly. He calls Lynch — who is not running for another term — "insanely popular and insanely irrelevant."

N.H. legislature overrides Gov. Lynch vetoes

New Hampshire’s Republican-dominated legislature flexed its muscles today and overrode vetoes from Gov. John Lynch on several major pieces of legislation.

Bills that because law over the governor’s veto today include a voter photo ID requirement (SB 289), educational tax credits for private and parochial schools (SB 382) and “early offer” medical malpractice reform (SB 406).

The legislature was unable to override the governor’s veto on medical marijuana legislation (SB 409), collective bargaining oversight (HB 1666) and a fetal homicide bill (SB 217).

Full details follow below the fold.

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Nashua Telegraph: Three Vetoes Worth Sustaining

An editorial in the Nashua Telegraph calls for the legislature to sustain the governor’s veto of three bad bills: photo voter ID, school vouchers and medical malpractice reform.

Photo ID (SB 289)

Is the history of voter fraud here so pervasive – if it exists at all – that it merits consciously making it more difficult for some residents to vote on Election Day? For lawmakers, the answer should be a resounding no.

Education tax credits (HB 1607 and SB 372)

[N]o matter how you disguise it, you are taking money now supporting public schools and diverting it to private and religious schools, leaving cities and towns to make up the difference.

Early offer malpractice (SB 406)

The legislation is tilted so far in favor of the medical community — the maximum award would be $117,000 for a death — that it’s hard to believe it got this far even with overwhelming GOP majorities in both chambers.

The legislature convenes tomorrow to vote on the governor’s vetoes.

Veto Day: School Vouchers & Voter ID Top the Card

Tomorrow the House and Senate convene to consider Gov. John Lynch’s vetoes of 13 bills (by my count) that they passed during the current session. The bills include such high profile legislation as photo voter ID (SB 289), school vouchers (HB 1607, SB 372) and medical marijuana (SB 409).

The first vote for each bill will occur in the originating chamber. If two-thirds of those present vote to override the veto, the action then moves to the second chamber. If two-thirds of those present in the second chamber vote to override the veto, it becomes law.

Below the fold, I’ve included a brief description of each bill with a link to the full text, an excerpt of the Governor’s veto message, and the last recorded roll vote. The last recorded roll call vote may not have been for the final version of the bill and is only included to provide a sense of the lawmakers’ relative support for each bill. The full text of the Governor’s veto messages can be found in the calendars for the House and Senate.

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The Nation: Voter ID Threatens N.H.’s Turnout Record

The Nation covers the tug-of-war between Gov. John Lynch and the legislature over voter ID. The author warns that the voter ID legislation threatens the Granite State’s pround record of high voter turnout — also that lawsuits are sure to follow.

New Hampshire is notable for its high voter turn out, second only to Minnesota and Wisconsin in the 2008 elections, according to the U.S. Elections Project at George Mason University. For a year, Gov. John Lynch has tried to protect that legacy against the legislature’s attempt to pass a voter ID bill. He now appears ready to concede the point—if only the legislature would let him. 

This week, Lynch was ready to compromise and sign off on a bill. But the version the state’s legislature presented was so excessively restrictive he vetoed the legislation Wednesday. Lawmakers are now preparing to vote on whether to override the governor’s veto on June 27.

The bill is meant to restrict state government employees who use their governmental IDs. Aside from negatively impacting student voters, the bill would also have taken its toll on African Americans, who are over represented in municipal, county and state jobs.

Portsmouth Herald: School Voucher Bill is Baffling

Earlier this week, Gov. John Lynch vetoed Senate Bill 372, which would create a school voucher program granting tax credits to fund scholarships for students attending private schools, religious schools and home schools.

An editorial in today’s Portsmouth Herald calls it “possibly the worst piece of legislation passed by the House and Senate this session” and implores lawmakers to let the veto stand.

Frankly, the bill is baffling. If parents want to send their students to non-public schools, that is their right. But the state has no obligation to fund this family education decision. The state’s responsibility is to the vast majority of students who attend its public schools, and part of that responsibility is to fund them, not make a bad situation worse by taking money away.

Miscellany Blue