Yearly Archives: 2016


Nashua Telegraph

Friday, October 21, 2016

NH can’t afford to backtrack

Cindy Rosenwald

As I talk to voters around my district this fall, I ask them how their family is doing. I’m getting a consistent answer: “Things are OK, we’re doing fine.”

The numbers bear out their sense of confidence. Incomes in New Hampshire are up, unemployment is among the lowest in the country, and more people are working in New Hampshire today than ever before in our history.

At least in some measure, we can attribute our state’s recovery to prudent investments in our people and our infrastructure through the state budget over the past two cycles.

And there was a lot to clean up after the disastrous “O’Brien Budget” of 2011-12, which cut $40 million in general funds and devastated critical programs essential to safe, healthy communities and a vibrant economy.

We all remember the impact of the $40 million budget cuts under former House Speaker Bill O’Brien: downshifts of long term care costs to local property taxpayers, funding cuts to private nursing homes that forced staff reductions and put frail seniors at risk, elimination of the Children in Need of Services program that increased costs to local communities, cuts to hospitals that cost up to 2,000 jobs and brought on expensive litigation, and cuts to public universities and community colleges that drove tuition up. Funding for drug and alcohol prevention and treatment programs was decimated, and now we are faced with more than one drug overdose death each day.

The list goes on, affecting all areas of life in the Granite State.

It has taken several years for us to climb back from the O’Brien budget cuts of $40 million general funds, but we have, and residents of my district are happy with the quality of life in New Hampshire. But that quality of life could be threatened again with the legislature due to be elected next month.

The chair of the powerful House Finance Committee has filed a bill to eliminate the interest and dividend tax, which is paid by wealthier Granite Staters on their investment income. This bill would decrease state revenues by a whopping $187 million. The O’Brien $40 million budget cuts pale in comparison.

If New Hampshire residents didn’t like the impact of $40 million in cuts affecting seniors, individuals with disabilities, college students, property tax payers, and jeopardizing community safety with a rise in drug abuse, what would they think about a budget cut quadruple that size?

Would they want to see drug treatment services decimated again, with drug abuse our No. 1 public health problem? Cuts to snowplowing? Road paving? Nursing home care for our elderly family members?

Voters need to think very carefully about the legislators they choose to send to Concord in November.

If the Republican leadership’s bill passes, what important programs will be on the chopping block?

Will the next Legislature pass a tax cut for the wealthiest people in the state, shifting costs down to hard-working middle class families? New Hampshire can’t afford the risk, especially now that we’ve fought our way back from hard times.

Cindy Rosenwald, D-Nashua, is the Deputy Democratic Leader in the New Hampshire House.


Opioid prescribing bill signed into law

For Immediate Release
June 7, 2016

Communications Office

Governor Hassan’s Statement on Signing Bipartisan Legislation Requiring Updated Prescribing Rules for Opioids

CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan issued the following statement after signing House Bill 1423, legislation that she proposed in November as part of a comprehensive strategy to fight opioid abuse, requiring all prescribing boards to update prescribing rules for opioids:

“While opioids can play an important role in pain management and our healthcare system, we know that the heroin and opioid crisis stems in part from the overuse, misuse and abuse of addictive prescription opioids. In order to prevent the overprescribing of opioids, we have been working to improve provider training and to update the rules for prescribers, with the boards of medicine, nursing and dental examiners taking important steps forward with their own updated rules.

“House Bill 1423 builds on those efforts by requiring the boards governing all prescribers to adopt updated, permanent rules this year and by providing a uniform, statewide standard. I thank Representative Rosenwald, Representative Sherman, the New Hampshire Medical Society and our physicians for their leadership on this issue, and I am proud to sign this bipartisan bill into law in order to build on our efforts to prevent the overprescribing of opioids.”

House Bill 1423 builds on emergency rules that boards of medicine, nursing and dental examiners put in place in collaboration with Governor Hassan to ensure that best practices are followed in prescribing opioids, and the boards of medicine and nursing have been working to establish permanent rules. Beginning in September, the new law mandates the use of the prescription drug monitoring program and requires all boards governing prescribing to have new rules establishing standards for assessing the need for opioids, the risk for abuse and educating patients. It also requires boards to set standards for limiting the amount of days for an opioid prescription obtained in an emergency room to ensure follow-up care for patients.

The new law also contains exceptions for opioids prescribed for cancer patients, patients with terminal conditions or patients in long-term non-rehabilitative care settings, such as nursing homes.

Governor Hassan has outlined and consistently worked to implement a comprehensive strategy to support law enforcement and strengthen prevention, treatment and recovery in combating the crisis, including calling a special session of the legislature last November. In addition to House Bill 1423, the Governor has signed legislation to increase the penalties for the illegal sale and distribution of fentanyl, to limit prior authorizations for outpatient substance abuse treatment and to improve the state’s prescription drug monitoring program. The Governor also fought to reauthorize the bipartisan New Hampshire Health Protection Program, which has provided substance misuse and behavioral health services to thousands of Granite Staters, and she has revised licensing requirements to make it easier for providers to open treatment facilities, worked to increase the safe and effective use of Narcan, and launched a statewide substance misuse hotline to help connect individuals with resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Over the course of the next several weeks, Governor Hassan will also sign bipartisan legislation to limit insurance companies’ prior authorization requirements for in-patient hospital stays, to expand the use of the prescription drug monitoring program and to provide $5 million in additional resources for prevention, treatment and recovery programs and supportive housing. The legislature has also heeded Governor Hassan’s call to return next week to consider additional funding for law enforcement, expanding statewide the successful Operation Granite Hammer model that she helped launched last year.


Inefficient defense spending hurts New Hampshire


My Turn: Inefficient defense spending hurts New Hampshire

For the Monitor
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
(Published in print: Tuesday, March 15, 2016)

As Congress begins considering President Obama’s final budget request, it’s a good time to take stock of where our hard-earned tax dollars are going. As a state representative, I am concerned that some urgent funding needs in New Hampshire – such as drug treatment, education, our aging roads and bridges, and community development – are being squeezed out by wasteful spending at the Pentagon.

New Hampshire currently relies on federal funds for about 30 percent of its revenue. Yet, this flow of federal dollars to the state is constantly under siege because more than half of the nation’s discretionary budget goes to the Pentagon. While I strongly believe in the responsibility to provide for a robust national defense, there are far too many examples of inefficient spending eating up our tax dollars.

One area that deserves particular scrutiny is the planned full-scale update of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, expected to cost taxpayers $1 trillion over the next three decades. The so-called nuclear “modernization” programs include new fleets of nuclear-armed submarines, bombers and ground-based ballistic missiles, a new air-launched cruise missile, and new bells and whistles for the associated nuclear warheads.

The president and his military advisers have stated that we can reduce the deployed arsenal by one-third while maintaining stability with other nuclear powers. Yet, the current plans lock in a nuclear force structure that looks the same as it did 25 years ago and a spending trajectory that some experts are calling a budget train wreck. For instance, in 2029, the Pentagon will be spending $34 billion on nuclear force modernization alone, or “about as much . . . as the total budget of the U.S. Department of Justice,” according to the Center for American Progress.

Indeed, the Defense Department and supporters in Congress are beginning to justify the nuclear build-up with Cold War-like rationales, calling investments a counter to Russian aggression. Such thinking is backward, dangerous and provocative. Nuclear weapons did not stop Russia from invading Crimea or intervening in Syria.

Wasteful spending on dangerous weapons takes away from the safety and welfare of Granite Staters where they need it the most. Over the last several years, New Hampshire has seen a sharp increase in heroin overdoses and many families have been affected by the devastating epidemic of drug abuse. In addition, in public education, taxpayers have been picking up the slack where the current funding formula does not cover schools that are growing. Our state’s businesses and manufacturers also suffer when Congress cannot nail down long-term highway and transit appropriations. It will take purposeful resource mobilization to provide drug addicts with effective rehabilitation, students with a first-class education and commuters with highly efficient transit systems.

Budget decisions are hard to make. Yet, today, unchecked public spending largely benefits the military-industrial complex without tackling 21st-century security threats and needs. New Hampshire’s hard-earned tax dollars ought to be put toward the things that really keep us safe and secure.

President Obama entered office calling for the “peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,” but given the current political atmosphere, we cannot assume the next president will be quite as visionary. It is time for all of us, at the local, state and federal level, to speak out against excessive, wasteful and counterproductive nuclear weapons spending.