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Legal challenge to Sununu moves forward; museum to reopen

by Ace Damon

A challenge to the spending authority of New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu during the coronavirus pandemic is advancing, with both sides filing arguments in court.

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate sued the Republican governor in April, arguing that such spending requires the approval of the Legislative’s fiscal committee.

A Superior Court judge later said they were unable to prosecute and dismissed the case, but after the plaintiffs asked him to reconsider, he decided last month that the case could proceed.

Both the governor and parliamentarians presented documents on Friday explaining their arguments.

Democrats said spending money that the legislature still needs to appropriate violates three provisions of the state constitution and that several state laws reaffirm the constitutional mandate that the power of appropriation rests solely with the legislative branch.

The governor says that these laws do not apply and that a different statute gives him the authority to spend the money.

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MASSACHUSETTS

The Boston Children’s Museum is reopening its doors later this month, having been closed since mid-March because of the coronavirus.

The museum will hold a weekend for members only from July 17 to 19 and will be open to the general public on July 22, the administration announced on Saturday.

The museum will be open from Wednesday to Sunday, with two schedules. Capacity will be limited and tickets must be purchased in advance.

The museum will also reduce points of contact and improve its cleaning and sanitation protocols.

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MAINE

Several cities in Maine are welcoming visitors to its beaches with the help of friendly “beach ambassadors”.

In York, Wells and Ogunquit – three of the busiest coastal cities in southern Maine – city leaders are using state grants to hire ambassadors to welcome visitors, remind them to practice physical distance and wear masks and answer questions about local regulations for delay the spread of coronavirus.

“It makes sense to bring these people to resolve these issues in a friendly way. They welcome people on the beach, they say we are happy to have them here, but there are rules to be followed, ”Jeff Patten, director of beach operations in York, told the Portland Press Herald.

The money for the ambassadors comes from the state’s Keep Maine Healthy plan, which recently awarded nearly $ 9 million in donations to 100 communities.

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Maine health officials on Saturday reported 21 new confirmed cases of coronavirus and one more death.

There have now been 3,520 probable and probable cases in the state and 112 fatalities, the Maine Disease Control and Prevention Center said.

Currently, sixteen people are hospitalized with the disease and seven of these patients are in intensive care.

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RHODE ISLAND

The head of a Rhode Island state agency confirms that she is in quarantine after meeting earlier this week with a consultant who later tested positive for COVID-19.

Kathryn Power, director of the State Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, told The Providence Journal that she wore a covering face and was 2 meters from the other person during Tuesday’s meeting.

She said at least three other agency employees are in quarantine, with orders to take the test.

The meeting took place on the campus of Eleanor Slater Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Cranston. She said that no patient was exposed.

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VERMONT

The United States attorney’s office in Vermont is warning people to beware of the COVID-19 scams related to this year’s tax filing delay.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s tax deadline has been postponed from April 15 to July 15.

US Attorney in Vermont Christina Nolan says criminals use the tax filing deadline as an opportunity to steal personal and financial information.

“Taxpayers must remain vigilant and know that the IRS will not contact them by phone, email or social media to request personal or financial information,” said Nolan in a press release.

In recent months, the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS has seen an increase in a variety of scams designed to take advantage of pandemic response programs.

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Vermont health officials reported six new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, for a state total of more than 1,280 since the pandemic began.

Five of the new cases are in Chittenden County, the state Department of Health said. Two patients are currently hospitalized.

No new deaths have been reported and the state has not had a fatality in COVID-19 since mid-June, with a death toll of 56.

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CONNECTICUT

Connecticut is in a “very fortunate place” with the coronavirus, says the state’s epidemiologist, as deaths have virtually disappeared and the state’s transmission rate is among the lowest in the country.

Dr. Matt Cartter tells Hartford Courant that he is grateful for the progress, even if the state of testing in the state remains below ideal.

Connecticut was seeing more than 100 coronavirus deaths a day in mid-late April, but the state on two days this week reported zero fatalities on COVID-19.

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