- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Highlights from Gov. Maggie Hassan’s State of the State address Thursday:



Hassan said the heroin and opioid crisis remains the most pressing public health and safety issue in the state. She commended members of both parties for sending her two bills to counter substance abuse but said more resources and dollars are needed.



Hassan said reauthorizing the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program is not only essential to increasing drug treatment capacity in the state, but also that it will improve the well-being of all citizens, businesses and the economy. The program is set to end if lawmakers don’t reauthorize it this year.



Hassan announced a new program called Gateway to Work, which will repurpose federal money to create job training and apprenticeship programs for Medicaid recipients and others who receive state aid. The program will include partnerships between the state and nonprofits, and between community colleges and businesses.



Hassan repeated her call for restoring and increasing the state’s minimum wage, though her comments came just after the Senate rejected a bill that would have set it at $12 per hour. The Legislature eliminated the state’s minimum wage law in 2011, which means the federal minimum wage of $7.25 is the state’s minimum.



Hassan said the state should create a trust fund to make sure a $236 million jury award is used to treat wells contaminated by the gasoline additive MTBE and other water supplies. The verdict against Exxon Mobil Corp. came down in 2013, but the company last month asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.



Hassan called for fully funding the education grants that towns and cities receive under the state’s formula for providing an adequate education and for establishing full-day public kindergarten statewide.

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