House nixes COVID-19-related voting bill; theater reopening


CONCORD, N.H. — A look at coronavirus-related developments around New England:


The New Hampshire House has rejected an attempt to make infectious diseases like COVID-19 a qualifying condition for absentee voting.

Lawmakers made temporary changes last year to allow voters to cite the coronavirus as a reason for casting absentee ballots only for the September 2020 primary and November general election.

This year, the Senate passed a bill that would have allowed someone to vote absentee due to “medical conditions that pose a risk of infection to others or where infection from others carries significant health risk.” But the House removed that language Thursday in passing the bill, which also makes other changes to absentee ballot envelopes.

The measure now goes back to the Senate.



A beloved town-owned movie theater in southern Vermont is expected to reopen next weekend after being shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rockingham Town Manager Scott Pickup says a couple is managing the Bellows Falls Opera House and will be working part-time on a flexible schedule to get the theater running.

The town has applied for a $140,000 Small Business Administration grant focused on helping closed theaters and arts venues reopen and operate, the Bennington Banner reported.

There’s no guarantee that the movie-going public will return to pre-pandemic levels, Pickup told the select board this week. The SBA grant would help the theater stay open and rebuild its clientele, he said.

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