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Tonight, 12 candidates will take the fourth Democratic debate stage in Westerville, Ohio. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will be there, despite considering a boycott of the event.

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State Workers Agree to "Surgery" on Health Care Coverage

June 18, 2007

CONCORD, NH - State workers this week will be asked to ratify a new contract proposal between their union and state government. The proposal includes the union's first-ever concession on sharing health care costs, in recognition of ever-rising premiums for the state. In return, they will have a voice in health plan administration, and there will be closer cooperation between workers and management.

Diana Lacey, chairwoman of the negotiating committee for the State Employees Association, said, "Our focus on doing a health care contribution at this point was, we were only going to do it if we thought it could lead to better health outcomes, and we have that built into this contract. We're calling it a landmark contract because it's not just about the healthcare and the wages. The whole theme of it is to build a partnership with the state."

The proposal goes to union members for ratification this week. If it's approved, the nine thousand workers will pay $650 toward heath care in the first year, and $780 in the second year. Salaries will also increase by 3.5 percent in the first year and 5.5 percent in the second.

John Robinson/Mandy Walker, Public News Service - NH