Josh Rogers

Senior Political Reporter and Editor

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000 and serves as NHPR’s State House reporter. Before joining the staff, he lived in New York, where he worked for a number of different magazines.

Josh’s award winning reporting can be heard locally but also regularly airs on national broadcasts of NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Josh is also a frequent analyst on political talk shows in the state. He grew up in Concord, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Reed College.

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House lawmakers have voted 217-132 to require local officials to issue conceal weapons permits to person not barred from owning a gun.

The mostly party line vote came after the GOP-controlled house overturned a committee recommendation to kill the bill.

Seabrook Republican Max Abramson told colleagues this bill was about making sure a constitutional right is unabridged.

"Senate bill 336 would simply restore the right of law abiding gun owners, who have the lawful right to open carry, to simply put on their jacket."

PROBartolomej Jahoda via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/F4s3N

 The New Hampshire House has again voted decriminalize marijuana. This proposal would make first offense possession of a 1/4 ounce or less a violation.

The 289-58 vote marked the seventh time house lawmakers have tried to make marijuana possession a violation.

Backers of this proposal, like Hampton Democrat Renny Cushing pitched it as a middle ground.

"This is a compromise that will allow us to have first time offenders who have a small amount of marijuana escape a lifetime of draconian punishment for that and have a second chance."

Chris Jensen for NHPR

On the Political Front is our weekly check-in with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. 

NHPR

Citing public safety concerns, Governor Maggie Hassan has vetoed a bill that aimed to limit the power of local building inspectors. This is Hassan's first veto of the year.

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The New Hampshire Republican party has called off an email vote on delegate assignments for the Republican National Convention. The postponement came after complaints by the Donald Trump's campaign.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

"On the Political Front" is our weekly check-in with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

2016 is a big year politically for New Hampshire, and excepting the Presidential contest, no election will get as much scrutiny as the U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte and Democratic challenger Maggie Hassan.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Citing strong state revenue numbers, Governor Maggie Hassan is calling on Republican leaders to act on a number of spending priorities. But top Republicans say much of what the governor seeks is already in the works.

The strange and bitter Democratic primary in the first congressional district got even stranger and more bitter today.

Photo Credit Katja Rupp, via Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire Senate has rejected a bill to decriminalize possession of up to a half-ounce of marijuana. But opponents say it would be wrong to reduce marijuana penalties in the midst of an opioid crisis.

While the New Hampshire house has repeatedly voted to decriminalize marijuana, the policy has never found favor in the senate. This time was no different. MIlford Republican Gary Daniels compares the state's fight against heroin and Fentayl to a war. He says now would be the wrong time to convey a tolerant attitude towards marijuana.

The N.H. Senate has voted to undo a policy that would penalize the state liquor commission for not hitting financial targets. Senators fear enforcing budgets cuts at liquor will hurt overall state revenues. 

Under a provision tucked into the current state budget, the liquor commission is supposed to trim spending to offset any shortfall in revenue, up to five percent of its budget. Liquor was expected to generate $144 million dollars by July, but is now likely to fall millions of dollars short.

New Hampshire's highest court has clarified the state's right-to-know law. 

The ruling came in a case involving Donna Green, Sandown's representative on the Timberlane Regional School Board.

Last year, Green sought budget documents from SAU 55.

Green  was told she could inspect them at the district's offices and pay to copy them, but was denied them when she asked for them in a digital format.

Excerpted from Planned Parenthood Votes Ad

 A political action committee affiliated with Planned Parenthood is spending $400,000 to target Kelly Ayotte in its first TV ad focused on 2016 Senate races.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

"On the Political Front" is our weekly check-in with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers.

NHPR Staff

The money race has been nip and tuck from the moment Governor Maggie Hassan declared for U.S. Senate in early October:  $4.4 million raised by Hassan; $4.4 million raised by her opponent, Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte. 

This quarter, Hassan's campaign says it collected $2.25 million; Ayotte's campaign, "more than $2.25 million." Yet Ayotte, whose been raising money for 2016 since she was sworn in 5 years ago, has almost $7 million in cash on hand, more than twice Hassan's $2.9.

Twitter/Rockingham County Democrats

"On the Political Front" is our weekly check-in with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers.

Let’s start in the 1st Congressional District, where’s there’s a nasty fight in the Democratic primary. Shawn O’Connor is leveling some serious accusations against former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. Things seem to be pretty ugly.

Gov. Maggie Hassan has repeatedly said she lacked specific information about why longtime Phillips Exeter teacher Rick Schubart abruptly retired in 2011, and that she never discussed it with her husband, Tom Hassan, who was the school's principal at the time. 

The governor has also said she sensed something was wrong when Schubart suddenly moved off campus.

Earlier this week, Hassan said those suspicious should have been enough to prompt her to remove Schubart from a steering committee during her first run for governor.

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In a video announcement partially shot in the Manchester Millyard, former BAE Systems executive Rich Ashooh plays that his grandparents were immigrants and his concern that the next generation of his family will be disadvantaged -- by national debt, high student loans, and dependent of government for their health care.

Ashooh also uses his the video to take a poke at incumbent republican Frank Guinta. Guinta defeated Ashooh in the 2010 GOP primary, a race in which Guinta accepted $350,000 worth of donations from his family that the FEC later said were illegal.

www.exeter.edu

"On the Political Front" is our weekly check-in with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Governor Hassan says she never discussed the details of Richard Schubart's abrupt departure from Exeter's campus in 2011 with her husband, who was Exeter's Principal when Schubart was forced to resign, and chalks up Schubart's appearance in 2012 campaign press release as one of 125 community leaders who had endorsed her as  "a lot of people on lists," and not having specific information that she could have shared with her staff.

Josh Rogers/NHPR

Former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand says his background, --leading Portsmouth, working as a consultant, and directing corporate relations at UNH --  as well as his character, make him suited to lead the state.

"There is a humility that is required to be a really good governor, and it means you have to be willing to admit that you don't know everything on day one. Nobody is an expert on everything. and it means you've got to ask big questions, listen to the people who are living it everyday. Analyze, listen, learn, decide, and then lead, and be unafraid to lead."

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Senator Jeanne Shaheen took to the steps of the federal courthouse in Concord to call on Senate Republicans to "get on with it" and take up Merrick Garland's nomination.

She says putting it off runs afoul of the constitution and senate tradition.

Heath Alseike via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/pgKVSD

A bill that aims make it easier for judges to treat the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana as a violation is winning favor at the state house and has the  support of the  New Hampshire Association of Police Chiefs, which has always opposed loosening state drug laws.

Marijuana decriminalization has passed the New Hampshire House several times. But no decriminalization bill has won favor in the senate. One reason why is the staunch opposition by New Hampshire law enforcement.

Josh Rogers for NHPR

Kelly Ayotte says she's gotten mixed feedback from voters over her stance on filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia.

Narcan, also known as naloxone, is an anti-overdose drug.
Paige Sutherland for NHPR

  Under the agreement, Irish drug company Adapt Pharma will provide two doses of Narcan nasal spray to any New Hampshire high school that wants it.  

The company is working in collaboration with the Clinton Foundation. It offered free Narcan to all U.S. high schools in January. 

State Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeff Myers says giving schools the option of stocking the drug at no cost makes sense. 

Jim Cole/Associated Press

Governor Maggie Hassan named a drug prosecutor to be the state's new 'Drug Czar.' James Vara helped draft newly enacted legislation to stiffen penalties for Fentanyl distribution.

Don McCullough/Flickr

On the Political Front is our weekly check-in with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. 

Josh Rogers for NHPR

To hear 45 year old ex-restaurant chef Dave Valicenti tell it, making a living selling food at farmer’s markets was far from a master plan.

“In fact I didn’t even want to do farmers markets at all. My mother was like, ‘you know that’s how Stonewall Kitchen started,’ and so I’m like yeah, I don’t want to be one of those carny-weirdos who goes around to farmers markets.”

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Former Portsmouth City councilor Stefany Shaheen will not be running for Governor.

Shaheen's decision, first reported by WMUR, follows months of speculation.

Shaheen had been asked  by Emily's List, the Washington political action committee dedicated to electing women who support abortion rights, to consider seeking the office her mother, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, held for 6 years.

So far two Democrats have announced they will run.  Executive Councilor, Colin Van Ostern, and Mark Connolly, the state's former top securities regulator.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

"On the Political Front" is our weekly check-in with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers.

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