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 Speaker William O’Brien barred reporters from the Concord Monitor from a state house press conference he called to discuss welfare abuse.

As reporters from about a half-dozen news outfits were welcomed to Speaker O’Brien’s office, reporters from the capital city’s only newspaper were blocked at the door by O’Brien spokesperson Shannon Bettencourt.

"Annmarie, Matt; not my rules. You know the issue."

"Why can’t we come in?"

House Speaker Bill O’Brien was joined at a news conference by Jackie Whiton. She was fired from a Peterborough convenience store after blocking a customer's attempt to use welfare benefits to buy cigarettes. O’Brien hailed Whiton and said the state needs to take greater steps to ensure that welfare benefits don’t go towards cigarettes, alcohol or possibly certain foods; O’Brien mentioned lobster.

Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney spent his July Fourth holiday marching in a New Hampshire parade, and backtracking statements a top adviser made about the individual mandate in the Obama health care law.

There was something for almost everybody in Wolfeboro's Independence Day parade: a local brass band, bonnet-wearing Daughters of the American Revolution, a Zumba instructor shimmying across the bed of a pickup truck, and even a Jimmy Durante impersonator, complete with prosthetic nose.

Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney spent his July Fourth holiday marching in a New Hampshire parade, and backtracking statements a top adviser made about the individual mandate in the Obama health care law.

A new report finds that CEOs at New Hampshire's nonprofit hospitals saw their pay increase by an average of 18 percent from 2006 to 2009. 

The report CEO pay varies widely. An the low end, Colebrook’s  Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital pays its CEO 150,000. At the high end, the leader of the Catholic Medical Center in Manchester pulled down about a million dollars in 2009.  The salary report was commissioned by Attorney General Michael Delaney. He says while the report found hospital CEO pay here is on par for the region,

The bill would allow a range of identifications --including student IDs -- in this years elections. But after that only government issued identification would be permitted.

The first days of summer will be hot throughout the northeast, with temperatures into the 90s.

The equatorial heat is expected to continue until Friday. 

Mike Kistner of the national weather service says the highest temperatures of the year are expected from the middle atlantic states all the way to Maine.

"You get a nice ridge of high pressure in place where we get that nice southerly component, bringing us up that warm tropical air. It’s really not that out of the ordinary for this time of year."

Josh Rogers / NHPR

Republican Mitt Romney was in New Hampshire today, kicking off a five day bus tour that will take him through six battleground states. Romney spoke in Stratham, the same town where he kicked off his second presidential bid nearly a year ago.

NHPR's Josh Rogers was with the Romney campaign. He tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about the event.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

Republican Mitt Romney began a bus tour of six battleground states today in New Hampshire. The tour marks a new phase for Romney’s campaign.

3 of the 4 leading hopefuls for Governor have filed their candidacies.  All say they plan to be more assertive than Governor John Lynch.

By any measure, Governor Lynch has been one of the most popular governors in N.H. history. But most of his potential successors say it’s crucial to take a different approach governing. Republican Ovide Lamontagne was perhaps the most complementary for Lynch, noting that Lynch made efforts to be bipartisan. But Lamontage also indicated voters can expect a firmer approach if they elect him.

Josh Rogers, NHPR

New Hampshire will join 48 other states in monitoring prescription drugs under a new law signed by Governor John Lynch.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Enacting any constitutional amendment is tough. It requires a three-fifths vote by both House and Senate, and two-thirds support from voters at the polls.  Add to this the fact this amendment deals with school funding and that lawmakers have killed 80-odd  Claremont-inspired amendments over the past 14 years, and the guardedness of even the boldest of lawmakers is understandable.

 

Passing a voter identification law has been a priority for Republicans in Concord, but the House and Senate differed on how tough to make its requirements. The Senate supported accepting college IDs, for instance. The Senate also wanted to allow people to vote without identification if local election officials knew who they were. The House meanwhile favored allowing only government-issued IDs. It also favored  to force voter without IDs to have their picture taken before getting a ballot.

In the end, both sides got some of what they wanted.

Politics usually take a break over Memorial Day weekend, but not this year in New Hampshire. State House Majority Leader DJ Bettencourt abruptly resigned after admitting he had falsified documents for a law school internship.

NHPR’s Josh Rogers tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about the latest on the Bettencourt story, the potential political fallout for House Speaker William O'Brien, and the newly named majority leader, Rep. Pete Silva of Nashua.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

Update:  The New Hampshire Legal Rights Foundation announced Tuesday that it has severed its relationship with former Rep. D.J. Bettencourt.  The foundation had recently named Bettencourt as executive director.

 

Jim Bassett is well-known and well-liked in the New Hampshire Bar. But his nomination drew criticism from some conservatives. They didn’t like that Bassett supported the Brady gun law on as a GOP congressional candidate in 1994. They also don’t like that Bassett said he accepted the Claremont education funding rulings as precedent during his confirmation hearing. Most councilors dismissed these concerns, and prior to the confirmation vote, District 2’s Dan St. Hillare predicted  Bassett would be a great addition to the court.

New Hampshire House lawmakers try and fail to revive a bill to ban late-term abortions.

The house first passed a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in March. But that bill was quickly pushed aside by the senate. House lawmakers revived the proposal Thursday, tacking it on to bill related to health screening tests for newborns. Yet the narrowness  of the margin – it was adopted by just 4 votes -- prompted a quick change of heart. Lawmakers like Jennifer Coffey, a republican from Andover, told colleagues the abortion language put the newborn testing proposal at risk.

The flurry of activity continues at the New Hampshire statehouse. NHPR's Josh Rogers tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about the latest, including a Senate vote on a constitutional amendment to ban personal income taxes, a proposal to track prescription drugs and several House bills related to abortion.

It's the time of year when the statehouse gets hectic - and, occasionally, foul-tempered.

NHPR's Josh Rogers talks with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about some of the many bills that lawmakers are taking up this week, and a spat on the House floor between Speaker William O'Brien and Manchester Republican Steve Vaillancourt.

New Hampshire’s highest court has ruled that privileged information divulged at a public meeting is only susceptible to the state’s right to know law if it was first disclosed in the presence of a private citizen.  

The ruling is the latest byproduct of the long legal battle between the Professional firefighters association and the Local Government Center-- or LGC. At issue in this case, were the minutes from a series of Local Government Center board meetings.

 

Exempting broadband and wireless internet connections from the state’s communication tax remains a priority for republican leaders, but the House voted 247-93 to kill the repeal. A big reason way is because the senate-crafted proposal also undid House leaders’ plan to place $16 million in the state’s rainy day fund. Steve Stepanek is chairman of House ways and means.

"The prime purpose of this bill was to put money into the rainy day fund. The senate has no intention of putting any of this money into the rainy day fund."

If history holds, Mitt Romney is still months away from announcing a vice presidential running mate on the Republican ticket. But he continues to make appearances with those who could be on the so-called short list.

Or in Romney's case, it may still be a rather long list.

On Monday, Romney campaigned with freshman Sen. Kelly Ayotte, the 43-year-old former state attorney general, in her home state of New Hampshire.

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is the latest politician to appear on the campaign trail with presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. That's fueled speculation that Ayotte is being considered as a running mate.

 

Congressman Charlie Bass's is denying the allegation by the  New Hampshire attorney general's that his campaign violated the state's push polling law.

The attorney general says Charlie Bass’s campaign deliberately avoided identifying itself as being behind a 2010 poll that included negative information about Democrat Ann McLane Kuster. The AG’s suit against the Bass campaign cites 400 calls. Under state law, each one of those calls could trigger a $1000 fine. But Congressman Bass says he doesn’t expect his committee will end up paying up.

It's been a busy week at the statehouse, with high profile votes on issues ranging from redistricting and abortion, to medical marijuana, gambling and school building aid.

NHPR's Josh Rogers has been following the action. He recaps the latest with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson.

The NH house has voted to require women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion. 

The so-called women’s right to know bill had to be pared back to win final house passage. Penalties for doctors were stripped, as was the  requirements that abortion providers give women seeking an abortion specific information about abortion risks, including a contested claim linking aborts to breast cancer.  According to the final amendments lead author Republican Tammy Simmons of Manchester, limiting the proposal to a simple 24 waiting period is a common sense compromise.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/panchenks/4918039842/">Panchenks</a> / Flickr

No bill authorizing slot machines or casinos has ever passed the N.H. house, but this plan, which would use the revenue -- projected at 290 million dollars -- to lower business taxes, is seen as having a shot. House ways and means chairman Steve Stepanek (r-Amherst) says N.H. must act.

“The game plan has changed because Massachusetts has expanded gambling passed. And Maine is pushing their expanded gambling. We have got to respond.”

The 211-116 margin was a victory for gay rights advocates. It was also a shock to social conservatives, who thought a 3 to 1 GOP majority combined with a party platform that defines marriage as a between a man and women, would secure the bill’s passage. 

Deep into a debate that lasted 2 hours and included 10 separate votes, Kingston Republican David Welch stated what by then was plain: gay marriage is topic that divides House Republicans.

 A member of the New Hampshire House's criminal justice committee dropped a pistol on the floor of the legislative office building at a hearing on a controversial bill dealing with abortion.

Kyle Tasker, a Northwood Republican, dropped the loaded gun, one of two .45 caliber pistols he wears in shoulder holsters, as he took his seat in a crowded hearing room.

“I just gave blood and I might not have latched it quite properly. All I could think of was, it was bound to happen one of these days, I come here too often for that not to have happened.”

 

About two-dozen members of the pro-gay marriage group Standing Up For New Hampshire Families held a news conference to urged the defeat of the bill slated for a vote in the House Wednesday. State Rep. Mike Ball, chairman of the Manchester Republican Committee, compared the repeal effort to a segregation law, and added he can’t back his party platform’s opposition to gay marriage.

"The Republican platform is wrong on that issue. That’s the bottom line. Much as I’d like to say we are a hundred percent right, on this one we are not right. This is a civil liberties issue."  

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