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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Todd Bookman, NHPR

 

The resolution asks the federal government to undo a rule requiring insurance companies to provide contraceptives to employees of religious organizations.

House republican leaders say religious liberty is in jeopardy under the federal rule, even though it no longer requires religious organizations to directly pay for contraceptives. House Speaker William O’Brien says the 227-to-121 vote sends the message that either way, the requirement’s intent is simply wrong.

The New Hampshire House will likely vote next week to ask the federal government to rescind a rule forcing insurers to provide contraceptives to employees of religious organizations. House Speaker William O'Brien says he'll also work to undo a similar state law. 

O’Brien told the house state and federal relations committee it's unconstitutional for governments, federal or state, to tell insurers to offer contraception to workers at religious organizations.

 

Top house and senate republicans are at odds over constitutional amendments designed to keep government small. 

The state senate's proposed constitutional change would require a 60 percent vote by lawmakers to increase state spending beyond the rate of inflation. As passed by the house, the proposal would have required that same super-majority to borrow money or raise taxes.

According to Senate President Peter Bragdon the senate version amounts to common sense -- low taxes, he says, result from low spending.

 

The New Hampshire Senate has approved a constitutional amendment to give the state more leeway in how it distributes school aid. 

The amendment would make it easier for lawmakers to target money to poorer communities but not explicitly undue the Claremont rulings that require the state to fund an adequate education for every child. After the vote Governor Lynch described the proposal as “a significant milestone.”

As several states debate measures to legalize gay marriage, New Hampshire is considering a repeal of its same-sex marriage law. The repeal has the backing of some top leaders in the GOP-controlled Legislature. But rescinding rights is never easy, particularly in a state that takes its liberties seriously.

Josh Rogers, NHPR

 

Former Barrington state Sen. Jackie Cilley stressed her blue collar roots has she kicked off her campaign at the Manchester YWCA. Cilley recalled growing up in a tenement and taking a job at the Waubec mill before heading to college and going on to teach at UNH’s Whittemore School of Business. Cilley said she believes in compromise, but said she won’t stand for what she called attacks on education, workers, women and gays being made by “The Free State/Tea Party/John Birch politicians in Concord.” Cilley also she won’t be taking a pledge to veto a sales or income tax.

Josh Rogers, NHPR

 

About 200 people showed up to hold signs and hear speeches by gay marriage critics. House speaker William O’Brien, GOP gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne and  Republican national committeewoman Phylliss Woods all said its time to undo the two year old law allowing gays to marry.  David Bates, a State Rep. from Windham, wrote the repeal bill and MC'd the rally.

A busy day at the statehouse today - House lawmakers voted to send money to the  "rainy day fund," and on a raft of other bills. The State Senate, meanwhile, passed a redistricting map and unveiled what Senate President Peter Bragdon called a bipartisan education funding constitutional amendment.

NHPR's Josh Rogers joins All Things Considered host Brady Carlson to discuss the day's action.

Governor John Lynch used his final state of the state address to ask GOP lawmakers change the tone in Concord, and to reverse course on cuts to higher education and a reduction to the state tobacco tax. 

 Drawing sharp lines has never been Governor Lynch’s style, but in this speech, Lynch did, repeatedly.

“The cut in the tobacco tax was nonsensical……”

 “We hear from some a lot of anti-government talk, but to me that doesn’t make any sense,

 Sadly, it has become too commonplace to attack state employees, and that needs to stop.”

  

Under the bill, lenders could charge 15 percent monthly interest. 

Governor Lynch’s veto message notes the annual percentage interest rate on these so-called installment loans translates to more than 400%. Lynch says allowing such rates would hurt New Hampshire families, communities and the economy.

Lynch’s message also says the bill limits the state’s regulatory authority.

Lenders would get advance notice before the banking department conduct exams and regulators would have reduced power to levy administrative fines.

The New Hampshire House is considering a plan to allow students replace any two public school courses with courses designed and taught by a parent or their designee. 

Under the bill, schools couldn’t veto subjects or teaching methods of parents but would have to grant students credits toward graduation. The measure’s sponsor, JR Hoell of Dunbarton, says the proposal affords parents a needed bit of freedom.

“Parents are taking a greater role in overseeing the academic progress of their children; the school system is taking a reduced role.”

 

 

State and local election officials get behind Senate proposal.

The bill would require voters to present a photo ID or be photographed to receive a ballot starting in 2016, but still allow those without an ID to vote. The bill’s author, Kingston Senator Russ Prescott, hopes his plan can forge accord on a topic that tends to produce partisanship.

"People will come to the polls, present their ID, and not be presented a provisional ballot if they don’t have an ID; they would fill out a affidavit and vote. We are working within the system that we have today."

 

N.H. House lawmakers took testimony today on several bills that would reduce the power of unions.

They include a repeal of collective bargaining for state employees, and banning public sector unions from charging non-members the cost of negotiating contracts. The hearings drew a big crowd of opponents, including many union members. Diana Lacy is president of the state employees association.

 

The New Hampshire House has voted to bar any organization that performs elective abortions from receiving any state or federal funds.

The measure backed by GOP leaders means Planned Parenthood of Northern New England would no longer be eligible to enter into contracts with the state to provide non-abortion reproductive health services to the poor – a role the organization has played in NH for 40 years. Warren Groen of Rochester is the measure’s lead sponsor.

“Mr. Speaker, this is our opportunity to reclaim the sanctity of life in one small area -- public funding.”

 

The 251 to 101 vote exceeds the 3/5th needed to send the proposal on to the state senate. Prior to the vote, Manchester Republican Keith Murphy warned that while the income tax isn’t popular in Concord right now, that could change.

“Lest we forget in 1999 this body did pass an income tax of 4 percent, and every year since an income tax has been proposed in this body. We need to take the temptation off the table now and forever.”

 

The Legislature holds the purse strings and House Speaker Bill O’Brien wants to prove it. O’Brien is backing a measure to divert money generated by the state’s insurance tax to New Hampshire’s rainy day fund. NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports

The measure aims to fatten the rainy day fund by $26 million, which was the state’s surplus in fiscal year 2011. Speaker O’Brien told the House ways and means committee that socking the money away amounts to simple prudence.

Tracy Lee Carroll for NHPR

 

Last night was vindication for Mitt Romney as the former Massachusetts governor claimed nearly 40 percent of the vote; Texas Congressman Ron Paul took second with 23 percent.

"Thank you New Hampshire. Tonight we made history," said Romney.

Taylor Quimby for NHPR

A few dozen Romney supporters are chatting downstairs at Romney HQ after having been told by an apologetic staffer that the main event hall is filled to capacity.  Earlier tonight, a campaign staffer told the press that a SNHU scheduling conflict with FIRST Robotics is the cause of tonight's limited space.

Republican Presidential Candidates Make Last Push

Jan 9, 2012

 

Mitt Romney spent his Monday focusing vote-rich southern New Hampshire. He started at a chamber of commerce breakfast Nashua, where a comment he made about choice in health care,

“I like being able to fire people who provide services to me,”

became a late-breaking flashpoint.  Democrats and republicans rivals Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman all piled on. So much so that at Romney’s next stop in Hudson he called a press conference, his first since the Iowa caucuses, to defuse the matter.

The University of New Hampshire poll shows Mitt Romney at 44 percent support, up five points from two weeks ago. Texas congressman Ron Paul stands at 20 percent. UNH survey center director Andy Smith says the race for now – at least -- is for third.

“But because NH voters make up their minds very late that could easily be for second, should Ron Paul slip up and or should some of the support for the non-Paul and non Romney candidate go to Santorum or Gingrich or Huntsman.”

Tracy Lee Carroll, NHPR. File photo

The primary trail is busy again, with Iowa in the rearview mirror and just days before Granite Staters cast their votes.

NHPR's Josh Rogers shares the latest from the trail with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson, including what Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are doing as they hope to build on the results of the Iowa caucuses.

Campaigning in New Hampshire, Republican Mitt Romney accused President Obama of creating a bad business climate.

Romney said the President’s policies are designed to help his political allies more than the country as a whole.

He told voters in Salem that President Obama packed the National Labor Relations Board with union stooges; that he used the stimulus to repay public sector unions, and that the President backed green jobs initiatives to benefit supporters at companies like Solyndra.

 

Republican Mitt Romney looks to solidify support here after his narrow win in Iowa.

New Hampshire is supposed to be where Mitt Romney wins big. But his first event only half filled a school gymnasium. With John McCain at his side, Romney cast himself as a candidate capable of uniting all Americans.

“I want America to remain one nation under god. I want to bring us together. I want to restore the principles that made us the hope of the earth, I don’t want to transform America into something that we don’t recognize. I want to restore America.”  

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is the only high-profile candidate not fighting it out in Iowa. Campaigning in Pembroke this morning, Huntsman suggested that the Iowa caucus results would prove extremely perishable.

“We’ll remember them for about seven hours and then people will be focused on New Hampshire. And this will be the ballgame here because this is a primary, because this will be a broad-based turnout of Republicans and independents and even some Democrats.”

You may not have heard of Buddy Roemer. But he's running for president. And despite an impressive resume and gift for turning a phrase, Roemer barely registers in the polls. He's conducting his quixotic run for office without accepting campaign contributions that exceed $100.

Politicians and journalists always run a risk when they judge a voter strictly on on appearances.

There was a reminder of that Monday when Mitt Romney was forced to defend his opposition to gay marriage during a restaurant encounter with a grizzled Vietnam veteran who happened to be gay.

As it turned out the vet, Bob Garon, also was sitting at a restaurant booth with his husband when the unsuspecting Romney, campaigning at the Manchester restaurant, asked if he could sit down with them.

 

Mitt Romney didn’t mention Newt Gingrich by name during a town hall meeting at a Hudson VFW hall. But he told reporters that he won’t back away from the tough talk of his campaign surrogates, including former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, who’s said that Gingrich is unstable.

“I am not going to distance myself in any way because those are their experiences, characterizations they’ve made. But I’d also note, however, that the most harsh criticisms of the speaker have come ... from those who haven’t endorsed me.”

Josh Rogers

Tea Party voters were expected to play a key role in the 2012 republican presidential primary. But with movement hopefuls Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry low in the polls, and Herman Cain now out of the race, the Tea Party vote remains very much in play.  Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul may stand most to gain. New NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports.

 Attend any NH campaign event with a Tea Party flavor and you will come across more than a few voters like Mark Grenier.

“Mitt Romney? I’d spit on his shoes. The man’s flip-flops, health care, you can’t trust him.”

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is starting to criticize Newt Gingrich -- and turning to former Governor John Sununu to lead the attacks. NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports.

Governor Sununu is practiced at delivering political put-downs. His flashed a sharp-tongue at the state house and relished the role of enforcer as President George H.W. Bush’s chief of staff. In a Romney campaign call with reporters, Sununu took aim at Newt Gingrich’s comment, since recanted, that Paul Ryan’s budget plan amounted to “right-wing social engineering.”

 

Republican Herman Cain says he’s continuing to reevaluate the future of his presidential campaign. NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports Cain says he needs to talk to his wife before deciding if he stays in the race. 

Herman Cain called the allegation he’d been involved in a long-term extramarital affair “trumped up” and said it showed the length his opponents would go to derail his campaign. But Cain also acknowledged the alleged affair, which follows earlier allegations of sexual harassment, is prompting him to rethink his candidacy.

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