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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Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan were joined by heath care providers, hospital officials and a recovery advocate as the railed against what they called Trumpcare during a visit to Concord Hopital. Shaheen said based on her review of the GOP bill, the prognosis for New Hampshire is grim.

"It will be a real disaster for people in New Hampshire. It will result in higher healthcare costs and less coverage."

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House has voted 187 to 179, along near party lines, to table a bill that would extend anti-discrimination protections to people who are transgender in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Jack Rodolico for NHPR

New Hampshire Attorney General Joe Foster will step down at month's end after four years leading the state's justice department.

In his resignation letter to the Executive Council Foster called his time as A.G. "an extraordinary honor."

Governor Chris Sununu says he expects to name his pick to replace Foster shortly.

"The sooner the better. I mean I can't give you an exact time table, but we are working very diligently through the process now. We are not going to wait."

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu says he's watching the progress of a proposal to extend more anti-discrimination protections to people who are transgender to see if it makes it out of the legislature. 

20 states ban discrimination against people who are transgender, including MA, VT and Maine. The bill before the house aims to ensure gender identity bias isn't permitted when it comes to  employment, housing or public accommodation.

A house committee voted 15-2 last month in support of the bill, but House Speaker Shawn Jasper opposes it.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The top Republican in the New Hampshire House says he fears long-term harm if New Hampshire joins twenty other states – including Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine – in extending non-discrimination protections in housing, employment and public accommodations to people who are transgender.


josh rogers/nhpr

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen visited former Iraqi refugee Tamam Mohamad, at the Spice Center market in Manchester to call attention to her opposition to President Trump's new executive order banning U.S. from 6 Muslim-majority countries and freezing all refugee resettlement.

Mohmmad came from Iraq in the late-1990s with $20. He eventually became a citizen and returned to his home country for 3 years as U.S. military interpreter. He says Iraq may not be included in the President’s new executive order, but that doesn’t matter to him.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A governor’s ability to work with the legislature can make, or in some cases, break his or her political legacy. Chris Sununu has now been in office for two months, and once thing that’s become clear – to him and to lawmakers – is that he’s no natural when it comes to dealing with the legislature. 

Governor Chris Sununu performed what is a ritual for New Hampshire governors: a tree tapping ceremony marking the official kick off of maple sugar season.  But the governor also blended some political talk with the syrup. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  With the future of Obamacare unclear, and GOP talk of converting Medicaid, which serves 186,000 people in New Hampshire, to a block grant system, Senator Hassan is reminding colleagues past and present that she sees changes to the program, particularly the end of expanded Medicaid, a grave threat.

NHPR Staff

President Trump and Congressional Republicans are considering transforming  Medicaid - which provides health services to millions of low income people - to a block grant program. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is pitching the potential change as a way to better serve local needs, but it’s also one that carries risk.

Josh Rogers for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu signed his first bill into law Wednesday, repealing the license requirement to carry a concealed gun.

The new law, which takes effect immediately, is the first tangible outcome of Republican control in Concord.

josh rogers\nhpr

Governor Chris Sununu's pick to be New Hampshire's education commissioner, was approved by the executive council today.

The 3-2 vote confirming Frank Edelblut came a day after the State Board of Education wrote to Sununu expressing reservations about Edelblut's qualifications.

josh rogers\nhpr

The Executive Council was set to confirm Frank Edelblut at its last meeting, when councilor Andru Volinsky, a democrat who opposes Edelblut, questioned if the Governor had met his legal obligation to "consult" the state board of education about the nomination.

Sununu had spoken with the board's chairman, but decided to postpone the vote until he could meet with the whole board.

He didn't talk about it much as a candidate but as Governor Chris Sununu has made passage of a right-to-work law a top priority.

Sununu invoked it in his inauguraul address and in a speech at the state GOP's annual meeting. Right to work cleared the senate but may be losing steam in the house, where the labor committee voted to reject it by a 2-1 margin. The full house votes on it next week. Sununu says he expects a tight vote but won't take the lead in workign to convince those still on the fence.  

 

No one has ever called crafting a state budget easy. There are thousands of decisions and myriad competing interests. And for a new governor, there is also the crunch of getting it all done and printed a mere six weeks after taking office.

But if Gov. Chris Sununu is at all anxious about his final product, he isn’t showing it.

joshrogers\nhpr

Four of the last five governors have used judicial selection commissions to help them find and vet possible judges. Governor Sununu says relying on outside advice, from lawyers, businesspeople and law enforcement worked for his predecessors, and helps inspire public confidence in the court system.

"It’s as system that's worked very well, and to make sure you are not just putting your political friends in there.  That's not the way we do things in NH, and so we thought the judicial selection commission was a great mechanism to ensure that type of transparency."

josh rogers\nhpr

With Republicans controlling the Executive Council, Gov. Chris Sununu's pick to lead the New Hampshire Department of Education, former gubernatorial candidate Frank Edelblut is expected to win confirmation. But Democrats pushed Edelblut on his background – he has no professional  experience in education and homeschooled all seven of his children - and core beliefs. 

The new women's prison in Concord was slated to open more than a year ago, but cost overruns turned the $38 million dollars project into a $50 million dollar one and pushed back its opening date by a year.

NHPR Staff

Top New Hampshire house budget writers had blunt questions for the expert hired to review policy at the state's child protection agency.

http://aliengearholsters.com/

The New Hampshire Senate has voted on party lines to allow people to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. With Republicans leaders and Governor Chris Sununu favoring the bill, it’s expected to become law.

Similar bills have cleared the GOP-controlled legislatures in the past but have been vetoed by Democratic governors. With Governor Sununu promising to sign this bill, Republicans are moving fast. Senate majority leader Jeb Bradley is the bill's lead sponsor.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate has narrowly approved a bill to limit the power of unions to charge non-members for representation.

Related: Click here to see a New Hampshire Right-to-Work explainer 

 

The debate of right-to-work was a essentials a formality in the GOP-controlled senate, but lawmakers still took two hours to air long-familiar arguments about what the law would mean for NH.

 

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu has nominated longtime state fire marshall Bill Degnan to another term.

Degnan has held the job since 2004 but his reappointment caused a feud in the state firefighting community.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

Frank Edelblut is a staunch school choice advocate who homeschooled his seven children. Governor Sununu says Edeblut's experiences, which include no professional work in education, make him a good pick for education commissioner.

One bill would allow hepatitis C patients to use marijuana even if they're not receiving antiviral treatment; another would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to patient suffering “severe pain” that hasn’t responded to medication, surgery, or for which other treatments produced serious side effects; a third measure would allow medical marijuana to be used in facilities for people with developmental disabilities or mental illness.

The bills cleared a senate committee on unanimous votes and are expected to pass.

josh rogers/nhpr

Senator Maggie Hassan is urging local care providers to fight for President Obama's signature health law.

Hassan used a visit to a Concord community mental health center to urge local care providers to lend their voices to what she termed the battle over Obamacare, which Washington Republicans have begun repealing. The law has helped 63,000 people in New Hampshire obtain coverage.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  U.S Senator Jeanne Shaheen questioned Donald Trump’s pick for defense secretary about NATO during confirmation hearings today.

As a candidate, President–Elect Trump questioned the utility of NATO, but in picking General James Mattis to lead the military, Trump selected a former NATO commander.

Shaheen asked Mattis about Trump’s NATO comments and about a a slated boost in U.S. funding for NATO under an initiative known as ERI.

“Will you support the ERI continuing as secretary of defense?

Thomas Gehrke / Flickr Creative Commons

 

In his inaugural address last week, Gov. Chris Sununu made it clear he thinks the state must — and can — act to reduce the state's high cost of electricity.

“We can’t be passive anymore," Sununu said. "We have to find the right solutions to get it done and get it done our way. Do we need to look at Northern Pass? You bet we do — 1,100 megawatts of clean, renewable energy? How do we say no to that when we have the highest rates in the country? We can help ratepayers.”

When he ran for governor Chris Sununu described NH as "a regulatory police state."

This 90-day review, which is Sununu's first policy move since taking office, is aimed at easing mandates across government.

For a regulation to survive,  Sununu wrote, department heads should be able to show that there is a clear need for it; that it is best addressed by the agency; that its cost does not exceed its benefit and that its effectiveness can be measured.

josh rogers/nhpr

 

To hear Chuck Morse tell it, being Governor isn’t anything to get too excited about.  

“Somebody has to be in charge and the constitution provided for the senate president to do that, so it’s truly an honor.”

 

Morse was outside his state house office. A paper sign reading governor was taped over his usual senate nameplate. As he made his way down the hall, occasionally looking over his shoulder at the state trooper assigned to protect him until Governor-elect Sununu is sworn in, Morse offered terse greetings to lawmakers and lobbyists…..

 

  New Hampshire was one of the first states to fight REAL ID and is among the last states to issue licenses and ID cards that meet the standards of the the Sept. 11th-inspired law.

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