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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NHPR's Josh Rogers discusses plans to fix the state's Medicaid Enhancement Tax, which has been ruled unconstitutional by two superior court justices.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate are voting this week on possible fixes to the state’s Medicaid Enhancement Tax, which two superior court judges have ruled to be unconstitutional.

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The result was the same as every other casino bill ever taken up by the New Hampshire House, but the tally produced a gasp.

“Ahhhh.”

The 172-172 ties was broken by deputy house speaker Naida Kaen

“The chair votes in the affirmative….Senate bill 3666 is voted inexpedient to legislate.”

The N.H. Attorney General’s office will not file charges against Rep. David Campbell (D-Nashua) for  who running down five ducks in a hotel parking lot in December, or the former Nashua Police Commissioner Thomas Pappas who drove Campbell from the scene. 

The finding, which was detailed in a 14-page report,  comes  a day after David Campbell announced he won’t seek reelection, and almost 3 months after Thomas Pappas resigned over the incident.

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The 193-141 vote means the state’s gas tax will rise 4.2 cents, the first increase to the state’s current 18-cent per gallon levy on gasoline and diesel since 1991.

The battle over NH’s gas tax has been pitched in recent years. When Governor John Lynch was in the corner office, he promised to veto any increase to the gas tax.

Last year the democratically- controlled N.H. House passed a 12-cent tax hike that was rejected by the GOP led State Senate.

On the Political Front, NHPR's Josh Rogers talks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley about the fallout from last week's Senate vote on the death penalty repeal.

They also talk about Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein's stance on political issues and what's coming up at the Statehouse this week.

NHPR Staff

Michael Briggs, the Manchester Police officer shot in the line of duty in 2006, and his killer, Michael Addison, who now sits on death row, both loomed large in the debate.

An indication of how large could be seen in the front row of the senate gallery.

That’s where Manchester police officials, including the chief and he lead investigator of the Briggs muder stood in full uniform the whole time. 15 feet down in the senate floor Michael Briggs name came up almost immediately – by people on both sides of the issue.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

N.H. Republicans have a new candidate for Governor, former defense contractor Walt Havenstein, of Alton.

Havenstein launched his campaign in Concord.

He offered a forceful denial to claims that he is ineligible to run due to a time he listed Maryland as his primary residence on tax documents.

"This is my home and has been for 15 years. This is my domicile, which it the criteria to run and serve as Governor."

    Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers talks with Rick Ganley about the past weekend in political activity in the Granite State and an upcoming vote in the Senate regarding repealing New Hampshire's death penalty.

NHPR Staff

Senate lawmakers are set to take up a bill this week that would repeal the state’s death penalty.

www.scottbrown.com

On the first stop of what Scott Brown's campaign is calling his "Obamacare isn't Working Tour," the candidate worked hard to hit his message.

When the President of  Next Step Bionics and Prothestics told Scott Brown insurance premiums for his company are expected to increase by 30 percent, Brown was quick with a diagnosis.

"A major part of it because of Obamacare...And that’s something that Senator Shaheen was a deciding vote on and we’ve got to try to fix it."

But Brown’s supplied few specifics on how he’d do that, save for arguing it should be handled by states.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

Technically, Scott Brown’s been a candidate in this race since last month, when he filed with the FEC. But last night in a Portsmouth hotel ballroom the Republican who now lives in Rye, erased any remaining doubt.

“I am running to be a true independent voice for the people of NH and I will need you strength you help and you voters to succeed.”

Brown’s remarks stressed his connection new home state, where he’s summered as an adult and spent the earliest days of his childhood.

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The 3-2 margin came two days after an initial vote ended in a tie

The revote was requested by  Senator Donna Soucy (D-Manchester).

Soucy's district was where N.H.’s lone death row inmate, Michael Addison, committed the crime that persuaded a jury to sentence him to death -- the 2006 shooting of Manchester police officer Michael Briggs.

Soucy says given that, and the importance of the issue, she didn’t want to give the impression she might have been dodging it.

    

Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers talks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley about questions being raised regarding potential Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein's residency. 

Rogers also talks about big changes at two major New Hampshire newspapers and what's on the docket at the Statehouse this week.

Opponents continue to raise questions about whether a Republican expected to join the race for governor meets the state’s residency requirements.

NHPR Staff

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice and current UNH Law School Dean, John Broderick told lawmakers that  NH is better than countries like Iran, Iraq, North Korea, where the death penalty is used.

Broderick said anyone who's spent time in a prison knows it's a hopeless and demeaning place, and asked lawmakers to consider what it would be like to by laying on a gurney,  a lethal injection headed your way, knowing you were innocent.

Broderick stressed mistakes can happen.

On the Political Front, NHPR's Josh Rogers speaks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley about the state Senate considering a bill to repeal New Hampshire's death penalty.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

Medicaid expansion is now state law, making some 50,000 poor adults in New Hampshire eligible for federal subsidies under so-called Obamacare.

Governor Maggie Hassan signed the expansion bill at a crowded public ceremony using 18 separate pens -- one for each letter of her full name.

She hailed the new law as a bipartisan proposal that moves the state forward.

“Today we are signing into law the most significant piece of health care legislation that the state of N.H. has seen in decades.”

The N.H. House killed two proposals to delay or limit the effect of the Common Core education standards and voted to study a third.

The debate stretched nearly three hours, and votes split mostly along party lines. Concord Democrat Mary Stuart Gile, a backer of Common Core, which was adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010,  noted that education reform regimes come and go, but insisted that common core will benefit NH students.

"Make no mistake my colleagues the Common Core state standards raise the bar for teaching and learning."

Josh Rogers / NHPR

The Vice President didn’t waste much time doling out praise and thanks, first for Governor Maggie Hassan and N.H.’s hard-won deal to expand Medicaid.

"Thank you for the health care expansion you just passed. Its going to change the lives of an awful lot of people."

A new  survey, conducted on behalf of the Nashua Chamber of Commerce, found growing support for the controversial Northern Pass project.

The poll, taken last month  by the UNH Survey Center for the Nashua Chamber, which backs Northern Pass,  showed 46 percent favor the proposal and 35 percent oppose  it.

The survey also found limited enthusiasm for requiring the burial of all Northern Pass Transmission lines.

Chris Williams is the Nashua Chamber's President.

    

On the Political Front, NHPR's Josh Rogers talks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley about a proposal to increase New Hampshire's gas tax, Scott Brown ramping up his Senate campaign, and Vice President Joe Biden visiting Nashua on Tuesday.

When he served in the U.S. Senate,  Scott Brown often voted with President Obama.

In 2011, Congressional Quarterly found Brown voted in support of the president’s agenda 70 percent of the time  -- second only to Susan Collins of Maine among Republicans.  But when asked on New England Cable News about Brown’s possible run here, the President made clear he prefers the incumbent.

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The bill was endorsed by its house committee as a way to protect the minors from skin damage that could contribute to cancer, but on the house floor it provoked a heated debate over parental rights and the proper role of government.  Steve Vaillancourt is a Republican from Manchester.

"A young women if this bill passes can get an abortion, but not a tan, an abortion would be legal but a tan would not, think of it."

Moments later the House voted 175-154 to both kill the bill and bar the issue from coming up again this year.

Josh Rogers

While technically, he’s still exploring a run for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, Scott Brown acted very much the candidate at a St. Patrick’s Day lunch in Salem.  He worked the room, posed for pictures, and said voters across the country and here in his new home state of New Hampshire, want to toss Democrats from office for supporting  so-called Obamacare.

John Wardell via Flickr CC

The 173-144 voted showed house lawmakers remain skeptical of casino gambling.

This bill envisioned up to 5000 slot machines and 150 table games at one location, was touted as the product of study and hard-won experience.

Jaffrey Democrat Richard Ames was its lead sponsor.

"We took what we learned and make a New Hampshire plan."

But critics said the plan, which beefed up the regulations included in the proposal the House rejected last year, ceded too much power to a gambling authority.

The House of Representatives has voted 225-104 to repeal New Hampshire’s death penalty.

The state’s highest court has unanimously upheld a lower court ruling that scuttled  former House Speaker William O’Brien’s lawsuit against the N.H. Democratic Party over automated phone calls that targeted O’Brien without the proper disclosures.

At issue were 394 calls placed by Democrats in 2010.

Ken Teegarden via Flickr CC

The 173-163 vote mostly followed party lines, with Democrats opposing the bill and all but 9 Republicans supporting it.

The bill sought to lower the rate of the business enterprise tax  from .75 to .68 percent but require large nonprofits to pay it.

House Ways and Means Chair, Susan Almy (D-Lebanon) said the proposal would put what she called fragile charities at risk and said it would be wrong to keep the bill alive, even if only to study it.

"We can’t leave all of these organizations hanging in terror. Kill this"

Cathy Provencher has been the State Treasurer since 2007. Before that she led the audit division of the Legislative Budget Assistant.

Her familiarity with the state’s finances should helper in her new job:  Vice Chancellor for Financial Affairs and Treasurer for the University system.

Provencher was approved for her new post by the USNH Board of Trustees Executive Committee Thursday.

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