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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After the commission's recommendation last month, lawmakers will be debating expanding Medicaid in a special legislative session called by Governor Hassan; it remains to be seen how much bipartisan support the measure will have. We'll be watching the mayor's race in Manchester, where incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas is being challenged by Alderman Patrick Arnold, and a special House election in Nashua, which pits former House Majority Leader Peter Silva against Democrat Latha Mangipudi.

State policymakers will have fresh numbers at their disposal when they return to concord next year.

The "economic dashboard" was put together by NH Center for Public Policy Studies and commissioned by the Business and Industry Association.

It finds N.H. doing well in areas that suggest past economic strength -- like homeownership rates -- but lagging in areas indicative of future economic strength -- like low student debt load and affordable housing.

The Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty includes, liberals and conservatives, N.H.’s Catholic and Episcopal bishops, as well as the former Chief Justice of the State’s Superior Court.

It also features State Rep. Renny Cushing, whose father was shot to death in 1988. Cushing has been a key player in past efforts to repeal N.H.’s death penalty law, but thinks this time the chances are good.

DavidWilson1949 via Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire is getting ready to furlough some state workers whose salaries depend on federal funding.

The Hassan administration and the union that represents most state workers have reached a deal that both sides say will prevent layoffs.

Under the agreement, the federal shutdown qualifies as a “emergency” that will allow workers to be furloughed rather than laid off. State Employees Association president Diana Lacey says the deal holds the promise of saving the state money and saving workers benefits that would be lost if they were laid off.

NPCA via Flickr Creative Commons

The poll taken last week found 49 percent think Republicans are responsible for the ongoing gridlock in Washington, 30 percent think it’s President Obama’s fault,  and 16 percent blame the President and Republicans equally.

NEC poll director Ben Tafoya says people who identified as Democrats tended to blame republicans and people who identified as Republicans tended to blame the President.  Self-described independents, meanwhile, mostly blamed the GOP.

Republican Dan Innis, Dean of the University of New Hampshire's business school, is running for Congress in the state's First District.

Dan Innis  was the first in his family to attend college but has spend the last 20 years in academia.  He also owns a Portsmouth inn with his husband. Innis says he wants to change Washington.

"I am running for congress to give N.H. a stronger voice in Washington on the things that really matter to us, things like smaller government lower taxes, more freedom."

Senator Kelly Ayotte’s hold on the nomination of Deborah Lee James as Air Force Secretary won’t be lifted until she gets what a spokesperson called  “a substantive response” about the future of the A-10 aircraft, a plane her husband flew in combat in Iraq.

The A-10 fleet may face reduction or elimination due to budget cuts.

Ayotte publicly raised her concerns with the President’s pick to lead the Air Force during a confirmation hearing.

NHPR Staff

Contract negotiation between the Hassan administration and the state employees association are heading into a fact finding stage. The move comes eight months into contract talks and after 4 days of mediation failed to produce agreement. State employees association president Diana Lacey says the Hassan administration has been unwilling to provide proof to back up its claims on contracts costs.

"I am not necessarily willing to say that I think it’s bad faith, but the closest I could get to that is to say they are in a different league now."

UMass Dartmouth Professor Clyde Barrow cited the states of Delaware, West Virginia, and Rhode Island as possible models for New Hampshire. All place gambling regulation under their states' lottery commissions - and none, said Barrow, needed to hire a huge number of people to do the job.

"As you can see in the case of Delaware and Rhode Island, which respectively have two and three casinos, have 59 and 51 employees respectively, and that is to supervise traditional lottery, virtual and live table games, VLTs and charitable gaming combined."

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte says she's concerned insufficient action could make things worse.

During an appearance  on an WMUR-TV forum, Representative Ann McLane Kuster said she fears an American strike against Syria could lead the U.S. into a region-wide conflagration.

"And for me the risk of us entering into war there,  we are not at war with the Syrian people.  And those are the issues I am going to be considering, and I will tell you honestly I have not made a final decision."

Citing seriously ill family members, State Senate Majority leader Jeb Bradley says he won’t seek statewide office in 2014. As NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports, Bradley’s announcement ends months of speculation he would run for US Senate or Governor. Top Republicans were talking up the prospect of Jeb Bradley running for major office right up until Bradley announced he wouldn’t. Bradley told the N.H. Union Leader he only came to his decision over the weekend, after talking it through with family. Bradley is serving his 3rd term as a State Senator. He’s also served in the N.H.

State of New Hampshire

Chuck Morse won bipartisan praise for his work on the state budget, and before being voted in as the senate's new leader, he was was hailed by both Republicans as Democrats in nominating speeches.

Morse replaced Peter Bragdon, who gave up the gavel amid controversy after he took a job to leading the quasi-public local government center.

In his first speech as the senate’s new president, Chuck Morse urged colleagues to put the needs of their constituents first.

The N. H. Attorney General's office has dismissed GOP allegations of fraud against campaign staffers who voted from the address of State Senator Martha Fuller Clark.

The Attorney General’s office interviewed Senator Fuller Clark and 4 democratic campaign workers who stayed at her house during the run ups to the 2008 and 2012 elections.

The N.H. Supreme Court has ruled that guns must contain ammunition to be considered loaded under state law, invalidating a misdemeanor charge brought against a Manchester man for carrying a pistol without a permit.

The court said prosecutors were wrong to charge 31-year old Oriol Dor  after police found an empty semi-automatic pistol and a loaded magazine in the glove compartment of Dor's car.

Prosecutors argued the proximity of the ammunition to the weapon was enough for it to be considered loaded under state law.

Republicans pounced when WMUR reported that several democratic campaign staffers voted in recent elections  using Senator Martha Fuller Clark’s Portsmouth address as their domicile. Clark co-chaired of President Obama’s local campaign in 2012,  and  is Vice Chair of the Democratic party.   She told WMUR that “by and large” the people who stayed at her house and voted were committed to N.H. but given their ages it was “impossible to predict” if they intended to stay. N.H.

Senators Rand Raul of Kentucky, Rob Portman of Ohio, Marco Rubio of Florida and John Thune of South Dakota will appear at a Washington, DC fundraiser for N.H. Republicans July 29th.

The event is being organized by N.H. Senator Kelly Ayotte.

Closer to home, 2008 GOP nominee Mitt Romney will headline a Wolfeboro fundraiser for the party August 6th.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, meanwhile, will appear in Dublin August 26th.

All the guests but Romney are being spoken of as possible 2016 presidential candidates.

A Manchester woman accused of deceiving U.S. customs officials about her role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, which her lawyers say amounts to a death sentence if she's deported.

Rwanda native Beatrice Munyenyezi declined to address the court before US District Judge Steven McAuliffe handed down the maximum sentence. As he did, the judge told the 43-year-old mother of three that she may have led a crime free life since arriving in NH in 1999, but said it was a life lived under false pretenses.

Ben McLeod / Flickr Creative Commons

On this day, there were a lot of floor speeches pretty much like this.

"I would just like to rise and applaud the sponsors of this bill, the house committee the governor, the governor’s staff the senate committee for making this come forward."

That was Hollis Senator Peggy Gilmour moments before the senate passed a medical marijuana bill on a voice vote.

On this day, there were a lot of floor speeches pretty much like this.

"I would just like to rise and applaud the sponsors of this bill, the house committee the governor, the governor’s staff the senate committee for making this come forward."

That was Hollis Senator Peggy Gilmour moments before the senate passed a medical marijuana bill on a voice vote.

Before going into recess, lawmakers in Concord will vote this week on the state budget and other deals reached during committees of conference, including Voter ID and medical marijuana. The Democratically-controlled House and the GOP-controlled Senate have been at odds over a number of policy issues, but areas of disagreement over the budget were smaller than possibly expected, with the final budget including provisions sought by both chambers and Governor Hassan.

Ben McLeod / Flickr Creative Commons

State budget negotiators reached accord today on a $10.7 billion spending plan.

The budget still needs approval from the full legislature, but leaders in the House and Senate, as well as Governor Maggie Hassan, agree the proposal meets many shared goals.

NHPR's Josh Rogers tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about the negotiation process, what's in the final budget deal and its chances when it goes before the full House and Senate next week.

At issue for Governor Hassan was a provision in the House version of the bill that would allow qualifying  patients to grow their own marijuan. Hassan also didn’t like that the House wanted to permit doctors to prescribe cannabis to treat PTSD.

The N.H. Senate had removed both provisions from the its version bill at Hassan’s behest, and House negotiators say under the circumstances going along made sense. Concord Democrat Jim McKay is Chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee.

A Thursday deadline is looming for House and Senate lawmakers to come to an agreement on the next two-year state budget. NHPR's Josh Rogers gets us caught up on the state of the negotiations, and what chance there is of Medicaid expansion being wrapped into the final deal.

The talks kicked off with small agreements, like the House agreeing with the Senate’s desire to drain $16m from a renewable energy fund,  and also to pay for local water projects starting in 2014 rather than 2015.

But while top budget writers stressed their common goals, big disagreements loom, on taxes and Medicaid expansion.

"Monday we’ll start the hard work of really talking about the issue where we may have some disagreement."

Democrat Mary Jane Wallner is House Finance Committee Chairman; Republican Chuck Morse leads the Senate’s finance panel.

It's committee season at the State House, as the legislative year nears its end. In the next couple of weeks, the budget will be getting the most attention, with some contention over Medicaid expansion, school building aid, charter schools, and personnel cuts. Other bills to watch for include medical marijuana and voter ID. US Senator Kelly Ayotte announces she supports a bipartisan immigration bill.

GOP Senate leaders say the proposal is prudent, while democrats say republicans failed NH by opting to study – rather than expand Medicaid.

Budget debates tend to be partisan, and this was no exception. Republicans made clear from the outset their comfort with their spending calls.

"Our budget in senate finance increased spending over the house budget by 24 million dollars."

Chuck Morse chairs the finance committee.

“This is a strong budget.”

Governor Maggie Hassan, House Speaker Terie Norelli and Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen all say expanding Medicaid under so-called Obamacare is a good deal for NH:  About 60,000 more people would have insurance,  and $2.5B would flow to the state at a cost of about $85M over seven years. Republicans in the senate didn’t include expansion in their budget, and instead have proposed a commission to study the issue. But Senator Larsen and Speaker Norelli say they support exploring whether expansion can take even if the Senate opposes it.

The NH Senate will be voting on its budget this Thursday; their plan calls for $10.7 billion in spending over two years, coming just under the House's budget, which calls for $11b, but doing it with large policy differences. One of those differences is Medicaid expansion, which the Governor and House favor. Looking forward to the 2014 US Senate election, in which incumbent Jeanne Shaheen is expected to run for re-election, Jim Rubens has been added to the list of possible Republican contenders, along with Jeb Bradley, Frank Guinta, and Scott Brown.

The so-called Dealers bill of rights passed both chamber of the legislature by wide margins. And the State Senate agreed to House changes to the bill without debate. Prior to that vote  Senate Commerce committee Chairman Andy Sanborn said the bill has profited from input from all sides.

"I’d like to send our appreciation over to the house for doing all the work, the deep dive that we expect from them to make a good bill a better bill."

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