NH House of Representatives

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New Hampshire has the largest state legislature in the country - by a lot. The 400 members of the House of Representatives are supposed to be “citizen legislators” - people who are just like the constituents they represent. They earn $100 a year, making them essentially volunteers, albeit volunteers with major responsibility and time commitment...and volunteers who don’t always show up.

Just ask Rep. Jim Belanger, chairman of the House Municipal and County Government Committee.

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The New Hampshire House voted Thursday to distribute $2 million dollars to dairy farmers hurt by last year’s drought.

woodleywonderworks via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/5p1N5a

A New Hampshire House subcommittee voted Wednesday to eliminate $18 million dollars in kindergarten funding from Gov. Chris Sununu’s state budget proposal. 

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

Over eighty people turned out in Concord Tuesday to testify on a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. 

More than once, Representative Don LaBrun had to call for decorum in a room packed with supporters and opposition alike. Members of transgender, medical and religious communities turned out to testify on a bill that would prohibit discrimination based upon “gender identity,” adding the term to the long list of factors such as age, race and disability.

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A bill doing away with the permit requirement for carrying a concealed firearm is headed to Governor Chris Sununu’s desk after the House voted in favor of it Thursday. 

Plenty of lawmakers didn’t make it to through the snow to the State House Thursday, but the House still managed to pass a bill to repeal New Hampshire’s concealed carry law.

Speaking just before the roll call, Representative John Burt urged the House to vote as it had before.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

At the New Hampshire State House, lawmakers don’t limit debate to bills and the budget. Control of square footage in the building itself can be as controversial as any partisan policy. I took a tour with a man who has a set of keys to the shared rental.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

New Hampshire lawmakers heard hours of testimony Thursday on a bill that would require background checks for commercial firearm sales.

Representative Katherine Rogers,the main sponsor on the bill, says it’s designed to fill perceived loopholes in New Hampshire gun regulations.

"The current system’s loophole is exploited by criminals," Rogers says, "who can avoid background checks by purchasing firearms from unlicensed private sellers, often at gun shows, or through anonymous online transactions."

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

New state representatives got a crash course in lawmaking on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In preparation for the 2017 legislation session, representatives-elect crowded into a large room in Concord's Legislative Office Building.

One of the incumbents tasked with teaching the newcomers — Rep. Tara Sad — made things interesting, acting out the process of drafting a bill.

"I have a really good idea for a bill," Sad said, playacting to Jill Sieveking, Director of Legislative Office Services. "But I don't know anything about it. Can you help?"

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

An 80-year-old New Hampshire legislator with a lung problem has been told not to bring his portable oxygen concentrator with him to the Statehouse.

The Valley News reports Rep. Ernie Bridge, a Republican from Unity, says he's required to be on a concentrator 24 hours a day after suffering a small "leak" in his lung in January.

Bridge says the House's sergeant-at-arms told him that the tank couldn't accompany him to his assigned seat because it could block the emergency route for other legislators.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

This week, Alexandria Knox got to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with one of her biggest heroes.

"Speaker Jasper," she said, "he is my inspiration."

That's Shawn Jasper, the Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The man appointed by House Speaker Shawn Jasper to lead House Republicans held his first GOP caucus on Wednesday.  Brookline lawmaker Jack Flanagan says he expects resistance from some backers of former House Speaker Bill O'Brien, but expects the controversy over who is the rightful leader of Republicans in the House to fade.

On Wednesday afternoon, Flanagan caucused privately with about 100 House Republicans.  Flanagan said the stated goal was to gather input of policy priorities for the next two year session.

Veteran Lawmakers To Lead Key House Committees

Dec 11, 2014
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A number of familiar faces will lead key New Hampshire House committees.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Newly elected New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper is planning to announce committee chairs for the upcoming legislative session.

Jasper, a Republican who won the speakership largely with support from Democrats, has promised to appoint only Republicans to serve as chairs and vice chairs. He will announce his appointments Thursday. The House has 21 committees, ranging from criminal justice and public safety to health, human services and elderly affairs.

Via Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper has named former state Supreme Court Justice Chuck Douglas as House legal counsel.

Douglas's resume includes a term Congress, representing New Hampshire's 2nd district, and a stint as legal counsel for former governor Meldrim Thomson.

Douglas has also been counsel for the New Hampshire Republican state committee.

He now leads a Concord law firm, where he's  represented plaintiffs in lawsuits against the state on matters ranging from sexual harassment to judicial pensions.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

It took multiple votes and more than 7 hours, but the NH House did choose a new speaker Wednesday – Hudson Republican Shawn Jasper.

Support from Democrats lifted Jasper to an upset win over former Speaker Bill O’Brien, who Republicans nominated to lead the House last month.  

The first sign that yesterday might not end well for Bill O’Brien, came early, when Republicans tried to alter the proposed rules for electing a Speaker.

Flikr Creative Commons / Claudio Schwarz

 

New Hampshire's House is considering a moratorium on new wind turbine and electric transmission line projects like the 187-mile power line proposed by Northern Pass.

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.

The gambling bill goes to the floor of the NH House for a full vote on Wednesday, after receiving a narrow 23-22 supercommittee vote resulting in a recommendation to kill the bill; the recommendation means that none of the amendments being debated in the House will be under consideration unless Wednesday's vote also fails to approve the bill. One such amendment would look to beef up regulation, while allowing for more revenue. Issues on the docket in the NH Senate include the Stand Your Groud repeal, Voter ID, the gas tax, the tobacco tax, medical marijuana, and the minimum wage.

The New Hampshire House makes its first key vote as the casino bill is voted on by a supercommittee comprised of the House Finance and Ways & Means Committees; various amendments will be considered on Tuesday, with a committee vote and recommendation coming Wednesday. The New Hampshire Senate, meanwhile, continues to work on its budget, and the Senate Finance Committee prepares to hear from some of the larger state agencies - Health & Human Services, Transportation, and Environmental Services - on their budget needs.

Democrats Move To Ban Guns In N.H. House

Dec 20, 2012

The rules committee of the New Hampshire House has voted to reinstate a ban on guns in the House chamber.

A.G. Fraud Unit Proposal Stalls Again

Nov 8, 2012

The creation of a new fraud unit at the state Attorney General’s office has stalled again.  Thursday, the Legislative Fiscal Committee voted to table a request to approve funding for it. 

The governor and Executive Council have approved the unit, which would be funded by the state’s mortgage settlement with big banks.  But the Republican-dominated committee has resisted allocating money to it, saying it would ultimately add staff to the government payroll.  But the AG’s Consumer Protection Bureau Chief James Boffetti says a fraud unit is needed.

NH General Court Website

There was a big surprise waiting for New Hampshire politicos this morning. As the final votes were tallied in the four hundred races for the State House of Representatives, the Democrats had won a 221 to 178 majority with one race still undecided.

Prospects of a divided state legislature has both sides singing about bipartisanship. 

Given that many of the races for the NH House are decided by fewer than a hundred voters, there will likely be a couple dozen recounts.

Democrat Moynihan Wins In Coos 2

Nov 7, 2012

Democrat Wayne Moynihan of Dummer has won the seat for Coos District 2, defeating Republican James Tierney of Northumberland.

With all the votes counted Moynihan had 1,259 votes compared to Tierney's 839, according to a tally compiled by the Associated Press.

Democrat Hammon Defeats Repub Tholl in Coos 5

Nov 6, 2012

Democratic challenger Marcia Hammon of Whitefield has defeated incumbent Republican John Tholl, also of Whitefield, in Coos District 5.

With 100 percent of the votes counted Hammon had 1,235 votes and Tholl had 1,154, according to a tally compiled by the Associated Press.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard oral arguments this morning on a challenge to a plan to redraw the districts for the State’s House of Representatives.

The five petitioners representing towns across the Granite State argue that the House plan is too rigid in its interpretation of the US constitution’s one-man-one-vote clause. A lawyer for the petitioners, Martin Honigberg, says that a looser interpretation is not only legal, but required by an amendment to the New Hampshire constitution.

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.

Crossover Day

Mar 22, 2012

Crossover Day is the time when bills that have passed the New Hampshire House go to the State Senate and vice versa.  And this year, much of that legislation has sparked enormous debate…on issues from contraception to unionized labor to public education.  We’ll look at what important bills are changing hands, how well they may do in their other House of government, and, if they do pass, how they may stand up against the Governor’s veto pen. 

Guests

 

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted today to pass a bill that would allow the city of Manchester to ask for a moratorium on refugee resettlement.

The bill is a seen as a victory for Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, who has been calling for a moratorium since last July.

 

The New Hampshire House has moved to reconsider passage of a controversial bill requiring pregnant women to wait 24 hours before receiving an abortion. The bill would also require them to receive explicit information on fetal development.

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