NH Legislature

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Approved by a special legislative session, a newly minted task force will spend the next weeks considering several options for tackling the state’s drug problem, which has claimed more than five hundred lives in the last two years. The goal is to craft legislation quickly -- in time for the January return of the legislature.


Top N.H. Lawmakers Discuss Bipartisan Budget Deal

Sep 17, 2015

After months of stalemate, top lawmakers and the Governor crafted a compromise that splits the difference on the contested issue of business tax cuts.  We’re talking with Statehouse leaders about this hard-won deal, how rank-and-file members reacted, and what might be next.  


Courtesy NH House of Representatives

The New Hampshire House of Representatives is going through a historic change this summer as it retires its current gavel and the striking post that has seen every House Speaker since George Roberts. The former striking post was made of laminate particle beam, circa 1975, and needed to be replaced after extensive splintering rendered it unable to perform its duty. 

Jennifer Cochran / Flickr/Creative Commons

Amherst Public Works Director Bruce Berry was a happy man last spring when Gov. Maggie Hassan signed the first increase to the state’s gas tax in more than 20 years.

The legislation promised to double the money the state doles out to repair municipally owned bridges, from $6.8 million a year to $13.6 million. At the time, Amherst had three bridges “red-listed” as structurally deficient, including one on Manchester Road that had been closed for 18 months.

Bradley To Democrats: Meet Us Halfway

Jun 8, 2015

The New Hampshire Senate voted along party lines last week to pass the $11.3 billion dollar two-year state budget. The budget has been described by Republicans as "conservative, yet compassionate." Democrats say it doesn't go far enough. NHPR's Peter Biello sat down with Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley to talk about the budget and what's to come. 


The New Hampshire Senate voted along party lines last week to pass the $11.3 billion dollar two-year state budget. Democrats tried repeatedly to restore funding for mental health, winter maintenance and the renewable energy fund—those efforts failed. Efforts to restore funding to substance abuse treatment, elderly care and developmental services were more successful, though funding levels did not reach what Governor Maggie Hassan had proposed.

Kyle Flannery/USFWS / Flickr/CC

A bill proposed by fourth graders from Hampton falls was harshly debated and defeated in the legislature last month, leading to some late-night satire but also a conversation about the best way to get students involved in the democratic process. We’ll look at that and also examine bills this year addressing voter requirements.


Allegra Boverman / NHPR

We'll sit down with Governor Hassan to discuss her budget for the next biennium, the current legislature, and her goals for the next two years.


  • Maggie Hassan - New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, a democrat in her second term.  She’s also a former state senator from Exeter, and a former Senate Majority Leader.

N.H. Legislative Roundup: A Look Ahead To 2015

Jan 5, 2015
ahlasny / Flickr/CC

We sit down with New Hampshire House and Senate leaders to talk about what might be in store this new session. 2015 is a budget year, so expect state spending and revenues to take center stage.  And beyond that, we'll talk about a few of the 800 bill requests have been filed so far, on topics ranging from voter registration to restrictions on drones. 


Hassan Vetoes Workplace Anti-Bullying Bill

Jul 28, 2014
No Bully Zone
Paul Schreiber / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Maggie Hassan has vetoed a bill she called “well-intentioned” aimed at protecting public employees from bullying in the workplace.  

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Gov. Maggie Hassan said her administration will “closely review” how Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Massachusetts’ law that restricts protests outside abortion clinics will affect a similar law that will take effect in New Hampshire next month.

Hassan, who is in Turkey on a trade mission, signed a bill June 10 that authorizes reproductive health facilities that perform abortions to establish 25-foot buffer zones around the entrance. The law is set to take effect July 10.

Legislative Roundtable: Reflections On 2014

Jun 9, 2014
Rachel James / Flickr/CC

We're sitting down with a panel of House and Senate leaders to look back on the year in the legislature. It was a year of victories for supporters of Medicaid Expansion, but of disappointment for casino backers and death penalty opponents.  And it ended with several major players announcing they’re getting out of the game and retiring from politics. 


Wet Summer
BEV Norton / Flickr Creative Commons

State lawmakers will vote this week on whether to accept a deal that would give 18 towns about $540,000 in back tax payments.  A state House and Senate committee of conference approved a measure addressing back payments from Massachusetts to towns along the Merrimack and Connecticut River watersheds on Friday. 

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

New Hampshire will seek a waiver from the federal government Friday hoping to get $275 million more in matching funds over five years for health care services provided by the state, county and local governments.

The joint legislative Fiscal Committee approved the waiver application Wednesday.

Jeffrey Meyers, director of intergovernmental affairs for the Department of Health and Human Services, said the federal government is not sharing the cost of about $80 million in annual health care spending in New Hampshire. The waiver asks the federal government to pitch in.

Amanda Loder / NHPR

New Hampshire's House has twice passed legislation to repeal the death penalty with the governor's blessing, but the second attempt has cost them a key supporter in the Senate.   Republican Sen. Bob Odell, who voted for repeal, said Friday that he won't vote to take up the issue again.  The first bill stalled in the Senate on a 12-12 vote last month, but supporters may have overplayed their hand by sending a second bill to the Senate for a vote Thursday. The Senate has the option of passing the amended bill, killing it or asking the House to compromise.

N.H. "Paycheck Fairness Act" To Become Law

May 14, 2014
What Would Ben Think?
jypsygen / Flickr Creative Commons

A bill designed to close the wage gap between men and women will become law, after it cleared its final legislative hurdle today.

Sara Plourde

Gov. Maggie Hassan is expected to sign legislation making it illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving or stopped in traffic.

The bill, passed by the New Hampshire House last week, represents “the most comprehensive distracted driving bill in the nation,” according to legislative testimony from Earl Sweeney, assistant commissioner of public safety.

This week the New Hampshire Senate is set to vote on a House bill designed to protect home heating fuel customers.  This comes after hundreds of Fred Fuller Oil Company customers suffered shortages and late deliveries in January.  

Slot Machines
Raging Wire / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire's House is voting Wednesday whether to legalize two casinos about a month after representatives said `no' to one casino.  The Ways and Means Committee voted 11-9 to recommend that the House reject the bill, which includes $25 million in aid to communities as a sweetener. The House has never approved video slots legislation.  The Senate bill proposes legalizing two casinos sharing a total of 5,000 video slot machines and 240 table games. The House killed a bill a month ago that would have legalized one casino licensed to have 5,000 video slot machines.

Gov. Maggie Hassan is expected to sign legislation making it illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving or stopped in traffic.

The bill, passed by the New Hampshire House last week, represents “the most comprehensive distracted driving bill in the nation,” according to legislative testimony from Earl Sweeney, assistant commissioner of public safety.

SalFalko via Flickr CC

Casino supporters are betting that a plan to distribute more than $25 million in gambling revenue to New Hampshire cities and towns will convince House lawmakers to reverse their historic opposition to expanded gaming.

Less than a month after it killed a casino bill favored by Gov. Maggie Hassan, the House will begin discussion on Senate Bill 366, which proposes to authorize two casinos in the Granite State.

'Halftime' At The Statehouse

Apr 1, 2014
Rachel Ford James / Flickr/CC

It’s halftime at the New Hampshire Statehouse, with last week’s so-called “crossover day”, where those bills that have passed the House go to the Senate for a vote, and vice versa.  Major issues that remain in play include a gas tax increase, a death penalty repeal, and once again, expanded gambling.  We’re checking the score thus far, and seeing where these bills go from here.


New Hampshire lawmakers are considering whether to bar municipalities from limiting where the state's more than 2,500 registered sex offenders can live after recent court rulings said the restrictions are unconstitutional.    The House passed a proposed ban by a vote of 231-97 in February. The bill now moves to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it faces an uphill battle.   The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union successfully challenged sex offender residency restrictions first in Dover, then in Franklin.

New Hampshire lawmakers are mulling two bills that would expand background checks for gun purchases.

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on legislation that would require private sellers to conduct sales through licensed firearm dealers who, under federal law, must perform background checks on prospective buyers.

Chris Jensen, NHPR News

Gov. Maggie Hassan will deliver her first State of the State address Thursday to a joint session of New Hampshire lawmakers.

Hassan ended her first year in office with decent job-approval ratings – 51 percent versus 21 percent who disapprove, according to a recent poll.

She begins her second with a heightened national profile: In December, she was elected vice chair of the Democratic Governors Association, which spent heavily to help her defeat GOP challenger Ovide Lamontagne in 2012.

A bill that would add the option of choosing "none of the above'' on New Hampshire ballots seems like a quintessential proposal for the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state that prides itself on having discerning voters.    But the measure's sponsors say it's probably doomed, with one acknowledging it would be humiliating for a candidate to be defeated by no one rather than an actual opponent.  But Keene Rep. Charles Weed says real choice means giving voters the chance to withhold their consent and express dissatisfaction with all the candidates.

BIA Announces Bills Targeted For Opposition

Jan 29, 2014

The Business and Industry Association has come out in opposition to seven bills before the legislature this session.  

Earlier this month, the New Hampshire House became the first legislative body in the United States to pass a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana use.

The legislation faces numerous – some would say intractable - hurdles, beginning with Thursday’s public hearing before the House Ways & Means Committee.

JV via Flickr CC

Update: The Senate Ways & Means Committee approved SB 366, 4-1, this morning. Sen. Bob Odell, R-Lempster, was the lone vote in opposition to the bill, which would license two casinos. Senate President Chuck Morse said the legislation will now move to the full Senate. Morse said the Senate will likely table it and wait for the House to act on its own gambling bill. That legislation, drafted by members of the Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authorityenvisions a single casino, which Gov. Maggie Hassan supports.

Department of Safety Road Toll Bureau

A year after failing to agree on how to pay for a long list of road and bridge improvements, lawmakers will take another shot at bolstering the state’s chronically underfunded infrastructure this session.

Several bills are on the table, including one that would channel proceeds from a casino into the state’s highway fund.