NH Legislature

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.

Amanda Loder / NHPR

Millennium Gaming brought leaders from Washington County, Pennsylvania to Concord to tout the benefits of a casino to lawmakers at a lunch meeting today.  Millennium runs The Meadows casino and racetrack in Washington.  If New Hampshire allows a casino at Rockingham Park, Millennium would develop it. 

The N.H. House votes 211-151 to give gun owners immunity if their weapons are stolen and then used in a crime.

Governor, Legislature Prepare To Hammer Out Budget

Jan 17, 2013
Emily Corwin / NHPR

With a new governor, a divided statehouse, and continued uncertainty over federal spending, New Hampshire lawmakers are preparing to hammer out a budget.  It’s never a particularly easy process.  But hopes are high at the statehouse that this session, the inevitable fiscal fights will be more muted.

In her inaugural address earlier this month, Democratic governor Maggie Hassan struck a bipartisan tone about the state’s finances.

  The city of Franklin will hire a lobbyist this legislative session to follow the Northern Pass project.

The town stands to gain about $4.2 million dollars annually in property taxes, if the Northern Pass project goes through.  The taxes would be paid by PSNH on a converter station, which will be built in Franklin.

Elizabeth Dragon, the city manager of Franklin, says the city is looking for someone to follow relevant legislation and alert Franklin officials when necessary, “so that if there is a bill that requires us to travel to Concord to testify, we can do that.”

Republicans Caucus Over N.H. House Leader

Nov 15, 2012

Cast into the minority by the election, New Hampshire's Republicans representatives are caucusing to pick a leader.

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.

Coos: A Summary

Nov 7, 2012

Here’s what happened in Coos County on Tuesday, according to a tally by the Associated Press. Official counts from the Secretary of State are not yet available.

* Jeff Woodburn of Dalton was elected senator, defeating Debi Warner of Littleton. He takes the place of Republican John Gallus who chose not to run.

* In District 1 with all ten precincts counted Republican incumbent Duffy Daugherty of Colebrook lost to  Democrat Larry Enman of Errol by 20 votes.

Enman had 1,158 votes.

A proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot this November would give the legislature final say over judicial rules and procedures.  That has some in the legal community incensed over what they consider to be a power grab by the legislature. But others in that same legal community think it simply restores authority appropriately to the people’s representatives.

Photo Identification of Voters Becomes Law

Jun 27, 2012

The Legislature has overridden Governor Lynch’s veto of a voter ID law. The bill allows a variety of forms this fall—including student IDs. Starting next year, only government issued identifications, including driver’s licenses, military ID’s and passports will be accepted.

Representative David Bates of Windham told colleagues that tighter restrictions are needed to ensure fair elections.

From the Statehouse:

Jun 27, 2012

Veto Day Arrives at Statehouse

Jun 26, 2012
Dennis Sylvester Hurd / Flickr Creative Commons

With 15 vetoes, the most ever by a Governor in a single session, John Lynch hasn’t been shy about wielding his power. Now, Republicans will work to override some of those measures when they gather in Concord on Wednesday.

Amendment To Ban Income Tax Goes To Voters

Jun 6, 2012

New Hampshire voters will decide in November whether or not to add a ban on personal income taxes to the state’s constitution.

Education Funding Amendment Fails

Jun 6, 2012
Sara Plourde / NHPR

This year’s effort to pass a school funding constitutional amendment failed where such efforts tend to fail – the New Hampshire house. 

Since the Claremont decision of the mid 90s, New Hampshire has debated the locus of authority and responsibility in funding our K-12 public schools. Over 80 proposed amendments have seen their way to a vote in state legislative chambers over the past several years. Last year marked the first time any such amendment passed the house and the senate passed a version of its own. The two chambers failed to reconcile their differences, however, and the issue was tabled.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Enacting any constitutional amendment is tough. It requires a three-fifths vote by both House and Senate, and two-thirds support from voters at the polls.  Add to this the fact this amendment deals with school funding and that lawmakers have killed 80-odd  Claremont-inspired amendments over the past 14 years, and the guardedness of even the boldest of lawmakers is understandable.

Lawmakers Agree On Voter ID Bill

May 31, 2012

House and Senate negotiators have agreed to take turns when it comes to legislation requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt announced Friday that he will not seek re-election and will step down at the end of the legislative session.  The following statement was released by the New Hampshire Republican State Committee:

New Pension Plan Backed by NH House

May 16, 2012

New Hampshire's House has voted to move ahead with a new public pension system for state employees and wants the Senate to reconsider its decision to study the issue instead.

NH Senate Approves Limits On Landowner Liability

May 16, 2012

New Hampshire landowners who let the public use their land for hunting, hiking and other recreational activities wouldn't be required to keep the land safe under a bill passed by the state Senate.

The Senate voted Wednesday to expand liability protection for those who own, lease or manage land open to hunting, fishing, trapping, camping and other recreational activities. The bill would not protect landowners from malicious acts or if the injury happened while performing services for money.

NH House Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

May 16, 2012

The New Hampshire House has ignored a veto promise and passed a bill to legalize home cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes.

Wednesday's House vote sends the bill back to the Senate to review changes.

The Senate-passed bill would allow patients with debilitating medical conditions or the patient's designated caretaker to cultivate and possess up to six ounces of marijuana, four mature plants and 12 seedlings at a registered location.

NH Senate Backs Changes To Welfare Verification System

May 16, 2012

The New Hampshire Senate has voted to allow a new verification system for welfare applicants and recipients as a way to detect fraud and save money, but it wants to see the savings before it pays for it.

The Senate on Wednesday approved an amendment to a House bill requiring the state to expand the public databases used to screen applicants. House Speaker William O'Brien says using the technology will root out fraudulent claims and save money.

NH Senate Approves Reimbursements for Naturopaths

May 16, 2012

Doctors of naturopathic medicine would be reimbursed by health insurance companies under a bill passed by the New Hampshire Senate.

The Senate voted 16-8 Wednesday in favor of the bill. Opponents argued that the bill amounted to a mandate for insurers that would lead to increased premiums. Supporters argued it was a matter of fairness because insurers already reimburse other health care providers for providing the same services.

marcn / Flickr Creative Commons

Proposed legislation would create a new verification system in order to avoid fraud. Another bill would reduce the amount of time someone could receive assistance. But advocates for the poor say the State already does a good job of preventing fraud and these proposals would hurt people already in dire need. 


Sarah Mattson: Policy Director for New Hampshire Legal Assistance