NH Politics

BRIAN WALLSTIN FOR NHPR

A bill seeking to legalize Keno in New Hampshire fell flat once again in the state Senate.

Lawmakers voted 13 to 10 to kill the proposal which would have allowed Keno, a form of electronic bingo, in places with liquor licenses, but only after individual approval from cities and towns. 

Senator Jerry Little of Weare said Keno would mean money for the state - $8 to $9 million a year he calculated.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Citing strong state revenue numbers, Governor Maggie Hassan is calling on Republican leaders to act on a number of spending priorities. But top Republicans say much of what the governor seeks is already in the works.

The strange and bitter Democratic primary in the first congressional district got even stranger and more bitter today.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House killed a bill Wednesday to fund a program designed to teach substance abuse prevention in high schools.

HOPE, which stands for Heroin and Opiate Prevention Education, is run by Plymouth State University and offers peer to peer prevention. But not every school in the state participates.

Under the measure, roughly $51,000 would be available to public and charter high schools in the state who want to join the program.

Alton / Creative Commons

A bill aimed at cracking down on people who put sexually explicit photos of a person online without his or her consent in New Hampshire is now heading to the Governor.

On Wednesday the full House passed the measure through a voice vote – something the full Senate did last month.  

Under the bill, those found to have participated in the practice of so-called “revenge porn” will be charged with a felony. 

Flickr

The New Hampshire House on Wednesday backed a bill calling for an additional $5 million to help combat the state’s current opioid crisis.

Under the measure, $3, million will go to treatment services while $2 million will help to provide housing for those battling an addiction. It also includes money to hire a state attorney to prosecute drug cases.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House Wednesday backed a measure that would allow the state Division of Children, Youth and Families to investigate parents suspected of having an opioid dependence. 

As written, the bill would exempt parents currently involved in treatment or actively seeking treatment.  

Democrat Skip Berrien of Exeter said this bill would ensure that DCYF can offer services before problems escalate.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

The classic gerrymandered map you learned about in high school civics class is full of oddly-shaped legislative districts, drawn with obvious intent to boost one party.

But in New Hampshire, that’s rarely the case: It’s very hard to see, just by looking at the election maps, which districts might help or hurt a certain party’s chances.

So has gerrymandering been a factor in the state’s politics? And if so, how much?

Digitization supported by the Cogswell Benevolent Trust. / Image obtained via the New Hampshire Historical Society

Here’s a confusing reality about New Hampshire politics today.

Democrats are having success like never before, scoring wins that would have been impossible just two decades ago.

But despite that shift, there’s one place where Republicans still have a leg up on Election Day: the state Legislature.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After a slow week at the State House, lawmakers will have long session days in both chambers with roughly 60 bills on the docket in the House and Senate. 

Pierre Gautreau / Flickr/CC

First, we'll talk about a bill that aims to repeal a state law that allows abortion clinics to establish twenty-five foot buffer zones, keeping protesters that distance away. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Both the New Hampshire House and Senate will be in session this week but with a pretty light agenda – only about 20 bills are on the docket in both chambers.

But lawmakers will still hold dozens of public hearings – some to look at loosening up the state’s drug laws and others to build them up.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After more than a year of debates and discussion, lawmakers could take their final vote Thursday on whether to continue the state’s Medicaid expansion program for another two years.

If the Senate passes the bill without change, it could be signed into law as early as this week.

Jack Rodolico

When Jen Howe woke up on Monday, she wasn’t planning on being back in the surgeon’s office. She’s laid out on a table, and the nurse reminds her to relax, and breathe.

Howe had an abdominal surgery two weeks ago. The incision is just below her waistline. Dr Krzysztof Plociennik is probing two inches into the wound, poking at a hard spot until blood squirts out of the wound.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The National Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, is bringing together lawmakers, health providers, academics, and other national leaders to figure out what can be done to curb the abuse of opioids. New Hampshire Congressman Frank Guinta spoker earlier today at the summit as part of a panel of lawmakers dealing with drug abuse in their states, and he joined All Things Considered to talk about it. 

Ben McCleod via Flickr CC

The Executive Council is holding a work session on a proposal to expand the Mount Sunapee ski resort, which is supported by economic development officials and businesses, but opposed by environmental groups.

The five-member Council and Gov. Maggie Hassan are scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Flickr

Law enforcement officials are pushing back against a bill that allows people to drop off illegal drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, and drug paraphernalia at police stations.

Currently police stations accept unused prescription drugs in designed drop boxes.

NH Bar Association

Former New Hampshire Public Defender Dorothy Graham has taken a job with the New England office of the Federal Public Defender. Graham, who was nominated by Gov. Maggie Hassan last year to serve as a judge on the state Superior Court, saw her hopes for the bench scuttled after a conservative website accused her of a “history of trying to get child rapists off on technicalities.”

Read Emily Corwin's story about Graham's nomination and rejection.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After a lengthy debate, the Senate's Finance Committee on Monday backed a bill re-authorizing New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion program for another two years.  The bill was the same piece of legislation the House overwhelming approved earlier this March. 

Emily Corwin for NHPR

In New Hampshire, pretty much only rape and murder convictions can land a defendant behind bars for the rest of his or her life. Burglary? With a record? You might get fifteen years. Unless you’re Kevin Balch.

Open Seat: Looking Ahead to N.H.'s Governor Race

Mar 28, 2016
Gary Lerude / Flickr/CC

New Hampshire's governor race is among the top-watched contests in the country, with Maggie Hassan leaving the corner office to run for U.S. Senate.  This open seat has led to active competitions in both parties, with many candidates already focused on the opioid crisis, education, Medicaid, and the state's energy future.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Although the Senate is the only chamber meeting in full this week both bodies have a long list of public hearings to get through.

Flickr

State lawmakers are set to tackle a pile of bills this week, many of which address New Hampshire's drug crisis.  The bills include proposals to legalize needle exchanges and the creation of a statewide drug court program. 

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The mayor of New Hampshire’s largest city now wants to be New Hampshire’s next governor.

New Hampshire's political boundaries get drawn every ten years, after new Census data comes out.

The idea of the bill taken up by the N.H. Senate today was to take the pen out of the hands of lawmakers and let an independent commission to draft the map of state house legislative districts—one that reflects voters’ wishes and “eliminates partisan distortions.”

But the Senate effectively killed that proposal Thursday—moving it to interim study as legislators are gearing up for election season.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas has joined the race for New Hampshire governor. In his campaign announcement early Thursday morning, Ted Gatsas says the state's next governor needs executive experience like his to deal with issues like opioid abuse.

Beth via Flicr CC

The New Hampshire House has passed a bill that would require courts to instruct jurors of the option of jury nullification. That’s when a jury can return a verdict of not guilty if the jurors believe a guilty verdict would be unjust. Juries in New Hampshire already have the right to jury nullification, though it’s rarely used.

Joining All Things Considered for a look at jury nullification is Buzz Scherr. He’s a professor at UNH School of Law.

Can you give us an example of how jury nullification has been used in New Hampshire?

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After taking up more than a hundred bills last week in the House, lawmakers will have a pretty light agenda this week. 

House members will be meeting all week in committee but will not be in session. Meanwhile the full Senate will be returning this Thursday.  

Lawmakers’ most recent attempt at establishing a state minimum wage this legislation session failed in the House Thursday morning. The measure, which was rejected by a vote of 185 to 143, would have increased the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2019.

Currently New Hampshire’s minimum wage is set at the federal rate of $7.25 an hour, making it the lowest minimum wage in all of New England.

Flickr

The New Hampshire House has voted down spending $4 million dollars in federal aid to explore extending commuter rail from Boston to New Hampshire. The money, which was tucked into the state’s 10-year transportation legislation, would have been used  to study how the state would pay for commuter rail.

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