NH Politics

Paige Sutherland / NHPR

Sen. Jeanie Forrester, a Republican candidate for governor, holds one of the most powerful seats in the State House: She’s chair of the influential Senate Finance Committee, with a big say in how every state dollar is raised and spent.

But you won’t hear Forrester talk too much on the campaign trail about her work in Concord. Rather, Forrester is pitching herself as more community leader than State House insider.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

By the end of the day at the New Hampshire Democrats’ state convention, it was hard to miss the message that party leaders were trying to pitch to their grassroots activists, heading into the general election this fall.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire, home of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, will be opening its Statehouse on weekends for the first time in nearly two decades.

Gov. Maggie Hassan signed into law this week a bill that paves the way for the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce pay the security costs and provide docents to lead tours.

Chamber director Tim Sink said the plan is to offer Saturday tours Memorial Day through Columbus Day, but tours this year probably won't get off the ground until the fall.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Today lawmakers approved a 1.5 million dollar statewide drug enforcement program known as Granite Hammer.

After a lengthy procedural debate in the House over whether to proceed with the special session, members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill. The legislation, based on a Manchester Police Department initiative, would create a grant program to fund drug enforcement efforts at county and local police departments.

A former Republican state representative who was arrested in connection with alleged voter fraud during New Hampshire's presidential primary has been arraigned on witness tampering and bribery charges.

Foster's Daily Democrat reports Don Leeman of Rochester appeared in Strafford County Superior Court on Wednesday. He remains out on bail.

The attorney general's office says Leeman, who resigned in May, was representing and voted in a district in which he was no longer domiciled during the February primary.

Allegra Boverman/NHPR

Back in February, New Hampshire handed Sen. Bernie Sanders his first victory in pursuit of the presidency. Four months later, with Hillary Clinton poised to earn the Democratic nomination, where does that leave the more than 151,000 Granite Staters who backed her opponent?

Well, it depends.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Eight New Hampshire senators have announced they'll be moving on -- some to other offices, some back to private life.  We'll sit down with four of them, looking back at the accomplishments and challenges of their tenure and discussing how New Hampshire politics and the legislature has changed over the years.

This program was hosted by Dean Spiliotes, Civic Scholar in the School of Arts and Sciences at Southern New Hampshire University.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers wrapped up what was supposed to be their final session day of the year Wednesday.

But after meeting on Thursday, Republican leaders in the House and Senate decided to call members back to Concord in two weeks to vote again on a measure that unexpectedly failed earlier this week.

The bill would add $1.5 million to help law enforcement officials combat the state’s drug problem. The program known as “Operation Granite Hammer” seeks to target low level drug-dealers as a way to pursue larger scale dealers.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

With more than 1,000 bills to sift through at the start of this legislative session, New Hampshire lawmakers wrapped up its last full session day of the year this Wednesday.

And after having to work on a compromise state budget when the Governor vetoed the two-year spending bill last summer, and then being called back for special session to address the state’s drug crisis in the fall, state lawmakers are looking forward to a light summer workload.

freshheadfilms via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/G8k5T

Gov. Maggie Hassan has vetoed a bill that would repeal a ban on the sale and use of some firecrackers in New Hampshire.

Hassan said Tuesday that it's unnecessary to change current law, which already provides public access to fireworks while aiming to minimize safety risks.

C-SPAN

Followers of New Hampshire politics might’ve noticed a familiar face (and voice) at Donald Trump’s much-hyped press conference on Tuesday morning: Al Baldasaro, a state representative from Londonderry who Trump has referred to at varying times as “The King” and his “favorite vet.”

Courtesy of Facebook

A former state representative from Rochester has been arrested on charges related to voter fraud.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, during the recent presidential primary Don Leeman voted in a district he no longer lived in and then tried to bribe a local employee to cover it up.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

This week lawmakers will have their final say on dozens of bills still left over from this year's legislative session. Wednesday is the last chance any bills have of making it to the Governor’s desk this year.

SHARON MATTHESON-MCCUTCHEON / FLICKR

A controversial practice that seeks to convert minors from being gay is likely to remain legal in New Hampshire.

Lawmakers this week failed to agree on a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy for those under 18.

Photo by Jackie Finn-Irwin via Flickr Creative Commons

A bill to spend nearly $2 million on body scanners for state prisons and county jails is heading to Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan's desk. Senators approved the legislation Thursday on a party line vote.

Republicans, like Andy Sanborn of Bedford, told colleagues that making anyone who sets foot in a jail or prison prison pass though scanners is a way to deal with an obvious problem.

NHPR Staff

Governor Maggie Hassan says last week's shooting of two Manchester police officers by a suspect who with mental health problems illustrates the need for New Hampshire to do a better job of keeping guns away from people who shouldn't have them.

"I think this issue needs to be looked at by a broad coalition of stakeholders and that is certainly one of the questions that they should address. I think we should work together to take steps forward to improve public safety and public heath of New Hampshire," Hassan said.

NHPR Staff

A new WBUR poll of likely New Hampshire voters shows Democrat Hillary Clinton with a slight edge over Republican Donald Trump. In the state's U.S. Senate race, the poll also found Democrat Maggie Hassan with a small lead over incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte. For more on this poll, we turn to Steve Koszela, president of the MassINC polling group, which conducted the survey. He spoke with NHPR's All Things Considered host Peter Biello.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican Gubernatorial candidate Jeanie Forrester wants New Hampshire to step up efforts to recruit businesses to move here, and she wants to reward businesses that expand with tax relief.

As Forrester sees it, New Hampshire has been held back for years because Concord, under a string of Democratic governors, has become set in its ways.

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire's U.S. Senate race is, and is likely to remain, the state political race that gets the most attention. But the race for governor, which features crowded primaries among Republicans and Democrats and no big favorite, is also starting to crank up. Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers joins Morning Edition's Rick Ganley to talk about it.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan used a speech at an event at St. Anselm College to promote what she says is her record of working across the aisle. Hassan told the crowd of business people at politics and eggs that Republicans and Democrats in Concord may argue, but they also compromise in the interest of their constituents.

"Time and again in New Hampshire we have shown that we can put out differences aside and get results for out people and our businesses and it is long past time for Washington to take the same approach."

flickr/barjack

House lawmakers have voted 217-132 to require local officials to issue conceal weapons permits to person not barred from owning a gun.

The mostly party line vote came after the GOP-controlled house overturned a committee recommendation to kill the bill.

Seabrook Republican Max Abramson told colleagues this bill was about making sure a constitutional right is unabridged.

"Senate bill 336 would simply restore the right of law abiding gun owners, who have the lawful right to open carry, to simply put on their jacket."

PROBartolomej Jahoda via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/F4s3N

 The New Hampshire House has again voted decriminalize marijuana. This proposal would make first offense possession of a 1/4 ounce or less a violation.

The 289-58 vote marked the seventh time house lawmakers have tried to make marijuana possession a violation.

Backers of this proposal, like Hampton Democrat Renny Cushing pitched it as a middle ground.

"This is a compromise that will allow us to have first time offenders who have a small amount of marijuana escape a lifetime of draconian punishment for that and have a second chance."

freestateproject.org

Recently, this movement announced success in its plan to encourage twenty-thousand libertarian-minded people from around the country to move to New Hampshire.  And already, Free Staters have had an influence on Granite State politics, although it's not always been welcome.  We'll check in on this project and its impact.

Read a summary of the hour-long conversation here.

Ted Siefer / for NHPR

Earlier this session, the state Senate voted — once again — to reject a casino gambling bill. The move prompted the owners of Rockingham Park, the expected site for a casino, to at long last put the former horse-racing track on the market.

The news has not gone over well at the storied institution, where the regulars make up a small but committed bunch.

NHPR

With Ted Cruz and John Kasich pulling the plugs on their presidential campaigns, it's a big week for backers of likely Republican nominee Donald Trump.  

And that's got some conservatives in New Hampshire coming to terms with a new reality: Donald Trump is now the official face of their party.  

NHPR

Citing public safety concerns, Governor Maggie Hassan has vetoed a bill that aimed to limit the power of local building inspectors. This is Hassan's first veto of the year.

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.

Pages