NH Politics

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. 

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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.

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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

A federal bill aimed at helping states tackle the ongoing heroin and opioid epidemic cleared a major hurdle Thursday. 

The measure calls for roughly $70 million over the next three years to help expand treatment for people battling addiction while in prison and drug prevention efforts in schools. It would also strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs.

The bill easily passed the U.S. Senate on a 94 to 1 vote and now heads to the House.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

House lawmakers weighed in Wednesday morning on a number of bills addressing New Hampshire’s election laws. This issue has gained momentum after videos last month claimed to show voter fraud in February's Presidential Primary.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As a former lobbyist for the New Hampshire banking industry, Jerry Little had little trouble raising money for his 2014 campaign for state Senate.

 

Of the more than $100,000 in contributions Little collected, more than a third came from donors with ties to the financial sector. Little, a Republican, went on to win his race by a comfortable margin.

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House will have a busy next two days with dozens of bills slated for a vote. A few of these bills focus on the state’s election laws, which have gained steam since last month’s presidential primary and ahead of this fall's general election.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

On Wednesday the House will take up one of this session’s most significant pieces of legislation – whether to continue the state’s Medicaid expansion program another two years. One of the biggest hurdles supporters of the bill have to overcome on the floor this week relies on the measure’s work requirements.  

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Federal authorities on Thursday arrested a Rochester man for his role in a standoff by Nevada ranchers opposed to federal control of public lands.

Jerry Delemus, a New Hampshire Tea Party activist and co-chair of New Hampshire Veterans for Donald Trump, remains in federal custody after being charged with conspiracy, obstruction, assault and making threats during the 2014 armed standoff involving Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A key House committee voted to support reauthorization of the state’s Medicaid expansion program for another two years. Under the bill, the state's insurance premium tax, along with hospitals and insurance companies, will have to cover the costs of the program that will no longer be paid for by federal dollars next year. For hospitals and insurers alone, that comes to about $24 million each year, starting in 2017.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire's state Senate is slated to vote on suspending the use of the death penalty. According to the bill's lead sponsor, Republican Kevin Avard, suspending the death penalty is good sense.

Avard once supported capital punishment, but says there are too many examples of the people improperly ending up on death row to remain confident the punishment is worth the risk.

“You know we are all capable of fallibility, and if you have 156 people who have been exonerated, we should take a real sober look at this.”

Sara Plourde/NHPR

As the New Hampshire legislature debates whether to extend expanded Medicaid, house lawmakers continue to question whether the state will get a return on its investment. After two days of work sessions, the House Finance Committee heard its final testimony Wednesday before its scheduled to vote.

Nottingham PD

Nottingham state rep. Kyle Tasker is facing calls for his resignation. Tasker has been charged with four felonies, including using a computer to lure a minor to have sex and drug possession with intent to sell.

Kyle Tasker is accused of using Facebook to lure what he believed was a 14-year-old girl into a sexual encounter.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

House lawmakers continue to examine how New Hampshire would pay for Medicaid expansion for another two years. On Tuesday GOP leaders on the finance committee were again looking for a guarantee that if passed, private insurance rates will not increase.

NHPR Staff

New Hampshire might its run as one of the few states without an explicit prohibition on sex with animals. Backers of House Bill 1547-FN say it’s unfortunate, but it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.

Sexual conduct with animals has been banned in many states since the Colonial Era. But New Hampshire is one of 10 states where it’s never been specifically outlawed.

Three weeks after the First in the Nation Presidential Primary, nine months before the November election, and New Hampshire is already on to a new round of political ads.

It began today with a 30-second spot from Sen. Kelly Ayotte, which features her 11-year-old daughter, Kate.

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