NH Politics

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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.

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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.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After having a 7-day vacation, lawmakers will return to Concord this week. The full Senate will be meeting on Thursday to take up more than 40 bills. Meanwhile the full House won’t come back until next Wednesday.

Newly announced 1st Congressional District candidate Pam Tucker said this week that she hopes to stand out in an already-competitive Republican primary by pitching herself as the only one who's consistently stood on conservative principles.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Conventional wisdom holds that Bernie Sanders' and Donald Trump's big wins in New Hampshire’s presidential primary earlier this month were driven by hordes of irregular and first-time voters flocking to the polls.

But a review of preliminary voting data doesn’t exactly back up that premise.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Here's a twist in an election year in which the role of money is a dominant theme: A Super PAC created to blunt the influence of Super PACs in key political races is jumping into the Senate contest between Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Gov. Maggie Hassan.

Republican state Rep. Pam Tucker has announced her candidacy for Congress for New Hampshire's First District, facing incumbent Frank Guinta and businessman Dan Innis. 

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New Hampshire's definition of hard cider would be expanded beyond apples, and such beverages could be served in more places under a batch of bills before the state Senate.

The Senate is voting Thursday on a bill to include fermented pear juice in the definition of cider. It's also taking up a bill that would allow alcohol to be sold and consumed in skybox seating at college sports events.

The third bill would allow the sampling of beer, wine or cider at farmers' markets.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Dozens of people filled the House Finance Committee room Wednesday to hear testimony on whether to continue the state’s Medicaid expansion program. Many of those who spoke said they support the program, but some argued its costs will fall to people with private health insurance. Related: NHPR's primer on Medicaid expansion

Logan Shannon for NHPR

Bernie Sanders’ win in the New Hampshire Primary last week shook up the Democratic presidential race.

But what might that victory mean for state-level Democratic politics in New Hampshire, where Sanders’ unapologetically liberal style stands in stark contrast to the more cautious approach favored by the state’s Democratic leaders?

Casey McDermott, NHPR

A little over a week ago, Linda Philibert was just another regular at Blake’s Restaurant on Manchester’s West Side.

But there was little that was regular about her recent stop there last Monday morning.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A bill that would crack down on sales of firearms to people banned from having guns is working its way through the State House.  

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The New Hampshire House Finance Committee on Wednesday will take up a bill seeking to continue the state’s expanded Medicaid program for another two years.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Although the full House will not be meeting this week, lawmakers still have their hands full working through dozens of bills in committee.

NHPR Staff

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte is calling on Democratic challenger, Governor Maggie Hassan, to sign a pledge that aims to limit third party spending in the race for US Senate.

The so-called People’s Pledge proposes the candidates agree to pay fines in the form of charitable donations when third party ads are aired in their favor.

That same pledge was used in the 2012 Massachusetts Senate race.


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