NH Politics

Jason Moon for NHPR

Former Vice President Joe Biden joined New Hampshire Democrats Sunday night at the party’s annual 100 Club Dinner in Manchester. The event offered the party a chance to focus its energy in the wake of a bruising political year.

Last fall, University of New Hampshire student Rachel Berg was one of the more than 3,000 people in Durham who registered to vote on Election Day. And she came prepared.

“I had to bring a few forms of ID, I don’t remember exactly what,” Berg recalled while sitting in a corner of the UNH student center last week. “License, I think. School ID. And maybe my passport, just to be safe.”

josh rogers/nhpr

 

It was a big day at the State House for a man rarely seen in Concord these days: former Governor Craig Benson. Benson’s official portrait was unveiled in a large public ceremony held in Representatives Hall. The ceremony was what you’d expect: a procession of state leaders recalling the legacy of a former governor. But it was also a recasting of Benson’s short time in office.

 

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: April 27, 2017

Apr 27, 2017

A  rape shield law passes the House committee and heads to the House for a vote. A voucher bill that is playing a big role in the school choice debate was discussed at the statehouse earlier this week, and the drug Carfentanil was linked to three overdose deaths. We'll discuss these topics and more of this week's headlines.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  All 100 U.S. Senators were summoned to the White House Wednesday for a classified briefing on the growing threat posed by North Korea.

This comes amid rising tensions over concerns North Korea could be readying for a nuclear test.

New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan was there for Wednesday's briefing, and joined NHPR's Morning Edition to talk about her reaction.

The revelation that a Lakes Region state representative may have founded "The Red Pill,” a misogynistic online forum with more than 200,000 followers, has drawn global attention. But controversial, even hateful, utterances by state lawmakers are not new in New Hampshire’s citizen legislature. And precedent suggests that if Rep. Robert Fisher is to leave his House seat, it will be by his own will, or that of voters. 

Jason Moon for NHPR

 

It’s a pregnant moment for state education policy. Republicans control Concord, and Gov. Chris Sununu ran on a promise to change how education is delivered here. Key aspects of that debate – full-day kindergarten, broad school choice, and the power of the state education commissioner were all debated Tuesday by lawmakers. But the message was mixed, and decidedly less conservative than last year's election results would suggest.

Photo Credit woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers will debate a controversial education bill Tuesday that would allow parents to use state tax dollars to pay for private school tuition and homeschool expenses.

The bill is testing how far and how fast school choice advocates are willing to go in implementing their agenda.

  New Hampshire's law granting certain immunity to people who report drug overdoses is poised to stay in place for the indefinite future.

A law signed last session would've repealed the immunity law, sometimes known as a "Good Samaritan" law, in 2018. But lawmakers are moving to repeal the repeal, meaning the law will stay on the books.

Senators say the legislation is saving lives as New Hampshire continues to deal with an opioid crisis. Nearly 500 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, a record high for the state.

Money that Congress approved last year to help states combat the opioid epidemic is headed to New Hampshire.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says $485 million in grants will soon be administered to states. The money is part of the 21st Century Cures Act that was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Last night, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski addressed Republicans at a fundraising dinner on the Seacoast. The event offered the New Hampshire GOP a chance to revel in recent victories and to look toward the future.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen held several public events in the state Thursday. She started the day in Durham and ended it at a town hall in Nashua where residents’ concerns focused on uncertainty in Washington.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu says he’s more than made good on a key campaign promise: That he’d personally meet with 100 out-of-state businesses in 100 days.

“We spoke to businesses all over the world, I believe the number is 127, businesses in the first 100 days, so we met our goal quite exceedingly, and we still have quite a backlog.”

Fantasy sports companies estimate more than 200,000 people in New Hampshire are participating in their games. Now, lawmakers want to get in on the cash.

A bill before the Senate on Thursday would make New Hampshire the latest state to legalize, regulate and tax fantasy sports run by companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel. Companies running fantasy games for the general public would have to register with the state, pay an annual fee of up to $5,000 and face a 5 percent tax.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  A group of House Republicans plans to start a political action committee to push back against New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper in the next election, the latest chapter in a growing GOP feud.

The New Hampshire House Freedom Caucus, which models its name after a group of conservative Republicans in Congress, announced the PAC's creation Wednesday. Members say they'll use the money to support candidates who believe in "limited government and personal liberty."

Wynan Smith via Flickr/CC

The Division of Children, Youth, and Families has been under intense scrutiny in recent years, after two toddlers who had been involved with the agency were killed by their mothers in a span of just ten months.

The fallout has included legal battles, the director's ouster, and an independent investigation that revealed an agency beset by high turnover, an overworked staff, limited funding, and restrictive policies.

Peter Biello

  Now two months into the job, New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut says he's been impressed by what he's seen far in his visits to schools across the state.

But as the state considers legislation that would vastly expand school choice options for parents, Edelblut says the goal for public schools is clear.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Tuesday saw Gov. Chris Sununu’s maiden visit to testify before a legislative committee, on a bill to expand full-day kindergarten to more school districts. And from the start, Sununu made it clear he sees the policy as one that could define his time as governor.

Flickr

A Senate bill proposes allowing parents to use public education funds for alternative educational expenses, from private school tuition to computer equipment. A growing number of states have adopted such measures but not without plenty of debate.  We'll take a look at that discussion here, and around the country. 


Courtesy photo

Gordon MacDonald is officially New Hampshire’s new Attorney General. He was sworn in Thursday by Gov. Chris Sununu at the State House in Concord.

josh rogers/nhpr

Peter Kujawski, Governor Sununu's pick to be the state’s top environmental regulator, faced questions about his background during his confirmation hearing Wednesday.  

A Conversation With U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Apr 12, 2017
N.H. Public Radio

Given her position on the Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, we get U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen's take on the recent air strikes against Syria.  We also cover G.O.P. health care reform efforts, New Hampshire's opioid crisis, and rising political rancor in the U.S. Senate. 


Andrew Filer via Flickr/CC

When it comes to Senate Bill 7, which lowers the income threshold for food-stamp  eligibility, among other changes, Democratic state senator Dan Feltes has some choice words:  "One of the worst bills I've ever seen."  And, also, "horrible." 

Feltes joined The Exchange this week, along with Republican state senator Jeb Bradley, co-sponsor of SB7, who  sees things vastly differently.

How many retirees represent Merrimack County in the Legislature? What percentage of state reps are under the age of 35? And how does the State House's male/female ratio vary by political party?

The makeup of the New Hampshire House of Representatives has a major impact on daily life in the state. After all, these are the people who make the laws that govern us.

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

New Hampshire has the largest state legislature in the country - by a lot. The 400 members of the House of Representatives are supposed to be “citizen legislators” - people who are just like the constituents they represent. They earn $100 a year, making them essentially volunteers, albeit volunteers with major responsibility and time commitment...and volunteers who don’t always show up.

Just ask Rep. Jim Belanger, chairman of the House Municipal and County Government Committee.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate began its work on the state’s next two-year budget Monday.

Senate budget writers are using Governor Chris Sununu's proposal as a starting point, after the House failed to pass a budget plan of its own last week.

NHPR Staff

The state Senate began work Monday on crafting its version of the next two year state budget.

This comes after House lawmakers failed to pass their proposed $11.9 billion spending plan last week. It’s the first time in modern political history the House hasn’t passed a budget.

Senate Finance Chair Gary Daniels, a Milford Republican,  spoke to NHPR's Morning Edition about the process moving forward.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After the New Hampshire House failed to pass a budget proposal of its own last week, the state Senate begins its budget-writing work Monday.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

House lawmakers will try for a second time this week to pass a state budget proposal, after Wednesday’s failure of the Republican leadership’s preferred spending plan.

With Thursday's deadline for the House to produce a budget -  the pressure is on.

FILE

Dates have been set for the special election to fill a recently vacated state Senate seat.

The Executive Council Wednesday voted to set the primary date for June 6th and the general election for July 25th for the District 16 special election.

The seat became available after Senator Scott McGilvray died last month. 

So far Republican David Boutin, who previously held the seat for four terms, and former State Representative Joe LaChance, a libertarian, have said they're running.

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