NH Politics

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

New Hampshire residents got some face time Monday with the federal staff behind a proposal to expand offshore drilling in the North Atlantic and elsewhere.

A couple dozen protesters and environmental advocates waved anti-drilling signs at passing cars outside a Concord hotel during the information session. 

Flikr Creative Commons/ evmaiden

For over a year now, education policy watchers in Concord have focused their attention on a controversial bill that would create Education Savings Accounts.

But meanwhile, another bill popular with the school choice proponents has been making its way through the legislature, largely unnoticed.

U.S. Geologic Survey

A new version of a bill in the state Legislature could require environmental officials to devise a stricter limit on arsenic in drinking water.

Rep. Mindi Messmer, a Rye Democrat, originally sponsored the proposal with what she admits was an unrealistically strict standard.

Bill to Raise Marriage Age to 16 Heads to N.H. House

Mar 4, 2018
NHPR File Photo

 The New Hampshire House of Representatives will vote on several bills related the marriage of minors, including one that would raise the minimum age to 16 for both boys and girls.

Under current law, girls can marry at 13 and boys at 14 with the permission of a judge. A bill up for a vote Tuesday would prohibit marriage for anyone under age 16. Judges still could approve marriages for those ages 16 or 17.

The House also is voting on another banning marriage between two people if sexual relations between them would have been a criminal act if they were not married.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

There’s a phrase political reporters often lean on when describing Democratic congressional candidate Maura Sullivan: “Right out of central casting.”

Sullivan is a Marine and a Harvard grad who served multiple posts in the Obama administration. So, yeah, central casting seems accurate.

And yet, there’s a very noticeable hole in her resume that has been tripping up some New Hampshire voters lately who are weighing their options in the 1st Congressional District--there’s not much on Sullivan’s resume about the Granite State.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  Democrat Phil Spagnuolo has defeated his Republican challenger in a special election to fill a Laconia seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

Spagnuolo, who is a substance misuse recovery coach, beat Les Cartier with 53 percent of the vote. He won five of the Laconia's six voting wards.

He fills a seat left vacant following the death of Republican Donald Flanders last September.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Marchand laid out his plan to curb gun violence Tuesday, and his announcement in Lebanon inspired an impromptu public debate about the 2nd Amendment.

Marchand is the only Democrat so far in the race against incumbent Republican Governor Chris Sununu.

FEC District Map

New Hampshire's newest congressional hopeful knows he’ll constantly be linked with his presidential candidate dad (he even sounds like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at times).

 

But Levi Sanders says he hopes people pay more attention to issues like income inequality, gun safety, and opioid addiction than they do his famous name.

AP

  Levi Sanders, Bernie Sanders' son, announced he is running for New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District.

Sanders is joining seven fellow Democrats and three Republicans in this year's race for the seat. Four-term Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is not running for re-election in 2018.

The 48-year-old Sanders has lived in New Hampshire for 15 years. He's in Claremont, in the 2nd Congressional District. The U.S. Constitution requires only that U.S. House members reside in the state they serve, not necessarily in the same district.

AP

 

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter has signed on in support of legislation proposing a ban on assault weapons, including the AR-15, the gun used in the Feb. 14 shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 dead.

 

She says the bill aims to stop the sale of military-style rifles and assault weapons. Co-sponsors said Monday that it would reinstate and improve the assault weapons ban that last expired in 2004.

 

Lauren Chooljian for NHPR

With its paper ballots and in-person registration requirements, New Hampshire's voting system is less digitally wired — and therefore somewhat less susceptible to cyberattacks — than many of its peers.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu announced the creation Monday of a new school safety task force.

The news comes following the school shooting in Florida and threats of violence at schools here in New Hampshire.

According to a statement from the Governor’s office, the new task force will include representatives from the state, law enforcement, schools, and local governments.

It will spend the next few months developing stronger safety protocols for New Hampshire schools.

 

Lauren Chooljian/NHPR

Large all-cash transactions. Out-of-state customers going store to store to buy enormous quantities of Hennessy cognac. Employees unsure about how to handle potentially illegal liquor sales.

Forrest Seavey

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted down a bill today, HB1542, which would allow revolvers and pistols on state college campuses.

The vote comes just weeks after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida left 17 students dead.

Dozens of mothers and supporters of the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America showed up to protest the proposed legislation.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu says America’s gun law debate should be occurring in Washington, and not in Concord.

A week after a mass shooting at a Florida school, Sununu said the state's focus should be on continuing to invest in school security upgrades and in kids.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Pistols and revolvers would be allowed on the campuses of New Hampshire's public colleges, universities and community colleges under a bill up for a vote in the House.

House lawmakers are set to vote Thursday on a bill that would allow anyone who is not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law to carry a gun to bring weapons onto the grounds of any University System of New Hampshire campus or community college campus. Currently, the campuses ban guns other than those carried by law enforcement.

Gun Store / Flickr Creative Commons

Speaking to a group of reporters on Wednesday, Gov. Chris Sununu would not say whether he  supports any changes to state-level gun laws in the aftermath of the mass shooting that claimed 17 lives at a Florida high school last week.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu says he wouldn’t have a problem with requiring state lawmakers to undergo anti-harassment training, at least in theory.

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Executive Council occupies a somewhat nebulous position in New Hampshire state government: They meet and vote in the State House, but they aren’t legislators; they’re part of the executive branch, but they aren’t a state agency.

A proposal to amend the state constitution is stirring debate among lawmakers and legal experts in New Hampshire.

The so-called Marsy’s Law amendment would insert specific rights for crime victims into the state constitution.

As NHPR’s Jason Moon reports, a well-financed campaign has brought the same debate to more than a dozen other states at the same time.

Michael Brindley/NHPR

A state superior court judge heard arguments in a case challenging the controversial Senate Bill 3 voting law on Tuesday.

 

The bill requires proof-of-residency documents for voters registering within 30 days of an election. It’s been challenged by the League of Women Voters of New Hampshire for adding what it says are ‘confusing’ and ‘intimidating hurdles’ to voting.

 

Casey McDermott / NHPR

People traveled from all corners of the state Tuesday afternoon to urge New Hampshire lawmakers to renew Medicaid expansion, which is set to expire at the end of this year.

N.H. Senate Rejects Tapping Rainy Day Fund for Drug Crisis

Feb 18, 2018
NHPR File Photo

  New Hampshire won't be tapping into its Rainy Day Fund to fight the opioid crisis.

The state Senate on Thursday voted down legislation that would have allowed the governor or Legislature to declare a public health emergency and tap into 10 percent of the state's Rainy Day Fund.

The fund currently stands at $100 million.

Democrats argued that the bill made sense given the scope of the problem — the state ranks third in overdose deaths.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Julián Castro, a possible presidential hopeful who was a former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama, addressed New Hampshire Young Democrats in Manchester Friday night.

After receiving allegations about potential money laundering taking place at state-run New Hampshire liquor stores, Gov. Chris Sununu says the source of the allegations--an elected official--may have acted improperly in gathering information.

Andru Volinsky, Letter to Governor and Attorney General

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky is calling for an investigation into the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, alleging that the state’s liquor stores are engaging in business practices that could “unquestionably facilitate money laundering related to criminal activities.”

Jason Moon for NHPR

The town of Hampton has made good on its threat to sue the state of New Hampshire over services provided at the state-owned Hampton Beach.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Rockingham County Superior Court reads like a laundry list of all the complaints some town officials in Hampton have been raising for years.

They range from the maintenance of the sidewalks on Ocean Boulevard, to the revenue generated by parking spaces, to fire and ambulance services provided at the beach.

New Hampshire Bill Targets Soda on Kids Menus

Feb 14, 2018
NHPR File Photo

  Fewer children will wash down their chicken fingers and fries with soda if a bill limiting beverage choices for restaurant children's meals gets through the New Hampshire Legislature.

The bill would apply to restaurants that serve children's meals that include food and a beverage for one price. Such meals would only be allowed to include milk, 100 percent juice or juice combined with water, plain water or flavored water with no sweeteners. Customers still could purchase soda or other sugary drinks on the side.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Lawmakers took more testimony Tuesday for and against a bill to legalize recreational marijuana.

Those who support legalizing marijuana say the time has come. Opponents argued the bill is an effort by advocates to get a toehold for the marijuana industry in New Hampshire.

 

Dr. William Goodman, Medical Director at Catholic Medical Center, opposed the bill on behalf of the New Hampshire Medical Society.

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu delivered his 2018 State of the State address Thursday in front a joint session of Granite State lawmakers at the New Hampshire State House.

Scroll down for photos, a transcription of the speech, news reports, and more, to be updated throughout the day.

Our coverage began on The Exchange, which featured mayors from around the state giving their perspectives on the state of New Hampshire's cities. (Listen to that program here.)

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