NH Politics

NHPR Staff

New Hampshire legislators begin the final stage of the state budget-writing process this week. On Friday, a handful of senators and House members will gather to hammer out a compromise plan for state spending over the next two years.

Billions of dollars are at stake, and NHPR’s newsroom has been keeping an eye on several key policy areas. Here's an overview on where several big-ticket items stand.

www.puc.nh.gov

After pulling his first nominee for the position, Gov. Chris Sununu brought forward a new nomination to oversee the state’s environmental agency at Wednesday’s executive council meeting: Public Utilities Commissioner Robert Scott, of Bow.

Firecrackers Now Legal (And For Sale) In New Hampshire

Jun 7, 2017
Samantha Fogel

Last Friday, Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill to legalize firecrackers in New Hampshire.  They are now for sale at licensed fireworks dealers in the state.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Senate and House budget writers will meet Friday to start negotiating a final version of the state’s next two year budget.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Part of Governor Chris Sununu’s political identity is built on science and thought. There’s Sununu’s oft-cited degree from MIT, his professional background as an engineer, and his family’s well-tended reputation for being smart.

But on two recent issues, the governor backed away from letting science - or expert opinion - guide his policy decisions.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu will be traveling to a few high-profile out-of-state events this week: an "infrastructure summit" hosted by the Trump administration in Washington and another retreat hosted by former presidential candidate Mitt Romney. 

FILE

A bill decriminalizing three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana in New Hampshire is headed to Governor Chris Sununu, who says he’ll sign it. 

NHPR Staff

House lawmakers will debate a bill Thursday that would define a fetus as a person in cases of homicide.

The Republican-backed bill has already cleared the state Senate, and if it passes the House, it goes to Governor Chris Sununu, who says he will sign it into law.

Update: 12:55 PM:

This bill has passed the New Hampshire House by a vote of 186-170. We will continue to update this story.

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The New Hampshire House votes Thursday on a bill that would allow fetuses older than twenty weeks to be considered people in cases involving murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide. The debate over what are often called fetal homicide laws isn’t a new one in Concord, but with Republicans controlling the legislature and the governor's office, this year the bill is expected to become law.

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been a busy session for anyone with an interest in New Hampshire elections, with dozens of bills filed to tinker with different parts of the state’s voting systems. 

Most of the proposals filed this session didn’t make it out of committee or have otherwise lost steam, for now at least. But on Thursday, three significant pieces of voting legislation will be up for a final vote in the House.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

It was a festive scene inside party headquarters in Concord on Tuesday, as New Hampshire Democrats celebrated the 100th birthday of President John F. Kennedy with cake and song.

While party elders old enough to remember Kennedy sat and swapped stories, young staffers scurried around doling out chocolate cake to mark the occasion.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

House lawmakers are set to vote Thursday on a Republican-sponsored bill that would stiffen residency requirements for voters who register in the month before an election. Under the bill, those voters would be required to provide additional documentation to show where they live and that they intend to stay in the state.

Republican Barbara Griffin is chair of the House Election Law Committee, which is recommending the bill’s passage. Speaking to NHPR’s Morning Edition, Griffin says the bill ensures the integrity of the voting process.

Jason Moon for NHPR

With 14,000 students from a huge variety of backgrounds, the Manchester School District is both the largest and most diverse in the state.

But those distinctions come with challenges that sometimes result in stark disparities between schools just a few miles apart.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Senate budget writers will be pitching their version of the next state spending plan to lawmakers Tuesday morning at the Statehouse.

The full Senate are scheduled to vote on the budget Wednesday.

Governor Chris Sununu thinks the state and Dartmouth-Hitchcock have cleared the air over their dispute about mental health staffing at New Hampshire hospital.

That was Sununu's take after a meeting Wednesday with Dartmouth-Hitchcock CEO Jim Weinstein.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican leaders in the Senate are confident the body will pass a GOP-backed version of the state budget next week.

But how the process will unfold after that is different than usual this year.

This story has been updated to make note of the AP's correction to its original story, issued Wednesday.

Last week, the Associated Press — along with other local news outlets — covered Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway’s visit to New Hampshire to speak at party fundraiser.

The New Hampshire Republican Party took issue with the AP’s decision to report from inside the closed-press event, the accuracy of its brief story and the integrity of the reporter who filed it — and responded with a firestorm of criticism, on social media and elsewhere. 

josh rogers/nhpr

The Senate Ways and Means committee has adopted revenue figures for the next state budget.

The numbers are higher than the senate's earlier forecasts, but about $20 million shy of what Governor Sununu proposed.

In the context of a $12 billion dollar budget, a $20 million difference may seem small, but reaching agreement was a challenge.

The final vote added $53 million dollars to what the senate projected last week by bumping up estimates on businesses taxes, real estate transfers, and the tax on interests and dividends.

josh rogers/nhpr

Budget writers in the New Hampshire Senate are predicting Medicaid caseload will drop over the next two years.  But underestimating caseloads in the program that benefits the poor helped cause the current state budget shortfall.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The New Hampshire House overwhelmingly OK’d a proposal Thursday to allocate $33 million to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services to make up for a budget shortfall.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Sen. Maggie Hassan said the latest round of news out of Washington only heightens the need for independent investigations into the dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey and Russia’s involvement in the 2016 elections.

Josh Rogers

Robert Fisher, the Laconia state rep who created the misogynistic Reddit forum known as The Red Pill, has resigned from the New Hampshire house.

That announcement followed a party line vote by the GOP-led committee to recommend the house take no action to discipline him, and fresh evidence that Fisher may have been active on the Red Pill board more recently than he told lawmakers while under oath.

Josh Rogers for NHPR

Charlie Arlinghaus is expected to win confirmation as New Hampshire’s next Administrative Services Commissioner. Right now, Arlinghaus is serving as Governor Chris Sununu’s budget director, but for years he’s run the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy.

That free market think tank has deep - and increasingly conspicuous - ties to the Governor.

When Charlie Arlinghaus had his Executive Council confirmation hearing last week, Councilor Andru Volinsky noted something conspicuous about Arlinghaus’s resume.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

New Hampshire's Executive Branch Ethics Committee had a rare moment in the spotlight recently, after it weighed in on a complaint involving Gov. Chris Sununu’s use of his official Twitter account.

If you haven’t heard much about this committee, you’re not alone. While it launched with some degree of fanfare, hailed as a tool to bring more accountability to Concord, the committee has spent much of the last decade maintaining a remarkably low profile.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Senate budget writers Monday signed off on a few key spending areas in the state’s next two year budget proposal.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Senate budget writers will be working some long days this week as they allocate funding for the state’s 53 agencies…in just four days.

FLICKR

The New Hampshire Senate has backed a bill to make up to ¾ an ounce of marijuana a violation rather than a crime.

This is the first time the Senate has supported proposals to loosen the state’s marijuana laws.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A bill that would remove the requirement that felons get a waiver in order to serve alcohol in the state is headed to the Governor’s desk.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A familiar name in New Hampshire politics may be on the short list of potential replacements for FBI Director James Comey.

Politico is reporting that the White House is seriously considering former New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte for the position.

Peter Biello

The Log Cabin Republicans have long had a national presence, and now they have a New Hampshire chapter. The group of conservative supporters of LGBT rights formed last month and will hold a launch event on Friday at 5:30pm at the One Hundred Club in Portsmouth, during which Governor Chris Sununu is scheduled to speak. It’s an effort, they say, to show that the Republican party is unified.

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