NH Politics

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate approved an expansion to the state's education tax credit program Thursday.

Under the existing program, businesses in New Hampshire can get a tax break when they make a donation to scholarships that qualifying families can use for educational purposes including private school tuition and homeschooling.

NHPR File Photo

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office has launched an investigation into phone calls made to lawmakers about a proposed constitutional amendment known as Marsy’s Law.

In the days leading up to the vote on Marsy’s Law, several state representatives say they received strange calls from people who said they were reaching out in support of the amendment on behalf of other lawmakers or the Marsy’s Law campaign.

But those lawmakers and the Marsy’s Law campaign say they never made those calls.

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With state lawmakers busy chipping away at unfinished legislative priorities today at the New Hampshire State House, here is a roundup of the top stories today and over the past 24 hours on NHPR. 

NHPR File Photo

In a swift vote with no floor debate, the New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a plan to continue the state's Medicaid expansion for at least another two and a half years — and potentially as long as five.

The relatively smooth path for the Medicaid expansion bill this time around marks a stark contrast from past years, when the issue drew much more prolonged and partisan debate. The inclusion of a work requirement and a new funding scheme to avoid using state tax dollars helped to win over more Republicans this time around.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Around noon on November 9th of last year, a Black Chevy Suburban pulled up to a New Hampshire liquor store. The driver, a 46-year old Queens, New York resident named Juncheng Chen, bought some booze, then headed off to another liquor store to make another purchase.

Then another, then another.

  

In total, Chen bought liquor at six different New Hampshire stores that afternoon.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The state senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would create legal protections for transgender people in New Hampshire. 

The bill would add gender identity to the state’s existing anti-discrimination laws.

It earlier passed in the House and on Wednesday in the Senate by a margin of 14-10.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Senator Jeanne Shaheen endorsed Democrat Molly Kelly for governor in Manchester today.

 

Shaheen and Kelly spoke in the workshop of the Queen City non-profit Girls at Work, where young women learn about the construction trade. The podium for the event was built by girls in the program for a then-mayoral candidate Joyce Craig, who went on to be elected Manchester mayor last year. That wasn't lost on Kelly. “I think it's a lucky one,” she said.

 

Given the deep field of candidates and its reputation as "the swingiest congressional district in the nation," New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District has attracted most of the spotlight this year, when it comes to campaign fundraising or otherwise. But there’s also plenty of money flowing into the 2nd Congressional District race — most of it going through the campaign bank account of incumbent Congresswoman Annie Kuster.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

One of the most high profile pieces of legislation moving through the New Hampshire Statehouse right now isn’t Medicaid expansion, or a gun bill, or potential repeal of the death penalty.

It’s about animals.

NHPR Staff

Governor Chris Sununu has promised to veto a bill that would abolish the death penalty in New Hampshire. But some of his fellow Republicans say ending capital punishment makes fiscal sense.

They're hoping that argument could, in part, help sway enough votes to overturn a veto.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Senator Maggie Hassan was in Nashua Friday to tout her proposed study on the renewable energy practice of net metering, which lets ratepayers offset their bills by selling power they generate back into the grid.

It’s commonly used for homeowners to save on energy costs with rooftop solar panels, but it’s possible with bigger customers and energy developments, too – depending on state laws.

Hassan, a Democrat, wants the National Academy of Sciences to study the issue, so states like New Hampshire can fine-tune those rules.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

In this Race for the 1st conversation, The Exchange on Monday interviews Levi Sanders, a Democrat running in the closely watched race for New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A bill that would expand the state’s only school choice program is one step closer to becoming law.

Under the existing education tax credit program, businesses in New Hampshire can get a tax break when they donate to scholarships.

Families who qualify for those scholarships can use them for things like private school tuition, college courses, and homeschooling expenses.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A state representative's plan to spur more clean-up at the Seacoast's Coakley Landfill Superfund site may be scaled back after a Senate vote Thursday.

The original proposal would have gotten the state involved in forcing the entities responsible for the pollution to pay for more thorough cleanup. 

That measure passed the state House last month.

But the Senate opted for what the bill's sponsor, Rep. Mindi Messmer, calls a “stripped-down version.”

creative commons

The New Hampshire Senate Thursday put an end to one effort to expand energy efficiency funding in the state.

They voted down a bill regarding how the state spends money from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI.

The proposal, which had passed the House, would have gotten rid of the RGGI rebate for residential ratepayers.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Despite a last-minute push by supporters to save the bill, the New Hampshire Senate voted along party lines — 14 Republicans to 10 Democrats — to send a proposed paid family and medical leave program for further study.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

New York entrepreneur and 2020 presidential long shot Andrew Yang visited New Hampshire Wednesday to make stops at the True Brew Barista coffee shop in Concord and N.H. Democratic Party headquarters.

 

Yang is going all in on "Universal Basic Income" for his campaign. He says all Americans age 18-64 should get $1,000 a month from the government in order to stem the wealth gap and the effects of job loss from automation.

 

NHPR File Photo

 

New Hampshire lawmakers are considering setting aside $38 million to address an ongoing dispute over payments to hospitals in a move that could put funding for other legislative priorities at risk.

Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, is sponsoring an amendment to an unrelated related bill to put money from the state's general fund into escrow to cover potential payments resulting from a legal battle over how much state and federal governments must pay hospitals for uncompensated care.

DOE

 

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is heading to New Hampshire for a GOP fundraiser next month.

The outspoken supporter of school choice, school vouchers and charter schools will headline the New Hampshire Republican Party's annual "Spring to Victory" fundraiser May 14 at the Atkinson Country Club.

New Hampshire GOP Chairwoman Jeanie Forrester says DeVos' presence "will serve as a great opportunity to energize and mobilize Granite State Republicans."

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A controversial school choice bill was dealt a significant setback by lawmakers in the House Finance Committee on Wednesday.

Under Senate Bill 193, some parents could use state tax dollars to educate their children outside of public school using what are known as education savings accounts. 

Flickr/ Anne and Tim (Creative Commons)

Supporters of a paid family and medical leave bill are trying to salvage their plan after a key Senate committee decided it wasn’t ready for passage.

City of Laconia

While Statehouse politics draw headlines, it's the day-to-day decisions at the city and town level that can have a bigger impact on our lives: from housing to education to the opioid crisis.  We sit down with a panel of local leaders, about the challenges and rewards of their jobs - and what they'd like to see from the state. 

Sara Plourde

After years of having to choose between the same two candidates, voters in New Hampshire's 1st Congressional district are now faced with a flood of candidates who want to fill retiring Rep. Carol Shea-Porter's seat. 

As of April 23rd, there are eight Democrats and two Republicans in the race. And with the September primary months away, there's always time for more to join. 

NHPR File Photo

 

A New Hampshire state agency that helps people with disabilities find and keep jobs for years spent millions more than it took in, prompting an office restructuring and plan to prioritize services for those with the most significant impairments.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The New Hampshire House on Thursday rejected a measure to protect intoxicated people from drunken-driving charges while they are sobering up in their cars.

The bill passed the Senate last month, but House members voted it down, 209-122. It would have specified that sleeping or resting in a parked car would not be considered driving or attempting to drive under drunken-driving laws.

In this Race for the 1st conversation, we check in on the race with NHPR's State of Democracy reporter, Lauren Chooljian, who has been following the candidates and attending forums. We'll talk about campaign spending and various candidate events around the state. 

Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr/Creative Commons

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is denying allegations made by Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky that the state-run agency is engaging in questionable business practices surrounding all-cash transactions and possible money laundering.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

The New Hampshire Senate has again passed a bill that would ban therapy that attempts to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of minors.

The bill approved Thursday is identical to one the Senate passed last year, but the House killed in January. The House later passed a slightly different version, and those differences would have to be reconciled in order for the bill to advance to the governor.

Charles Tasnadi / AP

Former First Lady Barbara Pierce Bush, who died Tuesday at the age of 92, traveled to New Hampshire often to support her husband's presidential campaigns—and those of her sons, former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. She was more than just the matriarch of a political dynasty, former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu recalls. 

NHPR Staff

A proposed constitutional amendment known as Marsy’s Law hit a road block with House lawmakers Wednesday.

The amendment is designed to give victims of crime a greater say in the criminal justice system by establishing a list of constitutional rights.

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