NH Politics

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.)

Jason Moon for NHPR

A bill that seeks to limit the political activity of state commissioners had a public hearing today.

The bill would prohibit the heads of state agencies from doing things like donating to a candidate or participating in a campaign while they’re in office.

Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn is the prime sponsor.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Just over a year in office, Gov. Chris Sununu is enjoying relatively high approval ratings, according to the most recent poll from the UNH Survey Center

Robert Garrova for NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate Education Committee heard testimony on a bill today that would make certain adult education programs available only to legal residents of the state.

 

Republican Senator Andy Sanborn is the primary sponsor of the measure, which he said will direct funds toward students who can legally work in the state.

 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

  When it comes to marijuana policy, New Hampshire legislators continue to comb through a slew of what-if scenarios.

The review, and debate, comes on a couple of fronts:

AP

Congresswoman Annie Kuster says $6 billion in a new budget deal to fight the opioid epidemic is a good start. But she says a longer-term commitment is still missing - and she wants to ensure the funding formula treats smaller states fairly.

 

"It’s certainly more than is in the pipeline right now,” she says. “I think everyone agrees it’s critical that we get funding out on the front line to expand access to treatment and help people in their long-term recovery. We’ve got to get over the hump and save lives and get people back to work.”

Jason Moon / NHPR

 

A bill to provide legal protections for transgender people will get a second public hearing Tuesday.

 

The bill’s first hearing drew so many people that it had to be moved into Representatives Hall, the largest room in the State House. Then, it went on for so long that the House Judiciary Committee decided it would need more than one day.

 

N.H. House Gives Initial OK to Contraceptives Bill

Feb 11, 2018
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  A bill that would make hormonal contraceptives available directly from pharmacists has won preliminary approval in the New Hampshire House.

The bill would authorize pharmacists to administer the contraceptives through physician-approved agreements. A House committee had recommended the bill not be approved based on concerns that may expose doctors and pharmacists to liability.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A bill to allow for annulment of criminal convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana in New Hampshire has received a favorable recommendation from a House committee.

The legislation was drafted after Gov. Chris Sununu, R-Newfields, signed into law a measure to decriminalize possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce of pot. The law took effect Sept. 16, 2017. 

Emily Corwin, NHPR

A group of lawmakers from both parties are trying to fix a loophole in New Hampshire’s sexual assault law that allowed a former law enforcement official to evade charges that he raped an inmate who he was driving across the state last year.

The so-called "New Hampshire Advantage" is part of our state's branding. It's about limited government. But maybe more important, it's about low taxes.

The state has no sales or income tax, a point of pride for many residents and politicians. But is New Hampshire's anti-tax attitude really so unique?

In a word: yes.


Flickr/ Anne and Tim (Creative Commons)

The New Hampshire House voted Thursday morning to move forward on bringing a family and medical leave program to the state, even after the commerce committee recommended against it.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Governor Chris Sununu signed into law Thursday morning new protections against childhood lead exposure.

At a signing ceremony in Claremont, the Governor championed the public health impact of the new law.

"We will, without a doubt, prevent a lot of children from getting lead poisoning,” he said. “That's a really good thing"

The legislation mandates lead screenings for all one and two year olds. It also lowers the blood-lead level that triggers state intervention.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A proposal to enshrine victims' rights in the New Hampshire Constitution has notable backers, including Gov. Chris Sununu, but some say it's too broad and vague.

Buzz Scherr, chairman of International Criminal Law and Justice Programs at UNH School of Law, is in this camp.

He also contends supporters are distorting the rights currently provided by state law.

A Superior Court judge will hear argument next Tuesday in the case of a New Hampshire woman who wishes to remain anonymous after winning a $560 million lottery jackpot.

[You can read NHPR’s previous coverage of this story here.]

The campaign in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District is among the most crowded and most buzzed-about midterm races in the country. With all that attention comes plenty of money, from both inside and outside the state.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A proposal to amend the New Hampshire constitution had its first public hearing at the state house today. The amendment is designed to give crime victims more rights in the criminal justice system.

Today’s hearing drew some big name supporters but also some unexpected opponents. NHPR reporter Jason Moon was at the hearing and he joins me now to talk about it.

So, what is this victims’ rights amendment? What sort of rights would it give a victim?

The wife of state Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut is urging lawmakers to oppose a bill that would ban gay conversion therapy for minors.

On Monday Kathy Edelblut sent an email to all state reps urging them to oppose the ban on gay conversion therapy. That's a controversial process where certain therapists claim they can change a young person's sexual orientation.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Dozens of supporters of what’s known as the “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival” delivered a letter to the office of New Hampshire Senate President Chuck Morse Monday, calling out what the group sees as an unfair tax system and unequal access to education, among other things.   

 

Representatives with the Campaign filed into the State House Monday morning, singing the spiritual “We Shall Overcome.”

 

Casey McDermott, NHPR

A lot of people assume that if a hospital is in their insurance network, the doctors who treat them there will be, too. But that’s not always the case — and it can leave patients on the hook for thousands of dollars in unexpected charges. 

NHPR’s Casey McDermott took a look at how this is playing out in New Hampshire, and what lawmakers are trying to do to address it.

Associated Press

The case of three women cited in 2016 for going topless on a beach in Laconia went before the New Hampshire Supreme Court this week.

The women of the Free the Nipple movement want the court to overturn Laconia's indecent exposure law. It specifically bars women from baring their breasts in public without their nipples covered.

Attorney Dan Hynes, also a state representative from Manchester, told the justices that the ordinance is discriminatory. He compared it to a hypothetical law barring gay people from the beach.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Controversial undercover video producer James O’Keefe returned to New Hampshire last night to speak at an event sponsored by College Republicans at UNH and the 603 Alliance.

Several of the two dozen or so in attendance were college students who listened intently as O’Keefe called out what he sees as media bias and corrupt journalism from outlets like The New York Times and CNN.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Rep. Bob Backus of Manchester said he thought Tuesday morning's anti-harassment training for legislators was worthwhile — even if, he conceded, he might not have absorbed the whole thing.

“I wasn’t fully awake and participating very well,” Backus, a Democrat, said in the hallway after the 8:30 a.m. presentation wrapped up.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A public hearing was held Wednesday for a bipartisan bill that would create legal protections for transgender people.

The hearing drew such a crowd that it had to be moved to Representatives Hall. The large, stately room that seats 400 was mostly full.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Keno sales in New Hampshire have topped $1 million in just over a month.

NHPR File Photo

The president of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce says he's encouraged by Gov. Chris Sununu's support for studying commuter rail expansion.

Michael Skelton now hopes state lawmakers follow suit. He will not be alone.

A new business coalition, “New Hampshire Business for Rail Expansion,” was unveiled Tuesday to advocate for restoring passenger train service from Boston to Manchester. Skelton first mentioned it while speaking on The Exchange on Tuesday.

NHPR Staff

Backers of a bill to include “gender identity” in the state’s anti-discrimination statute are holding a rally in Concord Wednesday in advance of a scheduled public hearing.

The measure - House Bill 1319 - would expand protections for transgender people in areas of employment, housing and public accommodations. The state’s anti-discrimination law currently includes factors such as age, race, religion and national origin.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gun laws are always divisive in the Live Free or Die state, but Tuesday, lawmakers are taking up a bill that is dividing a normally united front in the Republican-controlled state house: Gun rights groups.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

A month after issuing an initial set of recommendations on how to make New Hampshire more hospitable to young adults, the Governor’s Millennial Advisory Council will gather at the State House Tuesday night.

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

New Hampshire lawmakers will get a refresher course this week on the State House’s anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies. The program, scheduled for Wednesday morning in Representatives’ Hall, is not mandatory – but legislative leaders have said it is encouraged. 

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