NH Politics

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  Former state Senator Jeanie Forrester is poised to become the next chair of the state Republican Party.

The Meredith Republican is the only candidate running to replace outgoing chair Jennifer Horn at Saturday’s annual party meeting in Derry.

Forrester is a three-term state Senator and also ran for governor last year. She spoke to NHPR’s Morning Edition heading into this weekend’s vote.

Parents, doctors and child advocacy groups are urging New Hampshire lawmakers to support paid family and medical leave and help reduce the costs of child care.

Supporters of the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy lobbied representatives Thursday on two bills. One would establish a family and medical leave insurance fund allowing for up to 12 weeks of paid leave. The other would add $15 million to the state budget to help families pay for child care.

Railroad Crossing
Photo by Tim Cummins via Flickr Creative Commons

Should lawmakers dissolve the unfunded, volunteer-run New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority? That was the question at a House Transportation Committee public hearing Wednesday. 

Last spring, lawmakers voted not to pursue preliminary steps to connect rail line from Boston to southern NH. Now, Republican House member Neal Kurk of Weare told the House Transportation Committee  he wants to eradicate the unfunded group of volunteers tasked by lawmakers with overseeing rail development in New Hampshire.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A Windham lawmaker is hoping to rewrite New Hampshire's election laws in an effort to prevent what he calls potential voter fraud.

One of his proposals received some pushback Wednesday particularly from those who would have to abide by one specific change to current law.  

The new women's prison in Concord was slated to open more than a year ago, but cost overruns turned the $38 million dollars project into a $50 million dollar one and pushed back its opening date by a year.

www.concordchristian.org

A school choice program that allows businesses to make tax write offs for donating to education scholarships had a banner year in 2016.

The program received $385,662 in donations last year, according to an annual report filed with the state’s Department of Revenue Administration. That’s a 77 percent increase from the $217,199 in donations the program saw in 2015.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The sponsors of a bill requiring corroboration for sexual assault cases in New Hampshire have pulled their support for the proposal.

Duncan Hull via Flickr CC

Some New Hampshire lawmakers are proposing that the state secede from the populous Eastern Time Zone and join in with Nova Scotia and Puerto Rico on the Atlantic time zone, dropping daylight saving time.

Opponents of daylight saving time argue that traffic accidents, heart attacks and strokes increase when we change time.

New England states have considered similar bills before, but they haven't passed.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers will tackle an array of issues this week, from barring firearms at polling places to establishing a state minimum wage.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers this week will hear about a report released last month which shed a bad light on the state’s child protective services. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

In one of his very first acts in office, Governor Chris Sununu called for a 90-day moratorium on new state regulations. But lawmakers who oversee New Hampshire's regulatory process said the new governor Friday: no can do. 

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate has narrowly approved a bill to limit the power of unions to charge non-members for representation.

Related: Click here to see a New Hampshire Right-to-Work explainer 

 

The debate of right-to-work was a essentials a formality in the GOP-controlled senate, but lawmakers still took two hours to air long-familiar arguments about what the law would mean for NH.

 

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: January 20, 2017

Jan 19, 2017

Governor Sununu picks a former rival to head the education department, and orders restrictions on state hiring.  First District Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter will not attend Donald Trump's inauguration, going to a religious service instead. And new numbers show the state's unemployment rate at just 2.6 percent. 

GUESTS:

The Women's March on Washington

Jan 19, 2017
Flickr

The day after Donald Trump's inauguration, hundreds of thousands of women are expected to protest in the Capitol and in cities around the country, including New Hampshire.  But about forty percent of female voters chose Trump, and so more widespread unity may be an elusive cause. 


Governor Chris Sununu has nominated former political rival Frank Edelblut as commissioner of the state Department of Education.

The announcement was a brief, unceremonious item on the Executive Council’s agenda Wednesday morning as Governor Chris Sununu read off a list of nominations.

“For the Commissioner of the state of the New Hampshire Department of Education I nominate Frank Edelblut of Wilton New Hampshire.”

But the choice signals a big shift in priorities for the state agency.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers heard hours of testimony Tuesday on a bill that would require corroborating evidence in sexual assault cases where the defendant has no prior convictions.

Current Population Survey, © 2016 by Barry T. Hirsch and David A. Macpherson

New Hampshire lawmakers are again debating Right-to-Work laws, with bills currently moving through both the House and Senate. With Republican majorities in both chambers, and a newly-elected governor who favors Right-to-Work, the policy stands its best chance of passing in more than a decade.

But Right-to-Work isn’t exactly a kitchen-table kind of issue. If you aren’t in a union, or a large business owner, you may not know much about its history, what Right-to-Work does, or why it matters.

Over the new few months, NHPR is bringing you a new way to experience Granite State stories from a whole new angle — literally. With 360-degree videos like this one, we're hoping you'll be able to more closely explore the places, and meet the people, we reporting on.

Cathy Merrill, Facebook

Traditionally, New Hampshire's poet laureate reads a poem at the inauguration of a new governor. This year, however, Gov. Chris Sununu chose someone with a different talent. 

Todd Bookman

We tackle two of the hottest issues of the week at the Statehouse: repealing concealed carry and Right-to-Work legislation.  In the first half-hour we'll address SB12, which would allow gun owners to carry their weapons concealed without a special permit.  In the second half-hour, we look at SB11, which prohibits unions from collecting dues from nonmembers.  Both have come up repeatedly in recent years, but with Republicans in control of both the legislature and executive branch, they have a good chance of becoming law. 


Jason Moon for NHPR

A bill that would require towns to sign off on new electric transmission lines is before lawmakers in Concord.

The bill would require power companies to win approval from a town’s governing body or via referendum before building high voltage transmission lines through a community.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

A public hearing on Right-to-Work legislation drew hundreds of people to the statehouse, with public comments lasting more than four hours.

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An agency under fire, under staffed, and under review: That's how a recent report describes the situation at the state's Division of Children Youth and Families.  It reveals an agency in crisis: too few social workers and inadequate training, compounded by weak laws that leave children under-protected. We ask how officials and lawmakers will address this.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

State financial experts say New Hampshire is starting the year off in better fiscal health than expected. That’s good news for lawmakers charged with crafting the next two-year state budget.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Hearings for the new legislative session officially kick off this week in Concord. And lawmakers are getting right to business with two controversial bills already on the docket.

NHPR

We sit down with state House and Senate leaders, on their goals for the new session.  The state budget will be their first priority, but other policy matters, from Medicaid to gun laws to voting rules, will be debated. What do you hope the Legislature does this year? 


Weekly N.H. News Roundup: January 6, 2017

Jan 6, 2017

Chris Sununu was sworn in this week as the state's first Republican governor in twelve years.  We discuss the themes in Sununu's inaugural address, and the implications for  the next legislative session, as lawmakers get back to business in Concord.  

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican Governor Chris Sununu was sworn in at the New Hampshire State House Thursday.

He then gave an address that focused on the state's opioid crisis, business climate, and bi-partisanship.

Listen to the full audio of his address below, as well as the post-speech responses by Democratic State Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn and Republican House Majority Leader Dick Hinch.

Listen to the speech:

Listen to Senator Jeff Woodburn's respond to the speech with NHPR's Laura Knoy. Woodburn is a Democrat, and the State Senate Minority Leader.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

When Chris Sununu is sworn in as Governor later today, he'll deliver an inaugural speech outlining his vision for state government. But what about the people served by state government? What do they want to hear from their next governor? Voters in Concord and Manchester weighed in on the days before inauguration day.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire’s governor doesn’t have a whole lot of executive power, at least compared to peers in other states. But one of the few ways a governor can exert his or her influence is through nominations to fill open seats across state agencies.

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