NH Politics

Aaron Web via Flickr Creative Commons

Here's what you had to say:

"I'd feel like we'd become more insignificant than we already are."

"Wouldn't bother me at all."

"It would be a real blow to the economy and to the ego of the state... I think the nation would lose out if we didn't have the presidential primary anymore.

"[I would feel] less stressed."

"I'm not really into politics.  I probably wouldn't care."

Sara Plourde / NHPR

On a recent afternoon at the Common Grounds Cafe, 200 yards from the New Hampshire border in Methuen, Mass, a handful of men sit along a short counter or at several tables in the back of the cafe.

Eyes moving back and forth from their pink and white betting slips to two wall-mounted video monitors, they wait for the next drawing of a popular electronic lottery game called Keno.

lindalu23 / Flickr Creative Commons

We’re sitting down with a panel of leading lawmakers to talk about their top issues for 2014.  These will include some repeats from last year such as Medicaid expansion, a gas tax increase, and casino gambling.  Other major debates will include guns and mental health, as well as cell phone use while driving.

GUESTS:

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is proposing a limit on taxpayer spending for oil painting portraits of government officials.

Her bill, co-sponsored with Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, would specify that taxpayer money can only be used for portraits of those in the line of succession for the presidency. And even in those cases, there would be a $20,000 limit.

On the Political Front, NHPR's Josh Rogers talks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley about how the Democratic members of New Hampshire's Congressional delegation - all facing re-election next fall - are now supporting changes to the Affordable Care Act.  

Courtesy CDFA

Unofficial results show Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier was re-elected on Tuesday, beating challenger Mark Evans 971 to 272.

Evans is a member of the city’s Planning Board and former member of the city council.

This will be Grenier’s third term. He is also one of three Coos County Commissioners and is unusual in the North Country as an elected official who favors the Northern Pass project, which does not pass through his city.

New Hampshire's tax receipts are $25 million ahead of estimates so far this fiscal year despite a weak showing in October.

Administrative Services Commissioner Linda Hodgdon said receipts were $2 million below estimates, but October is a relatively small tax month. The state collected $105 million and had forecast receiving $107 million. Hodgdon said business taxes were down over $4 million, but such a small tax collection month makes it difficult to know if that signals a trend.

Since July 1, the state has collected $541 million.

A legislative stalemate over raising the gas tax and legalizing a casino could drive highway contractors out of New Hampshire to look for work in nearby states willing to fund infrastructure improvements.

The New Hampshire House passed a gas tax this year that the Senate killed. At the same time, the Senate passed a casino bill that the House rejected.

Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement said this past week that he worries funding won't be available to finish the state's top priority — expanding Interstate 93.

Passive Income Dream.com / Flickr Creative Commons

The special commission that debated New Hampshire options all summer has made its report.  Two members of that commission talk with us about what happened, why, and where we go from here.

GUESTS:

  • Cindy Rosenwald – five-term Democratic representative from Nashua and a member of the finance committee
  • Charlie Arlinghaus -  president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank based in Concord.

    

On the Political Front this morning, NHPR's Josh Rogers talks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley about the state of Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire and how the race is shaping up in the 1st Congressional District.

NHPR Staff

A Merrimack company that makes engineered plastics for the aerospace, automotive and other industries is the latest stop on New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan's "Innovate NH" tour.

Hassan is visiting Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics on Thursday. Her office says the company has committed to reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to bring each new building's thermal performance into compliance with the most stringent national standard.

It was six months of battles, bargains and balancing. Debates on medical marijuana, voter ID, and taxes all took center stage. A proposed casino was nixed, and after months of number crunching, a biennial budget was built, and all of this done under the watchful eye of a new governor. We’ll look back at some of the biggest political debates of 2013.

Guests

A Thursday deadline is looming for House and Senate lawmakers to come to an agreement on the next two-year state budget. NHPR's Josh Rogers gets us caught up on the state of the negotiations, and what chance there is of Medicaid expansion being wrapped into the final deal.

It's committee season at the State House, as the legislative year nears its end. In the next couple of weeks, the budget will be getting the most attention, with some contention over Medicaid expansion, school building aid, charter schools, and personnel cuts. Other bills to watch for include medical marijuana and voter ID. US Senator Kelly Ayotte announces she supports a bipartisan immigration bill.

NHNewsRoundup

The Republican-led State Senate gets closer to a final budget, while carving out a deeper divide with House Democrats.   Also, new challenges for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in the Granite State.  And a makeover for the Hooksett I-93 rest areas as a well-known New Hampshire restaurateur gets the bid.

 

Guests:

Norma Love, Statehouse reporter for The Associated Press.
 

Josh Rogers, NHPR’s statehouse reporter, and senior political reporter and editor.

Gambling has been front and center in New Hampshire politics since January.  Governor Hassan made a major political push for it, interest groups weighed in on both sides, and public policy groups came out with data on the possible effects of a Granite State casino. That's why today's vote in the House has been considered by many as maybe the biggest vote of the year. In the end, the House voted 199-164 to kill the casino bill. Today we'll have some of the major players of this debate and ask gaming advocate what's next for them.

Guests

Sara Plourde / NHPR
Sara Plourde

Today on The Exchange, it's our Friday New Hampshire News Roundup. We're looking at some of the top stories of the week, from the one public hearing held on the state Senate's budget, to the House's hard look at the Senate casino bill, and the removal of "grow your own" policy from the medical marijuana bill.

Guests:

Kevin Landrigan - Longtime political reporter for the Telegraph of Nashua.

With April being a big month for state revenue, New Hampshire could end the biennium in the black; things are looking tougher for the casino proposal, as the legislature continues to work on the budget; Senator Ayotte held a handful of town halls meetings last week, getting questions and a bit of backlash on her gun control positions.

Senator Kelly Ayotte has been in the news for her opposition to expanded background checks for gun sales; the NH Senate set to vote on a number of bills this week, with a number of them expected not to pass; one bill that may find bipartisan support is the proposed freeze of the Voter ID law, which would mean that more stringent requirements set to go into effect in September would be put on hold.

In the wake of the bombings in Boston, NH Senator Kelly Ayotte and other lawmakers are arguing for treating the remaining suspect as an enemy combatant, which would break new legal ground; the national gun bill fails to pass, with Senator Ayotte being the lone New England Senator to oppose the bill; the casino bill backed by Governor Hassan and the NH Senate is now being examined by the NH House Finance and Ways & Means committees; both branches of the NH Legislature continue to work on their budgets.

John H. Sununu announces he will not challenge Jeanne Shaheen in the 2014 US Senate race; former Senator Scott Brown visited New Hampshire this weekend, but is not saying yet if he intends to make a Senate run in NH; other possibilities for 2014 include Frank Guinta and Jeb Bradley.

sskennel via Flickr Creative Commons

We sit down with New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, as she passes her first one hundred days in office.  Hassan started out with a long list of priorities -- from restoring funding to public universities and the mental health system to bringing in a casino to help pay for these.  We’ll get her take on progress made and some the push back she’s received, including from her fellow democrats.

The House passes their budget, which does not include gambling, but funds some of Governor Hassan's priorities, such as mental health and higher education; the budget-writing process now moves to the Senate, where it is likely to see numerous changes; the Senate hears several high-profile bills this week, including a reinstatement of the state minimum wage; Scott Brown announces he "would not rule out" a Senate run in NH.

The House votes this week on their State budget bill; an as-yet-introduced amendment to the casino bill seeks to limit any future casino from competing with the Verizon Wireless Arena with a large audience entertainment venue; gambling looks to have staying power in the legislative budget process.

The House votes on the "Stand Your Ground" repeal, which would again require people to attempt to retreat before using deadly force, and a bill to increase the state's gas tax; gambling remains a heavily-debated issue, with differing proposals in the House and Senate, and one that could be affected by who replaces Michael Delaney as Attorney General.

Some key votes are coming up within a busy House docket: the tobacco tax increase, expected to pass, but at less than the Governor's proposed level; freezing the second phase of the Voter ID law, halting provisions set to take effect this fall that would eliminate some of the current acceptable forms of identification, namely college students' school IDs; a change of the "Stand Your Ground" law, reinstating the requirement that people make an effort to retreat before using deadly force.

The casino proposal faces its first major vote this week, is expected to pass in the Senate; the gas tax comes before the House Ways & Means Committee; medical marijuana legislation may have new life with Governor Hassan in the corner office; the House works on a revised budget.

As the NH house readies to vote on a 15 cent increase to the state’s gas tax, Former house speaker Bill O’Brien is pushing to ensure all gas tax money pays for infrastructure.  

Former House speaker Bill O’Brien knows something about diverting gas tax revenue to pay for things other than roads. The state budget he passed as speaker did just that, as so have pretty much every state budget in memory.

But now, as the House stands ready to increase gas taxes for the first time since 1991, O'Brien says it’s time for the practice to stop.

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