NH Politics

Gene Chandler is back as Speaker of the New Hampshire House.

After two rounds of secret ballots and one caucus meeting Thursday, Chandler won the majority of votes cast by his House colleagues. The Bartlett Republican beat Democrat Steve Shurtleff of Penacook and Libertarian Jim McConnell of North Swanzey.

Chandler is in his 18th term in the NH house.

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Governor Sununu says he supports the GOP tax bill working its way through the Senate, calling it a “net positive” for the majority of low and middle income families in America.

Sununu met Wednesday with Vice President Mike Pence to talk about the tax plan, as well as New Hampshire’s Medicaid program and ongoing opioid crisis.

File Photo / NHPR

Now that the Senate Budget Committee has passed the Republican tax plan, GOP leaders hope the full Senate will take it up this week.

While the fate of the bill is unclear, Democrats seem to be united against it, calling it a giveaway to the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.

New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen joined NHPR's Peter Biello to discuss the legislation.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  The country's largest legislative body is set to choose its new leader. 

 

The 400-member New Hampshire House will vote Thursday morning to replace Shawn Jasper, who left the post after three years to become Agriculture Commissioner. 

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A state lawmaker wants to give employees who work at the New Hampshire Statehouse the same protections afforded to their counterparts in other public sector jobs across the state.

Right now, New Hampshire's public employee labor act applies to employees at state agencies, the judicial branch, the state university system and other public bodies. But the employees who work at the Statehouse are left out.

When it comes to marijuana legalization, the conflict between state and federal laws appears to be cause for concern for New Hampshire banks.

Todd Wells, Chief Bank Examiner for the New Hampshire Banking Department, says it's a matter of "reputation risk" for state-chartered banks and credit unions hesitant to establish direct relationships with marijuana-related businesses.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

In a scenario that was reminiscent of his earlier rise as Speaker of the House, Republican Shawn Jasper narrowly squeaked through as New Hampshire’s new agriculture commissioner — thanks to support from the opposite party.

When Jasper was elected Speaker in 2014, House Democrats joined with a handful of Republicans to secure his nomination. On Wednesday, the Executive Council's two Democrats also joined with one Republican to confirm Jasper as agriculture commissioner.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As reported earlier this week, New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper says he's disappointed that roughly one-quarter of his chamber has not signed a form acknowledging they’ve read the official State House sexual harassment policy.

Some members of the New Hampshire Democratic Party are forming a caucus for military veterans and their families. 

About fifty people have expressed interest in joining, says Amelia Keane. She's a Democratic representative from Nashua and a combat medic in the Army Reserves.

Keane is also a member of the caucus, and she says its goal is to advocate for legislation that would improve the lives of veterans and their family members. She says right now the caucus is just getting started.

A new poll from the University of New Hampshire says many New Hampshire residents don't think voter fraud has an impact on local elections.

The latest Granite State Poll tackles a topic that's been front of mind for many New Hampshire residents lately, especially Republicans. 

Democratic State Rep. Mindi Messmer has announced she’s running for Congress.

Messmer is a first-term legislator from Rye who has made a name for herself through her work on drinking water contamination in the state.

Messmer is a scientist who runs her own environmental consulting firm.

She says she wants to bring that scientific background to Washington to defend environmental regulations that are being rolled back by the Trump administration.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A controversial school choice bill cleared a major hurdle in the State House Tuesday, receiving a positive recommendation from the House Education Committee on Tuesday by a 10-9 vote.

The bill would allow parents of some children to spend tax dollars to educate their children with non-public school options like private school or home school. But the bill looks considerably different than when it was originally introduced several months ago.

Courtesy of the N.H. Lottery Commission

Rochester officials will be hosting a recount next week on the passage of the electronic gambling game Keno.

Last week voters in the city approved Keno by just one vote.

NHPR File

Don't expect school bus passengers in New Hampshire to be required to buckle up anytime soon.

A committee of state lawmakers studying a school bus seat belt requirement is not recommending any such legislation. The committee was formed in compliance with a House Bill that was signed into law in April.

“There’s just not a lot of data to support that an effort this massive is really going to help,” says Rep. Steven Smith, the committee's chairman.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Former White House chief strategist and head of Breitbart News Steve Bannon spoke to New Hampshire Republicans last night at an event in Manchester.

As people arrived at the Executive Court Banquet Facility in Manchester to hear Bannon speak, many of them were greeted by "boos" from across the street.

Dozens of people like Hassan Essa, who recently ran for alderman in Manchester, stood in a line with glowing signs that read "no hate in Granite State."

Essa said he just couldn’t understand why some people would pay as much $750 to hear Bannon speak.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A former state Republican Party chairman says this week’s election results do not bode well for his party in 2018.

Speaking on NHPR's Morning Edition, Fergus Cullen said a Democrat wave may have contributed to Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas losing re-election to Joyce Craig.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  Manchester Mayor-elect Joyce Craig says crafting a budget tops her priority list as the city’s 56th mayor. She also reflects on the historic nature of the election - being the first woman to hold the office.

“It feels great,” she tells NHPR’s Morning Edition.

 

FILE

Voters in cities across New Hampshire are heading to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots for  city leaders, candidates for school board and police commissioner, and for local election officials.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

As voters head to the polls in municipal elections across the state Tuesday, a lawsuit is still pending against a new voting law known as Senate Bill 3.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Bud Fitch is a familiar face around New Hampshire’s Statehouse and its broader political circles. He’s served as deputy attorney general, as Gov. John Lynch’s so-called "stimulus czar" and as a top staffer for former Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

Since August, Fitch has been working under Secretary of State Bill Gardner in a newly created position as a dedicated attorney focusing on election law.

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A revised school voucher bill would allow parents to use tax dollars allocated to public schools to send their children to other schools, or homeschool them. Advocates say this gives children a better chance to find a school that suits their needs, while opponents worry too much money will be withdrawn from public school education, and put a strain on districts. 


NHPR File

In the final Manchester mayoral debate, challenger Joyce Craig accused incumbent Ted Gatsas of failing to follow protocol when a 14-year-old student was raped at a high school in 2015.

The rape was not made public until earlier this year when the county prosecutor announced that Bryan Wilson, who was 17 at the time, was found guilty and sentenced to 10- to- 20 years for aggravated felonious sexual assault at West High School.

Voters in Manchester will see two ballot questions on Tuesday. One is something on the ballot in ten other cities this Election Day, a variation of: Shall the city allow the operation of Keno games within the city?

But the other one is a little different. It's a non-binding informational question about the city flag. It reads:

"Which flag would you like to see as the official flag of the city of Manchester?"

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas and candidate Joyce Craig spent a good portion of  Thursday debate on NHPR’s The Exchange talking about the opioid crisis.

The two candidates more or less saw eye to eye on the issue - that is, except when it came to re-upping Medicaid expansion.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

A handful of Republican lawmakers and one Democrat are expected to square off at a forum in Concord in hopes of becoming the next Speaker of the New Hampshire House.

Governor Chris Sununu has nominated the current Speaker, Shawn Jasper, to be his Commissioner of Agriculture. Jasper has yet to be confirmed by the Executive Council, but in the meantime, a number of his colleagues have been lining up to be his potential replacement.

 

Incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas and challenger Joyce Craig, a former Alderman, square off days before voters go to the polls. On the agenda: the opioid crisis, education, property taxes, and immigration. It's the second time the two have vied for the corner office of the state's largest city.


Former New Hampshire AFL-CIO president and current state Rep. Mark MacKenzie is the latest Democrat to enter the race for the state’s 1st Congressional District.

MacKenzie worked as a Manchester firefighter for 25 years after signing up as a 21 year old.

He also served as president of the New Hampshire chapter of the country's largest labor union for 25 years. He lost reelection to that post in 2015 after a controversy over voting process.

NHPR Staff

Both New Hampshire representatives Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter voted against the Republican budget, which passed today in the House.

Kuster says the budget would make devastating cuts to Medicaid and Medicare while giving tax cuts to billionaires. Shea-Porter echoed those sentiments and cautioned that Congressional Republicans will now try to use the reconciliation process to make these goals a reality.

Meanwhile, the White House is praising the passage of a budget in the House as a necessary step for a tax overhaul.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu is asking the President not to deport a group of Indonesians who’ve been living in Dover since the late 1990s.

The deportations are currently on hold, pending the ruling of a federal judge in Boston.

Gerald Herbert / AP

Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist who has declared war on establishment Republicans, will speak to a conservative GOP group in New Hampshire early next month.

Bannon left the Trump administration after a controversial stint that included allegations he was behind leaks.

The 603 Alliance announced that Bannon will share his Washington insights and perspectives on 2018.

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