Political news from New Hampshire Public Radio, from the State House to the First in the Nation Primary.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

President Trump will visit Manchester Monday, where's he's expected to announce a new plan to battle the nationwide opioid crisis.

Manchester Fire Department Chief Daniel Goonan knows first-hand how big his city’s opioid problem is.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The state House has again rejected a bid to give New Hampshire towns more control over their own environmental protections – but advocates of the constitutional amendment say they're making progress.

Organizer Michelle Sanborn with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund says the House barely debated the proposal the first time around, in 2016.

So she's encouraged by Thursday’s House vote of 271 to 112 against it.

PROBartolomej Jahoda via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/F4s3N

In the debate over legalizing marijuana in New Hampshire, advocates have said it should be regulated like alcohol.

So, it makes some sense that the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission would be a potential go-to agency to regulate it, should the Granite State one day permit retail sale of recreational pot. 

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

New Hampshire won’t be offering online voter registration anytime soon. The House of Representatives killed a bill that would have required the Secretary of State to work with the Division of Motor Vehicles to set up such a system.


Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake is scheduled to speak Friday morning at Saint Anselm College in Manchester.


Flake will be the featured speaker at the “Politics and Eggs” forum hosted by the college. Past speakers have included President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.


In an interview with NBC, Flake said he thinks Trump should be challenged during the 2020 Republican primary. But Flake has yet to announce a presidential run for himself.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  Governor Chris Sununu said Wednesday he wants his hand-picked school safety task force to research the effectiveness of arming school employees and if stronger background checks could help prevent gun violence.

The first-term Republican's School Safety Preparedness Task Force met for the first time Wednesday, the same day students across the state walked out of the classroom to honor the 17 people killed in the mass shooting at a school in Parkland, Fla.


It was a scene you'd expect at your average campaign launch: dozens of supporters gathered at a press conference just steps from the State House, top party officials waiting to offer endorsements and a well-endowed fundraising committee waiting behind the scenes.

An average campaign launch — except for the fact that any kind of campaign for this particular office, New Hampshire’s Secretary of State, was all but unprecedented.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Social studies teacher Rob Nadeau’s journey to the New Hampshire State House began last fall in his Hopkinton Middle High School classroom. While teaching an Intro to Law class, he said he noticed his students were shocked to learn that in New Hampshire, permitted gun owners were allowed to bring their firearms into a school building. 

Lara Bricker for NHPR

Today, voters in towns around the state will cast ballots in local elections. Like last year, a severe snowstorm is complicating matters, especially in the wake of the state's claim that towns don't have the power to reschedule local votes.

NHPR's reporters are in the field covering polls around the state throughout Town Meeting Day. Bookmark this blog and check back to see photos, hear from voters, and more.

Click here for NHPR's coverage of local issues leading up to Town Meeting Day. 

Rebecca Lavoie

With more than a foot of snow forecast in some parts of the state on Tuesday, it feels like déjà vu for many towns who had to scramble to accommodate a late-breaking nor’easter that swept in on town meeting day in March 2017.

Peter Biello for NHPR

Today on The Exchange, a conversation with Steve Marchand, who's launched his campaign to be the Democratic challenger to Governor Chris Sununu in 2018.

Marchand, who served as mayor of Portsmouth from 2005-2008, lost the gubernatorial primary to Colin Van Ostern in 2016. (Click here to see NHPR's coverage of  the 2016 race and click here to find out where he stood on the issues.)

After nearly two full hours of floor debate, the New Hampshire Senate green-lit a plan to keep New Hampshire's Medicaid expansion going for another five years.

Jason Moon, NHPR

As next Tuesday’s town meeting day approaches, state lawmakers are still dealing with the fallout from a nor'easter that delayed votes in dozens of communities across the state last year.

A bill approved by the Senate on Thursday sought to resolve an ongoing power struggle between the Secretary of State’s office and town officials over who should be able to postpone an election — for weather, safety or other reasons. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR


Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Marchand has a plan to curb gun violence ... just don’t call it gun control, he says.

"Note - I don't call it gun control because that implies I'm trying to take your guns. It's reducing gun violence," he said on The Exchange on Wednesday.

It’s not often that a political candidate announces his or her platform, and then is immediately challenged by passionate opponents.

But last week, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Marchand stood on the steps of the Lebanon City Hall taking questions - not from reporters, but passionate gun rights advocates.

NHPR Staff

New Hampshire lawmakers are again voting on whether to expand the state's anti-discrimination law to include transgender people.

The House is set to vote Wednesday on a bill that would ban discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on someone's gender identity in addition to the protections that already exist based on sex, religion and sexual orientation. Lawmakers tabled a virtually identical bill last year, leaving New Hampshire the only New England state without such protections.

Flikr Creative Commons/ evmaiden

For over a year now, education policy watchers in Concord have focused their attention on a controversial bill that would create Education Savings Accounts.

But meanwhile, another bill popular with the school choice proponents has been making its way through the legislature, largely unnoticed.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

There’s a phrase political reporters often lean on when describing Democratic congressional candidate Maura Sullivan: “Right out of central casting.”

Sullivan is a Marine and a Harvard grad who served multiple posts in the Obama administration. So, yeah, central casting seems accurate.

And yet, there’s a very noticeable hole in her resume that has been tripping up some New Hampshire voters lately who are weighing their options in the 1st Congressional District--there’s not much on Sullivan’s resume about the Granite State.

FEC District Map

New Hampshire's newest congressional hopeful knows he’ll constantly be linked with his presidential candidate dad (he even sounds like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at times).


But Levi Sanders says he hopes people pay more attention to issues like income inequality, gun safety, and opioid addiction than they do his famous name.

ACLU of New Hampshire

Town meeting season can bring out all kinds of local tensions — spurring battles over property taxes, school budgets and more. In Gilmanton, it’s also led to a burgeoning dispute over lawn signs and the First Amendment.


  Levi Sanders, Bernie Sanders' son, announced he is running for New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District.

Sanders is joining seven fellow Democrats and three Republicans in this year's race for the seat. Four-term Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is not running for re-election in 2018.

The 48-year-old Sanders has lived in New Hampshire for 15 years. He's in Claremont, in the 2nd Congressional District. The U.S. Constitution requires only that U.S. House members reside in the state they serve, not necessarily in the same district.

Lauren Chooljian for NHPR

With its paper ballots and in-person registration requirements, New Hampshire's voting system is less digitally wired — and therefore somewhat less susceptible to cyberattacks — than many of its peers.


Lawmakers in New Hampshire are questioning the merits of a lawsuit over shared costs at Hampton Beach, saying the state has done a lot to give money to the town of Hampton.

Republican State Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley says he sympathizes with Hampton's call for aid for emergency services, but argues the state has paid a fair share through capital expenditure projects. The Portsmouth Herald reports the lawsuit filed Feb. 14 asks a judge to determine if the state of New Hampshire is taking on its share of responsibilities outlined in a 1933 deed.

Forrest Seavey

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted down a bill today, HB1542, which would allow revolvers and pistols on state college campuses.

The vote comes just weeks after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida left 17 students dead.

Dozens of mothers and supporters of the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America showed up to protest the proposed legislation.

NHPR Staff

Pistols and revolvers would be allowed on the campuses of New Hampshire's public colleges, universities and community colleges under a bill up for a vote in the House.

House lawmakers are set to vote Thursday on a bill that would allow anyone who is not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law to carry a gun to bring weapons onto the grounds of any University System of New Hampshire campus or community college campus. Currently, the campuses ban guns other than those carried by law enforcement.

Gun Store / Flickr Creative Commons

Speaking to a group of reporters on Wednesday, Gov. Chris Sununu would not say whether he  supports any changes to state-level gun laws in the aftermath of the mass shooting that claimed 17 lives at a Florida high school last week.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu says he wouldn’t have a problem with requiring state lawmakers to undergo anti-harassment training, at least in theory.

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Executive Council occupies a somewhat nebulous position in New Hampshire state government: They meet and vote in the State House, but they aren’t legislators; they’re part of the executive branch, but they aren’t a state agency.

Michael Brindley/NHPR

A state superior court judge heard arguments in a case challenging the controversial Senate Bill 3 voting law on Tuesday.


The bill requires proof-of-residency documents for voters registering within 30 days of an election. It’s been challenged by the League of Women Voters of New Hampshire for adding what it says are ‘confusing’ and ‘intimidating hurdles’ to voting.


Robert Garrova for NHPR

Julián Castro, a possible presidential hopeful who was a former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama, addressed New Hampshire Young Democrats in Manchester Friday night.