Politics

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

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House worked its way Wednesday through dozens of bills.

Among the measures approved are proposed changes to the state’s drug laws and public school funding.

NHPR’s Paige Sutherland has been covering Wednesday’s session and joins All Things Considered Host Peter Biello from the Statehouse in Concord.

Jack Rodolico for NHPR

New Hampshire Attorney General Joe Foster will step down at month's end after four years leading the state's justice department.

In his resignation letter to the Executive Council Foster called his time as A.G. "an extraordinary honor."

Governor Chris Sununu says he expects to name his pick to replace Foster shortly.

"The sooner the better. I mean I can't give you an exact time table, but we are working very diligently through the process now. We are not going to wait."

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A bill adding opioid addiction to the state’s policy on mandated treatment received broad support at a public hearing Tuesday.

Nearly 40 other states have similar policies on the books.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

Secretary of State Bill Gardner says he would not support legislation if he believed it would hurt voter turnout. And as he sees it, a new bill that would impose new requirements on voters who register within 30 days of an election does not run the risk of doing that.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The top Republican in the New Hampshire House says he fears long-term harm if New Hampshire joins twenty other states – including Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine – in extending non-discrimination protections in housing, employment and public accommodations to people who are transgender.


FILE

The public will get the chance to weigh in on a bill  Tuesday that would allow people battling an opioid addiction to be mandated to seek treatment.

About 40 states including Massachusetts have similar laws already in place.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

The New Hampshire Hospital Association says a federal court ruling last week means state budget writers owe hospitals $80 million on top of what the governor has already proposed. But the head of the house finance committee disagrees. 

josh rogers/nhpr

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen visited former Iraqi refugee Tamam Mohamad, at the Spice Center market in Manchester to call attention to her opposition to President Trump's new executive order banning U.S. from 6 Muslim-majority countries and freezing all refugee resettlement.

Mohmmad came from Iraq in the late-1990s with $20. He eventually became a citizen and returned to his home country for 3 years as U.S. military interpreter. He says Iraq may not be included in the President’s new executive order, but that doesn’t matter to him.

Elaine Grant / NHPR

Republican lawmakers have proposed dozens of individual bills to tighten up New Hampshire election laws this year, but one new proposal coming forward this week would on its own enact a number of changes in what’s required for voters to register and how officials are expected to verify those credentials.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

President Trump has signed a revised executive order, once again barring travel to the United States from six majority-Muslim countries and suspending the U.S. refugee program.

It's similar to the president's January order that was blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. But this latest order leaves Iraq off the list of barred countries.

The White House cites more cooperation with the Iraqi government in vetting people who apply for U.S. visas. The latest order also specifically states that it does not apply to legal permanent U.S. residents or current visa holders.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A governor’s ability to work with the legislature can make, or in some cases, break his or her political legacy. Chris Sununu has now been in office for two months, and once thing that’s become clear – to him and to lawmakers – is that he’s no natural when it comes to dealing with the legislature. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

House lawmakers have a busy week with back to back session days and dozens of bills on the agenda.

Legislation ranges from a proposed change to  the state’s age requirements for marriage to adding gender identity to state discrimination laws.

FILE

When President Barack Obama signed the “21st Century Cures Act” into law last year, New Hampshire officials anticipated getting $10 million over the next biennium. That number has dropped to $6 million.

Tym Rurke, who chairs the Governor’s Commission on Drugs and Alcohol, says although the funding was supposed to be based on per capita overdose deaths – that wasn’t the case.

FILE

Governor Chris Sununu is getting attention for his recent claims that the city of Lawrence, Mass., is the main source of fentanyl hitting New Hampshire.

Critics accuse Sununu of pointing fingers – saying it’s not going to solve the state’s drug crisis.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

House budget writers will have less money to work with than Gov. Chris Sununu did in crafting the next two year state spending plan. 

Ed Bolton/FLICKR

House finance members are continuing to draft their version of the next two-year state budget – a process involving hundreds of pages and thousands of individual spending items.

But some budget items take up a little more time than expected.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The morning after President Donald Trump’s address to Congress, Governor Chris Sununu told a crowd of Manchester businesspeople that he was inspired by the president's tone.

Governor Chris Sununu performed what is a ritual for New Hampshire governors: a tree tapping ceremony marking the official kick off of maple sugar season.  But the governor also blended some political talk with the syrup. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  With the future of Obamacare unclear, and GOP talk of converting Medicaid, which serves 186,000 people in New Hampshire, to a block grant system, Senator Hassan is reminding colleagues past and present that she sees changes to the program, particularly the end of expanded Medicaid, a grave threat.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

It’s a quiet week at the Statehouse this week, but not for budget writers.

House Finance members will continue to meet with state department reps as they work to finish up their version of the state's new two-year spending plan. 

NHPR Staff

President Trump and Congressional Republicans are considering transforming  Medicaid - which provides health services to millions of low income people - to a block grant program. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is pitching the potential change as a way to better serve local needs, but it’s also one that carries risk.

New Hampshire Senate
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate voted Thursday to keep campaign contributions flowing from LLCs, but moved to tighten restrictions on political advertising. 

Senator Dan Feltes argued in vain Thursday in favor of his bill, which would have closed what he calls the Limited Liability Corporation loophole. The bill sought to prevent multiple LLCs with the same owner from collectively exceeding the individual campaign contribution limit.

The majority instead voted with Senator Andy Sanborn, who owns several LLCs himself.

Jack Rodolico for NHPR

A bill in the state Senate would tighten eligibility for SNAP benefits, commonly called food stamps. That bill was written, in part, by a conservative, Florida-based think tank that’s pushed similar measures around the country. 

Josh Rogers for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu signed his first bill into law Wednesday, repealing the license requirement to carry a concealed gun.

The new law, which takes effect immediately, is the first tangible outcome of Republican control in Concord.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

Over eighty people turned out in Concord Tuesday to testify on a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. 

More than once, Representative Don LaBrun had to call for decorum in a room packed with supporters and opposition alike. Members of transgender, medical and religious communities turned out to testify on a bill that would prohibit discrimination based upon “gender identity,” adding the term to the long list of factors such as age, race and disability.

Vox Efx / Flickr Creative Commons

The way Rep. Norman Silber sees it, a party primary is supposed to select the best person who represents the values and platform of that particular political party — and allowing undeclared voters to weigh in allows for too much electoral mischief.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers will hear testimony this week on bills on marijuana policy, the state’s business taxes and eligibility for food stamps.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The New Hampshire House voted Thursday to kill a controversial Right-to-Work bill, as divisions within the Republican party ultimately sank the measure.

NHPR Staff

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says she's disappointed that Gov. Chris Sununu hasn't been more forceful in rebutting voter fraud allegations in New Hampshire.

President Donald Trump says he lost New Hampshire in November because thousands of people came by bus to vote against him. Shaheen, a Democrat, says Trump is making that up. On Wednesday, she told reporters that it's disappointing that Sununu — a Republican who was elected in November — hasn't been stronger about pushing back.

josh rogers\nhpr

Governor Chris Sununu's pick to be New Hampshire's education commissioner, was approved by the executive council today.

The 3-2 vote confirming Frank Edelblut came a day after the State Board of Education wrote to Sununu expressing reservations about Edelblut's qualifications.

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