Politics

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

Via steelguru.com

When Chris Sununu takes office Thursday, he’ll be the youngest governor in the country. But his arrival will also be a restoration of sorts for his family.

The Sununus have been New Hampshire’s first family before, back in the 1980’s, when Chris Sununu’s father, John H. Sununu, was Governor.

But plenty has changed since then, including the family’s business interests.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

By the end of this week, New Hampshire will — technically — have had three different governors in the span of just a few days.

Governor-Elect Chris Sununu will be sworn into his new role Thursday afternoon, becoming the country’s youngest sitting governor and the first Republican to lead New Hampshire in 12 years. (Former Gov. Craig Benson, whose term ended in 2005, was the last Republican in the corner office.)

NHPR Staff

A Republican leader in the state legislature wants New Hampshire to bar unions from charging non-members for representing them. With Governor-elect Chris Sununu also backing so-called right-to-work, the issue will be prominent when lawmakers return to Concord next year.

Divisions in the GOP and Democratic governors have stymied efforts to enact right-to-work in the past.

The bill’s lead sponsor this time around, House Majority Leader Dick Hinch, says the idea behind the measure is to give workers more freedom.

Tax Credits via Flickr Creative Commons

Among the slate of economic measures state lawmakers will consider next session is a bill to impose an income tax. The sponsor is well aware of what he’s up against.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

From changes in voting registration to changes to party primaries or the Electoral College, New Hampshire lawmakers are preparing a slew of bills aimed at reforming the state’s elections.

In all, at least 40 bills aimed at tinkering with the state’s election laws are in the works for 2017.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Year will bring plenty of new rules and regulations to New Hampshire, covering everything from police body cameras to the use of laser pointers. Here's a look at some of the bills that will officially be law as of January 1st:

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

The United States is one of few countries in the world that doesn't guarantee paid family leave for workers. Four states have voted to adopt their own family leave policies in recent years, and Representative Mary Gile of Concord has been working to put New Hampshire on that list.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

There are more than 2,500 drones registered in New Hampshire. And with their popularity on the rise you can expect to see more of these unmanned aircrafts buzzing around the Granite State skies in 2017.

But drone owners in New Hampshire may have to fly under new rules next year if lawmakers decide federal regulations are not enough.

NHPR Staff

During the campaign, Governor-elect Chris Sununu said he would make attracting companies to the state a top priority. He also promised to meet with 100 business leaders in his first 100 days in office. 

In a speech this week, Sununu says the current administration hasn’t worked hard enough to attract firms, and criticized officials for failing to land a big one, General Electric.

The Republican’s comments on the year-old General Electric decision seemed to come out of the blue.

Allegra Boverman/NHPR

New Hampshire has been awarded $80 million from the federal government to build a bio research and manufacturing institute in Manchester. 

The money, which was granted by the U.S. Department of Defense, will create a new institute to develop and bio-manufacture tissues and organs that can be transplanted into patients - particularly wounded military veterans. 

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor-elect Chris Sununu has named some of his key staffers. 

Former state GOP chairman Jayne Millerick, who has a communications business, will be Sununu's Chief of Staff. 

Jason Snyder via Wikimedia Commons

Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is seeking more transparency on federal animal research spending.

Shaheen is the co-author of a letter to the Government Accountability Office requesting an investigation into public reporting of animal testing. She's joined by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, both Democrats.

House Speaker Shawn Jasper stands by his decision to appoint Rep. Frank Sapareto as Vice Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee. 

Sapareto’s past criminal record has raised complaints about the appointment. 

josh rogers/nhpr

 

Chris Sununu came out on top in November's elections, but in a speech to New Hampshire’s Forum on the Future Tuesday, he repeatedly called the 2016 campaign "terrible," and said it drove his family to get rid of cable TV to escape the rhetoric and campaign ads. 

Josh Rogers for NHPR

The ritual formality of the state’s Electoral College vote was observed in the Executive Council chambers in Concord Monday: ballots were cast, documents were signed and sealed with wax.

The outcome was as ordained by the local results: New Hampshire's four votes, from four Democratic electors, went to Hillary Clinton. But the sting of the election – at least for Democrats -- remained visceral.

Demonstrators chanted outside the statehouse.

“Recount the vote, recount the vote, recount the vote."

Casey McDermott, NHPR

It’s not unusual for local officials across New Hampshire to be asked to turn over emails or other records under the state’s right-to-know law. In Manchester, City Clerk Matt Normand estimates his office receives about 100 such requests each year.

It is unusual, however, for a city to be on the receiving end of a public records request from the state itself.

Josh Rogers/NHPR

Even if you're a veteran of New Hampshire politics, chances are you've never heard this story before.

We certainly hadn’t - until last week, when Gov-elect Sununu spoke at a party celebrating the holidays, and the renovation of the Bridges House, New Hampshire’s governor’s residence.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

There’s growing bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for investigations into whether Russia tried to influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

The Republican chair of the Senate foreign relations committee announced plans this week to hold hearings looking into the alleged hacking.  

New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen is a member of the foreign relations and armed services committees, and she joined NHPR's Morning Edition to talk about where she hopes the investigation goes.

FLICKR/CC Waltarr

UPDATED & REVISED DECEMBER 16. 

 

On Monday, December 19, barring any extraordinary developments, electors will meet in each state and officially cast their votes for the President and Vice President.  

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

Wednesday was Organization Day for the New Hampshire Legislature, when all 400 members of the House of Representatives gather for the first time since being elected. Reporter Hannah McCarthy spoke to three brand-new reps about their decision to run.

NHPR Staff

Speaking at a Business and Industry Association energy symposium, Chris Sununu said New England needs more natural gas and anyone who disagrees is wrong. He said the pipeline proposed for NH and scuttled by the Kinder Morgan company earlier this year would have been wrong for the state. But Sununu added he hopes Kinder Morgan and other companies will look to build here in the future, and said if the project is designed with local input, and he’s persuaded it works for New Hampshire, he’ll fight for it.

FILE

Federal legislation aimed at helping states struggling with the opioid epidemic is headed to President Obama’s desk. That’s after the U.S. Senate Wednesday passed the proposal 94 to 5.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Bill Gardner, best known as the guardian of New Hampshire’s First in the Nation Presidential Primary,  was elected to his 21st consecutive term as Secretary of State Wednesday.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After winning the support of the full New Hampshire House, Republican Rep. Shawn Jasper is set to serve another term as House Speaker.

And unlike the last contest for speaker, this year's election went largely as expected.

Heading into November, New Hampshire Democrats talked a big game when it came to their hopes for retaking control of the state Senate.

But when the Republicans ended up maintaining the same 14-10 margin they’ve held for the past two years, Democrats placed at least part of the blame for their losses on gerrymandered district lines.

As it turns out, they might have a point.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

State lawmakers will chose the next Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives Wednesday.  

Current Speaker Shawn Jasper looks in good position to keep his speaker’s gavel, with Republicans holding a solid majority in the House. 

A federal appeals court has upheld a 2014 New Hampshire law that puts limits on how long third parties have to collect the necessary signatures to petition their way onto a general election ballot.

The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire urged a three-judge panel in Boston to strike down the law, saying it could prevent third-party candidates from getting on the ballot.

The panel agreed Friday with a judge who found the law creates reasonable restrictions justified by the state's interest in requiring parties to demonstrate a sufficient level of support.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

This week the full New Hampshire House will decide who will lead the chamber for the next two years.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

As rivals vying for their party's gubernatorial nomination, Jeanie Forrester clashed with Chris Sununu. Forrester said Sununu lacked wisdom, was immature and mocked him as a product of a political dynasty. But no sooner had Forrester announced for GOP chair, and promised to "make NH red again, " than Chris Sununu was there to offer his backing. In a statement he praised her as someone who could build on what Sununu called the GOP's "strong voter contact program and aggressive fundraising operation."

2016 was a mixed bag for New Hampshire Republicans. The party’s top elected official, Senator Kelly Ayotte, lost her seat to Governor Hassan. But Chris Sununu’s win over fellow executive councilor Colin Van Ostern gave the GOP the Governor’s office for the first time in a dozen years.  

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