Politics

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

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Organizers of this weekend's Women's March on Washington have taken pains to avoid calling the event-- and the hundreds of "sister marches" planned across the country -- anti-Trump.  As Terie Norelli, former Democratic Speaker of the N.H. House and a longtime state representative,  said on The Exchange this week:

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The New Hampshire Senate has voted on party lines to allow people to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. With Republicans leaders and Governor Chris Sununu favoring the bill, it’s expected to become law.

Similar bills have cleared the GOP-controlled legislatures in the past but have been vetoed by Democratic governors. With Governor Sununu promising to sign this bill, Republicans are moving fast. Senate majority leader Jeb Bradley is the bill's lead sponsor.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is asking Congress to give states as much flexibility as possible to design their own health care systems as part of the federal effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Sununu is offering his thoughts in a letter to U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent Wednesday. Congress is soliciting governors' feedback on changes to health care. Sununu says a new system should avoid "onerous regulations" on states.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate has narrowly approved a bill to limit the power of unions to charge non-members for representation.

Related: Click here to see a New Hampshire Right-to-Work explainer 

 

The debate of right-to-work was a essentials a formality in the GOP-controlled senate, but lawmakers still took two hours to air long-familiar arguments about what the law would mean for NH.

 

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu has nominated longtime state fire marshall Bill Degnan to another term.

Degnan has held the job since 2004 but his reappointment caused a feud in the state firefighting community.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

Frank Edelblut is a staunch school choice advocate who homeschooled his seven children. Governor Sununu says Edeblut's experiences, which include no professional work in education, make him a good pick for education commissioner.

CREDIT MIKE ROSS, UNH

Officials with the University System of New Hampshire tell lawmakers they'll freeze in-state tuition for the next two years -- if they get more money in the next state budget.  

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers heard hours of testimony Tuesday on a bill that would require corroborating evidence in sexual assault cases where the defendant has no prior convictions.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Due to what he says is a projected budget shortfall, Gov. Chris Sununu is calling on state commissioners to hold off on new hiring for the next six months. 

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As President-Elect Donald Trump's inauguration approaches this weekend, Washington is bracing itself for “hundreds of thousands” of inaugural attendees and protestors – a crowd that will likely include more than a few Granite Staters.

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Lawmakers have decided that, for the time being, New Hampshire will only be accepting a portion of a federal grant intended to help the state Medical Examiner work through a backlog of opioid-related autopsies. 

Attorney General Joseph Foster met with resistance during Friday’s fiscal committee meeting in Concord when he requested that the state accept approximately $285,000 in federal grant money to aid the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

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It’s been a busy week in Washington, D.C. Lawmakers have heard from some of President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees for his Cabinet and they’ve also taken steps to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and the Armed Services Committees, New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen had the opportunity to question two of Trump’s nominees—Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State and James Mattis for Secretary of Defense—and she joined NHPR’s Peter Biello to talk about those hearings and other news of the week.

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Senator Maggie Hassan is urging local care providers to fight for President Obama's signature health law.

Hassan used a visit to a Concord community mental health center to urge local care providers to lend their voices to what she termed the battle over Obamacare, which Washington Republicans have begun repealing. The law has helped 63,000 people in New Hampshire obtain coverage.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  U.S Senator Jeanne Shaheen questioned Donald Trump’s pick for defense secretary about NATO during confirmation hearings today.

As a candidate, President–Elect Trump questioned the utility of NATO, but in picking General James Mattis to lead the military, Trump selected a former NATO commander.

Shaheen asked Mattis about Trump’s NATO comments and about a a slated boost in U.S. funding for NATO under an initiative known as ERI.

“Will you support the ERI continuing as secretary of defense?

Thomas Gehrke / Flickr Creative Commons

 

In his inaugural address last week, Gov. Chris Sununu made it clear he thinks the state must — and can — act to reduce the state's high cost of electricity.

“We can’t be passive anymore," Sununu said. "We have to find the right solutions to get it done and get it done our way. Do we need to look at Northern Pass? You bet we do — 1,100 megawatts of clean, renewable energy? How do we say no to that when we have the highest rates in the country? We can help ratepayers.”

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One New Hampshire lawmaker wants to add a new charge to the state’s criminal code: Under his proposal, someone who provides another person with a lethal dose of heroin or fentanyl would be charged with manslaughter

AP

A bill looking to eliminate New Hampshire’s permit requirement for carrying a concealed firearm has passed committee and now heads to the full Senate for the third year in a row. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

State financial experts say New Hampshire is starting the year off in better fiscal health than expected. That’s good news for lawmakers charged with crafting the next two-year state budget.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Hearings for the new legislative session officially kick off this week in Concord. And lawmakers are getting right to business with two controversial bills already on the docket.

When he ran for governor Chris Sununu described NH as "a regulatory police state."

This 90-day review, which is Sununu's first policy move since taking office, is aimed at easing mandates across government.

For a regulation to survive,  Sununu wrote, department heads should be able to show that there is a clear need for it; that it is best addressed by the agency; that its cost does not exceed its benefit and that its effectiveness can be measured.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After being sworn in Thursday at the State House, Republican Chris Sununu has officially become the 82nd Governor of New Hampshire

In his inauguration address, Sununu laid out his priorities for the next two years but also offered an indication of his leadership style.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican Governor Chris Sununu was sworn in at the New Hampshire State House Thursday.

He then gave an address that focused on the state's opioid crisis, business climate, and bi-partisanship.

Listen to the full audio of his address below, as well as the post-speech responses by Democratic State Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn and Republican House Majority Leader Dick Hinch.

Listen to the speech:

Listen to Senator Jeff Woodburn's respond to the speech with NHPR's Laura Knoy. Woodburn is a Democrat, and the State Senate Minority Leader.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

When Chris Sununu is sworn in as Governor later today, he'll deliver an inaugural speech outlining his vision for state government. But what about the people served by state government? What do they want to hear from their next governor? Voters in Concord and Manchester weighed in on the days before inauguration day.

josh rogers/nhpr

 

To hear Chuck Morse tell it, being Governor isn’t anything to get too excited about.  

“Somebody has to be in charge and the constitution provided for the senate president to do that, so it’s truly an honor.”

 

Morse was outside his state house office. A paper sign reading governor was taped over his usual senate nameplate. As he made his way down the hall, occasionally looking over his shoulder at the state trooper assigned to protect him until Governor-elect Sununu is sworn in, Morse offered terse greetings to lawmakers and lobbyists…..

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

An effort to get rid of the legislature's Committee on Children and Family Law fell flat in the House Wednesday. Lawmakers rejected the proposal, 172 votes to 196.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire’s governor doesn’t have a whole lot of executive power, at least compared to peers in other states. But one of the few ways a governor can exert his or her influence is through nominations to fill open seats across state agencies.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Democrat Maggie Hassan has been sworn in as a U.S. senator, becoming only the second woman to serve as a state's governor and senator in American history.

Hassan, a two-term governor, resigned at midnight Monday. She was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden in the Senate Chamber in Washington at noon Tuesday, using the Bible that she received from her mother as a child.

In New Hampshire, Hassan handed over the reins to Republican Senate President Chuck Morse. He is serving as governor until Gov.-elect Chris Sununu, also a Republican, is inaugurated Thursday.

C-SPAN

Sen. Maggie Hassan made it official Tuesday, formally taking office as the newest member of New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation.

Hassan was sworn-in by Vice President Joe Biden in a series of ceremonies at the U.S. Capitol in Washington – first, officially, on the Senate floor, and again during a reenactment meant to give senators a chance to mark the occasion with their families.

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.

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