Politics

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

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

 The New Hampshire House has again voted decriminalize marijuana. This proposal would make first offense possession of a 1/4 ounce or less a violation.

The 289-58 vote marked the seventh time house lawmakers have tried to make marijuana possession a violation.

Backers of this proposal, like Hampton Democrat Renny Cushing pitched it as a middle ground.

"This is a compromise that will allow us to have first time offenders who have a small amount of marijuana escape a lifetime of draconian punishment for that and have a second chance."

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Democrat Molly Kelly and Republican David Boutin announced Tuesday they will not seek re-election to the state Senate this year.

Kelly, who lives in Harrisville and represents Keene and the surrounding area, was elected in 2006, and said it was a difficult decision not to seek a sixth term.  

"This does not mean the end of my political interest or my commitment to this community and to the people of this great state," Kelly said in a Facebook post.

Kelly is currently vice chair of the Senate Health and Human Services committe.

iStockphoto

When it comes to helping children with problems like anxiety, depression or substance abuse, a lot of people become part of the decision-making process. There's often  the local school district, primary care doctors, and community health workers -- and sometimes even the courts or DCYF. 

At times, a child can get lost in the middle. A bill this session aims to change that by making sure all the parties involved work together to reduce costs and improve outcomes for kids.

Welcome to opioid week in the U.S. House of Representatives.

That’s what House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has dubbed it. Members of Congress received word late last week, as they wrapped up their brief recess, that opiate-related legislation will go to the House floor this week. Details are still emerging; but this week promises to be a major step for the work of New England lawmakers on the issue.

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte continues to stand by her statement that she’ll support -- but not endorse -- apparent Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

On the Political Front is our weekly check-in with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. 

Leslie Duss via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/MWtfZ

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan has vetoed a bill that would have made technical changes to tobacco tax laws, saying it exempts low-priced cigars from taxes.

Hassan says the bill expands the definition of "premium cigar" to include those that wholesale for less than $2.

In her veto message Friday, Hassan says as a matter of public health and fairness, she's proposed equal treatment for tobacco products during the last two budget cycles. But she says the bill moves in the opposite direction for cigars.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Maggie Hassan has issued an executive order updating New Hampshire's goals of reducing fossil fuel use at state-owned facilities by 50 percent by 2030.

flickr/barjack

The New Hampshire Senate approved a bill that would get rid of the licensing requirement to carry a concealed firearm.

Thursday's vote came down 14 to 10 along party lines, with Republicans in favor. The bill now heads to the Governor.

If signed into law this measure would make it optional to have a conceal and carry license. It would also extend license renewal from every four to every five years.  

Three Republican candidates for New Hampshire governor have said they will support the party's likely nominee for president. As for the fourth? That story is a little more complicated. 

Getty Images

New Hampshire Senators have voted to create a study commission to look at needle exchange programs rather than legalizing them. The proposal now heads back to the House, which if left unchanged, will then head to the Governor.

Sara Plourde/NHPR

New Hampshire’s 25-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics will remain after the Senate killed a bill to repeal it in a tie vote.

Last legislative session the Senate also deadlocked over the issue. And just last month a U.S. District Court judge denied a request to challenge the law.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After much debate, the New Hampshire Senate Thursday postponed voting on a bill that would ban conversion therapy for minors. This controversial practice aims to convert people from being gay.

If passed, licensed counselors in the state would be prohibited from providing such services to anyone under 18.

It's the question every Republican is facing this week: "Will you support Donald Trump?"

For the GOP hopefuls in the New Hampshire governor's race, the answer has been "yes." 

Allegra Boverman, NHPR

Democracy for America, one of the nation’s largest grassroots progressive organizations, is backing Democrat Colin Van Ostern in the race for governor — the group’s first gubernatorial endorsement of the 2016 election cycle.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

UPDATE: On Thursday the New Hampshire Senate without debate killed a bill that would have repealed a law requiring ex-felons to get a waiver from the state liquor commission in order to serve alcohol to the public. Original story follows below.

If you want to work as a server or bartender in New Hampshire, and you have a felony on your record, you have to do a little more than just fill out the application – you also need approval from the state liquor commission.

This requirement has been on the books since 1969 and an effort to change it, goes before the state Senate Thursday afternoon.

New Hampshire's U.S. senators have introduced a bill for the creation of a coin in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster and honoring Christa McAuliffe, who was picked to be the first teacher in space.

Proceeds from the sale of the coins would support FIRST programs that inspire young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program is founded by inventor Dean Kamen.

Worries over lost tax revenue and neighborhood complaints have state and local officials grappling with how to regulate private rentals through online platforms such as Airbnb.

NHPR

Citing public safety concerns, Governor Maggie Hassan has vetoed a bill that aimed to limit the power of local building inspectors. This is Hassan's first veto of the year.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire Republican party has called off an email vote on delegate assignments for the Republican National Convention. The postponement came after complaints by the Donald Trump's campaign.

Pam Tucker for US Congress, YouTube

The previously crowded Republican primary for New Hampshire's First Congressional District shrunk yet again on Monday, as State Rep. Pam Tucker announced plans to suspend her campaign.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

"On the Political Front" is our weekly check-in with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate returns this week with another loaded agenda. Meanwhile the House will have its hands full weighing in on dozens of Senate bills in committee.

Flickr

After much debate, the New Hampshire Senate Thursday voted to keep the state’s so-called drug forfeiture fund alive.

Under current law money or assets seized in a criminal drug bust are put into a special fund used to combat future drug crimes. 

BRIAN WALLSTIN FOR NHPR

A bill seeking to legalize Keno in New Hampshire fell flat once again in the state Senate.

Lawmakers voted 13 to 10 to kill the proposal which would have allowed Keno, a form of electronic bingo, in places with liquor licenses, but only after individual approval from cities and towns. 

Senator Jerry Little of Weare said Keno would mean money for the state - $8 to $9 million a year he calculated.

Republican Congressman Frank Guinta is facing a fresh obstacle in his quest to keep his seat: The formation of an outside money group to back one of his rivals.

Republican businessman Rich Ashooh is the benefactor of a newly formed super PAC, which can raise unlimited sums of money from individuals. The group's financial backers aren't yet known, but Matt Mowers, a former executive director of the state GOP, is helping run it.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate today will once again tackle a handful of bills geared at the state’s opioid crisis. Many of the proposals being related to illegal drug use.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

2016 is a big year politically for New Hampshire, and excepting the Presidential contest, no election will get as much scrutiny as the U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte and Democratic challenger Maggie Hassan.

Hillary Clinton hasn't won the nomination, yet. And Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders hasn't technically lost. But in a statement released after the results were in, Sanders' rhetoric took a notable turn.

"[W]e are in this race until the last vote is cast," he said, with no mention of winning the nomination.

Instead, "[T]his campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform."

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took definitive steps toward solidifying their respective party's presidential nomination on Tuesday, making their rivals' task to beat them nearly insurmountable.

Trump won all five of the delegate-rich GOP primaries in Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island. Clinton notched four victories in Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, while Bernie Sanders won the Rhode Island Democratic primary.

Pages