Politics

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

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan is backing Executive Councilor Chris Pappas in the crowded 1st Congressional District race.

It’s pretty early for a big endorsement like this -- the primary election isn’t until September. But Hassan, a Democrat, told a crowd of people inside Water Street Books in Exeter that people keep asking her who she’s voting for and she decided it’s best to tell them now.

NHPR File Photo

Opponents of a bill that seeks to increase regulation of commercial dog breeders say the measure will do little to prevent cases of animal cruelty.

During a public hearing on Wednesday, Jane Barlow Roy with the New Hampshire Veterinary Medical Association told a House Environment and Agriculture Committee that while she believes Senate Bill 569 is well intentioned, its new regulations won’t protect animals from harm and doesn’t stop people from hoarding pets.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

State Senators heard testimony Wednesday on a bill that would expand the state’s only existing school choice program.

Under the existing system, businesses in New Hampshire can get a tax break when they make donations to scholarships which can be used on a number of educational purposes, including private school tuition, college courses, and homeschool expenses.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

  And just like that, it was primary season again in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

But does it really ever end?

Two past (and potentially present) presidential hopefuls, Martin O’Malley and John Kasich, made their way through the first-in-the-nation primary state Tuesday.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

In this Race For The 1st conversation, we talk with Mindi Messmer, a Democrat running in the closely watched race for New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District.

Scroll down for NHPR News takeaways from this interview

Messmer, a first-term legislator from Rye, runs an environmental consulting firm.  As a legislator, she serves on the Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee, and on the Commission to Study Environmentally-Triggered Chronic Illness and the Commission on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster Investigations. 

Our Race For The First conversations will focus on the issues at the forefront in the CD1 race, including opioids, guns, veterans, and how each candidate plans to stand out in a crowded race. 

Britta Greene for NHPR

Local officials from all corners of the state lined up Thursday for a hearing on a bill about who should have the power to delay town elections, for snowstorms or otherwise.

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The New Hampshire Senate has passed a bill that would allow two more medical marijuana dispensaries to open in the state.

 

Lawmakers legalized medical use of marijuana for the treatment of a limited number of conditions in 2013. It can be purchased at licensed alternative treatment centers in Lebanon, Dover, Merrimack and Plymouth.

 

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

  New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu beamed as he looked out upon a room packed with 60 round tables, each one full of supporters.

“A little daunting once you finally get up here. I’m absolutely humbled, absolutely humbled at the turnout,” he said to the crowd.   

It may have been Sununu’s party at the Manchester Downtown Hotel Thursday night, but it was Vice President Mike Pence who got top billing.

NHPR Staff

Dissatisfied with both the incumbent and his well-financed challenger, another Democrat is putting himself forward as an alternative to longtime Secretary of State Bill Gardner.

Former Manchester Representative and Alderman Peter Sullivan says he respects Gardner’s 42 years years of service in the position but believes it’s time to put someone more forward-thinking in the role.

Photo Credit Katja Rupp, via Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire lawmakers have referred a bill legalizing recreational use of marijuana to further study, dealing a blow to those who hoped the Granite State would join neighboring states in relaxing regulations on the drug.

The House gave preliminary approval to the bill earlier this year. It would allow adults to possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana and cultivate it in limited qualities.

Flickr/ Anne and Tim (Creative Commons)

The third time seems to be the charm on efforts to get a paid family and medical leave bill through the New Hampshire House. 

But the most recent passage came only after heated debate over a last-minute amendment from the House Finance Committee that would have made drastic changes to the version of the program that passed the House twice before.

Twitter

As Dave Carney tells it, September of 1982 was a rough time for John H. Sununu’s campaign for governor.

“We we were broke,” Carney, a longtime political strategist, recalled recently. “We had no money, we couldn’t pay staff. Not that he paid very much anyways…”

 


Vox Efx / Flickr Creative Commons

The ACLU of New Hampshire is asking a federal judge to declare a state law unconstitutional. The state's signature-matching law allows absentee ballots to be rejected if officials believe the signatures on the ballot and envelope don't match.

The ACLU says the law permits hundreds of ballots to be thrown out, even though they are valid.

NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with Gilles Bissonnette, the legal director of ACLU New Hampshire.


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 217 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.

AP | NPR

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.

vanostern.com

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.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

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.

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