Politics

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

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican State Senator Nancy Stiles of Hampton says she won't seek another term in the fall. 

A controversial practice that seeks to convert minors from being gay is likely to remain legal in New Hampshire.

Lawmakers this week failed to agree on a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy for those under 18.

Spend any time around Sen. Kelly Ayotte or Gov. Maggie Hassan nowadays, and you'll hear repeated assurances that while it may be election season, they remain wholly dedicated to serving New Hampshire.

But take a look at either’s fundraising books in their race for the U.S. Senate, and you'll find plenty of proof that both are also focusing further afield.

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

NHPR Staff

Governor Maggie Hassan says last week's shooting of two Manchester police officers by a suspect who with mental health problems illustrates the need for New Hampshire to do a better job of keeping guns away from people who shouldn't have them.

"I think this issue needs to be looked at by a broad coalition of stakeholders and that is certainly one of the questions that they should address. I think we should work together to take steps forward to improve public safety and public heath of New Hampshire," Hassan said.

A new WBUR poll of likely New Hampshire voters shows Democrat Hillary Clinton with a slight edge over Republican Donald Trump. In the state's U.S. Senate race, the poll also found Democrat Maggie Hassan with a small lead over incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte. For more on this poll, we turn to Steve Koszela, president of the MassINC polling group, which conducted the survey. He spoke with NHPR's All Things Considered host Peter Biello.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

While Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she won’t endorse Donald Trump, she would welcome a change in tone heading into November’s election.

“I would certainly like him to speak in ways that are more inclusive. I believe that’s important,” Ayotte told NHPR’s Morning Edition, referring to the GOP’s apparent presidential nominee.

“And I hope that he will surround himself with knowledgeable people on important issues, like foreign policy,” she added. “To me, that’s important for any candidate for president.”

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican Gubernatorial candidate Jeanie Forrester wants New Hampshire to step up efforts to recruit businesses to move here, and she wants to reward businesses that expand with tax relief.

As Forrester sees it, New Hampshire has been held back for years because Concord, under a string of Democratic governors, has become set in its ways.

 

NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers joins Morning Editing on Mondays to discuss the latest in New Hampshire politics and the news that's likely to shape the conversation among the state's lawmakers. 

New Hampshire's U.S. Senate race is, and is likely to remain, the state political race that gets the most attention. But the race for governor, which features crowded primaries among Republicans and Democrats and no big favorite, is also starting to crank up. Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers joins Morning Edition's Rick Ganley to talk about it.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan used a speech at an event at St. Anselm College to promote what she says is her record of working across the aisle. Hassan told the crowd of business people at politics and eggs that Republicans and Democrats in Concord may argue, but they also compromise in the interest of their constituents.

"Time and again in New Hampshire we have shown that we can put out differences aside and get results for out people and our businesses and it is long past time for Washington to take the same approach."

flickr/barjack

House lawmakers have voted 217-132 to require local officials to issue conceal weapons permits to person not barred from owning a gun.

The mostly party line vote came after the GOP-controlled house overturned a committee recommendation to kill the bill.

Seabrook Republican Max Abramson told colleagues this bill was about making sure a constitutional right is unabridged.

"Senate bill 336 would simply restore the right of law abiding gun owners, who have the lawful right to open carry, to simply put on their jacket."

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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