Politics

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

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The New Hampshire Democratic Party is criticizing Governor Chris Sununu’s support for the repeal of so-called net neutrality laws, arguing the FCC’s decision could harm consumers, as well as the state’s longshot bid to lure Amazon’s second headquarters to the state.

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New Hampshire lawmakers will not be taking up a proposal to increase the state’s highway tolls Wednesday.

firstnet.gov

Gov. Chris Sununu announced his decision for New Hampshire to opt out of FirstNet at the beginning of December.

FirstNet is a federal communications network that will connect first responders across all 50 states in the event of an emergency or disaster. New Hampshire would instead use an alternative plan to build its own statewide network using a company called Rivada Networks.

A Republican-backed bill tightening definitions for voting eligibility in New Hampshire could run up against resistance from Gov. Chris Sununu, if he maintains the position articulated in a video clip that’s being circulated by a progressive group that advocates for voting rights.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A handful of New Hampshire House Democrats are in Alabama for the much-talked about special U.S. Senate election between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones.

House Minority Leader Steve Shurtleff says he organized the trip a few months ago, after Moore won the Republican primary for the Senate seat left vacant by Jeff Sessions, now Attorney General.

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican State Senator and 1st District Congressional Candidate Andy Sanborn has acknowledged his use of “crass language” in early 2013 prompted an internal review involving the Senate’s legal counsel and then-Senate President.

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Members of the public will get another chance to weigh in this week on a new proposal to raise the state’s highway tolls.

FIRSTNET.GOV

New Hampshire has become the first state to opt out of FirstNet - a federal program designed to help first responders better communicate across the country.

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New Hampshire Department of Transportation officials made another pitch to Executive Councilors Wednesday on a proposed statewide toll increase. 

A scheduled vote on the change was postponed by Gov. Chris Sununu in order to get more public input.

Analysis Points to 2 Conflicts of Interest in N.H.

Dec 6, 2017

 An analysis of financial disclosure forms and legislative records highlights two possible conflicts of interest in New Hampshire.

The Center for Public Integrity and The Associated Press analyzed disclosure reports filed nationwide in 2015 and found numerous examples of lawmakers who introduced and supported legislation that helped their own businesses, employers or personal finances.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

For Linda Saunders Paquette and her staff at New Futures, a nearly all-female lobbying team, learning to navigate uncomfortable interactions with legislators in a regular workday at the New Hampshire State House has become almost second nature.

“If we're having a meeting with a particular legislator or even going to a particular event, we use the buddy system,” Saunders Paquette said. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Twelve years ago, a sexual harassment scandal at the New Hampshire State House ended with the institution being forced to pay $85,000 in public funds toward a settlement. It also prompted a broader reckoning about how the Legislature handled misconduct within its ranks.

Related Story: Women Lobbyists, Legislators Describe Coping With Harassment At N.H. State House

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If you've been tuned into New Hampshire politics for the past few presidential elections, then you've probably heard the name Vermin Supreme.

He's been on the primary ballot for the past three presidential elections and he tends to stand out. He's the only candidate who consistently wears a boot on his head and declares "free ponies for all," as his major campaign platform. 

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Hundreds of Hillary Clinton supporters lined up for hours Tuesday outside Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord to get signed copies of Clinton’s new book.

AP/Jim Cole/Pool

Democratic political giant Mary Louise Hancock has died at 97.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Lawyers for a New Hampshire city sued by a performance artist and perennial candidate in the state's presidential primary believe a settlement is imminent on a request by the artist for a permit to bring two ponies to his planned protest of Hillary Clinton's book signing.

House and Senate Republicans have now passed two different versions of a sweeping tax overhaul. Their next step is to iron out differences between the two bills, so the final product can be sent to the president to be signed into law.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Hillary Clinton is back in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

The former Democratic Presidential candidate and Secretary of State will be in downtown Concord signing copies of her new book.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

NHPR reporter Lauren Chooljian contributed to this report.

An additional three dozen lawmakers have signed and returned paperwork acknowledging that they’ve read the Statehouse sexual harassment policy in the week since NHPR first published a list of legislators’ signatures on file. 

That brings the total in compliance to a little more than three-quarters of the 400-member House.

Gene Chandler is back as Speaker of the New Hampshire House.

After two rounds of secret ballots and one caucus meeting Thursday, Chandler won the majority of votes cast by his House colleagues. The Bartlett Republican beat Democrat Steve Shurtleff of Penacook and Libertarian Jim McConnell of North Swanzey.

Chandler is in his 18th term in the NH house.

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Governor Sununu says he supports the GOP tax bill working its way through the Senate, calling it a “net positive” for the majority of low and middle income families in America.

Sununu met Wednesday with Vice President Mike Pence to talk about the tax plan, as well as New Hampshire’s Medicaid program and ongoing opioid crisis.

File Photo / NHPR

Now that the Senate Budget Committee has passed the Republican tax plan, GOP leaders hope the full Senate will take it up this week.

While the fate of the bill is unclear, Democrats seem to be united against it, calling it a giveaway to the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.

New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen joined NHPR's Peter Biello to discuss the legislation.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  The country's largest legislative body is set to choose its new leader. 

 

The 400-member New Hampshire House will vote Thursday morning to replace Shawn Jasper, who left the post after three years to become Agriculture Commissioner. 

 

Jason Moon for NHPR

Democratic Executive Councilor Chris Pappas kicked off his congressional campaign with an event in Manchester Tuesday night.

Pappas spoke to supporters at the Puritan Backroom Restaurant, which his family owns and operates.

The former state representative told the crowd he’s willing to work across the aisle to get things done.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A state lawmaker wants to give employees who work at the New Hampshire Statehouse the same protections afforded to their counterparts in other public sector jobs across the state.

Right now, New Hampshire's public employee labor act applies to employees at state agencies, the judicial branch, the state university system and other public bodies. But the employees who work at the Statehouse are left out.

Lauren Chooljian for NHPR

  It wasn't gold, money or skeletons.

But the newly-found items, including old ledgers, now-vintage fans and Civil War bonds, locked for decades in an old safe in a first floor committee room, were still exciting to a few curious minds at the New Hampshire State House. 

When it comes to marijuana legalization, the conflict between state and federal laws appears to be cause for concern for New Hampshire banks.

Todd Wells, Chief Bank Examiner for the New Hampshire Banking Department, says it's a matter of "reputation risk" for state-chartered banks and credit unions hesitant to establish direct relationships with marijuana-related businesses.

New Hampshire could become one of just a few states that allows birth control pills to be prescribed by pharmacists.

A commission appointed by the state legislature voted unanimously last week to endorse the idea.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

In a scenario that was reminiscent of his earlier rise as Speaker of the House, Republican Shawn Jasper narrowly squeaked through as New Hampshire’s new agriculture commissioner — thanks to support from the opposite party.

When Jasper was elected Speaker in 2014, House Democrats joined with a handful of Republicans to secure his nomination. On Wednesday, the Executive Council's two Democrats also joined with one Republican to confirm Jasper as agriculture commissioner.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As reported earlier this week, New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper says he's disappointed that roughly one-quarter of his chamber has not signed a form acknowledging they’ve read the official State House sexual harassment policy.

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