Politics

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

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Standing before a banner that read “Tell It Like It Is” and a giant American flag,  Chris Christie used Wednesday's nearly two hour event in Londonderry to cast himself as a politician for telling the truth and letting his own character be his guide.

“My mother taught me a very simple lesson when I was a kid, be yourself because then tomorrow you don’t have to try to remember who you were trying to be yesterday,” Christie told the packed room at the Lions Club.

NHPR

 

The New Hampshire House will take up legislation Wednesday aimed at ensuring licensed medical marijuana dispensaries pay property taxes.

The dispensaries, none of which have been opened, will be licensed by the state under the medical marijuana laws. A bill already passed by the Senate closes a loophole in the 2013 law that may have allowed the dispensaries not to pay taxes. A House committee unanimously recommends passage.

The Associated Press

A free online course this fall focused on the New Hampshire Primary is likely to attract political junkies from the Granite State and beyond.

"FIRST! Understanding New Hampshire Presidential Primary" is the University of New Hampshire’s first Massive Open Online Course. It's open to anyone, anywhere.

It will explore the history of the First-in-the-Nation primary, and follow the 2016 primary as it unfolds.

The course will be taught by UNH political science professors Andrew Smith and Dante Scala.

josh rogers/nhpr

If Chris Christie had his way, Social Security would morph from a program that pays benefits to all workers who pay in, to one that means tests beneficiaries. 

Future seniors who earn $80,000 in retirement income would see their social security checks shrink.

Retirees earning more than $200,000 would get no check at all.

"Do we really believe that the wealthiest Americans need to take from younger, hard-working Americans to receive what for most of them, is a modest monthly social security check? I say no."

Gage Skidmore via Flickr CC

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie opens a trip to New Hampshire today -- the Republican's first extended visit to the state.

Christie begins the visit with a talk about entitlement programs at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester.

He'll also be making stops today in Newmarket and Portsmouth.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican Marco Rubio is the junior U.S. Senator from Florida, a seat he has held since 2011. Prior to holding national office, he served as speaker in the Florida House of Representatives from 2007-2009. Rubio is the son of Cuban immigrants and a native of Miami. He attended the University of Miami School of Law.

Rubio announced his candidacy for the 2016 presidential race on April 13th, 2015. (You can watch video of his announcement speech below.)

Further reading/viewing:

Video: Senator Marco Rubio's full presidential announcement speech, via C-SPAN)

When the former senator, secretary of state and first lady announced for president on Sunday she smiled into the camera and said, "I'm Hillary Clinton."

Those who were hoping for a return of Hillary's family name, "Rodham," as part of her public identity might have felt some disappointment. For many of her admirers, Hillary Rodham Clinton was the embodiment of aspiration for a woman in public life. This was the woman they wanted to elevate to the White House in her own right.

hillaryclinton.com

On The Political Front is our weekly conversation with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. This week, a look at the latest in the 2016 presidential race and the New Hampshire primary.

Hillary Clinton made it official yesterday – she’s running for president. There’s no shortage of coverage of that on our air – and everywhere else this morning. But I want to talk to you about what it all means for New Hampshire.

NHPR Staff

 

Hillary Rodham Clinton made no mention of her potential Republican rivals when kicking off her second campaign for president.

They didn't share her restraint.

Rand Paul put Clinton at the center of his first television ad, titled "Liberty, not Hillary."

On Twitter, Scott Walker fired off a series of messages describing Clinton as having a "Washington-knows-best mentality."

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

 

A spokesman for Sen. Bernie Sanders says the Vermont Independent will decide by the end of the month whether to enter the 2016 White House race.

In the meantime, he's urging newly announced presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to speak out strongly about wealth inequality and climate change.

Sanders, who describes himself as a "democratic socialist," has been drawing large crowds as he travels the country speaking on those issues and others.

Getty

Potential presidential candidates will be flooding into the Granite State this week, with nearly 20 GOP White House hopefuls expected to attend a Republican Leadership Summit in Nashua over the weekend.

Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio and Rick Perry are just a few of the likely candidates slated to speak at the Nashua Crown Plaza Hotel for the First of the Nation Summit. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, who are the only official candidates so far in the race, are also scheduled.

Tracy Lee Carroll for NHPR

Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State under President Obama from 2009 to 2013, after being defeated by Obama for the Democratic party's nomination for President in 2008. First coming to national prominence as the wife of President Bill Clinton, she made history as the first ever First Lady to run for office, winning a U.S. Senate seat representing New York in 2000.

When Rand Paul took the podium at Milford Town Hall, he was quick to indicate his vision of what granite state voters want.

“I come to N.H. to announce that I will fight for your right to be left alone.”

Paul railed against government surveillance of phone records and said he’d keep the federal government out of states when it comes to education. He also cited a balanced budget amendment and term limits for member of congress as a way to “defeat the Washington machine.”

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

Hours after formally announcing a 2016 presidential bid in Kentucky, Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul arrived in New Hampshire to greet supporters.

Paul briefly stopped by a karaoke event with his supporters Tuesday evening at Murphy's Taproom, a spot his father Ron Paul frequented during his own presidential bid. Paul himself did not sing, but a supporter sang "God Bless America" upon Paul's arrival and changed some of the lyrics to be about Paul.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The Senate is weighing a bill that would give those who report overdoses immunity from possession charges if they remain on scene.

The measure aims to encourage people to call 911 by removing the fear of facing any jail time.

Devon Chaffee, head of the New Hampshire ACLU, says 22 states currently have a similar law on the books.

“If a person dies of a potential overdose, as we know, they can’t go into treatment, so what this bill is really about is providing second chances for those individuals,” she told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. 

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A bill aimed to decriminalize marijuana in New Hampshire is now being considering by the state Senate.

Under the measure, those found with a half an ounce of marijuana or less would receive a $100 fine rather than be charged with a crime. Currently all other New England states have similar laws already on the books.

But in New Hampshire no decriminalization bill has ever passed the Senate, and Governor Maggie Hassan said if it passes she would veto it.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul announced his candidacy on April 7, 2015 on his website. The 52 year-old former ophthalmologist is the son of Ron Paul, the former U.S. Representative for Texas and two-time presidential candidate who ran in 1988 as the nominee for the Libertarian party. Sen. Paul is best known for his own libertarian points of view, especially in the realms of foreign policy, defense spending, and the size and scope of government.

A bill that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in New Hampshire goes before a Senate committee Tuesday.

The proposal cleared the House by a wide margin, 297 to 67, last month, but the bill faces a tougher challenge in the Senate.

Gov. Maggie Hassan has threatened to veto such legislation.

The bill’s sponsor, Representative Adam Schroadter, a Newmarket Republican, says he’s seen more support this year from those who had opposed similar efforts in the past.

 

A key House committee is preparing to take public testimony on a bill that would legalize two casinos in New Hampshire.

The House Ways and Means Committee, which has previously rejected casino proposals, will hold a public hearing Tuesday morning. Casino gambling has never won approval in the House, but an endorsement from the committee would improve its chances this year.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Dr. Ben Carson was in New Hampshire on Monday for the first time as a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

But the former brain surgeon told reporters that he is waiting until May to decide whether to jump into the GOP race where he could face up to a dozen other challengers. 

During his visit, Carson first stopped in Manchester where he was a keynote speaker at a forum focused on affordable healthcare. But the Republican spent most of the speech criticizing the Affordable Care Act – saying it was thoughtless and even questioning its motivations.

Gage Skidmore via Flickr CC

 New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is taking his signature town hall events on the road.

The potential Republican presidential contender will be kicking off what his team has dubbed a "Tell it like it is" town hall tour in Londonderry, New Hampshire on April 15.

A spokeswoman for his political action committee says a second town hall will he held on April 17.

He'll also hold events in Manchester and Newmarket and speak at a New Hampshire GOP-organized summit in Nashua.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

On The Political Front is our weekly conversation with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. This week, a look at the state budget, as Senate lawmakers begin work on crafting their own version of a two-year plan.

The New Hampshire House did what some thought it wouldn’t – or couldn’t –  pass a budget. The process  now begins anew in the state Senate.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

With the House having passed its $11.2 billion two-year state budget this week, it’s now up to the state Senate to come up with its own version of a spending plan.

Jeanie Forrester is a Republican from Meredith and chairs the Senate Finance Committee.

She joined Morning Edition host Rick Ganley to talk about the task ahead.

There’s a perception by some that the Senate will simply start from scratch, without any regard for what the House ended up passing. How accurate is that?

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

After the House passed its $11.2 billion dollar budget, the Senate will now have its chance to look at it.  But Senate President Chuck Morse says his chamber's version won't differ too much from the House's.

“There was a lot of good work that wen t into the budget up onto those changes were made to make the final balancing. We will take a look at the whole thing, but I’m sure there will be more we agree upon than disagree on,” he said Thursday in his office. 

josh rogers/nhpr

Republican George Pataki returned to N.H. Thursday.

The former New York Governor stumped in the North Country and announced a steering committee for what he describes as a likely presidential bid.

Pataki also took aim at Indiana’s controversial religious freedom law.

The law seeks to bar government actions that "substantially burden a person's exercise of religion,” and allows businesses to claim a right to free exercise of religion.

Civil rights groups say this opens the door to discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A $11.2 billion budget was signed off on Wednesday by the New Hampshire House.

Although the plan is a modest increase from the last biennial, it cuts hundreds of millions from what the Governor proposed.

The reductions include $6 million less for substance abuse treatment programs as well as $53 million less for developmental disabilities.

Denise Colby of Belmont says these cuts would force her to quit her job to care for her six-year-old autistic son.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The House version of the $11.2 billion budget passed along party lines with reductions to the Governor's proposed funding for social services still left on the books. 

Advocates for the developmental disabled filled the capitol, but those in favor of more funding for substance abuse treatment drew out the largest crowd.

Three-hundred – that is the number of lives that were lost in New Hampshire last year from drug-related deaths, and that is the same number of people who came to the State House on Wednesday to advocate for more funding.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire house has passed an $11.2 billion state budget.

The proposal includes no tax and fee increases and lifts state spending by about $400 million, some $300 million dollars less than the plan proposed by Governor Maggie Hassan.

“This was an effort to look under every cushion of the sofa to look for loose change.”

Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts was remembered Monday by the president, vice president, and senators from both parties as a powerful force for liberal causes who could also reach across the aisle. 

Among the senators - past and present - who paid tribute to Ted Kennedy at the dedication of the new institute in his name was Trent Lott.

“Yes, a Republican from Mississippi,” he told the crowd gathered at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

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