Politics

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

A bill to study the impact of lower tax rates for undeveloped land will be considered in the legislative session beginning next month.

The tax structure is known as “current use.” It started decades ago as a part of a pro-environment push.

Basically, landowners who keep their property undeveloped — keep it forested, for example — pay a significantly lower tax rate, in theory encouraging them to preserve their land.

Marijuana Policy To Be Debated At N.H. Statehouse

Dec 28, 2017
FILE

A handful of lawmakers are proposing changes to some of the state’s policies on marijuana in 2018.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A New Hampshire lawmaker next session will continue to try improve a decades old state policy that allows people with severe mental illness to be treated on the grounds of the state prison.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As the state continues to grapple with a drug problem, top state lawmakers are hoping to get businesses to be a part of the solution.

N.H. Lawmaker Pushes for Drone Regulations ... Again

Dec 27, 2017
Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A Republican state lawmaker who has tried for years to regulate drones in New Hampshire will try again in 2018.

State's New Needle Exchange Law Creating Some Roadblocks

Dec 27, 2017
FILE

A proposal next legislative session seeks to make it easier for needle exchange programs to open up in New Hampshire.

N.H. Judges Could Soon Serve Longer on the Bench

Dec 27, 2017
JOE GRATZ / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Judges in New Hampshire may soon get a few more years on the bench.

FILE

Overdose deaths remain high, as 2017 comes to a close and state lawmakers are looking to secure more resources for the crisis when they return to the State House in January.

Courtesy of the N.H. General Court

A state lawmaker from Concord pled guilty Friday to assaulting a political opponent.

Rep. Katherine Rogers, a Democrat, accepted a plea deal on a misdemeanor assault charge. The deal suspends a $1,000 fine pending good behavior, but Rogers must take an anger management class.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Since taking office in February, Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut has drawn criticism that he’s politicizing what’s supposed to be a nonpartisan office — by speaking at Republican party meetings, for example, or using his official Twitter account to take a jab at Democratic executive councilor Chris Pappas.

Sununu Puts the Brakes on Potential Toll Increases in N.H.

Dec 21, 2017
TY WITHOUT NUMBERS VIA FLICKR CC

Governor Chris Sununu announced Thursday that he's stopping an effort to increase road tolls in the state.

Federal Communications Commission/Flickr

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.

Fate Of N.H. Toll Hike To Be Decided In The New Year

Dec 19, 2017
CREDIT DOUG KERR/FLICKR

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.

TY WITHOUT NUMBERS VIA FLICKR CC

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.

Credit Doug Kerr/Flickr

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

PAIGE SUTHERLAND/NHPR

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. 

Hillary Clinton's Concord Book Signing Draws A Crowd

Dec 5, 2017
PAIGE SUTHERLAND/NHPR

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.

Hillary Clinton Makes Book Tour Stop in Concord

Dec 4, 2017
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.

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