Politics

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

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After a slow week at the State House, lawmakers will have long session days in both chambers with roughly 60 bills on the docket in the House and Senate. 

John Morgan via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/9qdvDe

Senator Elizabeth Warren is filing legislation that would require the IRS to develop a free, online tax preparation service taxpayers could use to file returns directly with the federal government.

The bill also would let taxpayers download third-party-reported tax information and ban the IRS from entering into agreements restricting its ability to provide the tax preparation services.

Warren will file the bill Wednesday.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As part of our coverage of the 2016 elections, NHPR is broadcasting a series of conversations with candidates about the issues of the day.

All Things Considered host Peter Biello spoke with U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte on Friday. Ayotte, a Republican, is facing a challenge from Democrat and N.H. Governor Maggie Hassan in a race that's drawing national attention.

Twitter/Rockingham County Democrats

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

Let’s start in the 1st Congressional District, where’s there’s a nasty fight in the Democratic primary. Shawn O’Connor is leveling some serious accusations against former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. Things seem to be pretty ugly.

Gov. Maggie Hassan has repeatedly said she lacked specific information about why longtime Phillips Exeter teacher Rick Schubart abruptly retired in 2011, and that she never discussed it with her husband, Tom Hassan, who was the school's principal at the time. 

The governor has also said she sensed something was wrong when Schubart suddenly moved off campus.

Earlier this week, Hassan said those suspicious should have been enough to prompt her to remove Schubart from a steering committee during her first run for governor.

AP

Senate lawmakers are currently weighing a bill that would change the state’s forfeiture laws.

Currently in New Hampshire, 45 percent of the money and assets seized in a drug bust are given directly to local law enforcement agencies to help fight future drug crimes.

But some lawmakers want this money to be put into the general fund saying that giving police officers who collect this money the authority to then go out and spend it, creates a conflict of interest.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

This week, Alexandria Knox got to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with one of her biggest heroes.

"Speaker Jasper," she said, "he is my inspiration."

That's Shawn Jasper, the Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. 

Sara Plourde/NHPR

Lawmakers continue to debate whether to do away with a controversial 25-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics in New Hampshire.  Last week a U.S. District Court judge denied a request challenging the law.

SHARON MATTHESON-MCCUTCHEON / FLICKR

Senate lawmakers are considering a bill to ban conversion therapy for minors.  The controversial practice aims to convert people from being gay.

At a public hearing Tuesday, Sen. David Pierce of Lebanon told the Senate Health and Human Services Committee he strongly supports the ban - for personal reasons.

Gov. Maggie Hassan is apologizing for not removing a former prep school teacher who has admitted to sexual misconduct from her public supporter list during her 2012 campaign.

Rick Schubart was forced to resign from Phillips Exeter academy in 2011 after he admitted to the misconduct in the 1970s. 

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

New Hampshire’s expanded Medicaid Program, which currently offers health insurance to 48,000 Granite Staters, has been extended for another two years.

On Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Maggie Hassan officially signed the bill into law at the State House.

kristv.com

Using polls to track the horse race has always been a part of the political dialog in the national media, perhaps now more than ever.

But is there a risk in reporting too much on polls?

Doug Usher is a pollster and managing director at Purple Insights.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire's U.S. Senate race is one of the most watched races in the country, and one that may help decide who controls the senate after November's election. As the first of a series of conversations NHPR will be having with the candidates in all the statewide races leading up to November, Democratic candidate and two-term New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan spoke to Brady Carlson, host of Weekend Edition.

www.exeter.edu

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

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Both the New Hampshire House and Senate will be in session this week but with a pretty light agenda – only about 20 bills are on the docket in both chambers.

But lawmakers will still hold dozens of public hearings – some to look at loosening up the state’s drug laws and others to build them up.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Governor Hassan says she never discussed the details of Richard Schubart's abrupt departure from Exeter's campus in 2011 with her husband, who was Exeter's Principal when Schubart was forced to resign, and chalks up Schubart's appearance in 2012 campaign press release as one of 125 community leaders who had endorsed her as  "a lot of people on lists," and not having specific information that she could have shared with her staff.

New Hampshire’s expanded Medicaid Program, which offers health insurance to 48,000 Granite Staters, will continue another two years. That’s after Gov. Maggie Hassan promised to sign the legislation that cleared the Senate Thursday 16 to 8.   

ourkidsnh.org

Former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand is running for governor, the third Democrat to enter the race. 

He announced his campaign via Facebook.

He tells Seacoast Online that combating the state's heroin and opioid crisis will be his top priority.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire's top elected Republican, says women should not be punished for seeking out an abortion if it were banned.

Ayotte was weighing in on a controversy sparked Wednesday by the comments of her party's presidential frontrunner, Donald Trump.

"Women should not be punished, and I'm glad Mr. Trump has retracted his troubling comments," Ayotte said in a tweet Wednesday evening.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After more than a year of debates and discussion, lawmakers could take their final vote Thursday on whether to continue the state’s Medicaid expansion program for another two years.

If the Senate passes the bill without change, it could be signed into law as early as this week.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The National Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, is bringing together lawmakers, health providers, academics, and other national leaders to figure out what can be done to curb the abuse of opioids. New Hampshire Congressman Frank Guinta spoker earlier today at the summit as part of a panel of lawmakers dealing with drug abuse in their states, and he joined All Things Considered to talk about it. 

josh rogers/nhpr

Senator Jeanne Shaheen took to the steps of the federal courthouse in Concord to call on Senate Republicans to "get on with it" and take up Merrick Garland's nomination.

She says putting it off runs afoul of the constitution and senate tradition.

Flickr

Law enforcement officials are pushing back against a bill that allows people to drop off illegal drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, and drug paraphernalia at police stations.

Currently police stations accept unused prescription drugs in designed drop boxes.

NH Bar Association

Former New Hampshire Public Defender Dorothy Graham has taken a job with the New England office of the Federal Public Defender. Graham, who was nominated by Gov. Maggie Hassan last year to serve as a judge on the state Superior Court, saw her hopes for the bench scuttled after a conservative website accused her of a “history of trying to get child rapists off on technicalities.”

Read Emily Corwin's story about Graham's nomination and rejection.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

After clearing a key Senate committee Monday, sponsors of the bill to reauthorize Medicaid expansion are making sure they have the votes needed to pass the full Senate.

Cheryl Senter / NHPR

Longtime defense executive Rich Ashooh is running again for New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District.

The Republican is expected to make a formal announcement on his bid for the seat next week, according to the Union Leader.

Ashooh, who lives in Bedford, finished a narrow third in the 2010 Republican Congressional primary.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After a lengthy debate, the Senate's Finance Committee on Monday backed a bill re-authorizing New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion program for another two years.  The bill was the same piece of legislation the House overwhelming approved earlier this March. 

Emily Corwin for NHPR

In New Hampshire, pretty much only rape and murder convictions can land a defendant behind bars for the rest of his or her life. Burglary? With a record? You might get fifteen years. Unless you’re Kevin Balch.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Although the Senate is the only chamber meeting in full this week both bodies have a long list of public hearings to get through.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate unanimously passed a bill to put more money towards combating the state’s drug crisis. The measure now heads to the House. 

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