Politics

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

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

As President-Elect Donald Trump's inauguration approaches this weekend, Washington is bracing itself for “hundreds of thousands” of inaugural attendees and protestors – a crowd that will likely include more than a few Granite Staters.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

Lawmakers have decided that, for the time being, New Hampshire will only be accepting a portion of a federal grant intended to help the state Medical Examiner work through a backlog of opioid-related autopsies. 

Attorney General Joseph Foster met with resistance during Friday’s fiscal committee meeting in Concord when he requested that the state accept approximately $285,000 in federal grant money to aid the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Courtesy

It’s been a busy week in Washington, D.C. Lawmakers have heard from some of President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees for his Cabinet and they’ve also taken steps to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and the Armed Services Committees, New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen had the opportunity to question two of Trump’s nominees—Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State and James Mattis for Secretary of Defense—and she joined NHPR’s Peter Biello to talk about those hearings and other news of the week.

josh rogers/nhpr

Senator Maggie Hassan is urging local care providers to fight for President Obama's signature health law.

Hassan used a visit to a Concord community mental health center to urge local care providers to lend their voices to what she termed the battle over Obamacare, which Washington Republicans have begun repealing. The law has helped 63,000 people in New Hampshire obtain coverage.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  U.S Senator Jeanne Shaheen questioned Donald Trump’s pick for defense secretary about NATO during confirmation hearings today.

As a candidate, President–Elect Trump questioned the utility of NATO, but in picking General James Mattis to lead the military, Trump selected a former NATO commander.

Shaheen asked Mattis about Trump’s NATO comments and about a a slated boost in U.S. funding for NATO under an initiative known as ERI.

“Will you support the ERI continuing as secretary of defense?

Thomas Gehrke / Flickr Creative Commons

 

In his inaugural address last week, Gov. Chris Sununu made it clear he thinks the state must — and can — act to reduce the state's high cost of electricity.

“We can’t be passive anymore," Sununu said. "We have to find the right solutions to get it done and get it done our way. Do we need to look at Northern Pass? You bet we do — 1,100 megawatts of clean, renewable energy? How do we say no to that when we have the highest rates in the country? We can help ratepayers.”

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

One New Hampshire lawmaker wants to add a new charge to the state’s criminal code: Under his proposal, someone who provides another person with a lethal dose of heroin or fentanyl would be charged with manslaughter

AP

A bill looking to eliminate New Hampshire’s permit requirement for carrying a concealed firearm has passed committee and now heads to the full Senate for the third year in a row. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

State financial experts say New Hampshire is starting the year off in better fiscal health than expected. That’s good news for lawmakers charged with crafting the next two-year state budget.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Hearings for the new legislative session officially kick off this week in Concord. And lawmakers are getting right to business with two controversial bills already on the docket.

When he ran for governor Chris Sununu described NH as "a regulatory police state."

This 90-day review, which is Sununu's first policy move since taking office, is aimed at easing mandates across government.

For a regulation to survive,  Sununu wrote, department heads should be able to show that there is a clear need for it; that it is best addressed by the agency; that its cost does not exceed its benefit and that its effectiveness can be measured.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After being sworn in Thursday at the State House, Republican Chris Sununu has officially become the 82nd Governor of New Hampshire

In his inauguration address, Sununu laid out his priorities for the next two years but also offered an indication of his leadership style.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican Governor Chris Sununu was sworn in at the New Hampshire State House Thursday.

He then gave an address that focused on the state's opioid crisis, business climate, and bi-partisanship.

Listen to the full audio of his address below, as well as the post-speech responses by Democratic State Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn and Republican House Majority Leader Dick Hinch.

Listen to the speech:

Listen to Senator Jeff Woodburn's respond to the speech with NHPR's Laura Knoy. Woodburn is a Democrat, and the State Senate Minority Leader.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

When Chris Sununu is sworn in as Governor later today, he'll deliver an inaugural speech outlining his vision for state government. But what about the people served by state government? What do they want to hear from their next governor? Voters in Concord and Manchester weighed in on the days before inauguration day.

josh rogers/nhpr

 

To hear Chuck Morse tell it, being Governor isn’t anything to get too excited about.  

“Somebody has to be in charge and the constitution provided for the senate president to do that, so it’s truly an honor.”

 

Morse was outside his state house office. A paper sign reading governor was taped over his usual senate nameplate. As he made his way down the hall, occasionally looking over his shoulder at the state trooper assigned to protect him until Governor-elect Sununu is sworn in, Morse offered terse greetings to lawmakers and lobbyists…..

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

An effort to get rid of the legislature's Committee on Children and Family Law fell flat in the House Wednesday. Lawmakers rejected the proposal, 172 votes to 196.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire’s governor doesn’t have a whole lot of executive power, at least compared to peers in other states. But one of the few ways a governor can exert his or her influence is through nominations to fill open seats across state agencies.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Democrat Maggie Hassan has been sworn in as a U.S. senator, becoming only the second woman to serve as a state's governor and senator in American history.

Hassan, a two-term governor, resigned at midnight Monday. She was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden in the Senate Chamber in Washington at noon Tuesday, using the Bible that she received from her mother as a child.

In New Hampshire, Hassan handed over the reins to Republican Senate President Chuck Morse. He is serving as governor until Gov.-elect Chris Sununu, also a Republican, is inaugurated Thursday.

C-SPAN

Sen. Maggie Hassan made it official Tuesday, formally taking office as the newest member of New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation.

Hassan was sworn-in by Vice President Joe Biden in a series of ceremonies at the U.S. Capitol in Washington – first, officially, on the Senate floor, and again during a reenactment meant to give senators a chance to mark the occasion with their families.

Via steelguru.com

When Chris Sununu takes office Thursday, he’ll be the youngest governor in the country. But his arrival will also be a restoration of sorts for his family.

The Sununus have been New Hampshire’s first family before, back in the 1980’s, when Chris Sununu’s father, John H. Sununu, was Governor.

But plenty has changed since then, including the family’s business interests.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

By the end of this week, New Hampshire will — technically — have had three different governors in the span of just a few days.

Governor-Elect Chris Sununu will be sworn into his new role Thursday afternoon, becoming the country’s youngest sitting governor and the first Republican to lead New Hampshire in 12 years. (Former Gov. Craig Benson, whose term ended in 2005, was the last Republican in the corner office.)

NHPR Staff

A Republican leader in the state legislature wants New Hampshire to bar unions from charging non-members for representing them. With Governor-elect Chris Sununu also backing so-called right-to-work, the issue will be prominent when lawmakers return to Concord next year.

Divisions in the GOP and Democratic governors have stymied efforts to enact right-to-work in the past.

The bill’s lead sponsor this time around, House Majority Leader Dick Hinch, says the idea behind the measure is to give workers more freedom.

Tax Credits via Flickr Creative Commons

Among the slate of economic measures state lawmakers will consider next session is a bill to impose an income tax. The sponsor is well aware of what he’s up against.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

From changes in voting registration to changes to party primaries or the Electoral College, New Hampshire lawmakers are preparing a slew of bills aimed at reforming the state’s elections.

In all, at least 40 bills aimed at tinkering with the state’s election laws are in the works for 2017.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Year will bring plenty of new rules and regulations to New Hampshire, covering everything from police body cameras to the use of laser pointers. Here's a look at some of the bills that will officially be law as of January 1st:

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

The United States is one of few countries in the world that doesn't guarantee paid family leave for workers. Four states have voted to adopt their own family leave policies in recent years, and Representative Mary Gile of Concord has been working to put New Hampshire on that list.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

There are more than 2,500 drones registered in New Hampshire. And with their popularity on the rise you can expect to see more of these unmanned aircrafts buzzing around the Granite State skies in 2017.

But drone owners in New Hampshire may have to fly under new rules next year if lawmakers decide federal regulations are not enough.

NHPR Staff

During the campaign, Governor-elect Chris Sununu said he would make attracting companies to the state a top priority. He also promised to meet with 100 business leaders in his first 100 days in office. 

In a speech this week, Sununu says the current administration hasn’t worked hard enough to attract firms, and criticized officials for failing to land a big one, General Electric.

The Republican’s comments on the year-old General Electric decision seemed to come out of the blue.

Allegra Boverman/NHPR

New Hampshire has been awarded $80 million from the federal government to build a bio research and manufacturing institute in Manchester. 

The money, which was granted by the U.S. Department of Defense, will create a new institute to develop and bio-manufacture tissues and organs that can be transplanted into patients - particularly wounded military veterans. 

 

Pages