Politics

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

FILE

A bill decriminalizing three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana in New Hampshire is headed to Governor Chris Sununu, who says he’ll sign it. 

NHPR Staff

House lawmakers will debate a bill Thursday that would define a fetus as a person in cases of homicide.

The Republican-backed bill has already cleared the state Senate, and if it passes the House, it goes to Governor Chris Sununu, who says he will sign it into law.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

After more than ten hours of debate, the New Hampshire Senate Wednesday night passed a GOP-crafted state budget along party lines.

Update: 12:55 PM:

This bill has passed the New Hampshire House by a vote of 186-170. We will continue to update this story.

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The New Hampshire House votes Thursday on a bill that would allow fetuses older than twenty weeks to be considered people in cases involving murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide. The debate over what are often called fetal homicide laws isn’t a new one in Concord, but with Republicans controlling the legislature and the governor's office, this year the bill is expected to become law.

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been a busy session for anyone with an interest in New Hampshire elections, with dozens of bills filed to tinker with different parts of the state’s voting systems. 

Most of the proposals filed this session didn’t make it out of committee or have otherwise lost steam, for now at least. But on Thursday, three significant pieces of voting legislation will be up for a final vote in the House.

Wikimedia Commons

All eyes have been on the Senate after the House failed to pass its own version of the budget earlier this year – for the first time in decades.  The Senate budget includes much of what House budget writers agreed on, though it spends less and includes business tax cuts.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

When Senate budget writers laid out details of the Republican-backed state spending proposal to lawmakers Tuesday afternoon, several Republican House members weren’t too impressed. 

CREDIT SARA PLOURDE / NHPR

The State's so-called "drug czar" is stepping down. 

James Vara, who held the position for the past year, has been nominated by Gov. Chris Sununu to serve as Chief of Staff for the Attorney General. The Executive Council must approve Vara's new position at next week's meeting.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The full New Hampshire Senate is scheduled to vote on the Finance Committee’s budget proposal Wednesday.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

It was a festive scene inside party headquarters in Concord on Tuesday, as New Hampshire Democrats celebrated the 100th birthday of President John F. Kennedy with cake and song.

While party elders old enough to remember Kennedy sat and swapped stories, young staffers scurried around doling out chocolate cake to mark the occasion.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

House lawmakers are set to vote Thursday on a Republican-sponsored bill that would stiffen residency requirements for voters who register in the month before an election. Under the bill, those voters would be required to provide additional documentation to show where they live and that they intend to stay in the state.

Republican Barbara Griffin is chair of the House Election Law Committee, which is recommending the bill’s passage. Speaking to NHPR’s Morning Edition, Griffin says the bill ensures the integrity of the voting process.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Senate budget writers will be pitching their version of the next state spending plan to lawmakers Tuesday morning at the Statehouse.

The full Senate are scheduled to vote on the budget Wednesday.

Governor Chris Sununu thinks the state and Dartmouth-Hitchcock have cleared the air over their dispute about mental health staffing at New Hampshire hospital.

That was Sununu's take after a meeting Wednesday with Dartmouth-Hitchcock CEO Jim Weinstein.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican leaders in the Senate are confident the body will pass a GOP-backed version of the state budget next week.

But how the process will unfold after that is different than usual this year.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After weeks of going through the numbers, the Senate Finance Committee has wrapped up its version of the state’s next two-year budget.

The proposal passed the committee with a 4 to 2 vote Wednesday, with Democrats against.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The House finance committee has given its unanimous backing to a full-day kindergarten proposal tied to the lottery game Keno.

Under the bill, the state would send school districts that have full-day kindergarten an extra $1100 per pupil starting in 2019.

The bill would also authorize cities and towns to allow Keno. The state's take from the video lottery game would be deposited in the state's education trust fund. The account the new Kindergarten aid would be drawn from. Neal Kurk is chairman of the House Finance Committee.

The term “fake news” became part of the national lexicon leading up to last year’s presidential election.

But in the months since President Trump took office, there’s now been a flurry of liberal conspiracy theories being spread across social media.

This story has been updated to make note of the AP's correction to its original story, issued Wednesday.

Last week, the Associated Press — along with other local news outlets — covered Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway’s visit to New Hampshire to speak at party fundraiser.

The New Hampshire Republican Party took issue with the AP’s decision to report from inside the closed-press event, the accuracy of its brief story and the integrity of the reporter who filed it — and responded with a firestorm of criticism, on social media and elsewhere. 

FILE

The Republican-controlled Senate Finance Committee backed a proposal on Tuesday to cut New Hampshire’s business taxes.

Brian Wallstin for NHPR

Budget writers in the N.H. House are eyeing the lottery game Keno as a way to fund full day kindergarten. The state senate has always opposed Keno and Governor Sununu says he's yet to see the details of the plan.

josh rogers/nhpr

The Senate Ways and Means committee has adopted revenue figures for the next state budget.

The numbers are higher than the senate's earlier forecasts, but about $20 million shy of what Governor Sununu proposed.

In the context of a $12 billion dollar budget, a $20 million difference may seem small, but reaching agreement was a challenge.

The final vote added $53 million dollars to what the senate projected last week by bumping up estimates on businesses taxes, real estate transfers, and the tax on interests and dividends.

Cheryl Senter / NHPR

The Trump administration has tapped former 1st District Congressional candidate Rich Ashooh to be its new assistant secretary of commerce, with a focus on exports.

Announcing the nomination Friday, the Trump administration noted Ashooh’s role as Director of Economic Partnerships at UNH, and his past experience working as a top executive with defense companies Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems.

Ashooh, who lives in Bedford, narrowly lost last year’s Republican Congressional primary to incumbent Congressman Frank Guinta, who then went on to lose in the general election.

josh rogers/nhpr

Budget writers in the New Hampshire Senate are predicting Medicaid caseload will drop over the next two years.  But underestimating caseloads in the program that benefits the poor helped cause the current state budget shortfall.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The Trump administration recently launched a new presidential commission on Election Integrity — and tapped New Hampshire's Secretary of State Bill Gardner to help out. Now, the ACLU is pushing for more information on Gardner's involvement. 

The ACLU filed a series of records requests with the Trump administration and other Secretaries of State slated to be on the commission — in New Hampshire, Kansas and Maine.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The New Hampshire House overwhelmingly OK’d a proposal Thursday to allocate $33 million to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services to make up for a budget shortfall.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Sen. Maggie Hassan said the latest round of news out of Washington only heightens the need for independent investigations into the dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey and Russia’s involvement in the 2016 elections.

Josh Rogers

Robert Fisher, the Laconia state rep who created the misogynistic Reddit forum known as The Red Pill, has resigned from the New Hampshire house.

That announcement followed a party line vote by the GOP-led committee to recommend the house take no action to discipline him, and fresh evidence that Fisher may have been active on the Red Pill board more recently than he told lawmakers while under oath.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The House Election Law committee voted along party lines Tuesday to recommend an updated version of voting bill SB3, a Republican-sponsored bill to add tougher enforcement for voters registering within 30 days of an election.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Addressing the state’s oversight committee monitoring the Division of Children, Youth and Families, Gov. Chris Sununu voiced support for the creation of a new Office of the Child Advocate and other reforms in response to systemic problems at the child services agency.

Sununu told the commission his team has been “aggressive” about visiting regional DCYF offices and caseworkers to better understand what problems need to be fixed.

CREDIT CREDIT MIKE ROSS, UNH

The University System of New Hampshire will likely not see an increase in state funding over the next two years.  That’s after Senate budget writers Tuesday voted to approve the recommendation of both the Governor and the House Finance Committee in keeping the system’s funding at current levels - $81 million a year. 

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