Politics

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

More than three in five young Americans prefer that a Democrat win the White House in 2016 rather than a Republican. And Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is alone among the five major presidential hopefuls still in the race who has a net positive favorability rating.

Those are two of the findings in a new survey of American adults under 30 years old by Harvard University's Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The strange and bitter Democratic primary in the first congressional district got even stranger and more bitter today.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

New Hampshire’s drug crisis is a common topic on the campaign trail this year. But U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rubens is touting a slightly different approach.

Rubens advocates for so-called "harm reduction" policies, things like drug assisted treatment, needle exchange programs, and the decriminalization of marijuana.

Photo Credit Katja Rupp, via Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire Senate has rejected a bill to decriminalize possession of up to a half-ounce of marijuana. But opponents say it would be wrong to reduce marijuana penalties in the midst of an opioid crisis.

While the New Hampshire house has repeatedly voted to decriminalize marijuana, the policy has never found favor in the senate. This time was no different. MIlford Republican Gary Daniels compares the state's fight against heroin and Fentayl to a war. He says now would be the wrong time to convey a tolerant attitude towards marijuana.

Count Sen. Jeanne Shaheen among those cheering the news that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill.

For the last year, Shaheen has been one of the leading voices in Congress calling for more female representation on U.S. currency.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House killed a bill Wednesday to fund a program designed to teach substance abuse prevention in high schools.

HOPE, which stands for Heroin and Opiate Prevention Education, is run by Plymouth State University and offers peer to peer prevention. But not every school in the state participates.

Under the measure, roughly $51,000 would be available to public and charter high schools in the state who want to join the program.

Alton / Creative Commons

A bill aimed at cracking down on people who put sexually explicit photos of a person online without his or her consent in New Hampshire is now heading to the Governor.

On Wednesday the full House passed the measure through a voice vote – something the full Senate did last month.  

Under the bill, those found to have participated in the practice of so-called “revenge porn” will be charged with a felony. 

Flickr

The New Hampshire House on Wednesday backed a bill calling for an additional $5 million to help combat the state’s current opioid crisis.

Under the measure, $3, million will go to treatment services while $2 million will help to provide housing for those battling an addiction. It also includes money to hire a state attorney to prosecute drug cases.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House Wednesday backed a measure that would allow the state Division of Children, Youth and Families to investigate parents suspected of having an opioid dependence. 

As written, the bill would exempt parents currently involved in treatment or actively seeking treatment.  

Democrat Skip Berrien of Exeter said this bill would ensure that DCYF can offer services before problems escalate.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

The classic gerrymandered map you learned about in high school civics class is full of oddly-shaped legislative districts, drawn with obvious intent to boost one party.

But in New Hampshire, that’s rarely the case: It’s very hard to see, just by looking at the election maps, which districts might help or hurt a certain party’s chances.

So has gerrymandering been a factor in the state’s politics? And if so, how much?

Digitization supported by the Cogswell Benevolent Trust. / Image obtained via the New Hampshire Historical Society

Here’s a confusing reality about New Hampshire politics today.

Democrats are having success like never before, scoring wins that would have been impossible just two decades ago.

But despite that shift, there’s one place where Republicans still have a leg up on Election Day: the state Legislature.

Excerpted from Planned Parenthood Votes Ad

 A political action committee affiliated with Planned Parenthood is spending $400,000 to target Kelly Ayotte in its first TV ad focused on 2016 Senate races.

NHPR Staff

Sure, the prospect of being a delegate to a national political convention has always been a big deal — but it's usually also kind of a formality.

By the time a convention rolls around, parties typically know who’s gathered enough support to earn the nomination, according to whatever rules they’ve established in advance.

Not so in 2016.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

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

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.

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