Politics

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

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The state budget is facing a $30 million dollar shortfall, according to the Legislative Budget Office. Legislative budget assistant Jeff Pattison briefed lawmakers today. He stressed that the number could grow or shrink between now and the end of the fiscal year.

“We are looking at about a 30 million dollar problem, but that’s as of January 14th. There are a lot of things that are going to be happening between now and June 30th. My expectation is these numbers will still be changing when we get to the committee of conference in June.”

Emily Corwin / NHPR

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a likely Republican presidential candidate, is returning to New Hampshire with a full day of events including meetings with lawmakers, activists and business leaders.

Paul's visit will begin Wednesday with a breakfast in Manchester with state legislators. He'll then meet privately with Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, attend a pro-Second Amendment rally, speak at a forum on Common Core, tour a charter school and end the day meeting with business leaders and activists.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

NHPR’s Josh Rogers joins Rick Ganley Monday mornings to discuss developments on New Hampshire’s political front.

Governor Hassan has begun her second term. Republicans voted Saturday to give Jennifer Horn another turn as party chair. And back to work for lawmakers in Concord. Let’s start with the GOP state committee meeting over the weekend, the re-election of Jennifer Horn. Significant?

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Today, Governor Maggie Hassan begins her second term facing a far different political landscape than she faced two years ago. Scroll down for real-time updates from the Statehouse featuring news, tweets from NHPR reporters and photos by Allegra Boverman. Click through additional photos in the gallery above.

Visit the official inaugural committee website here. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House rejected an effort by backers of former Republican Speaker Bill O'Brien to install him as House majority leader. But O’Brien says he’s still moving forward with plans to form his own leadership team.

Backers of O’Brien knew they faced long odds in trying to get a House majority to reject the course it set just last month when members chose Shawn Jasper as speaker,  but that didn’t stop them.

Steve Stepanek of Amherst told colleagues the very future of the house depended on ensuring that caucuses -not any speaker - get final say on who should lead.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Legislators can again carry concealed weapons on the floor of the N.H. House and in the legislative office building after the Republicans-led house voted to undo a prohibition on the practice put in place two years ago by Democrats.

The 228-149 vote came following a debate where Democrats like Len DiSesa, former deputy police chief in Portsmouth, argued allowing guns in the chamber risks public safety.

“The only people who should be armed in the House of Representatives are trained police officers.”

NHPR Staff

 

Fights over Republican leadership and whether to allow guns in the House chamber will take center stage during the opening day of the New Hampshire legislative session.

House and Senate members meet Wednesday to officially begin the session. Sparks are likely to fly among two factions of House Republicans, as backers of Rep. Bill O'Brien will attempt to install him as the majority leader by changing House rules and going against Speaker Shawn Jasper. House members will also vote on whether to allow concealed weapons in the chamber.

Governor Maggie Hassan’s inaugural committee says it’s raised more than $200,000 dollars. State law permits such donations to remain private but a spokesman for the committee says the names and contribution amounts will be made available.

State law has never required the disclosure of inauguration donors, but one governor – John Lynch -- took the step of filing reports with the secretary of state’s office anyway.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Each Monday, NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers joins me on Morning Edition for On The Political Front, a conversation about the week ahead in politics.

Listen to the segment below, or scroll down to read the interview.

Governor Hassan will be inaugurated for her second term Thursday. The legislature holds its first session day Wednesday. Let’s start with the governor. She faces a different political landscape than when she first won office in 2010.

FutUndBeidl

A lawsuit pitting the Libertarian Party against the State of New Hampshire passed a crucial test this week. 

The lawsuit seeks to overturn a law passed in 2014 that gives third party candidates less time to collect the necessary signatures to run for Senate or Governor. 

That time limit makes it nearly impossible for third party candidates to run for those offices, alleges the Libertarian Party, which is being represented in this case by the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The state budget will serve as the political battleground between Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan and Republican lawmakers in the upcoming session, with state spending on universities, prisons and services for vulnerable populations at the center.

The state is facing more than $100 million in new costs driven by one settlement with hospitals over a controversial tax and another with the federal government over mental health services.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Concealed weapons would again be allowed in and around the N.H. house chamber under a policy endorsed Thursday by the House rules committee.

Goffstown republican John Burt sponsored the change, which would restore polices in effect at the N.H. House from 2011 to 2013.

"When you have a gun free zone it’s a false sense of security. It really is, you know some people might feel good and say we are safe in there. We are really not."

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The man appointed by House Speaker Shawn Jasper to lead House Republicans held his first GOP caucus on Wednesday.  Brookline lawmaker Jack Flanagan says he expects resistance from some backers of former House Speaker Bill O'Brien, but expects the controversy over who is the rightful leader of Republicans in the House to fade.

On Wednesday afternoon, Flanagan caucused privately with about 100 House Republicans.  Flanagan said the stated goal was to gather input of policy priorities for the next two year session.

josh rogers/nhpr

Republicans loyal to former House Speaker Bill O’Brien say they won't recognize the Majority Leader named by House Speak Shawn Jasper.

About 100 House Republicans met behind closed doors to discuss how to make Bill O’Brien the official leader of the Republican caucus.

According to Bill O’Brien the goal is to ensure the House hews to a conservative agenda.

Under state GOP rules, O’Brien  is the Republican leader because he was the Republican Caucus's nominee for Speaker.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

House Speaker Shawn Jasper was censured Monday night by the executive committee of NH's republican party.

The censure resolution, which was adopted on a 17-9 vote, says Jasper placed his own interest above the interest of the Republican party when he opposed former house speaker Bill O'Brien in the race for the house's top job.

The censure carries no penalty but won adoption over a weaker sanction that sought to express the GOP's "unqualified disapproval."

Jasper's censure comes as he prepares for a house republican caucus meeting called for Wednesday.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A number of familiar faces will lead key New Hampshire House committees.

Kelli True / NHPR

New Hampshire Republican Party chair Jennifer Horn is seeking a second term.

According to multiple media reports, Horn sent out an email to the state GOP Executive Committee this morning confirming her candidacy.

The party holds its annual meeting on Jan. 10 in Derry, when the chair will be formally elected.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Newly elected New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper is planning to announce committee chairs for the upcoming legislative session.

Jasper, a Republican who won the speakership largely with support from Democrats, has promised to appoint only Republicans to serve as chairs and vice chairs. He will announce his appointments Thursday. The House has 21 committees, ranging from criminal justice and public safety to health, human services and elderly affairs.

Via Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper has named former state Supreme Court Justice Chuck Douglas as House legal counsel.

Douglas's resume includes a term Congress, representing New Hampshire's 2nd district, and a stint as legal counsel for former governor Meldrim Thomson.

Douglas has also been counsel for the New Hampshire Republican state committee.

He now leads a Concord law firm, where he's  represented plaintiffs in lawsuits against the state on matters ranging from sexual harassment to judicial pensions.

NHPR’s Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers joins Morning Edition each Monday to talk about developments in New Hampshire Politics.

The implications of Shawn Jasper’s win over Bill O’Brien in the House Speaker election last week continue to emerge, don’t they?

Gage Skidmore via Flickr CC

Former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina is returning to New Hampshire to discuss proposed solutions to the economic challenges facing the state and nation.

Fiorina, a Republican and former candidate for U.S. Senate in California, has made several trips this year to New Hampshire, home of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary. On Friday, she'll be the keynote speaker at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Independent Business Council of New Hampshire and Republican Frank Guinta, who was elected to the U.S. House last month.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

It took multiple votes and more than 7 hours, but the NH House did choose a new speaker Wednesday – Hudson Republican Shawn Jasper.

Support from Democrats lifted Jasper to an upset win over former Speaker Bill O’Brien, who Republicans nominated to lead the House last month.  

The first sign that yesterday might not end well for Bill O’Brien, came early, when Republicans tried to alter the proposed rules for electing a Speaker.

The discovery of 21 so-called "phantom ballots" in Maine's state Senate District 25 has Democrats crying foul. All 21 ballots were cast in Long Island for Republican Cathleen Manchester. Some Democratic officials are calling on Maine's Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to intervene. But Dunlap says the outcome of the disputed election is up to the Maine Senate.

This story appears courtesy MPBN News.

NHPR Staff

As she presented the cuts to the legislature’s joint fiscal committee, Governor Hassan told lawmakers there are two things driving New Hampshire’s growing budget shortfall.

"This is a challenge created by both tax law changes and increased demand and federal law changes in our Medicaid caseload."

These issues are familiar to budget watchers. Medicaid caseload are up – the publicity surrounding Medicaid expansion is one reason. Another are federal changes that have increased eligibility.

NHPR Staff

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte is praising outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel while criticizing President Barack Obama.

Ayotte, a Republican who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, opposed Hagel's confirmation in 2012 but said Monday he should be honored for his service to the country.

She also said the "national security failings" of the Obama administration rest with the president, not Hagel.

Her colleague on the committee, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, said she has the utmost respect for Hagel, who resigned Monday.

Courtesy Shaheen.Senate.gov

New Hampshire’s two U.S. Senators are split on President Obama’s executive order on immigration preventing nearly five million people in the country illegally from being deported.

During a visit to Portsmouth Friday, Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen said there’s legal precedent for the president’s action.

But Shaheen said there’s more to work to be done.

“I think Congress needs to act. That’s the way to address this issue and to get it done in a way that addresses our border security and addresses our visa system – all of the aspects of immigration.”

NHPR Staff

School's now in session for New Hampshire's newly elected state representatives, who are spending two days touring the State House and learning the ropes of legislative procedure.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is one of two independents in the Senate. Now, the self-described socialist says he may run for president.

Sanders is aligned with Senate Democrats, but he has spoken lately of a problem with the Democratic coalition that elected President Obama. He says working-class white voters have abandoned Democrats in large numbers. The party, he says, has "not made it clear that they are prepared to stand with the working-class people of this country, take on the big money interests."

Brady Carlson

Republican Bill O'Brien has been nominated by fellow Republicans to become the next speaker of the New Hampshire House.

O'Brien, who served as speaker from 2011 to 2012, narrowly defeated Gene Chandler – also a former house speaker -- on Tuesday.

Prior to the vote, O'Brien told the GOP caucus by working together they could “turn NH into the crown jewel of New England.”

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Texas Governor Rick Perry’s itinerary  -- meetings with core Republican activists, stops at colleges, and a speech at an event celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marine Corps – was very much that of a candidate. 

In his remarks at the Marine event, Perry cited Russia, Iran, and ISIS, as reasons why the U.S. cannot afford a foreign policy, that is, as he put it, “lacking in clarity.” 

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