Politics

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

NHPR Staff

When Governor Chris Sununu looked for somebody to replace retiring state supreme court Justice Carol Ann Conboy, he didn’t have to look very far.

His pick, Bobbie Hantz, was, until the day she applied to join the state’s highest court, a member of the selection panel Sununu appointed to help him vet would-be judges.

Jason Moon for NHPR

House and Senate lawmakers have settled on the final language for a bill to fund full day kindergarten in New Hampshire. But the bipartisan cooperation around the bill may be faltering.

josh rogers/nhpr

House and Senate negotiators say they have a deal on a two-year state budget that spends less than the $11.8 billion plan passed by the Senate, which trimmed money from than the $11.9 billion proposal backed by House leaders that failed to win approval in April.

Last fall, the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire reached an important milestone: They managed to get 4 percent of the vote in the governor’s race, giving them official party status and a place on New Hampshire ballots. But a snag for one candidate seeking to run in the House special election highlights the fact that many of the state election laws were still built for a two-party system.

SBA Administrator Linda McMahon on Twitter

Governor Chris Sununu spent Monday in Washington, meeting with leaders from a number of federal agencies: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon and officials from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Sununu said his goal, in part, was to make up for what he views as inefficient advocacy by New Hampshire's Congressional delegation.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee today as the investigation continues into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Sessions is expected to take questions about his recusal from the Russia investigation, his own meetings with Russian officials, and what if anything he knew about a private Oval Office meeting between President Trump and fired FBI Director James Comey. Here is Sessions' prepared opening statement to the committee, annotated by NPR journalists.

New Hampshire's legislative budget writers have until Thursday to reach agreement on a spending plan so the full House and Senate can vote next week. They have lots more work to do, but a decision that doesn’t involve money could shape the trajectory of this debate.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The start of budget negotiations between the Senate and House start Friday. That means we’re near the end of a months-long process that’s had some surprises this year.

Lawmakers sitting on the Committee of Conference, the one's charged with finalizing the budget, need to sign off on a final version by next Thursday.  

NHPR Staff

New Hampshire legislators begin the final stage of the state budget-writing process this week. On Friday, a handful of senators and House members will gather to hammer out a compromise plan for state spending over the next two years.

Billions of dollars are at stake, and NHPR’s newsroom has been keeping an eye on several key policy areas. Here's an overview on where several big-ticket items stand.

Updated at 6:28 p.m. ET

Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday that President Trump did ask him for "loyalty" at a January dinner and later told him alone in the Oval Office that he "hope[d] you can let" the investigation into former national security director Michael Flynn "go."

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Senate and House budget writers will meet Friday to start negotiating a final version of the state’s next two year budget.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Part of Governor Chris Sununu’s political identity is built on science and thought. There’s Sununu’s oft-cited degree from MIT, his professional background as an engineer, and his family’s well-tended reputation for being smart.

But on two recent issues, the governor backed away from letting science - or expert opinion - guide his policy decisions.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu will be traveling to a few high-profile out-of-state events this week: an "infrastructure summit" hosted by the Trump administration in Washington and another retreat hosted by former presidential candidate Mitt Romney. 

NHPR Staff

Governor Chris Sununu says he much hasn't thought about President Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker says the President's decision on Paris is "disappointing;" Vermont Governor Phil Scott calls it "concerning." Both are Republicans, and both say they plan to work across state lines to reduce carbon emissions.

Governor Sununu, meanwhile, says he's not completely sure what he thinks.

Tracy Lee Carroll, NHPR

A Republican-backed bill to add tougher scrutiny on voters who don’t have the right kind of paperwork to prove they live in the state sailed through the House of Representatives Thursday and is headed to Gov. Chris Sununu for a signature. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The House overwhelmingly passed a bill Thursday to fund full-day kindergarten in the state. The final vote was 231 to 100.

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.

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