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

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

UPDATE: On Thursday the New Hampshire Senate without debate killed a bill that would have repealed a law requiring ex-felons to get a waiver from the state liquor commission in order to serve alcohol to the public. Original story follows below.

If you want to work as a server or bartender in New Hampshire, and you have a felony on your record, you have to do a little more than just fill out the application – you also need approval from the state liquor commission.

This requirement has been on the books since 1969 and an effort to change it, goes before the state Senate Thursday afternoon.

New Hampshire's U.S. senators have introduced a bill for the creation of a coin in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster and honoring Christa McAuliffe, who was picked to be the first teacher in space.

Proceeds from the sale of the coins would support FIRST programs that inspire young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program is founded by inventor Dean Kamen.

Worries over lost tax revenue and neighborhood complaints have state and local officials grappling with how to regulate private rentals through online platforms such as Airbnb.


Citing public safety concerns, Governor Maggie Hassan has vetoed a bill that aimed to limit the power of local building inspectors. This is Hassan's first veto of the year.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire Republican party has called off an email vote on delegate assignments for the Republican National Convention. The postponement came after complaints by the Donald Trump's campaign.

Pam Tucker for US Congress, YouTube

The previously crowded Republican primary for New Hampshire's First Congressional District shrunk yet again on Monday, as State Rep. Pam Tucker announced plans to suspend her campaign.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

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

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate returns this week with another loaded agenda. Meanwhile the House will have its hands full weighing in on dozens of Senate bills in committee.


After much debate, the New Hampshire Senate Thursday voted to keep the state’s so-called drug forfeiture fund alive.

Under current law money or assets seized in a criminal drug bust are put into a special fund used to combat future drug crimes. 


A bill seeking to legalize Keno in New Hampshire fell flat once again in the state Senate.

Lawmakers voted 13 to 10 to kill the proposal which would have allowed Keno, a form of electronic bingo, in places with liquor licenses, but only after individual approval from cities and towns. 

Senator Jerry Little of Weare said Keno would mean money for the state - $8 to $9 million a year he calculated.

Republican Congressman Frank Guinta is facing a fresh obstacle in his quest to keep his seat: The formation of an outside money group to back one of his rivals.

Republican businessman Rich Ashooh is the benefactor of a newly formed super PAC, which can raise unlimited sums of money from individuals. The group's financial backers aren't yet known, but Matt Mowers, a former executive director of the state GOP, is helping run it.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate today will once again tackle a handful of bills geared at the state’s opioid crisis. Many of the proposals being related to illegal drug use.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

2016 is a big year politically for New Hampshire, and excepting the Presidential contest, no election will get as much scrutiny as the U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte and Democratic challenger Maggie Hassan.

Hillary Clinton hasn't won the nomination, yet. And Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders hasn't technically lost. But in a statement released after the results were in, Sanders' rhetoric took a notable turn.

"[W]e are in this race until the last vote is cast," he said, with no mention of winning the nomination.

Instead, "[T]his campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform."

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took definitive steps toward solidifying their respective party's presidential nomination on Tuesday, making their rivals' task to beat them nearly insurmountable.

Trump won all five of the delegate-rich GOP primaries in Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island. Clinton notched four victories in Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, while Bernie Sanders won the Rhode Island Democratic primary.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Citing strong state revenue numbers, Governor Maggie Hassan is calling on Republican leaders to act on a number of spending priorities. But top Republicans say much of what the governor seeks is already in the works.

Pennsylvania has one of the most unique methods of assigning delegates in the country. The statewide winner of Tuesday’s election gets only 17 of 71 delegates. The rest are unbound and can vote for whomever they want on the first ballot at July’s convention.

U.S. Rep. Tom Marino is the chair of Donald Trump’s campaign in Pennsylvania, and he’s reaching out to those delegates to help his candidate clinch the nomination. He speaks with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.

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. 


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.