Politics

Credit Daniel S. Hurd

NHPR's political coverage from the New Hampshire State House to the First In The Nation Primary, Town Meeting, and the Congressional Delegation. Stories by Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers, Digital Journalist Brian Wallstin, and the NHPR News team. 

Josh Rogers / NHPR

The Republican front runner in the race for U.S. Senate – former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown – will not take part in a debate in Merrimack tonight with his primary challengers.

Sean Marshall via Flickr CC

 

Gov. Maggie Hassan is opening hearings on $227 million in capital spending requests from New Hampshire agencies.

Gov. Maggie Hassan has vetoed a bill that barred New Hampshire from disclosing the names of lottery winners.

Hassan said current law recognizes winners' privacy by not requiring disclosure of their names proactively, but she said barring disclosure in all instances weakened public oversight and could lead to corruption.

Ben McLeod / Flickr Creative Commons

House Majority Leader Steve Shurtleff is announcing his candidacy to replace retiring House Speaker Terie Norelli.

The Concord Democrat is holding a news conference Thursday to announce his bid and outline some of his priorities if selected in December when the new Legislature organizes.

Mont Vernon Republican Bill O'Brien, Bartlett Republican Gene Chandler and Bedford Republican Laurie Sanborn also are seeking the leadership position. O'Brien and Chandler are former speakers.

Todd Bookman

Republican candidate for governor Walt Havenstein wants state election officials to rule on whether he meets the residency requirements to hold the office.

Immediately after filing paperwork to officially launch his candidacy against Gov. Maggie Hassan in Concord on Wednesday, Havenstein submitted a petition to the state Ballot Law Commission, asking for an expedited hearing on the residency issue.

On the Political Front this morning, NHPR's Josh Rogers talks about this year's legislative session, which wrapped up last week. 

Lawmakers passed some bills on contentious topics, but failed on others. And some notable names announced they won't seek office again.

The big bills that passed:

Jo Naylor via Flickr CC

This week All Things Considered has been looking back at some of the major legislative debates this session at the New Hampshire statehouse. 

The Medicaid Enhancement Tax usually flies under the radar in New Hampshire: it’s complicated, boring on the surface and, as far as taxes go, pretty narrowly applied.

But the MET, as it's called, has major implications for the state budget and the state’s 26 hospitals. And debate over how to fix the MET gained plenty of attention this year, becoming one of the biggest policy issues lawmakers took on in 2014. 

This week All Things Considered is looking at the key bills at the statehouse this year – which passed, which didn’t, and why.

Proponents of repealing New Hampshire's death penalty law had new allies this year, including Governor Maggie Hassan, who promised to sign a repeal measure as long as it didn't affect the sentence of Michael Addison, the state's lone death row inmate.

The State House approved a repeal measure, but the Senate deadlocked 12-12 over the bill and ultimately laid it on the table.

John Wardell via Flickr CC

All Things Considered is looking at some of the key bills of the 2014 legislative session – and how they ended up passing or failing to pass.

This year's casino debate may have seen some new lines of argument, but the outcome was the same as in years past: casino proposals won support in the State Senate, but came up short in the State House.

Reporter Norma Love of the Associated Press explains the dynamic behind this year's casino debate to NHPR's Brady Carlson.

Jimmy Emerson, Flickr CC

New Hampshire lawmakers have passed legislation that includes household pets in orders designed to protect victims of domestic violence.

Wednesday's vote sent the bill to the governor. It expands the orders to include pets in cases involving stalking and domestic violence. The bill would allow judges to grant custody of any domestic pets or farm animals to the victim and issue an order barring the abuser from harming or disposing of the animal.

Supporters argue abusers sometimes take their anger out on a pet or attempt to intimidate victims by targeting a pet.

Brian James via Flickr CC

The House and Senate have voted to tighten rules for table games operated in the name of New Hampshire charities.

Lawmakers voted Wednesday to send the governor a bill establishing new financial record-keeping and reporting requirements for charities and deeper background investigations by the attorney general.

The bill clarifies the definition of so-called redemption slot machines and the Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission's enforcement authority over them.

Josh Rogers

As he filed for office, Scott Brown said he was focused on the issues that matter.

“And what matters right now is making sure that people are getting  a good value for their dollars and they are not paying an exorbitant amount of many for their health care, and their medical care, obviously, and their energy prices.”

New Hampshire State Senate

A surprise announcement in the Senate today, as Democratic leader and former Senate president Sylvia Larsen told colleagues she will retire from the body.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

House and Senate lawmakers have signed off on a Medicaid Enhancement Tax deal.

Lawmakers voted 278-72 in favor of the deal that settles a lawsuit with 25 New Hampshire hospitals.

The Senate later passed it on a voice vote, and it now heads to Governor Maggie Hassan’s desk.

Hassan and legislative leaders announced the settlement last week, with St. Joseph Hospital of Nashua the lone holdout.

Republican Representative David Hess of Hooksett says he may not be completely happy with the result, but the deal is better than nothing.

New Hampshire candidates competing in the September primary can now sign up to get on the ballot.

The filing period for state, county and federal offices opens Wednesday and ends June 13.

The primaries will be held Sept. 9. The general election is Nov. 4. This year's top contests include the governor's race, a U.S. Senate race and the two U.S. House races.

Gov. Maggie Hassan's office said canceling a planned trade mission to Turkey would cost taxpayers $10,000 and the private businesses that will accompany the governor would lose thousands more.

In a written response to a public-records request by the conservative nonprofit Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, Hassan's chief of staff Pamela Walsh said "non-refundable travel arrangements" had already been paid for when the governor announced a freeze on hiring and out-of-state travel.

This week All Things Considered is looking at some of the key bills of the 2014 legislative session.

One of the most high-profile bills at the statehouse this year was a plan to ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.

Garry Rayno covers the statehouse for the New Hampshire Union Leader. He explains to All Things Considered host Brady Carlson how the bill came to pass the House and Senate, and some of the details of the measure.

Josh Rogers

  NHPR's Brady Carlson talks with Boston Globe reporter Todd Wallack.

Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Scott Brown has been back on the campaign trail this week, but it's the former Massachusetts Senator's work outside of politics that's now getting a lot of attention.

New Hampshire residents have one more day to register to vote in the September primary elections.

Tuesday is both the last day for new voter registration and the last day those already registered can change their party affiliations. Undeclared voters may vote in either the Republican or Democratic primaries.

The primaries will be held Sept. 9. Candidates can start signing up to get on the ballot Wednesday. The filing period ends June 13.

NHPR Staff

Lawmakers in the House and Senate this week will consider a deal between the state and hospitals on the Medicaid Enhancement Tax.

The deal, largely brokered by Governor Maggie Hassan, pulls 25 of the state’s 26 hospitals out of a lawsuit.

Two Superior Court judges had ruled the tax in its current form unconstitutional, and a ruling is pending before the state Supreme Court.

As NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports, the deal isn’t being seeing a positive step by all.

Wet Summer
BEV Norton / Flickr Creative Commons

State lawmakers will vote this week on whether to accept a deal that would give 18 towns about $540,000 in back tax payments.  A state House and Senate committee of conference approved a measure addressing back payments from Massachusetts to towns along the Merrimack and Connecticut River watersheds on Friday. 

Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders says he'll introduce legislation after the Memorial Day break that will improve accountability at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  The comments from the Vermont independent and chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee follow allegations that some Veterans Administration hospitals have been providing substandard care to their patients and falsifying records.  Sanders says his legislation would make it easier for a secretary of veterans affairs to remove a senior executive due to poor job performance.

Martina Oefelein via Flickr CC

House and Senate negotiators have reached a tentative agreement on a bill that creates a program to sell "hike safe" cards to hikers that would forgive them for any rescue expenses they'd otherwise owe New Hampshire if they were negligent.

The deal reached Friday still must be approved by the full House and Senate.

Ian Ligget via Flickr CC

Legislative negotiators have reached a tentative agreement on a 10-year highway plan for New Hampshire.

The House and Senate still must vote on Friday's agreement, which is one of two measures aimed at making needed highway improvements. Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a 4-cent increase on the gas and diesel tax into law this week. Tax proceeds will pay $200 million of the $250 million needed to finish expanding Interstate 93 from the Massachusetts border to Manchester.

Brian James via Flickr CC

House and Senate negotiators have reached a tentative deal on a bill to tighten rules for table games operated in the name of New Hampshire charities.

The House and Senate still must vote on Friday's deal. The bill establishes new financial record-keeping and reporting requirements for charities and deeper background investigations by the attorney general.

The bill clarifies the definition of so-called redemption slot machines and the Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission's enforcement authority over them.

The state Senate has again rejected a proposal to repeal New Hampshire’s death penalty.

cleOpatra via Flickr CC

Gov. Deval Patrick is preparing to sign a bill that would allow early voting up to 11 days before Election Day, making Massachusetts the 33rd state to allow early voting.

The bill would also allow online voter registration and let 16- and 17-year-olds pre-register to vote.

A final compromise version of the bill has been approved by the Massachusetts House and Senate and shipped to Patrick for his signature.

The Senate is voting for the second time whether to repeal New Hampshire's death penalty, but the loss of a key supporter may doom the bill.

Sen. Bob Odell, who had voted for repeal, says he won't vote to take up the issue again.

The first bill stalled in the Senate on a 12-12 vote last month. The House then passed a second bill repealing capital punishment which the Senate is scheduled to vote on on Thursday.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  Republican candidate for Governor, Walt Havenstein, toured the factory floor of an aluminum casting company Wednesday. The visit marks the start of a series of similar tours as part of his Republican primary campaign.


N.H. GOP Director Testifies In 'Bridgegate' Scandal

May 20, 2014
NHPR Staff

  The Executive Director of the New Hampshire Republican Party answered questions in New Jersey on Tuesday regarding his role in the George Washington Bridge scandal involving Governor Chris Christie.

Matt Mowers testified before a special committee investigating whether lane closures on the bridge last September were an act of political retribution after the mayor of Fort Lee Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, declined to endorse Christie.

Mowers was a Christie campaign staffer at the time. He denies any involvement.

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