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'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.

Sean Hurley

Although Police Commissioner Robert Copeland submitted a letter of resignation earlier today, the people of Wolfeboro worry about the possible long-term impact the racial controversy could have on their town. NHPR's Sean Hurley spoke with residents over the weekend, before Copeland’s resignation and looks more closely at what led to today’s events.

On Sunday Joanne Parise sat on the shore of Wolfeboro Bay.  On nearby Main Street, families lined up for ice cream, gazed in shop windows, and consulted maps and guidebooks.  The summer tourist season has already begun. 

Todd Bookman / NHPR

At his latest campaign stop, U.S. Senate hopeful Scott Brown aimed to win over female voters.

The former Massachusetts Senator rolled out his ‘Women for Brown’ leadership team at an event inside his Manchester headquarters. Maureen Mooney, a former New Hampshire State Representative, is one of three co-chairs. She argues Brown is listening to his constituents, and will be an independent voice in Washington.

“Now on the other hand, our current senator, Shaheen, how can she possibly win? She voted for Obamacare,” says Mooney.

Statehouse
Amanda Loder / NHPR

New Hampshire's House has twice passed legislation to repeal the death penalty with the governor's blessing, but the second attempt has cost them a key supporter in the Senate.   Republican Sen. Bob Odell, who voted for repeal, said Friday that he won't vote to take up the issue again.  The first bill stalled in the Senate on a 12-12 vote last month, but supporters may have overplayed their hand by sending a second bill to the Senate for a vote Thursday. The Senate has the option of passing the amended bill, killing it or asking the House to compromise.

Goldeneye via Flickr CC

New Hampshire officials are getting hit with calls, emails and tweets reacting to racist comments made by a town police commissioner.

Jim Bouley, mayor of the capital city of Concord, said the reaction from as far away as California included threats to cancel vacations in New Hampshire. The calls started Thursday after news reports detailed comments by Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland, who admitted using the N-word to describe President Barack Obama.

The New Hampshire Senate has passed a bill to include household pets in orders protecting victims of domestic violence. 

The bill 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. 

The bill passed Thursday on a voice vote without debate. It now goes to the House for review. 

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

There was movement on energy policy in both chambers of the New Hampshire legislature today. While reforming the approval process for power plants sailed through the House, rules encouraging burial of power lines got hung up in the Senate.

After making a few changes to a Senate version, on a voice vote the New Hampshire house passed changes to how proposed power plants get a permit. That means if the Senate agrees to the House version beginning in July, new projects will need to increase the amount of public outreach they do before submitting applications to be built.

Sara Plourde

 The New Hampshire arm of Americans for Prosperity continues to pound away at Democrats over the Affordable Care Act.

The conservative non-profit's latest volley is a new television ad attacking New Hampshire’s 2nd District Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster for her support of so-called Obamacare.

Sara Plourde

 In the pitched political battle over the Affordable Care Act, Republicans and Democrats seem to have found common ground on one issue: Anthem’s so-called narrow network of providers.

From GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown to Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, a wide array of voices have complained that Anthem’s decision to exclude 10 hospitals from its plans sold through the new federal health exchange harms patients.

On Wednesday, one of those patients, an East Rochester woman named Margaret McCarthy, will get a long-awaited hearing on the matter at the state Insurance Department.

Sara Plourde

Gov. Maggie Hassan is expected to sign legislation making it illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving or stopped in traffic.

The bill, passed by the New Hampshire House last week, represents “the most comprehensive distracted driving bill in the nation,” according to legislative testimony from Earl Sweeney, assistant commissioner of public safety.

Update: The New Hampshire Republican State Committee has submitted a complaint to the Federal Election Commission, alleging the Shaheen campaign "engaged in coordinated political advocacy communications that amount to illegal contributions." 

Republicans are claiming the campaign of New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen broke federal election law by helping to craft a television ad paid for by a Democratic super PAC.

The latest television ad attacking Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., for her support of the Affordable Care Act features a statistic on premium increases in New Hampshire that's been widely disputed.

The 30-second spot, paid for by Americans for Prosperity, focuses primarily on the so-called narrow network of providers in New Hampshire, which excludes 10 of the state’s 26 hospitals.

Upupa 4me via Flickr CC

The 193-141 vote means the state’s gas tax will rise 4.2 cents, the first increase to the state’s current 18-cent per gallon levy on gasoline and diesel since 1991.

The battle over NH’s gas tax has been pitched in recent years. When Governor John Lynch was in the corner office, he promised to veto any increase to the gas tax.

Last year the democratically- controlled N.H. House passed a 12-cent tax hike that was rejected by the GOP led State Senate.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is giving a talk on leadership at the University of New Hampshire law school.

Giuliani, who served as mayor from 1994 to 2011, will deliver a presentation called "Leadership in the 21st Century" on Tuesday in Concord.

Afterward, Concord Mayor Jim Bouley will present Giuliani with a key to the city.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

N.H. Republicans have a new candidate for Governor, former defense contractor Walt Havenstein, of Alton.

Havenstein launched his campaign in Concord.

He offered a forceful denial to claims that he is ineligible to run due to a time he listed Maryland as his primary residence on tax documents.

"This is my home and has been for 15 years. This is my domicile, which it the criteria to run and serve as Governor."

Don't Tread On Me
Sidknee23 / Flickr Creative Commons

Political conservatives including Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Huckabee addressed Granite Staters in Manchester yesterday at the Freedom Summit.  Many of the speakers criticized so-called "Obamacare" and the administration's handling of Benghazi.  But Utah Senator and Tea Party favorite Mike Lee implored attendees to move away from complaining about policies, and start rallying around an agenda.

NHPR Staff

A House panel is holding a hearing on a proposed amendment to New Hampshire's constitution that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The measure passed the Senate unanimously and if three-fifths of the House agrees, it would go before voters in November. The constitution currently prohibits discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex and national origin. The amendment would add sexual orientation.

The state already prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in statute, but supporters want to enshrine the protection in the constitution.

Gov. Maggie Hassan is visiting a bridge in Berlin, N.H., to talk about the need to strengthen investment in the state's transportation's infrastructure.

She's visiting the Hillside Avenue Bridge on Wednesday. She says the replacement of the bridge is an important project for traffic, safety and commerce in the area. Hassan said the replacement would be accelerated by the transportation funding bill that recently passed the Senate.

The bridge visit is taking place Wednesday afternoon.

Pages