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. 

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.

 A state senator who has tried for years to persuade New Hampshire lawmakers to legalize a casino is going to try again despite a House vote to reject one last week.

Sen. Lou D'Allesandro plans to ask the Senate to amend his bill Thursday to add the regulatory scheme in the defeated House bill and send it to the House in hopes his proposal will have a different outcome.

Tom Vagliery via Flickr CC

The bill was endorsed by its house committee as a way to protect the minors from skin damage that could contribute to cancer, but on the house floor it provoked a heated debate over parental rights and the proper role of government.  Steve Vaillancourt is a Republican from Manchester.

"A young women if this bill passes can get an abortion, but not a tan, an abortion would be legal but a tan would not, think of it."

Moments later the House voted 175-154 to both kill the bill and bar the issue from coming up again this year.

NPR's Mara Liasson

Mar 17, 2014
Stephen Voss / NPR

Mara Liasson will discuss the White House and upcoming elections, as well as how changes in both political parties over the past six years have affected such key issues as the Affordable Care Act, the debt-ceiling debate, and immigration reform.

GUESTS:

  • Mara Liasson – national political correspondent for NPR. She joined NPR in 1985 as a general assignment reporter, later working as a congressional correspondent, and then the White House correspondent.

LINKS:

Via Flickr CC

The state Senate voted 14-9 Thursday to raise New Hampshire’s gas tax by about 4 cents.

Jimmy Wayne via Flickr CC

Utah lawmakers have advanced a bill that would move the state’s presidential primary ahead of New Hampshire’s.

Legislation approved by the House Monday gives lawmakers the option of holding an online election, provided it is “held before any other caucus, primary, or other event selecting a nominee in the nation.”

If approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. Gary Herbert, the bill, HB 410, would require the state to fund the Western State Primary, at an estimated cost of $1.6 million.

Republican Joe Kenney and Democrat Mike Cryans will face off in a special election March 11 to replace longtime District 1 Executive Councilor Ray Burton, who died in November.

A retired colonel in the United States Marine Corps, Kenney spent 14 years as a state legislator, in both the House and the Senate. He was the Republican nominee for governor in 2008 and lost to Democrat John Lynch. Kenney won a three-way Republican primary in January.

A bipartisan plan to expand Medicaid that is scheduled for a vote in the New Hampshire Senate this week has strong support from Granite Staters, according to a new poll.

New England College asked 774 registered voters if they would support a proposal backed by Gov. Maggie Hassan and a majority in the New Hampshire Senate “to extend private insurance to low-income residents, without passing the cost of coverage on to businesses.”

On the Political Front this morning, NHPR's Josh Rogers talks about what the political implications of the looming Medicaid expansion deal could be for Republicans and news of another Republican considering a run for governor.     

Dave Collier via Flickr CC

New Hampshire employers could not prohibit their workers from discussing how much they are paid under a bill passed by the House.

The House voted 183-125 Wednesday to send the Senate a bill that allows employers to pay workers different amounts based on such factors as seniority, merit, production and education. Supporters argue the bill is a step toward ensuring men and women are paid equally for comparable work.

On the Political Front, NHPR's Josh Rogers recaps Gov. Maggie Hassan's State of the State speech from last week and looks ahead to the action at the Statehouse in Concord this week.

Chris Jensen, NHPR News

Gov. Maggie Hassan will deliver her first State of the State address Thursday to a joint session of New Hampshire lawmakers.

Hassan ended her first year in office with decent job-approval ratings – 51 percent versus 21 percent who disapprove, according to a recent poll.

She begins her second with a heightened national profile: In December, she was elected vice chair of the Democratic Governors Association, which spent heavily to help her defeat GOP challenger Ovide Lamontagne in 2012.

Earlier this month, the New Hampshire House became the first legislative body in the United States to pass a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana use.

The legislation faces numerous – some would say intractable - hurdles, beginning with Thursday’s public hearing before the House Ways & Means Committee.

Ed Brown via Flickr CC

Here is a roundup of reactions to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech from the New Hampshire Congressional delegation and political organizations.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte:

Washington Examiner1 / Flickr Creative Commons

For an hour and five minutes, President Barack Obama addressed the country for his 5th State of the Union address.  Obama lauded progress the country has made from decreasing unemployment to smaller deficits. He talked about recent successes of the Affordable Care Act and spoke out about progress that still needs to be made: higher wages for women, and raising the minimum wage. And he showed a little extra swagger saying that if congress won’t go along with his ideas, then President Obama will go at it alone.

JV via Flickr CC

Update: The Senate Ways & Means Committee approved SB 366, 4-1, this morning. Sen. Bob Odell, R-Lempster, was the lone vote in opposition to the bill, which would license two casinos. Senate President Chuck Morse said the legislation will now move to the full Senate. Morse said the Senate will likely table it and wait for the House to act on its own gambling bill. That legislation, drafted by members of the Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authorityenvisions a single casino, which Gov. Maggie Hassan supports.

Department of Safety Road Toll Bureau

A year after failing to agree on how to pay for a long list of road and bridge improvements, lawmakers will take another shot at bolstering the state’s chronically underfunded infrastructure this session.

Several bills are on the table, including one that would channel proceeds from a casino into the state’s highway fund.

    

On the Political Front this morning, NHPR's Josh Rogers previews today's first House session of 2014. The debate over Medicaid expansion is likely to be at the forefront.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

On a recent afternoon at the Common Grounds Cafe, 200 yards from the New Hampshire border in Methuen, Mass, a handful of men sit along a short counter or at several tables in the back of the cafe.

Eyes moving back and forth from their pink and white betting slips to two wall-mounted video monitors, they wait for the next drawing of a popular electronic lottery game called Keno.

NHPR

As we look back at 2013, we’re struck by the number of mishaps made by politicians, celebrities, athletes and companies…followed of course, by the oh-so-heartfelt public apology. Word of Mouth's senior producer Maureen McMurray and producer Taylor Quimby join Virginia Prescott to talk about the year of saying sorry…or in some cases, the year of the non-apology.

From the early days of the 2012 primary, influential liberals referred to Jon Hunstman, U.S. Ambassador to China, and Singapore before that, as “the sane Republican”.  Huntsman’s foreign policy chops and statesmen-like manner were frequently cited during his brief run, often by the candidate himself.  

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