State House

Senator Kevin Avard

The New Hampshire State House has an open-door policy. The building is part museum – and visitors are welcome to take in the living history. But some of the most interesting places are kept under lock and key.

NHPR Staff

The House held a hearing Wednesday on a bill that would cut business taxes in the state.

The state projects that it will lose about eighty million dollars in revenue by 2021 if the tax cut passes, assuming the economy follows current trends.

But supporters argue that the cut would have positive impacts on local businesses. Bruce Berke, the New Hampshire Director of the National Federation of Independent Business, says that cutting taxes will lead to growth.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

Over eighty people turned out in Concord Tuesday to testify on a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. 

More than once, Representative Don LaBrun had to call for decorum in a room packed with supporters and opposition alike. Members of transgender, medical and religious communities turned out to testify on a bill that would prohibit discrimination based upon “gender identity,” adding the term to the long list of factors such as age, race and disability.

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A bill doing away with the permit requirement for carrying a concealed firearm is headed to Governor Chris Sununu’s desk after the House voted in favor of it Thursday. 

Plenty of lawmakers didn’t make it to through the snow to the State House Thursday, but the House still managed to pass a bill to repeal New Hampshire’s concealed carry law.

Speaking just before the roll call, Representative John Burt urged the House to vote as it had before.

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

Dairy farmers in the Granite State hurt by the recent drought are one step closer to a helping hand after the senate voted in favor of a financial relief program Thursday.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

Gov. Chris Sununu helped to announce a new partnership on Wednesday aimed at reducing the stigma of addiction.   

Speak Up New Hampshire is the latest campaign from the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Hampshire. Joined by the Bureau for Drug and Alcohol Services, the Governor’s Commission, and various addiction treatment and prevention organizations, the Partnership is now concentrating on reducing the stigma of addiction in the Granite State.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

A paid family and medical leave bill won’t be voted on this year, despite community and bipartisan support. Representative Mary Gile, the primary sponsor of the bill, is still holding out hope for its future.

The bill, which would establish a paid family and medical leave insurance program in New Hampshire, was given a consolation prize in committee on Tuesday. Legislators voted to retain the bill, meaning that it will move to a subcommittee for further deliberation, and be voted on next year.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

It's a rite of passage in New Hampshire -- every year, hundreds of fourth graders make a pilgrimage to Concord for a State House tour. In this audio postcard, students from Woodland Heights Elementary School in Laconia learn the basics of law making -- and how to make their voices heard.

Scroll down for a 360 degree photo of the students in the N.H. Senate chamber.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

At the New Hampshire State House, lawmakers don’t limit debate to bills and the budget. Control of square footage in the building itself can be as controversial as any partisan policy. I took a tour with a man who has a set of keys to the shared rental.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

New Hampshire lawmakers heard hours of testimony Thursday on a bill that would require background checks for commercial firearm sales.

Representative Katherine Rogers,the main sponsor on the bill, says it’s designed to fill perceived loopholes in New Hampshire gun regulations.

"The current system’s loophole is exploited by criminals," Rogers says, "who can avoid background checks by purchasing firearms from unlicensed private sellers, often at gun shows, or through anonymous online transactions."

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

Lawmakers have decided that, for the time being, New Hampshire will only be accepting a portion of a federal grant intended to help the state Medical Examiner work through a backlog of opioid-related autopsies. 

Attorney General Joseph Foster met with resistance during Friday’s fiscal committee meeting in Concord when he requested that the state accept approximately $285,000 in federal grant money to aid the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Over the new few months, NHPR is bringing you a new way to experience Granite State stories from a whole new angle — literally. With 360-degree videos like this one, we're hoping you'll be able to more closely explore the places, and meet the people, we reporting on.

NHPR

We sit down with state House and Senate leaders, on their goals for the new session.  The state budget will be their first priority, but other policy matters, from Medicaid to gun laws to voting rules, will be debated. What do you hope the Legislature does this year? 


Allegra Boverman / NHPR

It’s tradition in New Hampshire for the new Governor to meet and greet his constituents following the inauguration. The reception line lets voters come face to face, if only for a moment, with the state’s next chief executive.

Most New Hampshire residents will never meet their governor. But on Inauguration Day, after the swearing in and the speech, the pomp and ceremony, the newly minted governor grants an audience to anyone willing to wait in line.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

When Chris Sununu is sworn in as Governor later today, he'll deliver an inaugural speech outlining his vision for state government. But what about the people served by state government? What do they want to hear from their next governor? Voters in Concord and Manchester weighed in on the days before inauguration day.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Year will bring plenty of new rules and regulations to New Hampshire, covering everything from police body cameras to the use of laser pointers. Here's a look at some of the bills that will officially be law as of January 1st:

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

  Republican Senate President Chuck Morse has named committee chairs for the upcoming session.

Committees help shape policy and revise bills as they work through the legislative process. The Finance Committee and the Ways and Means Committee will have particular power in the upcoming year as lawmakers craft the next state budget.

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

New state representatives got a crash course in lawmaking on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In preparation for the 2017 legislation session, representatives-elect crowded into a large room in Concord's Legislative Office Building.

One of the incumbents tasked with teaching the newcomers — Rep. Tara Sad — made things interesting, acting out the process of drafting a bill.

"I have a really good idea for a bill," Sad said, playacting to Jill Sieveking, Director of Legislative Office Services. "But I don't know anything about it. Can you help?"

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

 

New Hampshire's House Republicans are embroiled in a four-way battle for the speakership after maintaining control of the chamber for another term.

Speaker Shawn Jasper is facing challenges from Reps. Laurie Sanborn of Bedford and Carol McGuire of Epsom, as well as Frank Sapareto of Derry, a returning lawmaker. The competition reflects some dissatisfaction among Republicans over Jasper's leadership style and policy initiatives.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

Newly elected members of the New Hampshire House can begin filing legislation.

All 400 members of the House are allowed to file legislation beginning on Monday. Frequently more than 500 bills are filed each year. Each bill also gets a hearing a full vote on the floor.

Returning lawmakers have already begun submitting bills. Among them are annual proposals to raise the minimum wage and expanding gun background checks, both of which will fail under the Republican-controlled Legislature.

NHPR Staff

 

The golden dome atop the New Hampshire State House is glistening once again.

Workers have begun to dismantle the scaffolding around the dome on the Civil War-era State House. The $1 million project started in March and is expected to be completed by Dec. 1. The work has involved meticulously laying five pounds of gold leaf in 4-inch squares on the dome and its golden eagle.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Advocates, first responders, and local and federal lawmakers say the state has made great strides in combating an opioid crisis, but much more still needs to be done.  At two press conferences in Concord Tuesday, the focus was on efforts at the state and federal levels both past and future.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire, home of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, will be opening its Statehouse on weekends for the first time in nearly two decades.

Gov. Maggie Hassan signed into law this week a bill that paves the way for the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce pay the security costs and provide docents to lead tours.

Chamber director Tim Sink said the plan is to offer Saturday tours Memorial Day through Columbus Day, but tours this year probably won't get off the ground until the fall.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

House and Senate lawmakers are kicking off a busy week of negotiations on issues ranging from regulating police body cameras to banning the practice of gay conversion therapy on minors.

As the session winds to close, the two chambers must find common ground on bills they've both passed, but with different details. The negotiating teams are known as committees of conference. If agreement isn't reached, the bills will die in committee.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

This week, Alexandria Knox got to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with one of her biggest heroes.

"Speaker Jasper," she said, "he is my inspiration."

That's Shawn Jasper, the Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. 

NHPR Staff

  A crane has arrived to start lifting construction supplies and materials to the roof of the New Hampshire Statehouse, which is undergoing a make-over to its dome. 

Keno Bill To Go Before New Hampshire House

Jan 18, 2016
Brian Wallstin for NHPR

  House lawmakers are set to take up a bill this week that would allow keno at bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

2016 State House Look Ahead: Legislator Roundtable

Jan 11, 2016
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

We're sitting down with lawmakers to find out what's in store at the State House this year. 

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

With the state’s budget stalemate now in its second month, the impacts of the current stopgap spending plan are starting to come into view. But because it’s been a dozen years since the state last found itself in this situation, navigating these budgetary waters is proving a challenge -- both for state agencies and for those who rely on their services.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan’s veto of the Republican-backed state budget bill has dominated State House news in recent weeks. But Hassan’s veto pen has seen plenty of non-budget action this session, as well.

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