State House

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.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As of Wednesday, New Hampshire is now living under a six-month temporary state spending plan based on the last budget’s funding levels.

That means some agencies that were guaranteed increased funding in the 2016-2017 budget plan will be in flux until a new plan is crafted. That includes additional money for substance abuse treatment, a 10-bed crisis unit at New Hampshire Hospital and increased funds for winter road maintenance.

NHPR Staff

 

A plan to open the New Hampshire State House to the public on weekends has the green light from a key Senate committee.

The plan calls for the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce to begin a program next summer to keep the State House open for guided tours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday between Memorial Day and Columbus Day.

NHPR Staff

Lawmakers will debate fetal homicide laws, restrictions on synthetic drugs and more in this week's upcoming sessions.  

The Republican majority in the House is likely to amend a Senate version of fetal homicide legislation. The bill would allow for criminal charges to be brought in the death of fetuses beyond eight weeks of gestation. It says criminal charges cannot be brought against a woman or a doctor in cases of abortion. Advocates for the bill say it's necessary for women who lose their pregnancies as a result of criminal acts such as assault or car accidents.  

House Committee Sends Casino Bill Forward

Apr 21, 2015
Brady Carlson, NHPR

The House Ways and Means committee has narrowly voted to recommend passage of a bill to authorize casinos in New Hampshire.

Before the 11 to 10 vote, committee members exchanged arguments familiar to anyone who’s followed casino debates in the past. Backers like Republican Gary Azarian of Salem said that, in addition to boosting jobs and economic growth, casinos would give the state revenue to fund its priorities without increasing taxes or fees.

Via Flickr CC

A state Senate committee has recommended passage of a gas tax increase in New Hampshire.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted 4-1 Tuesday in favor of the increase.

The 18 cent tax would rise about 4 cents per gallon in July under the bill. It has not been increased since 1991 and is the lowest in New England. That increase is projected to raise $32 million annually for road improvements and the Department of Transportation.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill March 13.

The New Hampshire House has passed a drug testing bill inspired by the hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital. 

The bill, approved 289 to 48 by the House on Wednesday, would require hospitals to set up policies to prevent misuse of drugs by employees to maintain their licenses. It would also require they test employees for drugs if there was a reasonable suspicion of drug use.

The State House has narrowly approved a proposal on recreational marijuana that it voted down earlier in the day.

The bill would legalize up to 1 ounce of marijuana for recreational use for anyone age 21 and older; it would also allow people grow up to six marijuana plants in a controlled environment

The House first voted down the measure this afternoon, by a vote of 170 to 168. But lawmakers immediately took up a motion to reconsider that vote, and it passed, which restarted debate.

New Hampshire's House has given its preliminary OK to giving negligent hikers a chance to buy a hike safe card that forgives rescue expenses they'd otherwise owe the state. 

Under current law the Fish and Game Department can seek reimbursement for its rescue costs if a person acts negligently and then needs rescuing.  Those costs can run from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

Minimum Wage Debate To Return To N.H. State House

Jan 7, 2014

The debate over the minimum wage will return to the state house this session.  A proposal to reestablish a state minimum wage failed last year in the Republican-controlled state Senate.  This session, Democrats hope to set a state minimum wage at $8.25 an hour

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