The Sidebar

Credit Sara Plourde

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The owner of the state’s largest chain of pain clinics would be forced to forfeit his financial interest in the practice if legislation pending in the House becomes law.

House Bill 517 would require physicians who lose their licenses to practice to cut their ownership ties to any health-care facilities.

The lead sponsor, Republican Rep. Don Leeman of Rochester, said the bill is aimed at one of the state’s most visible medical practices: Dr. O’Connell’s Pain Care Centers, Inc.

Scott Brown wasn't even an official candidate when he declined to agree to a "people's pledge" to limit the amount of outside spending in the New Hampshire Senate race.

Six months later, with Brown expected to win the Republican nomination in Tuesday’s primary, more than half of the $19.1 million spent on the New Hampshire race has come from outside groups.

Chris Jensen/Ryan Lessard for NHPR

Alleged violations of the state’s campaign finance rules are once again front and center in the New Hampshire governor’s race, with the top candidates on the receiving end of accusations that they accepted illegal donations.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party was first out of the gate Tuesday, asking Attorney General Joe Foster to investigate Republican candidate Walt Havenstein for “multiple violations,” including allegedly taking money from political action committees that failed to register with the state.

Thanks to nearly $1.5 million from his own pocket, Republican candidate for governor Walt Havenstein is keeping pace in the race for campaign money with Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan.

According to reports filed today with the Secretary of State, Havenstein reports a campaign war chest of $1,989,876. That includes $1,474,000 in personal loans and another $17,000 from other family members.

The attack ads with the cartoon sheep began airing in May, followed by the negative mailers.

Paid for by a conservative nonprofit called Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, they targeted Republican state senators who supported Medicaid expansion and a four-cent hike in the state gas tax. According to a spokesman, it was just the beginning of the group’s efforts to “fight” for a more fiscally conservative senate.

As expected, Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen and Republican candidate Scott Brown have shown they will have very little trouble raising money in their race for the U.S. Senate.

Shaheen's campaign announced Monday she raised more than $2.8 million for her re-election campaign between April 1 and June 30 of this year, more than double the amount she collected from supporters in the previous two quarters combined.

Steve Smith via Flickr CC

New Hampshire doctors are among the nation’s most prolific prescribers of Oxycontin and other opioids, according to a government report released Tuesday that analyzed the state-by-state use of highly addictive painkillers.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Gov. Maggie Hassan said her administration will “closely review” how Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Massachusetts’ law that restricts protests outside abortion clinics will affect a similar law that will take effect in New Hampshire next month.

Hassan, who is in Turkey on a trade mission, signed a bill June 10 that authorizes reproductive health facilities that perform abortions to establish 25-foot buffer zones around the entrance. The law is set to take effect July 10.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and her husband, William, earned an average of more than $472,000 a year in pre-tax income between 2006 and 2013, according to federal tax returns released by Shaheen’s campaign Tuesday.

The couple's joint returns were made available four days after Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown and his wife, Gail Huff, released eight years of joint state and federal returns. Shaheen had pledged to release her returns if her opponents did the same.

Courtesy of Gabriel Wani

Update: CNN is reporting that Meriam Ibrahim and her husband, Daniel Wani of Manchester, were arrested at the airport in Khartoum on their way out of Sudan. Wani told the network in a phone call that he, Ibrahim and their two young children were being held at the national security office, although no details were available.

In a case closely watched in New Hampshire, a court in Sudan has ordered Meriam Ibrahim, the 27-year-old wife of a Manchester man, freed from a Khartoum prison.

NHPR/Josh Rogers

Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown released a trove of personal financial information Friday, including eight years of state and federal tax returns and a financial disclosure statement that showed before-tax income of more than $900,000 since the former Massachusetts senator left office in January 2013.

The Executive Council has picked an Alabama company to begin collecting data that will help physicians and pharmacists identify patients who may be abusing prescription medications.

The five-year contract awarded to Health Information Designs is the next step in the state’s effort to set up a prescription drug monitoring program, or PMP. Such programs are aimed at “doctor shopping,” in which patients visit multiple physicians for prescriptions that are then filled at different pharmacies.

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.

New Hampshire veterans who have been waiting more than three months for an appointment to see a specialist at the Manchester VA Medical Center now have the option of receiving treatment from a non-VA physician.

Staff at the center are in the process of contacting 118 Granite State veterans who are on an “electronic wait list” of former troops who have been unable to see a VA physician in 90 days or less, said Tammy Krueger, director of the Manchester VA Medical Center.

Veterans seeking an appointment at the VA Medical Center in Manchester were able to see a doctor in 30 days or less 98 percent of the time,  according to a nationwide audit released today by Department of Veterans Affairs.

But as many as 118 Granite State veterans waited 90 days or more for their first appointment, and 98 former troops who enrolled for treatment in the last decade have yet to see a physician in the VA network.

All four members of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation are urging the U. S. government to secure the release of the pregnant wife of a Manchester man from a Sudanese prison.

Meriam Ibrahim Ishag, a 27-year-old physician who is eight months pregnant with her second child, was sentenced to death by hanging last week after a Sudanese court found her guilty of apostasy.

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.


State lawmakers are wading into the debate over the controversial new painkiller Zohydro.

A Senate committee will take up legislation Tuesday that would impose an 18-month moratorium on the new drug, an especially potent formulation of hydrocodone.

Zohydro hit the market in March and is aimed at patients who need long-term, around-the-clock pain relief. It differs from other hydrocodone-based medications, such as Vicodin, because it isn’t combined with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

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.

SalFalko via Flickr CC

Casino supporters are betting that a plan to distribute more than $25 million in gambling revenue to New Hampshire cities and towns will convince House lawmakers to reverse their historic opposition to expanded gaming.

Less than a month after it killed a casino bill favored by Gov. Maggie Hassan, the House will begin discussion on Senate Bill 366, which proposes to authorize two casinos in the Granite State.

NHPR Staff

The state insurance department has postponed a hearing this week to consider a challenge to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield's network of providers covered under the Affordable Care Act.

Margaret McCarthy, a patient of Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester, has asked the department to require Anthem to include Frisbie in the network. 

NHPR Staff

As the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a major campaign finance ruling Wednesday, a New Hampshire House committee heard testimony on a bill that would no longer allow some political groups to spend money on state elections without disclosing it to voters. 

The proposal, which cleared the Senate by a 19-4 vote February 6, would require any organization that spends more than $5,000 on so-called electioneering to filed detailed reports with the Secretary of State's office.

Sara Plourde

As Scott Brown crisscrosses New Hampshire on what his senate exploratory committee is calling a listening tour, he’s repeatedly said it’s “premature” to talk about how he’ll wage any future campaign to unseat Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

On one point, though, Brown has already been crystal clear: He doesn’t want this race to be bound by a so-called people’s pledge, an idea Brown himself devised in 2012 to limit spending by outside groups during his race against Elizabeth Warren.

Flickr - Images of Money

Voters at town meetings across New Hampshire approved resolutions urging state lawmakers to join a nationwide effort to overturn Citizens United, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down limits on political spending by corporations, labor unions and special interest groups.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 28 towns had approved petition warrants supporting campaign finance reform, including Exeter, Amherst, Salem, Deerfield, Hudson, Rindge and Windham.

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.”

New Hampshire lawmakers are mulling two bills that would expand background checks for gun purchases.

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on legislation that would require private sellers to conduct sales through licensed firearm dealers who, under federal law, must perform background checks on prospective buyers.