Chris Sununu

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A pair of nearly identical bills to restrict residency requirements for voting coasted through the Republican-controlled Legislature this session.  But now, both are running into roadblocks near the finish line.

House Bill 372 and House Bill 1264 both aim to impose stricter residency standards for voting in New Hampshire by changing the state’s definition of who counts as a “resident.” 

Via LinkedIn

A top advisor to Gov. Chris Sununu has been placed on paid administrative leave and is under review by the attorney general’s office for an unspecified personnel issue.

Marty Boldin — Sununu’s Policy Advisor for Substance Misuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery — will remain on leave until the attorney general’s review is complete, the governor’s Chief of Staff Jayne Millerick said Friday afternoon.

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The M/S Mount Washington is out of storage and ready for another season of tours on Lake Winnipesaukee.

It used to be tradition for the boat to make something of a warm-up journey before taking on passengers: it was called the Shakedown Cruise.

This year, at the request of Governor Chris Sununu, that tradition is back.

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

One of two bills seeking to tighten New Hampshire’s residency standards for voting eligibility passed the State Senate on Wednesday after an hour-long debate during which Democrats accused Republicans of voter suppression and Republicans accused Democrats of promoting false narratives about what the legislation would actually do.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu is nominating the assistant commissioner of the Insurance Department to be its next commissioner.

John Elias has been assistant commissioner since April 2016. 

He worked for insurance companies in Ohio before coming to New England in 2014 as vice president of Great Falls Insurance Company in Maine.

Sununu nominated John Elias at Wednesday's Executive Council meeting.

The head of the department, Roger Sevigny, is retiring after 16 years on the job.

 

US Department of Energy

Offshore wind supporters will mark Earth Day with a rally outside the Statehouse Sunday.

They want Gov. Chris Sununu to request a federal study of the Seacoast's wind potential.

Griffin Sinclair-Wingate, of the group 350 New Hampshire, says generating more clean power in-state will help Granite Staters financially and environmentally. And he thinks offshore wind is a perfect way to do it.

Jim Richmond

New Hampshire is refocusing its energy policy for the next decade, aiming to prioritize lower costs for consumers and to allow “unaided market competition” for all forms of energy.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu issued a letter this week to the U.S. Departments of Labor and Homeland Security asking for more H-2B temporary worker visas.

 

"With unemployment currently at 2.6%, New Hampshire has a tight labor market and it is critical for small seasonal businesses to have access to H-2B visas in order to meet their workforce needs," Sununu said in the statement.  

 

New Hampshire's Executive Council has approved a new leader of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and a new state supreme court justice.

Sarah Stewart was confirmed as department commissioner on Wednesday. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said she has what it takes to drive the department forward into the future by supporting and growing the state's creative economy while protecting forest, lands, and waterways. Stewart works for a small business she started called B-Fresh Consulting.

On Thursday, the State of New Hampshire filed a legal brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case South Dakota v. Wayfair, which is scheduled for oral arguments later this month.

The case could have huge ramifications for how businesses collect sales taxes when selling goods to customers across state lines.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

  New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu beamed as he looked out upon a room packed with 60 round tables, each one full of supporters.

“A little daunting once you finally get up here. I’m absolutely humbled, absolutely humbled at the turnout,” he said to the crowd.   

It may have been Sununu’s party at the Manchester Downtown Hotel Thursday night, but it was Vice President Mike Pence who got top billing.

Twitter

As Dave Carney tells it, September of 1982 was a rough time for John H. Sununu’s campaign for governor.

“We we were broke,” Carney, a longtime political strategist, recalled recently. “We had no money, we couldn’t pay staff. Not that he paid very much anyways…”

 


Courtesy photo

Governor Chris Sununu says state environmental regulators will roll out what he calls a New Hampshire-first energy policy within a few weeks.

He offered few details Thursday at a conference with clean energy advocates, but he spoke broadly of balancing technology with energy costs.

“For so long we’ve had this idea that – that either you’re all in on renewables or you’re all in on low rates…. That is old school thinking. We can have our cake and we can eat it too.”

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  Governor Chris Sununu said Wednesday he wants his hand-picked school safety task force to research the effectiveness of arming school employees and if stronger background checks could help prevent gun violence.

The first-term Republican's School Safety Preparedness Task Force met for the first time Wednesday, the same day students across the state walked out of the classroom to honor the 17 people killed in the mass shooting at a school in Parkland, Fla.

US Navy

Governor Chris Sununu wants the former Pease Air Force base included in a first-ever national study on the health effects of toxic chemicals called PFCs.

Sununu wrote this week to the federal agency leading the study, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. It’s part of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

The latest federal defense spending bill authorizes the agency to spend $7 million to study the health impacts of perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs.

It’s not often that a political candidate announces his or her platform, and then is immediately challenged by passionate opponents.

But last week, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Marchand stood on the steps of the Lebanon City Hall taking questions - not from reporters, but passionate gun rights advocates.

NHPR Staff

With no debate, the GOP-controlled New Hampshire House approved a bill on Tuesday to raise the legal marriage age in the state to 16.

Currently, girls as young as 13 and boys at 14 can get married with a judge’s consent. Last year, Republicans in the House voted down a measure to set the age at 18, citing concerns over how it may impact young members of the military and their spouses.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu says he will veto a death penalty repeal bill if it reaches his desk.

The Republican released a statement on Wednesday saying that a top priority for his administration has been strengthening laws for crime victims and their families, and that “the most heinous crimes warrant the death penalty.”

A bipartisan group of lawmakers are backing a measure, SB 593, which would do away with capital punishment in New Hampshire. The bill has 13 co-sponsors in the Senate, enough votes to pass the chamber where similar bills have stalled in recent years.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu says America’s gun law debate should be occurring in Washington, and not in Concord.

A week after a mass shooting at a Florida school, Sununu said the state's focus should be on continuing to invest in school security upgrades and in kids.

Gun Store / Flickr Creative Commons

Speaking to a group of reporters on Wednesday, Gov. Chris Sununu would not say whether he  supports any changes to state-level gun laws in the aftermath of the mass shooting that claimed 17 lives at a Florida high school last week.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu says he wouldn’t have a problem with requiring state lawmakers to undergo anti-harassment training, at least in theory.

After receiving allegations about potential money laundering taking place at state-run New Hampshire liquor stores, Gov. Chris Sununu says the source of the allegations--an elected official--may have acted improperly in gathering information.

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Following his State of the State speech this morning, Governor Chris Sununu signed an executive order that aims to streamline services for New Hampshire's military veterans and their families.

The executive order would create a single point of contact for veterans seeking state services. It also gives the state's Adjutant General more authority to coordinate the efforts of the state's existing resources.

EPA on Twitter

During his New Hampshire visit Tuesday, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt signaled plans for new federal energy policies that could bolster a struggling regional industry – biomass.

In a letter to Gov. Chris Sununu, Pruitt suggests the agency plans to add biomass, including wood and other plant-based fuels, to its “‘all of the above’ energy portfolio.” (Read the full letter below.)

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu delivered his 2018 State of the State address Thursday in front a joint session of Granite State lawmakers at the New Hampshire State House.

Scroll down for photos, a transcription of the speech, news reports, and more, to be updated throughout the day.

Our coverage began on The Exchange, which featured mayors from around the state giving their perspectives on the state of New Hampshire's cities. (Listen to that program here.)

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Just over a year in office, Gov. Chris Sununu is enjoying relatively high approval ratings, according to the most recent poll from the UNH Survey Center

EPA

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt was in New Hampshire Tuesday for an unpublicized private meeting with Gov. Chris Sununu.

Sununu spokesman Ben Vihstadt confirmed Sununu and Pruitt met privately in the morning, and said they had no other "stops scheduled later" in the day.

A statement from Sununu sent Tuesday afternoon says the two discussed the Coakley Landfill Superfund site, where the EPA plans to test bedrock to see if contamination is spreading in the local water supply. 

Thomas Gehrke / Flickr Creative Commons

Officials in Massachusetts are still debating the future of a big renewable energy contract for their state.

That’s after their initial pick, Northern Pass, hit a major roadblock in New Hampshire – though the transmission proposal still has support from Gov. Chris Sununu.

The Commonwealth picked Eversource's Northern Pass plan last month for a long-term contract that must start in 2020. That choice was thrown into limbo a week later, when New Hampshire’s Site Evaluation Committee denied the project its final permit.

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Governor Chris Sununu and other lawmakers will enjoy a day on the slopes Monday.

NHPR File Photo

 

Governor Chris Sununu has announced the members of a new advisory council on diversity and inclusion.

 

The council includes representatives of state agencies, the university system, the ACLU, law enforcement, and others.

 

The group will be chaired by Rogers Johnson of the NAACP.

 

Sununu announced the creation of the council in December, following several high profile incidents of racial bias around the state.

 

The council's first meeting is scheduled for Feb. 8.

The full list of membership is below.

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