NH Politics

Flickr/ Anne and Tim (Creative Commons)

The third time seems to be the charm on efforts to get a paid family and medical leave bill through the New Hampshire House. 

But the most recent passage came only after heated debate over a last-minute amendment from the House Finance Committee that would have made drastic changes to the version of the program that passed the House twice before.

Allegra Boverman, NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would give a tax exemption to businesses that focus on generating human organs. The measure comes after Manchester was chosen by the U.S. Department of Defense for an $80-million grant focused on manufacturing tissues and organs.

The project, which is called the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute, or ARMI, is led by inventor Dean Kamen.

  Congresswoman Annie Kuster today applauded continued federal money for the Northern Border Regional Commission in the government funding bill. The funds supply infrastructure and economic grants to struggling communities in the Northeast.

 

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The New Hampshire House voted to allow people to carry loaded guns on ATVs, snowmobiles and other off-highway recreational vehicles. A bill lifting existing restrictions passed 181-148 on Thursday but will still need Senate approval before taking effect.

Vox Efx / Flickr Creative Commons

The ACLU of New Hampshire is asking a federal judge to declare a state law unconstitutional. The state's signature-matching law allows absentee ballots to be rejected if officials believe the signatures on the ballot and envelope don't match.

The ACLU says the law permits hundreds of ballots to be thrown out, even though they are valid.

NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with Gilles Bissonnette, the legal director of ACLU New Hampshire.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A bill that would create a position for a state demographer passed the N.H. House today.

 

House Bill 1817 would require the person who gets the job to work closely with U.S. Census data and compile projections on things like how diverse the state is and how it's aging.

 

Representative Erin Hennessey is the bill’s prime sponsor. She says it also calls for a commission made up of legislators and Granite Staters with demographic expertise.

 

woodleywonderworks via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/5p1N5a

All thirteen of New Hampshire’s cities now offer full-day kindergarten. On Monday night, Concord became the final city to join the list.

The Concord school board has been debating full-day kindergarten for years. The election of new board members, along with new funding from the state, finally tipped the scales.

Board member Chuck Crush says he’s excited for what a full-day program will mean for kids and for economic development in the city.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion will hold its first public listening session Wednesday, March 21, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Granite Room on UNH’s Durham Campus.

 

Diversity Council Chair and Seacoast NAACP President Rogers Johnson says snow or not, the council will proceed with the forum. Johnson says Durham was an obvious first location for the session because of several racially charged incidents that took place in the area and on the UNH campus last year.

 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

A bill that would limit state-funded adult education programs to legal residents cleared the Senate last week.

 

Republican Senator Andy Sanborn is the primary sponsor of SB 525. He contends it will focus taxpayer funding on those who can work legally in the state.

 

Sanborn pointed out during a Senate session last week that the bill is not meant to target those on a path to citizenship.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

President Trump's speech at Manchester Community College today about the national opioid epidemic included plenty of New Hampshire references.

Trump took time to thank Governor Chris Sununu and Manchester Fire Chief Daniel Goonan for attending.

The speech ranged widely on topics including sanctuary cities, DACA and the border wall with Mexico, but the President did not make any specific announcement of new funding measures to fight the opioid epidemic.

Trump did make it clear that he wants to see tougher penalties for those convicted of drug trafficking.

WashingtonNH.org

Plenty of local officials grumbled about the state’s orders not to reschedule town elections because of last week’s snowstorm. But only one — the town of Washington — defied those instructions and decided to delay its votes anyway.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

President Trump will visit Manchester Monday, where's he's expected to announce a new plan to battle the nationwide opioid crisis.

Manchester Fire Department Chief Daniel Goonan knows first-hand how big his city’s opioid problem is.

NHPR File Photo

A bill supporting a study for commuter rail expansion has passed the New Hampshire House.

The House bill on Thursday includes the federally funded study as part of the 10-year state transportation plan.

The project would extend passenger rail from Boston to Manchester, N.H., with two stops in Nashua, a stop at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, and a stop in downtown Manchester.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The state House has again rejected a bid to give New Hampshire towns more control over their own environmental protections – but advocates of the constitutional amendment say they're making progress.

Organizer Michelle Sanborn with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund says the House barely debated the proposal the first time around, in 2016.

So she's encouraged by Thursday’s House vote of 217 to 112 against it.

PROBartolomej Jahoda via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/F4s3N

In the debate over legalizing marijuana in New Hampshire, advocates have said it should be regulated like alcohol.

So, it makes some sense that the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission would be a potential go-to agency to regulate it, should the Granite State one day permit retail sale of recreational pot. 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake paid a visit to the state today to speak at Saint Anselm College’s “Politics and Eggs” series, which has long been a stop for presidential hopefuls.

 

At the event Flake said he hasn’t ruled out a 2020 campaign but that the odds were long. He’s been vocal about wanting someone to run against President Trump in the Republican primary though.

 

Flake had no shortage of barbs for Trump, calling out what he sees as chaos in the White House and attacks on the media.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

President Donald Trump's planned visit to New Hampshire next week is expected to focus on the opioid epidemic, and some local responses to it.

 

In Manchester on Monday, he will unveil a new plan to battle the national opioid crisis, according to news reports.

 

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

New Hampshire won’t be offering online voter registration anytime soon. The House of Representatives killed a bill that would have required the Secretary of State to work with the Division of Motor Vehicles to set up such a system.

EPA

The state Senate wants to take a closer at asbestos-related lawsuits in New Hampshire.

They voted Thursday to form a study committee on issues of transparency and speed in asbestos litigation.

AP | NPR

Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake is scheduled to speak Friday morning at Saint Anselm College in Manchester.

 

Flake will be the featured speaker at the “Politics and Eggs” forum hosted by the college. Past speakers have included President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

 

In an interview with NBC, Flake said he thinks Trump should be challenged during the 2020 Republican primary. But Flake has yet to announce a presidential run for himself.

 

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.”

Seven cities approved Keno gambling last November and 77 towns will put the question to voters at town meeting on Tuesday--and later this week, according to the N.H. Lottery, which oversees Keno 603. Thirty-six towns OK'd Keno on Tuesday, while nine rejected it. 

Click the dots on the map to see where KENO stands in New Hampshire towns:

Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr/Creative Commons

It may not be every New Hampshire reveler’s go-to drink order, but Hennessy cognac was the top selling spirit by volume at state-run liquor stores in 2017, accounting for nearly 5 percent of total sales that year.

 

Hennessy also happens to be the liquor at the center of bootlegging allegations made last month by Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky, who is calling for an investigation into how the New Hampshire Liquor Commission handles large all-cash sales made by out-of-state residents.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Social studies teacher Rob Nadeau’s journey to the New Hampshire State House began last fall in his Hopkinton Middle High School classroom. While teaching an Intro to Law class, he said he noticed his students were shocked to learn that in New Hampshire, permitted gun owners were allowed to bring their firearms into a school building. 

Lara Bricker for NHPR

Today, voters in towns around the state will cast ballots in local elections. Like last year, a severe snowstorm is complicating matters, especially in the wake of the state's claim that towns don't have the power to reschedule local votes.

NHPR's reporters are in the field covering polls around the state throughout Town Meeting Day. Bookmark this blog and check back to see photos, hear from voters, and more.

Click here for NHPR's coverage of local issues leading up to Town Meeting Day. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A House committee voted Monday to recommend that a bill to legalize marijuana be sent to interim study.

It's the second time the legislation has come out of a committee with a negative recommendation–advocates view the “interim study” recommendation as "an egregious attempt" to kill the bill. In January, the full House overturned a committee recommendation to pass the bill.

Rebecca Lavoie

With more than a foot of snow forecast in some parts of the state on Tuesday, it feels like déjà vu for many towns who had to scramble to accommodate a late-breaking nor’easter that swept in on town meeting day in March 2017.

Jason Moon for NHPR

On Town Meeting day tomorrow, several communities across New Hampshire will vote on whether to offer full-day kindergarten in their local school districts.

It will be the first time towns vote on the issue since lawmakers in Concord approved a program that provides state money for full-day kindergarten.


Peter Biello for NHPR

Today on The Exchange, a conversation with Steve Marchand, who's launched his campaign to be the Democratic challenger to Governor Chris Sununu in 2018.

Marchand, who served as mayor of Portsmouth from 2005-2008, lost the gubernatorial primary to Colin Van Ostern in 2016. (Click here to see NHPR's coverage of  the 2016 race and click here to find out where he stood on the issues.)

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

Several hundred students walked out of classes at Hanover High School Friday afternoon in recognition of shooting victims in Parkland, Florida last month.

Chanting “we want change” and “never again,” they marched to the local post office, where they sent off more than a thousand letters to state and federal officials. 

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