Politics

Political news from New Hampshire Public Radio, from the State House to the First in the Nation Primary.

Sam Evans-Brown

A New Hampshire judge is deciding if a defamation case brought by the mayor of the state's largest city can move forward.

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas is suing a former alderman and a critic, saying he was defamed by their accusations that he covered up a sexual assault at a high school. WMUR-TV reports that lawyers for the men who're being sued argued Monday that the complaint should be tossed.

A letter the men sent to the City Council claimed Gatsas tried to cover up the sexual assault in 2015 because it occurred weeks before the election.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The two mayoral candidates in Manchester faced off for the first time Monday. Much of the debate between incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas and Joyce Craig, broadcast on WGIR radio, focused on the city’s opioid crisis. 

Allegra Boverman

The New Hampshire House Speaker's job could soon be available as current House Speaker Shawn Jasper says he's applying to be the next state agriculture commissioner.

New Hampshire lawmakers from opposite sides of the political aisle will face off Saturday during the state’s first legislative softball game.

All proceeds from the event will go to help homeless veterans.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

News that the Trump administration plans to stop issuing cost-sharing payments, or CSRs, provoked swift outcry from New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation. These payments to insurers help to offset the cost of coverage for low-income patients. 

Earlier this year, Gov. Chris Sununu repeatedly called on Trump to make sure the payments continue — but he isn't criticizing the president for the decision to take them away.

Allegra Boverman

The Speaker of the New Hampshire House is looking to put down his gavel to lead the state’s agriculture department.  Although it may be an unusual career move, Speaker Shawn Jasper says he’s been eyeing the commissioner's job for a while. 

Jasper grew up in a family of poultry farmers. His grandfather and father bred chickens for nearly 75 years in Hudson - producing more than 160 million eggs. 

Jasper says he’s continued to keep up on agriculture issues over the years through the legislature and as a nearly 30-year advisor to UNH's agriculture fraternity.

Tomwsulcer / Wikimedia Commons

A bill authored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Susan Collins of Maine that would establish a national commission of health care experts on diabetes care and prevention is headed to President Donald Trump's desk.

Shaheen, a Democrat, and Collins, a Republican, say the legislation would bring together public and private sector experts, clinical endocrinologists and others involved in diabetes research and treatment to focus on improving education, care delivery and patient outcomes.

The bill has passed the House; it passed the Senate in September.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A pair of lawsuits challenging the state's new voter registration law, Senate Bill 3, have been consolidated into one case.

The next major step is a structuring conference scheduled for Oct. 30. There, parties involved will sort out what the timeline and discovery process for the rest of the case might look like.

Nashua One Step Closer to Getting Commuter Rail

Oct 11, 2017
FILE

Nashua is one step closer to getting commuter rail in the city.

That's after city lawmakers this week unanimously agreed to enter into a public-private partnership with a railroad company out of Rhode Island.

A candidate for alderman in Manchester is proposing a controversial idea to tackle the city’s opioid epidemic that involves putting those who overdose...in jail.

New Hampshire Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn says he will file a bill to ban "bump stocks" for guns if his House counterpart cannot muster support to introduce a similar proposal.

Gun debate continues after the mass shooting in Las Vegas that claimed 58 lives and left hundreds injured last week. Woodburn questions if debate will occur at all in Concord.

www.house.gov

In the days since Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter’s unexpected announcement that she won’t run again in 2018, there’s been plenty of speculation about how the Democratic field for New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District might shape up.

New Hampshire's congressional delegation is calling for improved facilities for women who receive care at the only veterans' hospital in the state.

The Democratic delegation says the current women's health clinic on the sixth floor of the Manchester VA Medical Center was damaged during a flood in July. They want to make sure women receive care in an appropriate setting during the rebuilding period.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Mayoral candidates in the state’s largest city are starting to gear up with the city's election now just a month away.

B BUSCO / Getty Images

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rep. Annie Kuster will be discussing the Children's Health Insurance Program and other programs that face an uncertain future due to funding problems.

The Democrats are meeting at Girls Inc. in Concord on Friday to discuss funding the program, a related community health center bill, and the National Service Corps. Health care professionals and child advocates are joining them.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Sen. Maggie Hassan announced Wednesday she will help introduce a bill to prevent modifications that allow for rapid fire of semi-automatic weapons.

The sale and transfer of automatic weapons are illegal under the National Firearms Act, but accessories can be attached to semi-automatic weapons that increase rate of fire.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Secretary of State Bill Gardner’s participation on President Trump’s election commission has earned him criticism that he’s undercutting his decades of work as New Hampshire’s top elections official. Gardner, for his part, says he’s taking part in the controversial commission “in [his] personal capacity.”

Still, over the past five months since the commission was formed, state workers — including Gardner's staff assistant and attorneys employed by the New Hampshire Secretary of State — have repeatedly been called upon to carry out work related to the commission, apparently on state time.

Sununu: Not the Right Time to Discuss Gun Control

Oct 2, 2017
JOHN LOCHER / AP

Governor Chris Sununu says gun reform should be put on the back burner, as families continue to mourn those lost in Sunday night's mass shooting in Las Vegas. 

Sununu Talked Regulation During Trip to D.C.

Oct 2, 2017
Allegra Boverman

Governor Chris Sununu spent part of Monday at the White House.

Sam Evans-Brown

We’re still months away from the start of the next legislative session. But already, the legislative agenda is starting to take shape. Among the hundreds of bills already in the works for next session is one that aims to give the public a clearer window into the legislative process itself.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu is heading to Washington on Monday for an undisclosed event at the White House.

The governor’s staff included the visit in his public schedule for the week (with "Attends Event at The White" penciled in at 11 a.m. on Monday), but would not elaborate on the nature of the event when asked for more information. They said the White House would be releasing more details ahead of time, over the weekend.

"The White House will announce the details of the upcoming event this weekend," the governor's office said.

The scene: the Executive council chambers. The time: 6 p.m. on a Wednesday. The crowd? A mysterious, oft-stereotyped (and sometimes maligned) species, seen only rarely in the halls of the Statehouse: millennials.

They were there as part of a newly formed Millennial Advisory Council, announced last week by Gov. Chris Sununu.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu says President Donald Trump's tax plan would improve the lives of residents in the state.

Sununu said the plan would provide tax breaks and retains benefits that would encourage work, higher education, retirement security, and stop corporations from shipping jobs overseas.

He also said it would make the nation more competitive by lowering the highest business tax rate in the developed world, creating new jobs and higher wages.

Sununu said it also would simplify the tax code and make it fairer by eliminating loopholes.

Democratic candidate Kari Lerner of Chester won a special New Hampshire House election in Rockingham County on Tuesday.

Lerner defeated Republican former state Representative James Headd of Auburn by 39 votes.

Headd has requested a recount. It will be Tuesday, 10 a.m., at the State Archives building in Concord. 

The election took place in District 4, which has 20 percent more registered Republicans than Democrats, according to the New Hampshire Democratic Party. President Donald Trump won the district by 23 points.

NHPR File

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky says he will not run for governor in 2018.

He plans to run for re-election to council District 2, which stretches from Charlestown on the Vermont border to Dublin and Keene and over to Dover, Durham, Rochester, and Somersworth.

The Democrat from Concord tells NHPR it's humbling to have friends and supporters encourage him to run. In the end, 2018 was not meant to be.


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ political donations are not all tethered to one party. This holds true in New Hampshire, which plans to submit an underdog bid for the online retailer’s second headquarters.

The Amazon PAC has contributed to a Sununu -- former U.S. Sen. John E. Sununu, the governor’s brother. The PAC gave $2,000 to the former Senator in the 2008 campaign. It donated $1,000 in 2004 to the Daniel Webster PAC, the senator's leadership PAC at the time.

Other Amazon PAC donations, according to Federal Election Commission finance reports, include:

Peter Biello / NHPR

Members of New Hampshire's congressional delegation are again pushing for a full-service veterans hospital.

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin has said that a task force he appointed would develop a plan to provide "full services" in New Hampshire.

But Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan and others in the delegation worry the VA is backing away from that plan.

A subsequent announcement on the task force emphasizes the hospital should "best meet the needs" of the state's veterans.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Democratic New Hampshire Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan are holding a news conference to highlight what they call the "devastating impact" that the latest GOP health care bill would have on state residents.

The senators say there are provisions that would make health insurance unaffordable for millions. They want Republicans to instead restart bipartisan negotiations on health care.

They're holding a news conference at the Elliot Hospital in Manchester on Monday morning.

Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET

Sen. John McCain may, once again, be the savior of President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement.

The Arizona Republican announced in a statement on Friday that he opposes the latest GOP legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

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