Politics

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

New Hampshire could become one of just a few states that allows birth control pills to be prescribed by pharmacists.

A commission appointed by the state legislature voted unanimously last week to endorse the idea.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

In a scenario that was reminiscent of his earlier rise as Speaker of the House, Republican Shawn Jasper narrowly squeaked through as New Hampshire’s new agriculture commissioner — thanks to support from the opposite party.

When Jasper was elected Speaker in 2014, House Democrats joined with a handful of Republicans to secure his nomination. On Wednesday, the Executive Council's two Democrats also joined with one Republican to confirm Jasper as agriculture commissioner.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As reported earlier this week, New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper says he's disappointed that roughly one-quarter of his chamber has not signed a form acknowledging they’ve read the official State House sexual harassment policy.

Thanksgiving - or any time families gather together - often includes some intense political debate at the dinner table. 

It's the first Thanksgiving with President Donald Trump in office, and in a purple state that was nearly split between candidates during the election, there are bound to be some uncomfortable conversations. 

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper says he’s disappointed that roughly one-quarter of his chamber has not signed a form acknowledging they’ve read the official Statehouse sexual harassment policy. The way he sees it, “there should be 100 percent compliance.”

Some members of the New Hampshire Democratic Party are forming a caucus for military veterans and their families. 

About fifty people have expressed interest in joining, says Amelia Keane. She's a Democratic representative from Nashua and a combat medic in the Army Reserves.

Keane is also a member of the caucus, and she says its goal is to advocate for legislation that would improve the lives of veterans and their family members. She says right now the caucus is just getting started.

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a controversial new voter registration law is heading to trial next August, according to a recent court order.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire Democrats’ annual Kennedy Clinton Dinner is one of the party’s marquee fundraisers – a chance to bask in recent electoral victories and channel the party’s energy before the next campaign season kicks into gear.

But as Democrats gathered in Hollis for this year’s dinner, the reputation one of its namesakes was getting fresh scrutiny – and not just from political opponents.

A new poll from the University of New Hampshire says many New Hampshire residents don't think voter fraud has an impact on local elections.

The latest Granite State Poll tackles a topic that's been front of mind for many New Hampshire residents lately, especially Republicans. 

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including House Representative Annie Kuster, have introduced legislation to prevent and respond to sexual harassment in Congress.

The Me Too bill would require more transparency and provide better support for victims and whistleblowers. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Congresswoman Kuster by phone about the bill.

  (Editor's note: this transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.)

Lorie Shaull / Wikimedia Commons

Three members of New Hampshire's congressional delegation say they support an ethics probe of Minnesota Sen. Al Franken following sexual harassment accusations by a radio anchor.

WMUR-TV reports Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan and Democratic Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster expressed support for an ethics investigation Thursday. Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who is a member of the Senate Ethics Committee, said she couldn't comment because the case may be evaluated by the committee.

Shaheen Bill To Toughen Federal Checks on Gun Buyers

Nov 16, 2017
FILE

Senator Jeanne Shaheen has teamed up with colleagues across the aisle to sponsor a bill, introduced Thursday, that seeks to strengthen the federal database on gun background checks.

Democratic State Rep. Mindi Messmer has announced she’s running for Congress.

Messmer is a first-term legislator from Rye who has made a name for herself through her work on drinking water contamination in the state.

Messmer is a scientist who runs her own environmental consulting firm.

She says she wants to bring that scientific background to Washington to defend environmental regulations that are being rolled back by the Trump administration.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A controversial school choice bill cleared a major hurdle in the State House Tuesday, receiving a positive recommendation from the House Education Committee on Tuesday by a 10-9 vote.

The bill would allow parents of some children to spend tax dollars to educate their children with non-public school options like private school or home school. But the bill looks considerably different than when it was originally introduced several months ago.

One Vote Margin Leads To Recount On Keno In Rochester

Nov 14, 2017
Courtesy of the N.H. Lottery Commission

Rochester officials will be hosting a recount next week on the passage of the electronic gambling game Keno.

Last week voters in the city approved Keno by just one vote.

Former N.H. State Rep. Ends Bid for Congress

Nov 10, 2017
CREDIT WWW.P2012.ORG

A former State Representative is no longer running for Congress.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Former White House chief strategist and head of Breitbart News Steve Bannon spoke to New Hampshire Republicans last night at an event in Manchester.

As people arrived at the Executive Court Banquet Facility in Manchester to hear Bannon speak, many of them were greeted by "boos" from across the street.

Dozens of people like Hassan Essa, who recently ran for alderman in Manchester, stood in a line with glowing signs that read "no hate in Granite State."

Essa said he just couldn’t understand why some people would pay as much $750 to hear Bannon speak.

AP

Earlier this week a majority of cities in New Hampshire voted to allow the electronic gambling game Keno. But three communities rejected it.

And regardless of where in the state Keno is approved, under the new law now legalizing it, every school district will get the same share from Keno revenues to help pay for full-day kindergarten.

That’s left some people wondering how fair the new law really is.

AP Photo /Mark Duncan

Rochester appears to be the community most divided over whether to allow Keno within city limits – the game passed there by a mere one vote, according to results from the local clerk’s office as of late Tuesday night.

Otherwise, voters across New Hampshire were split on the issue of whether to allow Keno in their communities. Seven of the 10 cities where it was on the ballot voted in favor of permitting the game.

Map: What NH Towns Will Have KENO?

Nashua Voters Back Performing Arts Center Proposal

Nov 8, 2017
Courtesy of Nashua Offiicals

A proposal to build a performing arts center in downtown Nashua got a shot of support from local voters Tuesday.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Joyce Craig is the first woman ever elected mayor of Manchester.

That’s after she beat four-term incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas on Tuesday by more than 1,500 votes.

If you’re looking for the latest information on how to vote in the local elections happening across New Hampshire today, you’d probably turn to the state elections website for the most reliable information.

But as voters across New Hampshire headed to the polls Tuesday, the state’s website included several broken links and blank pages where details on voter registration were supposed to be.

N.H. Lawmakers Fight to Get State Job Back For Single Mom

Nov 7, 2017
FILE

New Hampshire lawmakers are pushing for a 31-year-old single mom in Manchester to get her state job back. 

N.H. Voters Head to the Polls to Elect City Leaders

Nov 7, 2017
FILE

Voters in cities across New Hampshire are heading to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots for  city leaders, candidates for school board and police commissioner, and for local election officials.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

As voters head to the polls in municipal elections across the state Tuesday, a lawsuit is still pending against a new voting law known as Senate Bill 3.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Bud Fitch is a familiar face around New Hampshire’s Statehouse and its broader political circles. He’s served as deputy attorney general, as Gov. John Lynch’s so-called "stimulus czar" and as a top staffer for former Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

Since August, Fitch has been working under Secretary of State Bill Gardner in a newly created position as a dedicated attorney focusing on election law.

Performing Arts Center Proposal Put to Nashua Voters

Nov 6, 2017

Nashua aldermen rejected the $15.5 million proposal in September. But the question on Tuesday’s city ballot asks voters to decide whether lawmakers should reconsider.

N.H. Cities to Consider Keno on Local Ballots

Nov 6, 2017
AP

The electronic gambling game is up for a vote in 10 cities - including Manchester and Nashua. Franklin already had their election last month, and Keno overwhelmingly passed there.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

In September Manchester saw record breaking numbers in both drug fatalities and overdoses. So for many voters heading to the polls next week for local elections - this crisis remains their number one issue.

NHPR File

In the final Manchester mayoral debate, challenger Joyce Craig accused incumbent Ted Gatsas of failing to follow protocol when a 14-year-old student was raped at a high school in 2015.

The rape was not made public until earlier this year when the county prosecutor announced that Bryan Wilson, who was 17 at the time, was found guilty and sentenced to 10- to- 20 years for aggravated felonious sexual assault at West High School.

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