Josh Rogers

Senior Political Reporter and Editor

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000 and serves as NHPR’s State House reporter. Before joining the staff, he lived in New York, where he worked for a number of different magazines.

Josh’s award winning reporting can be heard locally but also regularly airs on national broadcasts of NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Josh is also a frequent analyst on political talk shows in the state. He grew up in Concord, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Reed College.

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Tom Roy | The NH Union Leader

Gov. Chris Sununu will be front and center as he presents his state budget Thursday. With Democrats running the State House, the political landscape has changed for Sununu.

Something that hasn’t changed, though, is a familiar voice in his ear, coming from advisor Paul Collins. And while Collins operates largely behind the scenes, his service to the Sununu family goes back decades.


Josh Rogers / NHPR

Democrat Sherrod Brown spend most of his weekend in New Hampshire. As NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports, the Ohio Senator, who is positioning himself for presidential run, found receptive audiences across the state.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu is in Dubai this week, but his office is keeping the details of what he is doing there under wraps for now.

josh rogers / nhpr

California Congressman Adam Schiff, one of President Trump's most prominent critics on Capitol Hill, spoke at Politics and Eggs at Bedford Village Inn.

Schiff spoke at length about the dangers of authoritarianism, and the effect social media has on politics. But when the question about his plans for 2020 was put to the congressman, he was blunt.

"I'm not running."

james pindell via Twitter

Democrats hoping for – or at least intrigued by – a potential Presidential run by former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke gathered in Concord  Wednesday.

The Draft Beto campaign launched on the heels of O’Rourke’s loss to Ted Cruz in a Texas U.S. Senate race. The loss was closer than expected. O’Rourke’s message of uplift and his social media skill helped him raise  $78 million.

josh rogers / nhpr

In Manchester, New Hampshire, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg told a packed room at St. Anselm College that President Trump was a failure in business and is a failure in government.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Top state house Democrats want Governor Sununu to take executive action to supply unemployment benefits to N.H. workers affected by the federal shutdown. But the Governor's office says that would be risky.

Democratic leaders says passing laws to help federal workers would take weeks, but the Governor can act now.

"We urge Governor Sununu to leverage his close relationship with the current administration and to obtain clearance for New Hampshire to issue unemployment insurance to our own residents," said N.H. Senate President Donna Soucy.

About 2,400 local workers are affected by the shutdown, and 1,600 have been working without pay since the federal shutdown started in late December.

Senate President Donna Soucy and House Speaker Steve Shurtleff are eyeing legislation to pay such workers unemployment benefits. But Employment Security Commissioner George Copadis says states have been told not to do that.

"We've been advised by the feds, that if you pay these workers you will not be reimbursed. In addition, we'd be out of compliance, and I’m not sure what other ramifications would happen at that point."

paige sutherland /nhpr

Governor Chris Sununu says he'll likely unveil his plan to establish a secure psychiatric unit outside of the state prison when he proposes his state budget next month. 

For 30 years the state's only secure psychiatric unit has been at the state prison, which means patients needing secure treatment from the state, have had to get it, behind prison walls.

Josh Rogers for NHPR

Bills to boost mental health services at local hospitals and hire staff at the state's child protection agency went before state senate committees Tuesday.

Democrats are prioritizing the bills, which spend about $13 million in state money. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would bar candidates for secretary of state and treasurer from forming political committees.

The proposal is backed by the Secretary of State's office.

josh rogers / nhpr

Democrat Julian Castro used a speech at St. Anselm College Wednesday to call for sweeping changes in areas ranging from health care to the criminal justice system. It was Castro's first visit to New Hampshire since getting into the race for president.

The former San Antonio mayor and Obama administration official said one of his goals in running is restore the idea that all Americans count.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

When Elizabeth Warren hit the stage at Manchester Community College, in her first visit to New Hampshire since declaring her intent to run for president, she was quick to characterize her visit as an almost social call.

Ben Vihstadt

A law that passed the year he was elected made Chris Sununu the first New Hampshire governor required to disclose the activities of his inaugural committee. And to hear Sununu tell it, that committee - the Sununu Inaugural Celebration, Inc. - has more than delivered when it comes to transparency.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told more than 400 people who gathered at Manchester Community College on Saturday that her life experience informs policy goals like lifting the minimum wage, making education more affordable, and increasing inheritance taxes to pay for affordable housing.

Warren argued that the country needs leadership committed to ensuring that what she called "the rules," aren’t tilted to benefit the wealthy and well-connected.

“Rules matter, rules made in Washington matter, and that’s why I’m in this fight, that’s it.”

josh rogers / nhpr

 

With overall state tax collections up $106 million over estimates, Legislative Budget Assistant Michael Kane told the New Hampshire lawmakers who will write the state's next two-year spending plan that they will start the process with a $95.8 million cushion.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu kicked off his second term with an inaugural speech that laid down some ideological markers but stressed bipartisanship, particularly on issues involving child protection mental health and the opioid crisis. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As Governor Chris Sununu gets ready to deliver his second inaugural address, the Democrats who lead the New Hampshire Senate are challenging him to adopt some of their priorities.

The Democrats talked up what they call the "Granite State Opportunity Plan" as they campaigned and say now's the time to start enacting policies like paid family leave, hiring more staff at the state’s child protection agency, lifting the state minimum wage, and putting the brakes on further business tax cuts.

Donna Soucy is the new Democratic Senate President.

Merrimack County Department Of Corrections

Owen Labrie is now in custody at Merrimack County Jail.  The St. Paul's School graduate will serve 10 months for sexually assaulting a 15-year old fellow student in 2014.

Owen Labrie was found guilty of sexual assault and a related computer crime more than 3 years ago. But apart from serving two months behind bars for violating bail, he'd remained free while appealing his conviction.

This month, a judge rejected Labrie's request to reduce his sentence and ordered him back to jail.

Labrie's conviction had already been upheld by the state Supreme Court.

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

The New Hampshire House will be slightly younger when the new legislative session starts next month. But the chamber remains dominated by members above the age of 60.

According to the new numbers released by the House Clerk this week, about one of 4 members of the New Hampshire House is over the age of 70, but even so the legislature's average age is dropping.

It will be 61 this session, a year younger that it was last session, and 5 years younger than it was the session before that.

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office has picked Keene State College's director of campus safety to oversee St. Paul's school's compliance with the settlement it reached with the state over its handling of sexual misconduct by faculty and students. 

Jeffrey T. Maher holds a law degree, and spent 20 years working for the Nashua Police Department, retiring as a Captain.

Deputy Attorney General Jane Young says starting Feb. 9, Maher will be at St. Paul's School, and reporting back to prosecutors for at least three years and possibly as long as five.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu is defending payouts from his inaugural fundraising committee to family members and staff. But the governor also says he'd welcome tighter standards on inaugural committees.

In the wake of his first election in 2016, Sununu's inaugural committee raised $450,000, much of it from corporations and lobbyists. It also paid out about $165,000 to people with close ties to the governor, including members of his family and administration.

NHPR Staff

The Democrats who lead the New Hampshire House are moving closer to outlawing firearms from Representatives Hall.

The policy on allowing guns to be carried onto the House floor and into the gallery has toggled back and forth over the past decade depending on which party holds the majority. And the committee vote to restore the ban was party line.

Prior to the vote, Walpole Democrat Lucy Weber told colleagues guns have made schools leery of making class trips to the State House.

Sam Evans-Brown for NHPR

As Governor Chris Sununu prepares to be inaugurated for his second term, the committee that organizes his inaugural activities is getting some attention.

Over the weekend the NH Union Leader reported that the committee has paid out thousands of dollars to members of the Governor’s inner circle, including his sister, father and wife.

Joining me now to to discuss the story is NHPR’s Josh Rogers. 

NHPR Staff

Democracts in charge of the state legislature have made key legislative appointments.

House speaker Steve Shurtleff has tapped Karen Ebel of New London to serve as deputy speaker, and made Doug Ley of Jaffrey house majority leader.

Senate President Donna Soucy has, meanwhile, made her committee assignments.

Lou D'Allesandro, the Senate's longest serving member, will again lead the powerful Finance Committee.

Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes, will run the Ways and Means Committee, which is in charge of tax policy.

New Hampshire has collected $2.9 million in rooms and meals tax revenue directly from Airbnb  in the year since the state reached a deal with the vacation rental site. 

The revenue from Airbnb comprises less than 1% of rooms and meals tax collections over the same period, but they are the first under the agreement that put Airbnb - and not property owners - in charge of sending the state the 9% tax charged in rooms and meals.

According to Airbnb's Liz Debold Fusco, the new approach is serving everybody's interests.

NHPR Staff

New data compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education show salaries continue to rise for leaders of New Hampshire colleges and universities. 

Will his total compensation of more than $1.1 million dollars, Dartmouth's Phil Hanlon is the highest paid college administrator in New Hampshire, the 44th best paid private college president in the country.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The new legislature will be sworn in and pick a Secretary of State on Wednesday. Bill Gardner has been Secretary of State for 42 years, and for most of that time his re-election has been inevitable.

Not this year. 

Wilfredo Lee/AP

The state is ramping up efforts to get drivers to obtain licenses that comply with the federal standard known as REAL-ID. Relatively few people in New Hampshire now have such licenses.

New Hampshire was among the few states that fought the 9/11-inspired federal standard that became law in 2005. 

Josh Rogers / NHPR

Wednesday is the day lawmakers will pick New Hampshire’s next Secretary of State, and both candidates—42-year incumbent Bill Gardner and his challenger, former executive councilor Colin Van Ostern—are hustling for support. 

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