The Exchange | New Hampshire Public Radio

The Exchange

Back in December, The Exchange sat down with four newly-elected members of the N.H. House of Representatives. 

Now, two months in, NHPR's Michael Brindley caught up with these four new lawmakers, and asked them what's been most surprising about their new roles, and what they've seen as the biggest challenges so far.

Sara Plourde For NHPR

New Hampshire has joined a handful of states that mandate some Medicaid recipients to engage in certain activities: for example, a job, school, or community services. But recent federal changes tightening certain aspects of the program, as well as proposed legislation, have renewed debate over the Granite State's approach. 

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It's tax season. And the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed by President Trump and a Republican-led Congress is finally in full effect.

Shaheen: Mueller's Report Needs To Be Made Public

Feb 26, 2019

Speculation has been  growing that special counsel Robert Mueller may soon submit his final report to the U.S. Justice Department after nearly two years of investigating whether the Trump campaign aided Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. President Donald Trump has denied any “collusion.”

Speaking on The Exchange, Shaheen said, “I think it’s very important for the people of this country to see what’s in this report.”


Eleven states have reported measles outbreaks, including a large one in Washington state, which allows for philosophical exemptions for families who disagree with the mandate to vaccinate.  Although all 50 states allow for medical exemptions — religious and philosophical exemptions are also allowed in many states. New Hampshire allows for religious exemptions — and according to recent immunization reports that number has risen to 4,234 from about 3,700. 

The marijuana legalization debate returns to the Granite State.  Advocates have been trying to legalize pot here for years, and this session, lawmakers are again taking up the issue.  On Tuesday, we examine the arguments. Advocates say legalization could lead to a decline in the use of more dangerous drugs.  But opponents warn of unintended consequences, including the impact on babies born to mothers who consume cannabis while pregnant. We'll also examine the broader context, as New Hampshire's three neighboring states have all legalized.   


In his address last year, President Trump emphasized his "America first" approach on issues such as immigration and trade. We assess what the President lists as his achievements in this year's speech, as well as his plans for the future.  We also hear responses from leaders of the N.H. Young Republicans and Young Democrats. 

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Bills at the Statehouse would add the Granite State to a handful of others providing this benefit. But questions remain: Who pays, how much, and whether these plans should be voluntary or mandatory.  We look at competing proposals, including a bi-state plan between New Hampshire and Vermont.


Two years into The Trump Administration, what's been the impact here in New Hampshire?  We examine the local effects of the President's policies on health care, tax reform, the environment, and immigration.  We find out what changed in the Granite State as a result, including the impact on New Hampshire politics.

The Office of The Child Advocate, established in 2018 as an independent agency to oversee the Division of Children, Youth and Families, issued its first annual report recently. Among its recommendations:  The state should fund more DCYF staff to help relieve overloaded case workers – a problem that has long beset the agency. But OCA Director Moira O'Neill says the job of protecting children includes the broader community -- though not all Granite Staters may realize they're required by law to report suspicions of child neglect and abuse.  

The N.H. Office of the Child Advocate was created about a year ago in the wake of the deaths of two children at the hands of abusive parents -- cases that had been reported to the N.H. Division for Children, Youth, and Families. 

Moira O'Neill, the OCA's first director, joins us Tuesday at 9 a.m. to discuss the agency's first annual report. Although the state receives some praise, there remains much work to be done, according to the report -- including the hiring of more case workers, an ongoing challenge, as well as nurses, to bolster DCYF. In addition, the state must work to educate all those likely to encounter children in need of services (CHINS), including staff in schools and courts. Overall, the state must shift the emphasis toward putting the safety of children first. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Laura talks with New Hampshire House and Senate leaders representing both parties to find out what's in store for the legislature in the months ahead and how the shift in power -- from Republicans to Democrats -- might play out. So far, business taxes, marijuana policy, and voting laws are among many issues up for debate.

Also not to be overlooked: the state budget. 


U.S. Dept. of Labor


This year, about twenty states are raising their minimum wage; the Granite State remains tied to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Several bills in the N.H. legislature, meanwhile, will look again at raising that number. Supporters say this change is long past due, though ideas vary in terms of how much and how fast the wage should rise; opponents warn of unintended negative economic consequences, such as job loss. 

Christina Phillips / The Exchange

Taylor Caswell, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs, joined The Exchange to discuss the state's economy -- what's going well, including efforts to attract businesses and more young professionals to the state -- as well as areas for improvement, including affordable housing and attracting a more diverse workforce. 

Caswell also said a 10-year economic development strategy for the state is in the works. Here are key takeaways from the interview. 


With the new year upon us, resolutions abound -- including, for many of us, promises to eat healthier and exercise more regularly, perhaps even to lose weight and build muscle tone.  In attempting to do so, however, it can be confusing making sense of the research and health headlines. We'll talk with experts in these departments -- nutrition, fitness, exercise -- and get their advice on how to achieve our goals, while separating fad from fact. 

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: Jan. 4, 2019

Jan 4, 2019

Governor Chris Sununu begins his second term, calling for cooperation as he faces Democratic control of the House, Senate, and Executive Council following midterm elections.  House lawmakers vote to ban guns inside Representatives Hall -- a rule that has been reversed over the years, depending upon which party is in charge.  And, after the N.H. House votes overwhelmingly to require its members to attend sexual harassment education training, hundreds of representatives show up for a scheduled hearing on harassment.  

Ellen Grimm for NHPR


More people are bringing their animals with them -- into stores, onto planes. Some are service animals, highly trained, assisting with such tasks as pulling a wheelchair or retrieving medicine. They also assist people who are blind or experiencing seizures. These animals are covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act and allowed in most public places. Emotional support animals are sometimes prescribed to a person with a disabling mental illness but they do not have the same legal protections. And there are also therapy pets.  We'll find out what these various animals do, where they're allowed -- and why conflicts may arise.  


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

For months now, speculation has been growing about who will run in the Democratic and Republican Presidential primaries, fueled by politicians' visits to such states as New Hampshire and Iowa. The list of potential Democratic contenders appears long and  includes Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachussetts.  Only a few Republicans who have made names for themselves as critics of President Trump appear on the list so far as possible opponents of Trump, including Ohio Governor John Kasich.  Join us for a preview of the 2020 primary contest. 

We start off with the top stories of this week: questions around the propriety of spending by Governor Sununu's inauguration committee; and a House committe vote to ban guns in Representatives Hall (with final vote by the full House yet to come).

But for much of the show, we'll look back at some of the top stories of 2018, including a Powerball winner's fight to remain anonymous;  allegations of  sex abuse at Dartmouth College; and midterm results, with gains both statewide and nationally for Democrats. 

Don't miss this extensive coverage of the top news of 2018, with photos and links to stories, put together by NHPR's digital engagement producer Dan Tuohy. 

At the end of the year, the Exchange team likes to bring back the most popular, and beloved, shows of 2018. This year, we chose our top ten, based on our own favorites and listener engagement, and asked you to vote for the five you want to hear during the holiday week. Check out the shows you chose, and tune in starting December 26th to hear them all. 


The Brexit agreement on Britain's withdrawal from the European Union appears to be on the brink of defeat. Facing fierce opposition in Parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May decided to delay a vote on an agreement reached after nearly two years of negotiations. The plan would have kept Britain, for the most part, within the European Union's customs and trade system for the next two years.  Now, the country's economic and political future appear uncertain. We'll discuss what led to this situation, what might happen next, and how the uncertainty surrounding Brexit might have global repercussions.

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Jonah Goldberg, senior editor at the National Review, and one of the most influential voices in American conservatism, has challenged some members of his own party, particularly those who have shown unquestioning loyalty to President Trump. Still, Goldberg has not taken the route of some other prominent Republicans, who have abandoned the GOP because of Trump. 

Meanwhile when it comes to the Mueller probe, Goldberg is witholding judgement: "I'm on nobody's side... if the truth or facts or evidence is on Trump's side, I'll defend that," he wrote recently.  "If its's not on his side, I won't be either."   

We talk with Goldberg, also a familiar voice from NPR's Morning Edition, while he's here in New Hampshire headlining the Libertas Award Dinner at the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy. 

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: Dec. 7, 2018

Dec 6, 2018

After a dramatic day of voting and re-voting, N.H. lawmakers re-elect Secretary of State Bill Gardner for a 22nd term, by the slimmest of margins.  Police arrest a man for threatening Governor Sununu in connection with online statements targeting the state's Jewish community.  And more than 200 people turn out for a final public hearing on a proposed 10-year mental health plan and call on lawmakers to fully fund the plan.  

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: Nov. 30, 2018

Nov 29, 2018

A new federal report on climate change includes some dire news for this region but a leading author of the report says there are some hopeful signs to be found in how some local communities are adapting and working to mitigate the effects. The race for N.H. Secretary of State enters its final lap. And a jury delivers its verdict in an art forgery case involving a prominent collector and a N.H. mother and son. 

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With winter weather here, superintendents around the state have had to make the call on whether or not to close schools in their districts.  And even with advances in forecasting, it can be a tough decision to make.  We ask how they do it  and also why some districts use so-called "blizzard bags," which allow students and teachers to work from home.   

Mark Bogacz / NHPR

Joshua Johnson, host of NPR's 1A, has been hosting focused, incisive conversations about all manner of subjects since early 2017, and recently he paid a visit to New Hampshire to host a few hours of the program here.

While he was here, NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with him on stage at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord. They discussed the art of interviewing, how he started in public radio, and the place of public radio in the media landscape.

Lakes Region General Hospital is just the latest hospital in New Hampshire to close its unit that cares for women in labor and delivers babies. It's the ninth hospital since 2000 to do so. We examine what's behind this national trend and how the state is responding. Among the solutions: freestanding birth centers and maternity training for emergency dispatchers. 

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Gone are the days when shopping required visiting multiple establishments -- the butcher, the baker, the fishmonger. Now, we can find just about everything under one roof. But there are major changes underway in how we gather food -- including both high-tech innovations and the revival of some traditional ways of shopping.  We take a deep dive into shopping trends -- from meal kits and in-store drinking and dining to no-frills shopping and self-scanning. What grocery stores do you gravitate to -- and why?

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After months of campaigning, candidates await results as voters have their say.  As the polls close around the state, we'll look back at the main themes and pivotal moments of this election season -- both nationally and in New Hampshire. We'll examine how candidates approached such issues as immigration, energy, and gun violence.  Also of interest:  How they handled the nonstop news surrounding President Trump, who campaigned hard these recent months in rallies across the country.    

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: Nov. 2, 2018

Nov 1, 2018

Faith leaders around the state hold vigils in solidarity after a shooter kills eleven people at a Pittsburgh synagogue. In a final series of debates, Congressional and gubernatorial candidates intensify their messages days before the election. And Red Sox fans celebrate another World Series victory.


Anna Brown - Director of Research and Analysis, Citizens Count, a non-partisan non-profit organization promoting civic engagement.