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NH Politics

N.H. state representatives meeting in person at a Bedford sports facility Feb. 24, 2021
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

COVID-19 loomed over Wednesday’s meeting of the New Hampshire House.

Lawmakers met in Bedford at the 50,000 square foot NH Sportsplex, to keep social distance. 

The session opened with Merrimack Republican Jeanine Notter offering a teary recollection of former Speaker Dick Hinch, who died of the coronavirus in December, a week after winning the speaker’s gavel.

State House of New Hampshire
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Lawmakers in the New Hampshire State House are considering several bills aimed at protecting students' free speech and curtailing what their sponsors see as liberal political bias in schools.

House Bill 234 would establish rules for protecting First Amendment rights of students and speakers on campus.

New Hampshire State House photo
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A federal judge has rejected a legal challenge by Democrats to force New Hampshire House Speaker Sherman Packard to allow lawmakers with disabilities to attend House sessions remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emmett Soldati for NH/AP

The New Hampshire Democratic Party’s longtime chairman, Ray Buckley, is facing a challenge from a young activist who says the party needs to do a better job supporting down-ballot candidates and connecting with local communities if it wants to turn New Hampshire blue.

Emmett Soldati, who runs the Teatotaller Café in Somersworth and heads that city's Democratic Party, is running to unseat Buckley in the party’s election next month.

Lawmakers Debate Banning N.H. Schools From Teaching About Systemic Racism, Sexism

Feb 18, 2021
Concord Monitor

New Hampshire lawmakers are debating a bill that would prevent educators from teaching about systemic racism and sexism in public schools and state-funded programs.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: February 19, 2021

Feb 18, 2021

  How the N.H. Legislature will conduct its business continues to be a point of contention for lawmakers, after Democrats filed a lawsuit to allow legislators with serious health issues to attend next week’s house session remotely. We also discuss how the “covid effect” is impacting school budget funding, and the latest spike in cases on university campuses across the state.

Air date: Friday, February 19, 2021. 


Gov. Chris Sununu has nominated Eddie Edwards, a one-time Republican congressional candidate with a background in state and local law enforcement to be the next assistant commissioner at the Department of Safety.

House Speaker Sherm Packard
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Democrats in the New Hampshire House want a federal judge to force Republican House Speaker Sherman Packard to allow legislators with serious health conditions to attend next weeks’ House session remotely.

Community Power New Hampshire

State lawmakers heard testimony Friday on a controversial bill that would change how community power programs could operate in the state.  

N.H. House members meeting outside in December, 2020.
Todd Bookman / NHPR

The 400-member New Hampshire House has found a new place to meet indoors later this month, but the Legislature's top Democrat is threatening legal action to allow lawmakers who don't want to meet in person due to COVID-19 the right to participate remotely.

Governor's office

Gov. Chris Sununu presented his two-year spending plan Thursday, a $13.8 billion package that proposes sweeping tax reductions and a series of what the governor called "generational investments" in the state.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Lawmakers are looking for ways to help school districts address anticipated budget shortfalls resulting from declines in enrollment during the pandemic.

Governor's office

Gov. Chris Sununu will deliver his budget address at noon today, Feb. 11. His proposed two-year budget will then be delivered to the New Hampshire Legislature for consideration.

courtesy New Hampshire General Court

There was full remote attendance during the most recent meeting of the New Hampshire House Ways and Means Committee. But one lawmaker, Committee Chairman Norm Major explained, would not be allowed to vote during the hearing.

New Hampshire State House photo
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The state would be prohibited from mandating vaccines and its vaccine registry would switch from an opt-out to an opt-in system under two bills before a House committee.

The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee held public hearings on two bills sponsored by Republican Rep. Tim Lang of Sanbornton.

The New Hampshire State House

Lawmakers in the Republican-led House are looking at measures that would criminalize abortion, prohibit late-term abortions and remove restrictions on picketing outside of abortion clinics.

New Hampshire's among the least restrictive states when it comes to abortion.

A group of anti-abortion bills heard last year didn't pass the Legislature, then led by Democrats.

One would establish criminal penalties for people who perform abortions to "terminate the life of a viable fetus," except when there's a danger to the mother's health.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A bill designed to ward off lawsuits stemming from COVID exposures went before a state Senate committee Monday.

The measure's backers say it's prudent to protect businesses from lawsuits over COVID exposure, as well as local governments, schools, and religious organizations, so long as they can show they've followed state and federal COVID guidance.

Michael Brindley / NHPR

Right now, New Hampshire voters aren’t allowed to wear clothing or accessories advocating for or against a candidate, political party or measure on the ballot. Rep. John Potucek, a Derry Republican, is trying to change that — in part because of his own experience at the polls.

State House of New Hampshire
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Police would face new restrictions on the use of deadly force, rubber bullets and tear gas under a pair of bills being debated in New Hampshire, while other measures would expand such authority for private citizens.

Speaker Sherman Packard
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire House Speaker Sherman Packard has announced plans for the 400-member House to meet in person later this month, though he declined to disclose the precise location.

City hall in Lebanon
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A group of New Hampshire communities is organizing against potential efforts by lawmakers to resurrect a model of funding public education that redistributes money from “donor towns” to poorer school districts.

Maggie Hassan photo
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan is keeping her options open when it comes to supporting certain priorities of  President Joe Biden, including raising the minimum wage to $15 and canceling some amount of student debt.

Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill would raise the minimum wage to $15, just one of many elements aimed at boosting the economy. Speaking on NHPR's The Exchange on Wednesday, Hassan says she instead supports an increase to $12.

The New Hampshire Executive Council has confirmed Nashua businessman Ryan Terrell to the state Board of Education.

The vote, which fell along party lines, was a reversal of Terrell’s previous effort to join the Board.

State lawmakers heard hours of testimony Tuesday on a bill that would significantly expand access and funding for school choice in New Hampshire.

State Rep. Al Baldasaro photo
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A Republican legislator in the New Hampshire House failed to cover his face as required for more than three hours of testimony in a hearing room Friday, a day after he returned from Florida.

Durham voting polls
Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A New Hampshire House committee is considering proposals to move the date of state primary elections.  Backers of the bills say holding earlier party primaries will boost political participation; critics say it could do the opposite.

By law, New Hampshire holds state primary elections on the second Tuesday in September.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Tax cuts are a priority for the new Republican majority in the State House this year. Bills to reduce or eliminate several state taxes were before a committee of the New Hampshire House Thursday.

Photo Credit woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons

A bill to significantly expand access to school vouchers in New Hampshire is gathering momentum in the Republican-controlled State House.

HB 20 would establish an “education freedom account program,” allowing families whose children have left their local public school to redirect state aid to the educational program of that family’s choice.

New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald has been confirmed as chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, ending a protracted political dispute over who should lead the state’s high court.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald was back before the Executive Council Thursday, for a public hearing over his nomination to be the next chief justice of the state Supreme Court.