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NH Politics

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Transgender youth, their family members, and representatives of a variety of New Hampshire organizations have testified against a bill that would ban transgender girls from competing on girls' sports teams in public high schools and colleges, saying it is discriminatory and unconstitutional.

New Hampshire has seen an increase in grassroots organization around racial justice this past year, and more activists are showing up in legislative sessions to push for civil rights. Now, those advocates are leading conversations on criminal justice and police reform at the State House.

Voter in Exeter, New Hampshire
Todd Bookman / NHPR

Voters across New Hampshire are choosing school board members today, and in some towns the election has come down to one issue: school reopening.

That’s the case for many residents in SAU 16, which serves Exeter, Brentwood, Kensington, East Kingston, Newfields, and Stratham.

Board chair Helen Joyce, of Stratham, says this is the first time in nine years that someone has run against her. Other historically easy races now have multiple candidates, she says.

Gym polling location with no lines
Annie Ropeik | NHPR


College students, voting rights advocates and others packed — virtually — into the House Election Law Committee Monday morning to oppose a batch of Republican bills that would, in various ways, make it harder for some people to vote in New Hampshire. NHPR's Casey McDermott spoke with All Things Considered host Peter Biello about the changes up for debate.

State House of New Hampshire
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A Republican state representative is apologizing for calling LGTBQ sexuality "deviant" during a legislative hearing this week. The lawmaker, Dick Marston, said he never intended to cause offense, but said there is no excuse for what he said.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: March 5, 2021

Mar 4, 2021

  It’s been a busy week in New Hampshire news, as the state crosses into its second year of the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll talk about the latest vaccine news, about controversy at the Statehouse over bigoted remarks from lawmakers during virtual sessions, and much more.

This show is hosted by NHPR's Annie Ropeik, who covers climate, energy, the environment, and the Seacoast.

Air date: Friday, March 5, 2021.

The 2020 general election is November 3. A sign that says "vote" in capital letters sits in a yard.
Britta Greene for NHPR

Republicans in the New Hampshire Senate voted to advance a bill Thursday that would add new identification requirements to the state’s absentee balloting process, over the objections of disability rights advocates and others who warned it would create unnecessary burdens on voters who cannot easily obtain the necessary documentation.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Gordon MacDonald will be sworn in Thursday as the new chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. For MacDonald, who until recently was New Hampshire's attorney general, this day was a long time coming.

COVID vaccination site in Dover
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire health officials say they're evaluating President Biden's directive to vaccinate teachers and school staff before the end of the month but are sticking for now with their original plan to roll out those vaccinations by April.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A New Hampshire representative referred to LGBTQ people as having a “deviant sexuality” this week, derailing debate on a bill sought out by LGBTQ rights groups.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu is nominating his current legal counsel, John Formella, to serve as New Hampshire's next Attorney General.

McKenzie Snow
Via LinkedIn

A former official in the Trump administration and advocate for school choice is expected to take on a significant role at the New Hampshire Department of Education, pending a vote in the Executive Council this week.

Cheryl Senter / NHPR

The New Hampshire Department of Corrections says that in order to comply with Gov. Chris Sununu's proposed budget, it would have to cut rehabilitative and educational programs that serve hundreds of inmates every year.

In a presentation to lawmakers this week, DOC Commissioner Helen Hanks said the state is looking at closing the Shea Farm Transitional Housing Unit for women in Concord and the Calumet Transitional Housing Unit for men in Manchester. These halfway houses currently serve around fifty inmates who typically are working in the community and awaiting parole hearings.  

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: Feb. 26, 2021

Feb 25, 2021

During a two-day session held in a sprawling indoor sports complex with chairs arranged to allow for social distance, the Republican-led New Hampshire House passed bills expanding the state's Stand Your Ground law, banning some abortions, and allowing patients licensed for therapeutic cannabis to grow their own plants. The House also voted to refund fines issued to businesses that violated COVID-19 orders, prompting a rebuke from some Democrats and from Governor Sununu who suggested in a statement that the bill could "incentivize law-breaking and reward those who do not follow the rules." At times, debate became rancorous, with some Democrats walking out in protest. Party leaders tried to set a somewhat conciliatory tone at the start of the second day.  

Air date: Feb. 26, 2021

Dan Tuohy / NHPR / NHPR

The New Hampshire House met again on Thursday at an indoor sports facility in Bedford.

At the start of the session, Speaker Sherman Packard addressed partisan tension from the day before, when most Democrats walked out in protest over an anti-abortion bill, and at least one lawmaker was locked out of a vote.

Governor Sununu photo
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu will give an update on New Hampshire's COVID-19 response during a news conference today at 3 p.m.

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.