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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.

Picture of vaccine vial
Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Chris Sununu said New Hampshire schools should reopen, whether fully or in a hybrid system, regardless of whether teachers have been vaccinated.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: January 22, 2021

Jan 21, 2021

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president amid unprecedented security measures in Washington D.C. and at state capitols. State lawmakers in New Hampshire, still adjusting to pandemic logistics, hear public testimony on bills addressing voting issues and public access to police records and disciplinary hearings. And significant community spread of the coronavirus continues in New Hampshire and across the country as the Biden Administration works to ramp up vaccinations and expand testing.

Air date: Friday, Jan. 22, 2021

Photo: West Midlands Police/cc/flickr

The New Hampshire Senate Judiciary committee will take up two bills Tuesday that take differing stances on how far the public’s right to know extends into the conduct of law enforcement. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu is starting his third term as governor of New Hampshire. Morning Edition host Rick Ganley spoke with Sununu Friday about the challenges facing the state, events this past week in Washington, and what he hopes to accomplish in the next two years.

House lawmakers indict President Trump a week before he leaves office for inciting a deadly riot with false claims of a stolen election. It was the first time in history a president has been impeached twice. How will this play out in the Senate, which is likely to take up the debate once Trump is no longer president? Meanwhile, the Capitol is gearing up, and bracing for, the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden amid nationwide threats of armed protests, including at state captitols across the country. Biden this week meanwhile released a $1.9 trillion spending plan that includes a national vaccine program and reflects the idea that defeating the pandemic and reviving the economy are intertwined.

Air date: Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. 

Governor Sununu photo
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu will discuss New Hampshire's coronavirus response at a news conference today in Concord.

Listen live on NHPR, streaming online at NHPR.org and on NHPR's mobile appsSubscribe to NHPR's coronavirus update newsletter for more news.

Or watch live via this video embed - the news conference is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., Jan 14:

Dan Tuohy, NHPR

N.H. House Speaker Sherman Packard from Londonderry says State House security is taking precautions after reports of planned protests in connection with President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. Republicans in the state legislature elected Packard last week after he served as acting speaker following the COVID-19 death of his predecessor, Dick Hinch. 

House Speaker Sherm Packard
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire's Republican House Speaker says the House will hold "hybrid" public hearings on bills to prevent spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Packard told business leaders Monday that lawmakers will attend the hearings in-person while all public testimony will be done by phone or video.

Lawmakers who do not wish to attend in person also can join remotely, and machines are being installed to improve air exchange.

Dave Lane / Union Leader

Gov.  Chris Sununu is criticizing President Trump's role in the storming of the Capitol last week, but he stopped short of calling for Trump's impeachment, saying the focus needs to be on ensuring an orderly transition of power.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

With the pandemic still surging, state lawmakers have had to figure out new ways to meet and vote, let alone how to vote on the substance of hundreds of bills -- addressing education funding, taxes, voting issues, energy and the environment, and more. Also on the agenda: crafting a new two-year budget. Last week, about 400 House members met in a UNH parking lot, voting from their cars to elect Rep. Sherman Packard, a Republican from Londonderry, Speaker of the House. The same day, In Washington D.C., a mob of pro-Trump extremists attacked the U.S. Capitol, leading to to the deaths of several people, including a Capitol police officer. In the aftermath, state capitols have been at heightened alert, including in Concord. We get a preview of what's likely to dominate discussion at the Statehouse in the upcoming months.

Air date: Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.

Dave Lane / Union Leader

Gov. Chris Sununu was sworn into a third term as New Hampshire governor on Thursday. A copy of his inaugural address is below.

Governor Sununu photo
Pool photo: Dave Lane / Union Leader

Gov. Chris Sununu was inaugurated for his third term Thursday, taking the oath of office in a closed-door ceremony and delivering his inaugural address via YouTube rather than before a live audience.

Gov. Chris Sununu was sworn in for a third term at noon ahead of his inaugural address Thursday night.

The ceremony comes after Sununu canceled a planned outdoor inaugural ceremony, citing public safety concerns after protesters at his private home in Newfields. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers sat in their cars on a cold January day and listened to the first legislative session of the year - by tuning into a radio frequency. Even their vehicles were socially distanced, each separated by a parking space, in Wednesday’s "drive-in" style meeting of the New Hampshire House in a UNH parking lot intended to mitigate the risks of COVID-19.