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NH Politics

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Leading up to the 2020 New Hampshire presidential primary, NHPR tried something different: We invited you to tell us how we should cover the election. 

N.H. Secretary of State

New Hampshire voters have already requested four times as many absentee ballots for the September primary as they cast in the same election in 2016, according to state officials. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire Congressman Chris Pappas introduced a bill Thursday aimed at preventing age discrimination in voting.

Pappas says this legislation is particularly important during the pandemic, when access to the polls has been more limited.

“We’ve had voting hours restricted…restriction of polling places. And what we can’t afford to have happen is for efforts to be targeted against young voters or communities of color based on politics or based on political decision making.”

Courtesy of Kathy Stroup, who received one of these mailers in Lee

Editor's note: This post has been updated to clarify that the mailers included requests for absentee ballot registration paperwork, not requests for absentee ballots.

In the years since she lost her 22-year-old son, Tyler, Kelly Simpson has learned to steel herself when opening the mailbox.

“Every now and again a piece of mail comes for him,” she said, “and it takes my breath away.”

But Simpson wasn’t at all prepared for what arrived in Tyler’s name this weekend, seven years after his death: an “official absentee voter registration packet request” from the New Hampshire Republican Party.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed four more bills Friday, including one that would have allowed guns to be taken from people who present a danger to themselves or others.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

The Democratic candidates for governor continue to clash over their approaches to climate change, with State Sen. Dan Feltes rolling out a "green jobs" plan Thursday.

His primary opponent, executive councilor Andru Volinsky, says the new plan glosses over Feltes's continued support for natural gas.

Allegra Boverman | NHPR

The Exchange continues its summer series of primary candidate interviews with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andru Volinsky. He currently serves on the Executive Council, representing District 2. We'll discuss his positions on the coronavirus pandemic, police reform, and school re-opening, and other issues. And we welcome  your questions, as well; send them before the show to exchange@nhpr.org.

Air date: Friday, Aug. 7, 9-9:20

To hear this conversation, which was part of the Aug. 7th Weekly N.H. News Roundup, click here!

josh rogers/nhpr

 

In a presidential election year, the top of the ticket almost inevitably affects outcomes down ballot. And this year, President Trump hopes to maximize his influence. In New Hampshire, that effort is clear in the September Republican primaries, where he’s endorsed local candidates for Congress and U.S. Senate.

NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports on the upshot of Trump’s decision, and the possible divide it’s sowing in the New Hampshire GOP.

Dan Tuohy | NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu says New Hampshire's elections will take place as scheduled in November, regardless of any ideas President Trump may have about delaying elections due to COVID-19.

Sununu said he didn't understand why President Trump would take to Twitter to predict that 2020 election would be the most "inaccurate and fraudulent" in history if mail-in voting were widespread.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

One of the bills included in the omnibus healthcare legislation Governor Sununu signed into law on Wednesday requires that superintendents at county correctional facilities offer medication assisted treatment to inmates, when medically appropriate.

Medication assisted treatment provides anti-opioid medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to help people dealing with substance use disorders.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

A federal judge has lowered the threshold for Libertarian party candidates to get on the November ballot in New Hampshire.

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Libertarians sued the governor and secretary of state on the grounds that the ballot access requirements were too burdensome during a time of coronavirus restrictions.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: July 31, 2020

Jul 30, 2020
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Sen. Maggie Hassan joins us for the first part of the Weekly N.H. News Roundup for an update on the debate over a new coronavirus relief package in the Senate. Later in the hour, NHPR reporter Annie Ropeik and Concord Monitor reporter Ethan DeWitt join us, to talk about the week's news, including Gov. Chris Sununu lifting the state's ban on reusable bags, but continuing to refuse calls for a statewide mask requirement.

Air date: Friday, July 31, 2020

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New Hampshire could become the first state in the nation to allow flying cars on the road. 

Gov. Chris Sununu signed HB1182 on Friday, to allow the study of on-road usage of non-traditional motor vehicles. The cars would likely fly into an airport, then drive to their final destination. 

In N.H., County Prosecutors Wield Power, But Often Run Unopposed

Jul 28, 2020
Michael Moore / Keene Sentinel

They’re among the most powerful actors in New Hampshire’s criminal justice system, deciding which charges to file, making bail recommendations and shaping the plea negotiations that determine the sentences in most criminal cases.

And in much of the state, they’re running unopposed.

In seven of the state’s 10 counties, the incumbent county attorney — the chief local prosecutor, what other states call a district attorney — has not drawn a challenger this year.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

Gubernatorial candidate Andru Volinsky is singling out the Granite Bridge natural gas pipeline proposal as a dividing line in that race’s Democratic primary, holding a campaign event Friday that his opponent, state Sen. Dan Feltes, dismissed as a political stunt.

The project, from Liberty Utilities, involves a 27-mile gas pipeline between Stratham and Manchester, along Route 101. It would connect two existing gas arteries that follow Interstates 93 and 95 and would also include a large liquefied natural gas storage tank in Epping.

FLORIANHUAG / FLICKR/CC

Governor Chris Sununu has signed an omnibus bill that will reinstate new drinking water standards for toxic PFAS chemicals.

Democrats hailed the signature of the bill, which was opposed by some business groups. The legislation enacts some of the strictest PFAS drinking water standards of any of the handful of states that have such rules.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

The Exchange continues its summer series of primary candidate interviews with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes. He has served in the state Senate since 2014 and currently serves as Senate Majority Leader. We discuss his proposal for school re-opening amid the coronavirus pandemic, police reform, environmental issues, and more. 

Air date: Friday, July 24, 9 to 9:20 a.m.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

The two Democrats running for New Hampshire governor, Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky and State Senator Dan Feltes, have some things in common. They're both from Concord, and they're both lawyers.

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Both also describe their legal experience as critical to how they'd approach the job of leading the state. Volinsky has been a prominent New Hampshire litigator for 30 years, and Feltes spent close to a decade as staff attorney at New Hampshire Legal Assistance. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Massachusetts recently announced that it was ending its pandemic moratorium on reusable shopping bags, saying towns could go back to reinforcing their bans on single-use plastic bags. 

Meanwhile, New Hampshire and many other states are still not letting shoppers bring their reusable bags to stores. But is that actually helping to slow the spread of coronavirus?


Gov. Sununu Signs Student-Written Sexual Assault Survivor Bill Into Law

Jul 20, 2020
Courtesy of John Gabrieli

  Gov. Chris Sununu has signed a bill that aims to support sexual assault survivors at colleges and universities. 

John Gabrieli is the director of the Every Voice Coalition, a student and survivor-led organization that wrote the language in the bill. Sophia Miller is a Dartmouth student organizer who helped bring the Coalition’s work to New Hampshire.

They joined NHPR's All Things Considered Host Peter Biello to talk about the bill.

Listen to the conversation:

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu added to his record number of vetoes this legislative session Friday, rejecting bills dealing with energy policy, unemployment benefits and privacy laws. Here’s a rundown.

NHPR File Photo

Gov. Chris Sununu has signed a sweeping bill to overhaul state criminal justice policy, including a ban on the use of chokeholds by police in New Hampshire.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

The Democrats running for New Hampshire governor met in a Zoom forum hosted by Dartmouth College Thursday night, where they laid out competing strategies for how their party can win the corner office this year.

Josh Rogers for NHPR

The Exchange continues its summer series of primary candidate interviews with retired U.S. Army Brig. General Donald Bolduc of Stratham. Bolduc is seeking the Republican party’s nomination to run for U.S. Senate next November. We discuss how his military career informs his candidacy and get his views on the pandemic response, the national discussion on race and criminal justice, and more.

Air date: Friday, July 17, 2020, 9 to 9:20 a.m. 

We talk with the author of a new biography of Nackey Scripps Loeb. She headed the Union Leader Corporation in the 1980s and 1990s, one of the most unusual and influential local newspapers in the U.S. Her unapologetic conservatism and position in the first-in-the-nation primary state gave her an outsized and now largely forgotten role in American politics. Although she initially had no interest in the newspaper business, she wrote more than a thousand front-page editorials, drew political cartoons, and became a regular on C-SPAN. How do we think about her legacy in Granite State politics and women's roles in shaping the modern conservative movement?

Airdate: Thursday, July 16, 2020

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Congresswoman Annie Kuster is co-sponsoring a new plan to add toxic PFAS chemical standards to the next federal defense spending bill.

The amendment mirrors a bill that passed the House earlier this year. Speaking on a press call Tuesday, Kuster said that bill has stalled in the Senate.

Michael Brindley/NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu has vetoed bills to create a paid family leave program, to expand absentee voting and to provide relief for people who have trouble making housing payments due to COVID-19, continuing a string of vetoes that has already set a record for a New Hampshire governor.

Bryant "Corky" Messner
File Photo, NHPR

Republican Bryant "Corky" Messner of Wolfeboro, a military veteran and attorney,  has pitched himself as a political outsider. Messner, who has been endorsed by President Trump, is seeking to become the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate.  Messner joined us for the first in our summer series of primary candidate interviews.  For more on this series, see below. 

Air date: July 10, 2020. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

President Donald Trump’s rally scheduled for Saturday in New Hampshire will take place amid a debate about political events and public health. And it comes as much of the country sees a surge in the number of coronavirus cases. 

Dan Tuohy | NHPR

Some city councilors in Portsmouth are pushing for a mandatory mask wearing ordinance ahead of President Trump's scheduled rally at the Pease Airport this weekend.

Councilor Deaglan McEachern said a mask requirement was already scheduled to come up for debate next week before the council. But with President Trump’s rally happening on Saturday, he’s now asking Mayor Rick Becksted to call a special meeting so the council can vote on the idea as soon as possible.

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