Politics

Political news from New Hampshire Public Radio, from the State House to the First in the Nation Primary.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Democrats hold majorities in both the New Hampshire House and Senate, but Republicans could make it impossible for state lawmakers to pass any legislation this year, as State House leaders attempt to finish business amid COVID-19 closures.

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

The American Civil Liberties Union and the New Hampshire Democratic Party are withdrawing a federal lawsuit against a new state residency law that, they argued, would infringe on voting rights. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire’s Executive Council voted unanimously Wednesday to release $1.4 billion from the state’s treasury, amid a standoff over transparency around how coronavirus relief aid is being spent. As NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports, the move averts the possibility of a government shutdown.

The council blocked the release of more than $940 million two weeks ago to try to get Governor Chris Sununu to share more detail on his plans to spend federal relief aid.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The New Hampshire legislature is planning to meet in full session for the first time since March. Legislative leaders say they are taking steps to keep lawmakers safe.

The 24-member Senate will be at the State House, meeting in the chambers of the 400-member House.

The House will meet at UNH's Whittemore Center in Durham on June 11.

Pete Souza/Wikimedia

A presidential election occurs every four years in this country. But how do you actually run for president? Who gets to do it? How do you launch a campaign? NHPR’s own Civics 101 has the answer with a new series of “civics shorts,” quick lessons and stories aimed at middle schoolers…but a good refresher for us all. Find more Civics 101 episodes.

Zoom Screenshot

In New Hampshire, elections are largely an in-person event, but it's hard to socially distance at a polling place. And many poll workers and voters are trying to figure out how to conduct elections safely during the COVID-19 crisis. 

NHPR file

Top Democratic state lawmakers want a judge to reconsider their challenge to Governor Chris Sununu’s authority over federal coronavirus aid.

In their initial lawsuit, the legislators argued that they have a constitutional right to approve how the funds are used – even during a state of emergency.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A second-term state representative from Manchester has resigned from his position over a statement made on Twitter.

Democrat Richard Komi had tweeted that he thought that Tara Reade, the woman who alleges Joe Biden sexually assaulted her, would have had to have consented to the encounter based on his understanding of female anatomy.

Komi later deleted the tweet, but in a statement Friday, New Hampshire House Speaker Steve Shurtleff said Komi’s comments were "hurtful to survivors of sexual assault across the Granite State and across the country.”

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner has assembled a six-person "select committee" to advise his office on how to spend the $3.2 million in emergency election funding the state has received as part of a recent federal COVID-19 relief package. 

This story originally published when the state issued its first memo on COVID-19 election rules, on April 10. It was updated April 17 with additional information state election officials provided on the state's absentee voter registration process.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

U.S. Sen Maggie Hassan says although she is eager to get the economy up and running again, that decision should be based on science and data.  

Hassan was among a bipartisan group of senators who spoke with President Trump Thursday about reopening the economy – a move Trump has been eager to get underway.  Hassan spoke with The Exchange hours before that discussion.  

“What experts tell us is that as we reopen the economy, the way we will prevent a further surge of this illness or a resurgence of it, and the need to then shut everything down again, which would also be disastrous for our small businesses, for individuals, for the whole economy, we will need to have a truly robust diagnostic testing system and public health resources to do contact tracing," Hassan said.

(To hear the full Exchange conversation, see below. )

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

State lawmakers will be back in action for the first time in close to a month this week.

A key committee will meet electronically on Friday to accept the first of what is expected to be more than $1.25 billion in federal coronavirus aid.

Leaders of the joint fiscal committee plan to take whatever action they can to aid the flow of federal aid to New Hampshire. 

Gun and ammunition sales often spike during a crisis. That's exactly what's been happening now with the cornonavirus threat. Many gun buyers say they want to be ready with protection if there's panic.

Just a few miles from the Los Angles Airport, a group of people, including families with children playing video games, lined up outside LAX Ammo in Inglewood. A store employee checks IDs and tells potential customers what caliber ammunition is in stock. Answering questions, he tells the crowd he has .45 caliber and .38 Special.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu is reminding town officials that it is their call when it comes to deciding whether to go forward with town meetings as New Hampshire deals with fallout from the coronavirus.

The advice comes as the state is ramping up efforts to address the coronavirus.

In a statement, Sununu said “individual comfort levels" should guide towns' thinking on postponing town meeting.

NHPR Staff

Governor Chris Sununu says he’s directed state agencies to draw up plans on how to reduce spending as COVID-19 affects the economy.

Click here for all of NHPR's coronavirus coverage, including the latest updates, guidance, FAQs, and more. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Sununu and Democrats in the New Hampshire Senate are each proposing changes to state law to address fallout from the new coronavirus disease COVID-19.

Click here for our live blog to get the latest updates about coronavirus in New Hampshire.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on whether the legislature can ban firearms from Representatives Hall at the State House.

The ban has been a partisan issue that's varied over the years as the makeup of the House has shifted. It was reinstated last year by the current Democratic majority, under House Speaker Steve Shurtleff.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Voting in state presidential primaries is well underway nationwide, with six more states voting today. These votes will affect the number of delegates each candidate will receive at party conventions this summer.

Here in New Hampshire, state Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley feels confident that this year’s convention won’t need a second ballot.

“We've never had a second ballot in my lifetime and probably won't this time, either,” he said this morning on NHPR's The Exchange. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu says his opposition to the Affordable Care Act hasn't changed, but that it makes sense for New Hampshire to join a multi-state effort to defend the law from legal challenge.

Sununu has had a complicated relationship to the health care law often known as Obamacare. He described it as a failure and and celebrated efforts to repeal it. But he's also signed a reauthorization of Medicaid Expansion -- a provision of the law that's brought the state millions of dollars to pay for heath care.

Caroline Amenabar/NPR

Update, 11 p.m. - Voters in 14 states - including Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont - cast ballots on Super Tuesday, a possible watershed moment for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. Former Vice President Joe Biden scored wins in Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to win California, Colorado, Utah, and his home state. 

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Democrats and Republicans appear to be at a stalemate over two competing paid family medical leave bills. 

A Senate committee heard hours of testimony on Tuesday inside an overheated conference room, with both sides presenting arguments for and against the differing versions.

That included blunt remarks from Gov. Chris Sununu, who took the unusual step of testifying in support of his preferred paid family leave proposal, Senate Bill 730.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers continue to wrestle with questions about where to draw the line between their work inside and outside the State House. 

A longtime defender of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary won’t be running for another term at the Democratic National Committee.

Josh Rogers | NHPR

A committee of House and Senate lawmakers voted Monday to accept a fact-finder’s report on state employee contracts rejected by Gov. Chris Sununu.

In November, following months of impasse between the Sununu administration and seven bargaining units representing state workers, the fact-finder recommended workers get a 4 % raise over two years, almost twice what Sununu had indicated he would support.

Klobuchar Is Ending Her Campaign, Plans To Endorse Joe Biden

Mar 2, 2020
Todd Bookman / NHPR

Amy Klobuchar is ending her Democratic presidential camapign and she plans to endorse Joe Biden.

The Minnesota senator had her best result in New Hampshire, where she surged to a third-place finish with 58,796 votes, or nearly 20% of the vote in the Democratic primary.

She tried to position herself as the moderate choice in the large field of candidates. 

Democratic presidential hopefuls are vying to win South Carolina's primary on Saturday, Feb. 29. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who was leading in polls, is looking to capture his first victory of the 2020 primary season. 

Follow along below for NPR's live coverage as the primary unfolds, and the results:

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Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is calling for sanctions against Lebanese officials stemming from that country’s arrest and continued detention of a Dover resident. 

NHPR

Gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes is running ads on Facebook that claim “he isn't taking corporate PAC or LLC contributions, so the public can be sure their governor is working for them — not himself.”

That message is consistent with Feltes’ record in the state Senate, where he’s sponsored bills to outlaw corporate campaign donations and to limit political activities of limited liability corporations.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Seven Republican lawmakers were reprimanded on the floor of the New Hampshire House Thursday for not completing newly mandatory anti-harassment and discrimination training — but it didn’t happen without objection. 

NHPR Photo

Responding to a pair of high-profile ethics cases that highlighted the lack of clear restrictions on conflicts of interest at the State House, lawmakers are weighing how best to balance their role as citizen legislators with a desire to prevent politicians from exploiting public office for private gain.

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