Actor Ted Danson explains why his support for Hillary Clinton is personal.

Jan 29, 2016 7:05 PM

NH Political Report: How did Senate Republicans get Speaker Shawn Jasper to endorse Medicaid expansion?

How did Senate Republicans get House Speaker Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, on board for the plan to extend the Medicaid expansion another two years?

The New Hampshire Political Report has confirmed this was a dedicated, deliberate dance that Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro pulled off knowing full well it’s the only shot the Senate had of getting this compromise passed this year.

As you’ll read below this is by no means a slam dunk, however.

Jasper’s first demand was that somehow there would be no state expense.

This would be tricky since 2017 is the first year when the Obama administration backs off on 100 percent reimbursement to states for the population covered under the expansion. It goes to 95 percent next year and down to 90 percent on 2020.

Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, and Bradley are credited with the charm offensive getting the state’s hospitals and private insurance companies to agree to split their share of that state cost.

This original proposal from Manchester Republican State Rep. Joe Lachance was to go through 2020. Again Jasper wanted it shorter.

He also insisted that the backing would not be from the speaker’s rostrum but as an individual legislator from Hudson.

"Each Republican member is going to be free to vote as they wish to on this issue with no pressure from the majority office,’’ Jasper assured.


The rushing sound you are hearing is the oncoming campaign for House speaker and now-certain challenge to incumbent Rep. Shawn Jasper.

We’ve learned Rep. Laurie Sanborn, R-Bedford, is all but officially declared to take on Jasper in the GOP caucus.

And she had her opening audition testifying against the Medicaid expansion plan that Jasper climbed aboard this week.

There’s no question some devoted followers of former House Speaker Bill O’Brien will be sure to line up for Sanborn like Rochester Rep. Warren Groen, angry that Jasper had supported trying to table the bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

"He does the bidding of the Democrats. They are the ones who put him there and he thinks they will help keep him there. We’ll see,’’ Groen told the New Hampshire Political Report.

Sanborn will have to deal with the inevitable detractors who say it would be uncomfortable to have the speaker of the House in one chamber and a veteran state senator (Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford) in the other.


Whatever Jasper’s future as speaker is, he’s trying to maintain a Republican majority and looking out for his members in the bargain.

We saw another example of that this week when House GOP leaders went and tried to reverse the House’s longstanding support for decriminalizing possession of marijuana.

It’s not likely to succeed; the House has voted more than a half dozen times for this legislation in the past.

But the prime author, Newmarket Democratic State Rep. Adam Schroadter confirmed at getting a talking to from House GOP leaders about the ``optics’’ of passing a law watering down any drug law at the same time the state tackles a horrific heroin epidemic.


We already knew this so why would Congressman Frank Guinta, R-NH, make official this week his plans to seek a third term in the US House this fall?

This was more an opportune time for him to get out on a busy Friday the fact that he’s repaid his 2010 campaign the more than $325,000 that his parents illegally donated to that effort.

It also obscures the fact that his campaign continues to struggle raising money, only $73,000 coming in the last quarter which was even less than the previous one.

Guinta would like nothing better to leave this ugly controversy because but there’s no question it will dog his re-election bid.

Don’t be too cocky, Guinta haters; if this GOP primary field gets large enough, this embattled incumbent could still win it.


It attracted a passionate following but the effort to require labeling of genetically modified foods appears doomed to fail in the New Hampshire House.

We’ve talked to Republican and Democratic leaders on the House Environment and Agriculture Committee. Vermont and Maine have labeling laws but influential lawmakers are far more comfortable with voluntary, pro-GMO initiatives such as the one Campbell Soups announced last fall.

There will be a spirited debate on the House floor to be sure yet this campaign does not have enough horsepower.


Watch for how Gov. Maggie Hassan weaves in priorities of her upcoming US Senate campaign into her second, State of the State speech this Thursday.

This is a bully pulpit the incumbent, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, doesn’t get to enjoy and you can bet Hassan will try to make the most use of it.

Hassan is sure to use the speech to urge Republican lawmakers to open up the purse strings and agree to spend more money to fight the heroin epidemic.

Nationally this campaign is already shaping up as a showdown of major importance on women’s issues.

Look at how Hassan chose to mark the seventh anniversary of the Lily Ledbetter case Friday.

"It is troubling that Senator Ayotte has gone so far out of her way to oppose this basic economic equality - voting four times against the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help ensure that women can earn equal pay for equal work,’’ Hassan said.

"And even worse, she is now trying to cover up her record with a sham bill rife with loopholes that would continue allowing employers to prevent the sharing of salary information and keep women from determining when they are being paid less than their male counterparts."

Ayotte defends her bill as embracing the profile of equal pay for equal work.


The Child Fatalities Commission is moving behind its final report and unafraid of looking into failings in the state Division of Children, Youth and Families.

It’s a foregone conclusion that this panel will support creation of an independent Ombudsman who could serve as a clearinghouse to receive comments from the public and DCYF staff alike.

The remaining question is whether the panel gets behind DCYF Director Lorraine Bartlett’s call for more resources to restore 24/7 coverage of child abuse cases.

This will cost in the millions each year and only happen if the commission convinces the next writers of the state budget to earmark enough money to do this job.


Who has had the most vicious attack direct mail in this New Hampshire primary campaign?

That’s a very tough one given the nearly 40 pieces that came to my mailbox over the past two weeks.

The most relentless is definitely the Right to Rise PAC, the Super PAC of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Bush’s Super PAC is an equal opportunity attack machine, sponsoring mailings that have gone after Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Chris Christie and Donald Trump.

Kasich’s Super PAC, New Day for America, may have the award with its anti-Trump mailing.

"Donald Trump tried to seize a widow’s home to build a limo parking lot. Donald Trump using government power to trample our rights,’’ the mailing declares.

Trump’s campaign has threatened to sue and said the charges were groundless.

The Kasich Super PAC also had a stinging attack firing back at Bush.

"Jeb’s donors must have money to burn,’’ the mailer begins, ``Millions spent on attack ads can’t ignite his campaign. Jeb’s campaign is attacking everyone. All he’s done is dirty his name.’’

The Conservative Solutions PAC supporting Rubio has most targeted Christie with no less than five different attack mailers over the past three weeks.


For actor Ted Danson it’s personal.

He’s known Hillary Clinton for nearly 25 years; his wife, actress Mary Steenburgen, has known Hillary even longer going back to Wellesley College days.

"Cross off the names and the gender and pick who you think are most qualified to run this business called America. There is nobody that comes even close,’’ Danson says in firing up supporters at the Clinton phone bank Friday night.

President Bill Clinton gave Steenburgen away at Danson’s wedding.

"I’m loyal but this is a no-brainer for me,’’ Danson told the New Hampshire Political Report.


Quote of the Week:

"When you are criminalized, it gives people a lot of power and that’s what causes people to be able to abuse and exploit sex workers.’’ [-] Rhode Island prostitute Bella Robinson pushing to make New Hampshire the first state to decriminalize prostitution. The sex worker trade is legal in Nevada.

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