Legislative Update for March 14
The following bills were voted on in the House of Representations on Wednesday and Thursday, February 27th and 28th. There was a total of 51 bills presented for both sessions. I will attempt to show only those house bill that have a major impact to the citizens of my district. As an Amherst State Representative, I am providing you with this update for your review and information. For any questions or concerns, please contact your state representative.
The following bills were voted on:
HB 292-FN – relative to include brokers fees in the calculation of insurance premium tax. House voted, Ought to Pass (OTP) with the Amendment. The Committee recommended to OTP (Ought to Pass) with the Amendment, 14-4. Republicans on the Committee Opposed Ought to Pass 4-3, 1 Absent. The Bill was referred to the Ways and Means Committee.
HB 680 – relative to the definition of tobacco products for the purpose of tobacco tax and retail tobacco licensing. House voted OTP (ought to pass) with the amendment 203/153 Democrats supported, Republicans opposed. The Bill was referred to Ways and Means.
HB 481-FN-A-LOCAL – relative to the legalization and regulation of cannabis and making appropriations therefor. Committee Recommendation: OTP 10-9. Republicans on the committee Opposed OTP 6-2. House voted 209-147. Bill was referred to Ways and Means.
HB 177-FN – relative to the calculation of stabilization grants.
This bill limits the education grant to each municipality for fiscal year 2020. It also stops the continued reduction in stabilization grants. An amendment to this bill restores the stabilization funds back to the 2016 levels. The amendment was adopted 260-96. The House voted OTP with amendment 268-90. Bill was referred to Finance.
HB 184-FN – relative to the calculation of Kindergarten students in the average daily membership and repealing prorated kindergarten funding based on Keno revenues. This bill increases funding for pupils attending full-day kindergarten programs. This bill also deletes the portion of kindergarten funding that is based on Keno revenues. House voted OPT 203-148.
Democrats supported, Republicans opposed. Bill referred to Finance.
HB 551-FN-A – establishing a school funding commission and making an appropriation therefor. The committee amendment establishes this commission at the price tag of $500,000. House voted OTP with amendment 156-148. Democrats supported, Republicans opposed.
HB 564 – relative to possession of firearms in a safe school zone. The definition of safe school zone states that school property includes any real property, public or private, that is used for school purposes including educational and extra-curricular activity sponsored programs. This includes a school sponsored activity conducted at a community field or town common area elsewhere from the school or regularly used school sites. House voted to OTP with amendment 194-154. Democrats supported, Republicans opposed.
HB 673-FN-A – relative to the Governor’s scholarship program to cover the costs of the college level examination program and making an appropriation therefor. Committee Recommended ITL (Inexpedient to Legislate). House voted to ITL 202-141. Both Democrats and Republicans supported.
HB 709-FN-A-LOCAL – relative to the formula for determining funding for an adequate education. House voted OTP 262-82. Both parties supported.
HB 719-FN-A – this bill establishes the position of school nurse coordinator in the department of education and making an appropriation therefor. House voted OTP 198-146. Democrats supported, Republicans opposed.
HB 616-FN – relative to the cost of living adjustment for retirees in the state retirement system. House voted OTP 250-91. Both Democrats and Republicans supported.
HB 712-FN – relative to a family and medical leave insurance program. This Bill establishes a system of paid family and medical leave insurance. It is a mandatory participation plan of every public and private employee currently employed in the State of NH. This bill also mandates all employees participate in this state-run insurance plan, whether they meet the eligibility requirements to qualify for participation or not. This legislation does not explicitly exempt general fund revenues from being used to cover shortfalls or exempt employers from making up similar shortfalls of this fund. House voted OTP 199-133 along party lines. Democrats supported, Republicans strongly opposed.
HB 232-FN-LOCAL – relative to enforcement of immigration laws and the prohibition of sanctuary cities. This bill establishes the New Hampshire anti-sanctuary act, which requires state and local government entities to comply with federal immigration detainer requests. The bill also prohibits state and local government entities from adopting policies that prohibit, restrict, or discourage the enforcement of federal immigration laws. The committee recommendation was ITL 11-9. House voted ITL 211-132. Democrats supported, Republicans opposed.
HB 107-FN-A – making appropriations for costs involved in controlling invasive aquatic species. This bill makes appropriation to cover costs involved in controlling invasive aquatic species on state waterways. Committee recommended OTP 19-0, House voted OTP by voice vote.
HB 641 LOCAL – allowing municipalities to collect an occupancy fee from operators of local room rentals. This is a “local rooms tax” that would be in addition to the state rooms and meals tax. This is a local option that must be adopted by the legislative body and can vary from community to community. Committee recommended OTP with amendment 12-6. House voted OTP with amendment 194-151. Democrats supported, Republicans opposed. Bill goes to Ways and Means.
HB 290 – relative to the removal of certain wood stoves upon the sale of a home and notification of such removal to the department of environmental services. Committee recommended ITL, House voted ITL 207/131, Both Democrats and Republicans Supported.
HB 623-FN-A – relative to the rates of business profits tax and business enterprise tax. This bill increases the Business Profits tax from 7.5% to 8.5%. This bill also repeals prospective decreases in the business profits and business enterprise taxes in 2021.
Committee Recommended OTP with amendment 12-7. House voted 200-141. Democrats supported, Republicans Opposed.
HB 258 – establishing a committee to study teacher preparation and education programs. Education Committee recommended OTP 12-6. House voted OTP 194-145. Democrats supported, Republicans opposed.
HB 289 – relative to the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in public elementary schools. This bill repeals the provision permitting school districts to authorize the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in public elementary schools. Education committee recommended ITL 15-5. Both Democrats and Republicans supported. There was a motion to Table the bill. Passed by voice vote.
HB 567 – relative to using Atlantic Time Zone in New Hampshire. This bill provides that New Hampshire will use Atlantic Standard Time throughout the calendar year if Massachusetts and Maine also move to Atlantic Standard Time. Executive Departments and Administration Committee recommended OTP 11-7. There was a motion to Table but it failed 128-200. The bill then was moved to OTP as adapted passed 208-120.
II. A total of 38 bills were heard on March 7. The following are those bill I feel have a direct effect to my constituents of Amherst.
HB 249 – permitting restaurant owners to allow dogs in restaurants. Commerce Committee recommended ITL 14-6. Republicans on the committee Opposed. There was a motion to Table this bill. Passed by voice vote.
HB 473 – allowing hobby distillation of Liquors. Commerce Committee recommended ITL 12-6. Republicans on the committee opposed ITL. House voted and passed 178-171.
HB 604 – establishing a commission to assess benefits and costs of a “health care for all” program for New Hampshire. Commerce committee recommended OTP with amendment 12-7. Republicans on the committee unanimously opposed OTP/A. Amendment to change the scope of the members and commission passed on a voice vote. The Bill with amendment was adapted on a voice vote.
HB 455 – relative to the penalty for capital murder. This bill changes the penalty for capital murder to life imprisonment without the possibility for parole. Commerce Committee recommended OTP 11-6. Republicans on the committee opposed. House voted to pass 279-88.
HB 275 – relative to school nurse certification. The bill establishes the process for the selection of school nurses and removes the certification requirements for school nurses. Education Committee had no recommendation 10-10. Republicans unanimously Opposed ITL motion. Republican Leadership recommended OTP (First Motion) however, the bill was Tabled on a Division Vote 212-144.
HB 545 – prohibiting law enforcement officers from questioning a minor at school without a parent or guardian present. Education Committee recommended ITL 17-2. Republican on the committee Supported ITL. The House Adapted the ITL motion 207-162.
CACR 5 – relative to the right to vote. Providing that 17-year old who will be eligible to vote in the general election be permitted to vote on that election’s primary. This Constitutional Amendment concurrent resolution provides that 17-year old who will be eligible to vote in the general election may vote in that election’s primary election. Election Law Committee recommended OTP 16-3. Republicans supported OTP 4-3. Republican Leadership Opposed OTP. This is a Constitutional Amendment Current Resolution requires 3/5 majority vote of the total house number of 400 members. 3/5 equal 240 votes. The House failed to pass the bill on a Division Vote 217-151 (240 votes needed to pass). An ITL motion was moved which also failed 164-205. Therefore, a motion was made to Table the bill.
CACR 6 – relating to elections. Providing that any inhabitant who so desires may vote by absentee ballot in primary or general elections. This is also a Constitutional Amendment Concurrent Resolution, requiring 3/5 House Vote. Election Law Committee Recommended OTP 12-7. Republicans on the committee unanimously opposed OTP. House vote Failed on a Division vote 208-158 (240 votes needed), Motion was made to Table on a Division vote, 222-146 (majority vote required).
HB 106 – relative to the terms “resident”, “inhabitant”, and “residence”, and “residency”. This bill amends the general statutory definitions of “resident or inhabitant” and “residence or residency” to include an intent to maintain a principle place of physical presence for the indefinite future. This bill restores language removed from the law in 2018, 370 (HB 1264) Election Law committee recommended OTP 12-8, Republicans on the committee unanimously opposed OTP. House Voted to pass 213-154.
HB 611-FN – Allowing voters to vote by absentee ballot. This is NOT a Constitutional Amendment Concurrent Resolution. This is a House bill that only requires a majority vote. Election Law committee recommended OTP 12-8. Republicans unanimously opposed OTP. House voted to pass 198-162.
HB 622-FN – this bill prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union. Labor, Industrial, and rehabilitative Services Committee recommended ITL 12-6. Republicans on the committee unanimously Opposed ITL. House voted to ITL 214-135.
HB: House Bill
CACR: Constitutional Amendment Concurrent Resolution
OTP: Ought to Pass
ITL: Inexpedient to legislate
Table Motion: to postpone or suspend consideration of a pending motion.