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Legislative Update

The House met in session last Wednesday, May 8th to vote on all Senate Bills that go to a second committee. That means when a committee is finished acting upon a bill it gets referred to another committee that shares some responsibility to that bill. The house took up on 44 bills last Wednesday. Of the 44 bills, 21 passed with only a voice vote. There were:

SB 14-FN, ​relative to child welfare. This bill requires the department of health and human services to establish one or more case management entities as part of the system of care for children’s mental health. Requires the department to establish a family support clearinghouse and system of care advisory committee. Expands home and community-based behavioral health services for children to include mobile crisis response and stabilization services Defines evidence-based practices for purposes of children’s behavioral health services, establishes a resource center for children’s behavioral health, and requires department contracts with behavioral health service providers to comply with evidence-based practice requirements. Requires certain assessment, discharge, and treatment planning for children in court-ordered placements and requires medical assistance screenings of children involved in the juvenile court system.

SB 246-FN, ​relative to licensing of child daycare, residential care, and child-placing agencies. This bill revises the state registry and criminal records check requirements for employees and others associated with residential child-care agencies and child day care providers. The bill also establishes the child-care licensing fund in the department of health and human services. The bill is a request of the department of health and human services.

SB 115, ​establishing a commission to study the business environment for mental health providers in New Hampshire. This bill establishes a commission to study the business environment for mental health providers. The amendment added other stakeholders and expanded the scope of the commission.

SB 134-FN, ​relative to the administration of the meals and rooms tax. This bill modifies the definitions applicable to the meals and rooms tax and clarifies provisions of the meals and rooms tax law administered by the department of revenue administration. This bill is a request of the department of revenue administration. The amendment made a clarification relative to meals sold by nonprofit organizations.

SB 200, ​relative to wildlife corridors. This bill requires the recognition and protection of wildlife corridors and habitat strongholds as a public good.

SB 59-FN, ​adding post-traumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder to the definition of “injury” for purposes of workers’ compensation and reestablishing the commission to study the incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder in first responders. This bill adds post-traumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder to the definition of “injury” for purposes of workers’ compensation. This bill establishes the commission to study the incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder in first responders and whether such disorder should be covered under workers’ compensation. This bill also clarifies workers’ compensation for firefighter and health, lung, or cancer disease.  

SB 285-FN, ​establishing a coastal resilience and economic development program. This bill allows municipalities to unify as a result of a climate change emergency. Allows municipalities to create municipal development and revitalization districts as a result of a climate change emergency. Creates coastal resilience and cultural and historic reserve districts. Creates a coastal resilience and cultural and historic reserve district fund. Creates a coastal resilience and cultural and historic reserve commission.

SB 185-FN-A, ​establishing a rail trail corridors advisory committee to assist the department of transportation in updating the state trails plan and making an appropriation therefor. As amended, this bill directs the department of transportation to develop New Hampshire state rail trails plan based in part on the 2005 state trails plan and makes an appropriation to the department for this purpose.

SB 307-FN, relative to outdoor lighting. This bill requires an agency funding permanent outdoor luminaires to ensure that such luminaires have a certain color correlated temperature. It requires public utilities commission to adopt rules enabling the state and its subdivisions to use revenue grade metering built into networked street light controls to provide additional utility and public services. It exempts certain street lights used to provide governmental fnctions and services from taxation as real estate.

SB 30, ​relative to the advisory board on services for children, youth, and families. This bill broadens the membership criteria and procedure for appointing members of the advisory board on services for children, youth, and families and establishes a quorum.

SB 145, ​relative to the organization of alternative treatment centers. This bill permits alternative treatment centers to organize as business corporations and limited liability companies and provides the procedure for alternative treatment centers organized as voluntary corporations to convert to business corporations or limited liability companies.

SB 224-FN, ​relative to insurance coverage for pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders. This bill requires insurance coverage for treatment for pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders. The amendment adds a clause to define this condition as a biologically-based mental illness, and adds a five year sunset clause.  

SB 297-FN, ​extending the deadline for arraignments. This bill extends the deadline within which arraignments must occur.             

SB 314-FN, ​relative to release of a defendant pending trial. This bill amends the procedure for considering the dangerousness of a defendant for the purpose of determining whether the defendant should be released pending trial; authorizes the position of bail reform coordinator in the judicial branch; re-establishes the commission on pretrial detention, pretrial scheduling, and pretrial services; and waives the bail commissioner’s fee for indigent defendants. 

SB 174, ​proclaiming an annual observance of Juneteenth. This bill proclaims an annual observance of Juneteenth.

SB 183-FN, ​relative to salaries for certain circuit court judges. This bill repeals the salary differential for the associate justices of the Concord, Nashua, and Manchester district courts.  

SB 21, ​relative to notice to cut timber. This bill provides that public notice of intent to cut timber is only required when the intent to cut is signed by the assessing officials outside a public meeting. 

SB 22, ​relative to the construction property tax exemption. This bill provides that any municipality that has adopted the construction property tax exemption under RSA 72:81 shall determine the rate and duration of the exemption on a per case basis, based on the public benefit generated by the commercial or industrial project. 

SB 217, ​marking the Lafayette Trail in New Hampshire. This bill authorizes the designation of portions of state roadways as the Lafayette Trail.

SB 78, ​relative to public utility customer data. This bill allows for the use of utility customer data for research, development, and implementation of new rate structures and tariffs. 

SB 163, ​relative to permits for operation of solid waste management facilities. This bill requires the department of environmental services to act upon a permit application no later than 180 days after the application is deemed complete. This bill also specifies the rulemaking authority of the department of environmental services regarding solid waste permits. This bill is a request of the department of environmental services. There will be a floor amendment to make a technical correction to the bill.  

SB 197, ​relative to noncompete agreements for low-wage employees. (Removed by Rep. Sullivan) This bill prohibits an employer from requiring a low-wage employee to enter into a noncompete agreement. This bill was passed with two amendments in committee, both with unanimous votes. Only one amendment was printed in the calendar. The bill was removed so the other amendment can also be adopted.

Roll Call Bills:

SB 193-FN, ​prohibiting the sale of certain furniture and carpeting with flame retardant chemicals. This bill prohibits the sale of certain furniture and carpeting with flame retardant chemicals. The amendment clarifies that the prohibition on sales of certain items treated with flame retardant chemicals does not apply to mattresses and removes references to carpeting. Committee Recommendation: OTP/A 14-6. REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE OPPOSED OTP/A, 6-2, House Division Vote: 221-132 Passed.

SB 263, ​relative to anti-discrimination protection for students in public schools. This bill creates a cause of action for persons injured by discrimination in public schools. This bill also creates a cause of action for the attorney general in cases of discrimination in public schools. The majority committee amendment adds sections to the civil rights act to guarantee the right to an opportunity for public education without discrimination and the procedure to seek equitable relief through superior court. The minority committee amendment changes this bill into a study committee. Committee Recommendation: OTP/A 11-7, REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE OPPOSED OTP/A 7-1, OTP/A Adopted – Roll Call: 214-143. 

SB 293-FN, ​relative to federally qualified health care centers and rural health care centers reimbursement. This bill requires the department of health and human services to reimburse federally qualified health care centers and rural health centers for services provided to persons whose Medicaid eligibility has been suspended for failure to comply with the work and community engagement requirement established under the New Hampshire granite advantage health care program. Committee Recommendation: OTP 16-4, REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE SPLIT ON OTP 4-4, 1 ABSENT, OTP Adopted Roll Call: 226-134.

SB 2-FN, ​relative to funding for job training programs in the departments of business and economic affairs. This bill reduces an employer’s unemployment contribution rate and requires that a portion of the administrative contribution be deposited in the unemployment compensation fund. Revises the job training programs offered by the department of business and economic affairs. Changes the maximum amount that the department of business and economic affairs may use to administer the job training program. Requires the commissioner of the department of business and economic affairs to submit an annual report on the effectiveness of job training programs and services. Committee Recommendation: OTP/A 12-8, REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY OPPOSED OTP/A Adopted – Roll Call: 216-146. 

SB 271-FN-LOCAL, ​relative to requiring prevailing wages on state-funded public works projects. This bill requires certain workers employed in the construction of public works in the state of New Hampshire to be paid the prevailing minimum hourly wage and benefits. Committee Recommendation: OTP 12-8, REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY OPPOSED OTP, Adopted – Roll Call: 213-140.           

SB 167-FN, ​establishing a clean energy resource procurement commission. This bill establishes a commission to investigate the cost-effective procurement of renewable energy generation resources. Authorizes the public utilities commission to fund expenses of the commission. Authorizes the public utilities commission to directly assess gas and electric distribution utilities costs incurred. Committee Recommendation: OTP/A 12-7, REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY OPPOSED OTP/A, Adopted – Roll Call: 209-140. 

SB 204, ​relative to distributed energy resources and consumer energy storage. This bill modifies the regulation of distributed energy resources of electric utilities, provides for electric consumer energy storage systems, and enables municipalities to adopt a property tax exemption for electric energy storage systems. As amended, this bill provides for incentives, target, and goals for electric energy storage projects by private market participants and electric utilities and enables municipalities to adopt a property tax exemption for electric energy storage systems. Committee Recommendation: OTP/A 18-0, REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY SUPPORTED OTP/A, Republican Leadership: OPPOSE COMMITTEE AMENDMENT, REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP RECOMMENDATION: OPPOSE OTP/A, Amendment was Adopted – Voice Vote, OTP/A Adopted – Roll Call: 223-129.   

SB 275-FN, ​requiring all the state’s motor vehicles will be zero emissions vehicles by the year 2039. This bill requires all motor vehicles in the state be zero emission vehicles by the year 2039. Committee Recommendation: OTP 12-8, REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY OPPOSED OTP, Adopted – Roll Call: 205-145. 

SB 284-FN, ​establishing a statewide, multi-use online energy data platform. This bill establishes a statewide online energy data platform regulated by the public utilities commission and operated by the state’s electric and natural gas utilities. Committee Recommendation: OTP/A 14-4, REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE OPPOSE OTP/A 4-3, 1 ABSENT, Amendment Adopted – Voice Vote, OTP/A Adopted – Roll Call: 218-133. 

SB 310-FN-A-LOCAL, ​relative to casino gambling. This bill allows the licensing and operation of 2 video lottery and table gaming facilities. Requires the gaming regulatory oversight authority to select licensees for video lottery and table gaming facilities and oversee the operation of such facilities. Allows sports wagery and licenses sports wagering operators. Establishes the gaming regulatory fund. Establishes the gaming enforcement division of the state police. Establishes the gambling addiction prevention fund. Committee Recommendation: ITL 17-2, REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE SUPPORTED ITL 7-1,  ITL Adopted – 289-63  Indefinitely Postpone (Rep. Doucette) – 214-139.

SB 4, ​relative to the group and individual health insurance market. This bill establishes the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009, Public Law 111-148, as amended in statute. Committee Recommendation: OTP 11-8, REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY OPPOSED OTP, Adopted – Roll Call: 213-137. 

SB 137, ​relative to the certification of school nurses. This bill provides for the application of education and certification requirements for school nurses. Committee Recommendation: OTP 12-7, REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE OPPOSED OTP 6-1, OTP Adopted – Division: 190-147.

SB 142-LOCAL, ​requiring feminine hygiene products in school restrooms. This bill requires school boards to make feminine hygiene products available, free of charge, in girls restrooms located in public middle and high schools. Committee Recommendation: OTP/A 13-7, REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE OPPOSED OTP/A 7-1, OTP/A Adopted – Roll Call: 211-135. 

SB 267, ​relative to the release of student assessment information and data. This bill requires the department of education, for purposes of the statewide assessment program, to provide the testing entity with individual pupil names and unique pupil identifiers. This bill also requires the testing entity to maintain evaluative materials to measure and report individual student growth. Committee Recommendation: OTP/A 16-2, REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE SUPPORTED OTP/A 4-2, LEADERSHIP RECOMMENDATION: OPPOSE MAJORITY AMENDMENT,  LEADERSHIP RECOMMENDATION: SUPPORT LADD/CORDELLI FLOOR AMENDMENT (#1847)  LEADERSHIP RECOMMENDATION: OPPOSE OTP/A IF #1847 FAILS,  Majority Amendment Adopted – Voice Vote,  Floor Amendment 1847h Defeated – Roll Call:132-203, OTP/A Adopted – Roll Call: 208-133.          

SB 5-FN-A, ​(New Title) making an appropriation to the department of health and human services for Medicaid provider rates for mental health and substance misuse and emergency shelter and stabilization services. This bill makes an appropriation to the department of health and human services for Medicaid provider rates for mental health and substance misuse and emergency shelter and stabilization services. Committee Recommendation: OTP/A 13-9. REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY OPPOSED OTP/A. OTP/A Adopted – Roll Call: 207-130. 

SB 12-FN-A, ​establishing the New Hampshire college graduate retention incentive partnership program and making an appropriation therefor. This bill establishes the New Hampshire college graduate retention incentive partnership (NH GRIP) which provides financial incentives to college graduates who are hired by participating employers and makes an appropriation to the department of business and economic affairs for that purpose. Committee Recommendation: OTP/A 12-8, REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY OPPOSED OTP/A.  OTP/A Adopted – Roll Call: 201-134. 

SB 20, ​relative to notification requirements for employees, workplace inspections, and the youth employment law. This bill amends certain workplace notification and posting requirements; amends certain provisions of the youth employment law; amends the requirements for employer retention of hour and wage records; and establishes prima facie evidence of a violation of the youth employment laws. Committee Recommendation: OTP 12-8. REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY OPPOSED OTP. OTP Adopted – Roll Call: 202-135. 

SB 146-FN, ​relative to eliminating the waiting period before eligibility to receive unemployment benefits. This bill eliminates the waiting period before eligibility to receive unemployment benefits. Committee Recommendation: OTP 12-7. REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY OPPOSED OTP. OTP Adopted – Roll Call: 201-137.         

SB 43, ​establishing a commission to study barriers to increased land development in New Hampshire. This bill establishes a commission to study barriers to increased density of land development in New Hampshire. Committee Recommendation: OTP/A 13-7. REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE OPPOSED OTP/A 6-3. OTP/A Adopted – Roll Call: 206-119. 

SB 72, ​relative to the issuance of renewable energy certificates. This bill repeals the requirement that the public utilities commission estimate and give credit for the total yearly production for customer-sited sources that are net metered and for which class I or II renewable energy certificates are not issued. Committee Recommendation: OTP 12-8. REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY OPPOSED OTP. OTP Adopted – Roll Call: 199-123.             

SB 205, ​(New Title) relative to energy efficiency programs funded from the systems benefits charge and the duties and members of the energy efficiency and sustainable energy board. This bill adds requirements for uses of system benefits charges for energy efficiency programs. The bill also adds voting members and a nonvoting member to the energy efficiency and sustainable energy board and clarifies procedures of the board. This bill also allows the Public Utilities Commission to raise energy efficiency portion of the Systems Benefits Charge on its own motion by an order, without legislative approval, whereas the rest of the SBC must be set by law. Committee Recommendation: OTP/A 12-8. REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY OPPOSED OTP/A. OTP/A Adopted – Roll Call: 197-127.

SB 77, ​relative to costs of care for animals seized in cruelty cases and prohibiting the future ownership of animals in certain animal cruelty cases. (Removed by Rep. Rogers) This bill further defines the meaning of priority on the court calendar for cases in which animals must be held for the duration of a criminal prosecution. Clarifies the process for a defendant to post a bond after conviction in order to retain a legal interest in the animals through an appeal process. Further defines the courts ability to ban a person convicted of animal cruelty from owning animals. Committee Recommendation: OTP/A 18-1. REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY SUPPORTED OTP/A. LEADERSHIP RECOMMENDATION: SUPPORT MOTION TO TABLE. Motion to Table (Rep. Bixby) – Division: 202-147.

COMMENTS