Two sides

As the old saying goes, “There are two sides to every story.” So, as former Rep. Peter Hansen shared his views on some recent legislation in his May 16th Letter to the Editor, here’s another perspective for the readers to consider.

SB193 would prohibit the sale of certain furniture which contain flame retardant chemicals that create noxious smoke during a fire. These smoke fumes can hinder the safety of both occupants and firefighters. Additionally, the long-term exposure to these chemicals in the home have been known to cause serious health issues. This legislation is supported by New Hampshire firefighters. Why would we not want to take steps to improve the safety and health of our citizens?

SB205 would allow the Public Utilities Commission, not the legislature, to adjust (up or down) the systems benefit charge. Although the NHPUC is not elected, as Mr. Hansen correctly stated, it is comprised of three Commissioners who are appointed by the Governor and have legal jurisdiction over utilities under RSA 362:2. More importantly, this legislation is about energy efficiency and setting aside funds for low income customers.

SB 72 is about the issuance of renewable energy certificates with the goal of increasing the use of locally sourced and good job creating renewable energy.

SB 2 increases funding for worker training and expands training opportunities for both current workers and the unemployed. Education in work related skills is essential for New Hampshire to remain competitive in the ever changing 21st century economy.

SB 20 is about workplace notifications and posting requirements as well as youth employment laws. For example, the bill states that workplace notices must be accessible to employees, such as, “It is illegal in New Hampshire under both state and federal law to pay employees different wages for the same work based solely on sex.” This bill also limits working hours for students ages 16 or 17 to work no more than 6 consecutive days or more than 30 hours when school is in session, or 40 1/4 hours in a week when school is in session at least one day. While many students need to work, their primary focus should be on school and their studies. Personally, I think this is still too many hours for students to work but it is less than the current law allows.

HB 706, which calls for an Independent Redistricting Commission, is an attempt to take politics out of the creation of new legislative districts in 2021. Unlike the previous gerrymandering which created districts favoring a Republican electoral majority, this bill would establish a non-partisan commission to draw fair and equitable legislative districts. It’s time to protect voting rights and take the shenanigans out of the people’s business.

Although these bills were Democratic initiatives, good ideas, regardless of party, must be seriously considered. Rather than being partisan, let’s work together to bring forth good ideas for the good of all the people.