NH LEGISLATURE THIS WEEK

Issues Facing Granite Staters Were Debated This Week

HOUSE PASSES LEGISLATION TO BAN CONVERSION THERAPY ON MINORS

The House of Representatives voted 179-171 to pass HB 587, which forbids licensed practitioners from practicing “conversion therapy” on minor children in New Hampshire.

“Conversion therapy is a harmful and damaging practice which attempts to shame young people into changing their sexual orientation or identity. This legislation simply forbids licensed practitioners from practicing conversion therapy on minor children,” according to Representative Ed Butler (D-Hart’s Location).

“I very much appreciate that the House listened to advocates and reversed its previous narrow vote to defeat this legislation. Passing HB 587 into law will protect countless children from the shame, rejection, and psychological abuse that conversion therapy brings. The House’s support today gives me great confidence that the legislature understands the urgent need to stop this practice on minor New Hampshire children.”

HOUSE DEMOCRATS UNANIMOUSLY VOTE TO BACK FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE PROGRAM

The House of Representatives voted 186-164 to pass HB 628, which will establish a family and medical leave program in New Hampshire.

House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) said “I am extremely proud of the House of Representatives, particularly the House Democrats who have been working for years to bring a viable, sustainable, paid family and medical leave program to New Hampshire. Over 80% of our constituents support family leave because they understand how beneficial it will be to our state’s economy. Every single House Democrat stood up for Granite Staters by voting against the recommendation from Republican leadership that this bill be defeated.”

“New Hampshire businesses need educated, young workers to grow our state’s economy. This bill establishes exactly the kind of program that will encourage those skilled workers to raise their families in our state. Years and years of study, negotiation, and collaboration led us to this point, and House Democrats will continue to speak for the people in prioritizing this important program as it continues along the legislative process.”

The bill now moves to the House Finance Committee.

OTHER BILLS OF INTEREST

The House passed a bill making hormonal contraceptives available directly from a pharmacist in a voice vote after rejecting a negative recommendation from the Health and Human Services Committee in a 265-76 roll call. This vote represents a clear affirmation of the need for this legislation.

The House approved HB 1763 which would impose a fee on energy-efficient vehicles to make up for lost revenue from the gasoline tax, in a 194-132 roll-call vote. I served on the Ways and Means Committee that recommended this bill 23-0 for passage. Some felt that this was punishment for those who already drive fuel efficient cars, bad public policy, and bad tax policy but supporters said roads and bridges in the state are deteriorating, while receipts into the highway fund are declining and something must be done.

The House narrowly defeated a bill to restore a 15 percent state contribution to municipalities for the retirement coast of local police, firefighters and teachers. The vote was 171-170. Restoring this funding that was eliminated several years ago would have a direct, positive effect on keeping our property taxes low.