NH LEGISLATURE THIS WEEK

Steve Shurtleff T...

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to elect Representative Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) to serve as Speaker for the 2019-2020 term. Speaker Shurtleff appointed Representative Douglas Ley (D-Jaffrey) to serve as Majority Leader and Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack) to serve as Minority Leader.

Speaker of the House Steve Shurtleff said, “I thank the members of the House of Representatives for the trust they have placed in me to lead this body for the next two years. It is truly an honor. The issues that we deal with in the legislature are not Democratic or Republican issues, they are New Hampshire issues. I look forward to working with Representative Ley, Representative Hinch, and the rest of my colleagues in the House and Senate, as well as Governor Sununu, on legislation that benefits the people of New Hampshire.”

On Saturday December 8, 2018 the Portsmouth Herald supported Representative Shurtleff's election in an editorial that is posted below.

NH LEGISLATURE THIS WEEK

House Passes Legi...

The House of Representatives wrapped up its 2018 legislative session passing a number of bills onto the Governor for signature and several bills will have a detrimental effect on New Hampshire if signed into law, according to House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook).

“Rollbacks to child labor laws and legislation to micromanage the Public Utilities Commission are particularly concerning. The voters will have their say in November and I hope they take a close look at the members who support legislation that harms our great state,” according to Shurtleff.

Passage of SB 318, which amends certain provisions of the youth employment law increases permissible youth employment hours without any demonstrable need. Zero kids testified to their desire to work more hours than is allowed under current law and absent a clear reason, there is no reason to roll back youth employment protections.

Passage of HB 317, relative to the system benefits charge increases energy efficiency by funding low income energy efficiency programs. This bill, which prohibits the Public Utilities Commission from increasing the charge without legislative approval, could unreasonably delay future changes to the Systems Benefits Charge and undermine the restructuring system now under way.

NH LEGISLATURE THIS WEEK

Issues Facing Gra...

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.