NH LEGISLATURE THIS WEEK

Your NH Legislatu...

This week the House Finance Committee voted 13-9 on a budget that Granite Staters can be proud of. We allocated another $164 million to our schools, gave an additional $12 million to the Department of Transportation to keep our roads and bridges safe and increased funding for mental health all while adding to our rainy day fund.

We passed a cost of living adjustment for retired state employees which provides a 1.5% cost of living adjustment on the first $50,000 of pension benefit to New Hampshire retirees in the state Retirement System, assuring that benefits are provided to those who really need it.

We passed legislation to strengthen public safety in schools. HB 564 will simply codify the federal Gun Free School Act in New Hampshire law. The intent of this legislation is to promote the safety and security of NH children as well as the sanctity of the school environment.

With this, NH joins 47 other states who have enacted legislation to allow local communities to keep schools, educators and staff in safe environments to learn and grow.

NH LEGISLATURE THIS WEEK

Your NH Legislatu...

We voted for common sense gun laws that would protect Granite Staters including instituting background checks on ALL gun sales and instituting waiting periods.

Voted to protect Granite Staters from losing health insurance due to a pre-existing condition.

Voted to help keep prescription drug prices down by ensuring transparency in our prescription drug system.

Protected the environment and health of Granite Staters by mandating the state take action on the Coakley Landfill.

We voted to ensure no Granite Stater has to choose between work and caring for a loved one by passing a paid family leave bill.

Voted to protect workers by guaranteeing poor credit history cannot stop someone from finding meaningful work.

Voted to allow cities and towns to utilize solar energy to reduce electricity costs.

Expanded New Hampshire’s investment in energy efficiency programs.

NH LEGISLATURE THIS WEEK

Your NH Legislatu...

Protected the environment and health of Granite Staters by mandating the state take action on the Coakley Landfill.

We voted to ensure no Granite Stater has to choose between work and caring for a loved one by passing a paid family leave bill.

Voted to protect workers by guaranteeing poor credit history cannot stop someone from finding meaningful work.

Voted to allow cities and towns to utilize solar energy to reduce electricity costs.

Expanded New Hampshire’s investment in energy efficiency programs.

We voted for common sense gun laws that would protect Granite Staters including instituting background checks on ALL gun sales and instituting waiting periods.

Voted to protect Granite Staters from losing health insurance due to a pre-existing condition.

Voted to help keep prescription drug prices down by ensuring transparency in our prescription drug system.

NH LEGISLATURE THIS WEEK

Five things your ...

We voted to restore and raise the minimum wage in New Hampshire helping Granite State families across this state put food on their table and pay their bills.

We protected the environment by voting to maintain funding for energy efficiency programs and ensuring cleaner air and water for future Granite Staters.

We ensured ALL Granite Staters would be protected from discrimination by passing HB446 which makes it easier to change gender markers on birth certificates.

Protected the environment and jobs by blocking an attempt to kill the biomass industry in New Hampshire.

Protected the environment and future Granite Staters by moving to make New Hampshire generate at least 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2040.

NH LEGISLATURE THIS WEEK

News Coverage of ...

· Capital Beat: Lawmaker pushes for voting day holiday(Concord Monitor)
It’s practically an Election Day tradition: hundreds of thousands of Granite Staters swarming the polls on their way home from work. But one Democratic representative is hoping to cut down the stress with a statewide holiday that would give any employee time to cast their vote.

· Sergeant-at-arms abruptly resigns House position (Union Leader)
The man who has served as Sergeant-at-Arms for the New Hampshire House for more than a decade has resigned after being offered a schedule of reduced work hours.

· Lawmakers trying to ease rules on school nurses (Union Leader)
School nurses do a lot more than dispense medication and take temperatures these days, which is why the state Legislature four years ago passed a bill raising their education requirement from a two-year to a four-year degree.

· Amid Election Scrutiny, Dixville Notch’s Midnight Voting Tradition Could Be At Risk (NHPR)
Once every four years, for a brief moment, it seems the whole world turns its eyes to Dixville Notch. Since 1960 , voters in this tiny Coos County community have been casting their ballots just after the stroke of midnight to mark the official start of the New Hampshire presidential primary.

· First Lady Valerie Sununu Quietly Emerges As Advocate For Kids' Causes (NHPR)
Valerie Sununu has kept a relatively low-profile during her husband’s time in office. She rarely speaks to the press or promotes any appearances. Most of what the public gets of the First Lady comes from Gov. Chris Sununu’s speeches, where he constantly praises her. “And it goes without saying, the one who really makes this all happen, my amazing wife, Valerie,” said Sununu during the opening of his inaugural speech at the Statehouse last month.

· Proposed Ban On ‘Bee-Toxic Pesticides’ Buzzes Into State Legislature (NHPR)
New Hampshire lawmakers on Tuesday will take up a proposal to ban most uses of pesticides that are toxic to bees. The House bill comes from second-term Nashua Democrat Catherine Sofikitis.

· N.H. Lottery Calls DOJ Reversal on Web Lottery Sales ‘Unacceptable’ (NHPR)
The New Hampshire Lottery is exploring legal action after a decision by the Trump administration that would make selling lottery tickets online illegal.The state started selling virtual lottery tickets online in September of 2018, after it was approved in the last legislative session.In that time, it's generated approximately $1.8 million net for the state from web sales.

· What To Listen For In Governor Sununu's 2019 Budget Address (NHPR)
Governor Chris Sununu will deliver his budget address on Thursday. The address will take place in front of the newly Democratic-controlled New Hampshire House and Senate and will provide clues about where the governor and state lawmakers are likely to find consensus - and conflict - during this budget-building session, set to go through June.

CloseUp: The debate over legalizing marijuana in NH
Will New Hampshire move forward with recreational cannabis?

NH LEGISLATURE THIS WEEK

News Coverage of ...


STATE HOUSE
Bill to expand supervised visitation in N.H. spurs disagreement among advocates (Concord Monitor)
A father entered the Greater Nashua Supervised Visitation Center with a loaded firearm in his briefcase but was arrested before ever seeing his child.

N.H. House kills repeal of abortion buffer zone law (Concord Monitor)
An effort to eliminate the use of “buffer zones” outside Planned Parenthood clinics was quashed in the House on Thursday, after lengthy arguments over free speech and privacy.

Families ask for suicide prevention training in N.H. schools (Concord Monitor)
Since their son died, Martha and Paul Dickey have had little time to pause. The two have held fundraisers, launched community walks, made bracelets, and spoken to groups across the state about Jason’s life and the cause of his death: suicide.

· Proponents say ranked-choice voting could keep NH primary from fading (Concord Monitor)
Harvard law professor Larry Lessig has been in New Hampshire often enough for political advocacy that he knows what will get lawmakers’ attention here, and he got right to the point Tuesday. He thinks our presidential primary is in danger.

Bill to invest $9M in mental health beds clears first Senate test (Union Leader)
The state Senate gave preliminary approval on Thursday to an emergency measure that would draw $9 million from the state budget surplus to address a shortage of mental health beds that has patients being boarded for weeks at a time in hospital emergency rooms.

· State Senate OK's $4M in new spending on job training (Union Leader)
The state Senate voted along party lines Thursday to add $4 million to state job training efforts through a bill Democrats are calling the Granite State Jobs Act.

· Critics Of N.H. Marijuana Legalization Rally Opposition (NHPR)
Opponents of legalizing recreational marijuana made a pre-emptive strike against a bill that would do just that in New Hampshire.

Bill would give NH town moderators power to postpone local elections (Keene Sentinel)
A definitive, statewide answer to whether town moderators have the authority to postpone local elections is beginning to take shape.

· Democrats' 'carbon tax' bill debated at State House hearing (Union Leader)
Rep. Lee Oxenham, a Democrat from Plainfield, has partnered with Democratic Sens. Martha Fuller Clark and David Watters of Dover to propose a carbon tax on all fossil fuels imported into New Hampshire.

· Families of murder victims remind NH lawmakers the demand for justice hasn't gone cold (Union Leader)
The surviving family members of murder victims whose cases have gone cold offered heart-wrenching accounts of loss at a legislative hearing on Tuesday, hoping to convince lawmakers to expand the state’s Cold Case Unit by adding two more attorneys.

· Republican lawmakers threaten to sue over House weapons ban (WMUR)
The battle over carrying deadly weapons in the chambers of the New Hampshire House could be heading to court.

· Red-tailed hawk bill resurrected (Seacoast Online)
The students gasped as the red-tailed hawk was revealed from within its crate, the children startled by the flapping wings of one of New Hampshire’s apex predators.


FEDERAL NEWS:

Bill co-sponsored by Shaheen would offer health benefit to Guardsmen, Reservists working for federal government.
Tens of thousands of National Guardsmen and Reservists may finally get access to the TRICARE Reserve Select benefit, thanks to bipartisan legislation introduced this month in Congress.

· Kevin Landrigan's Granite Status: Trump gives shout-out to Hassan's surprise medical bill legislation
When it comes to health care reform there is a big change that unites President Trump and U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH.

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.