January 2018 Bills, House and Senate Committees

Coming up in House Committees

Tuesday, January 23

Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Room 302, LOB

9:15 AM Subcommittee work session on HB 628, relative to a family and medical leave insurance program.

Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Room 204, LOB

1:30 PM HB 1528, prohibiting discrimination in the university and college systems.

Election Law, Room 308, LOB

1:00 PM HB 1540would establish procedures for ranked choice voting for federal and state offices.

1:30 PM HB 1240, allowing voters to vote for multiple candidates for an office. This could have an impact similar to “ranked choice voting.”

Finance, Division II, Room 209, LOB

1:00 PM Division work session on SB 193, establishing “freedom” savings accounts for students, aka as the school voucher bill. This bill passed the House and was sent to Finance, which held a public hearing on Tuesday. This is the first of two work sessions scheduled this week.

Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs, Room 205, LOB

2:15 PM HB 1560, prohibiting Medicaid from paying for sex reassignment drug or hormone therapy or surgery.

Municipal and County Government, Room 310, LOB

10:00 AM HB 1431, prohibiting state and political subdivisions from acquiring military-equipped vehicles or equipment which are not readily available on the open national commercial market. This bill goes to executive session right away, at 11:00 AM.

Resources, Recreation, and Development, Room 305, LOB

11:30 AM Full committee work session on HB 1529, requiring the Commissioner of Environmental Services to revise rules relative to arsenic contamination in drinking water.

11:45 AMHB 1101, regulating groundwater pollution caused by polluting emissions in the air.

2:30 PM Full committee work session on HB 1597, adding a 50 percent charge to all amounts assessed to persons liable for costs of containment, cleanup, and remediation of water, air, and soil pollution.

Science and Technology, Room 304, LOB

10:15 AM HB 1779, requiring monitoring of certain radioactive air pollutants. This bill would require the Commissioner of DHHS to set up a network of stations to monitor in real-time the movement, dispersal, and re-concentration of any radioactive, gaseous, liquid, or solid material. The information gathered would be used to determine the extent and seriousness of radiation doses received by humans and animals.

2:30 PM HB 1515 This bill seeks an exemption from the combustion ban on construction and demolition debris.

Transportation, Room 203, LOB

1:00 PM HB 1583This bill requires that drivers’licenses and non-driver IDs indicate whether the holder is a US citizen. This proposal, put forward ostensibly to combat voting by non-citizens (of which there is no evidence), is setting off alarm bells among civil rights and immigrant justice activists. It looks to us like a set-up for enhanced profiling and discriminatory treatment. Voices of Faith will gather at the doors of the hearing room for a vigil to express opposition to this bill at 12:30 pm.

Wednesday, January 24

Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Room 204, LOB

10:00 AM HB 1245, establishing a committee to study alternatives to bail for indigent persons. This would be an internal committee, comprised of four representatives and one senator, and will issue a report in November 2018.

11:20 AM HB 1395provides that the court shall not set cash bail for an amount resulting in pretrial incarceration.

Executive Departments and Administration, Room 306, LOB

10:00 AM HB 1817, establishing the position of state demographer and a commission on demographic trends; requiring state agencies to prepare a 10-year current services budget, and requiring demographic impact notes on legislation. Just as bills have fiscal notes attached to them, this would add demographic impact notes. We like the idea of our legislators having more information at their disposal.

1:00 PM HB 1624 relative to state procurement practices and criteria for acceptance of bids. This bill would require the state to consider the wages and benefits paid by the vendor when evaluating qualified lowest bids from vendors located in NH. Preference would be given to the vendor who pays higher wages and benefits. Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky has been routinely asking prospective contractors about the wages and benefits they offer, but currently the Executive Council has no authority to require such information.

1:45 PM HB 1764 This would require the Commissioner of Employment Security to compile data relative to the cost of living in NH. This would include an annual cost-of-living study for NH. The data would include an estimated cost-of-living by county. Data with the state’s badge of authority would inform discussions on topics such as the minimum wage, the cost of rental housing, and the need for various forms of public assistance.

2:30 PM Subcommittee work session on HB 1604, renaming Columbus Day as “Indigenous People’s Day.”

Executive Departments and Administration, Room 308, LOB

Subcommittee work session on HB 1565, requiring the secure psychiatric unit to be accredited as a psychiatric hospital. For background, please read Nancy West’s new articleat InDepthNH, concerning a transgender woman who is currently at the secure psychiatric unit.

Finance, Division II, Room 209, LOB

1:00 PM Division work session on SB 193, establishing “freedom” savings accounts for students, akathe school voucher bill. This is the second of two scheduled work sessions next week.

Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs, Room 205, LOB

1:15 PM HB 1476, permitting qualifying patients and designated caregivers to cultivate cannabis for therapeutic use. This would provide greater access and affordability for patients around the state.

2:15 PM HB 1798 This bill would prohibit the state from waiving the federal work requirement for able-bodied adults without dependents who receive SNAP benefits. This would apply to 38 households in NH in communities where there are high unemployment rates and few employment opportunities. The current waiver is due to expire in September of 2018. SNAP is a federal program, so cutting off food to 38 householdswouldn’t save the state any money. It’s just petty and cruel.

Judiciary, Room 208, LOB

10:00 AM HB 1438, relative to allowing residential leases with provisions prohibiting tenants from possessing firearms, explosives, or ammunition within the premises.

1:30 PM HB 1485, relative to security deposits. Current lawstipulates that a security deposit cannot be more than one month’s rent. This would increase that amount to two months’ rent, which is typically paid in advance in addition to the first month’s rent. To rent an apartment, a tenant would have to come up with 3 months’ rent before moving in. Consider: the statewide median rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in 2017 was $1263, according to NH Housing Finance. Voices of Faith will gather at 1 pm at the hearing room doors for a vigil to show opposition to this bill.

Labor, Industrial, and Rehabilitative Services, Room 307, LOB

10:00 AM HB 1397 This would establish a temporary workers bill of rights. The bill is specific about the type of information given to temporary workers about location of job sites, transportation, hazards that may be encountered, the need for special attire or tools, and whether the company or the worker will provide them, lunch, rest rooms, compensation, and more. This is a comprehensive bill that would help protect temporary workers.

1:00 PM HB 1451 This bill requires employers with 10 or more employees in this state or two or more locations in NH to provide a work schedule in writing, at least seven calendar days before the first day of the work schedule. Such notice would be a great help for workers who juggle multiple jobs, child care, and other responsibilities.

Science, Technology, and Energy, Room 304, LOB

10:00 AM HB 1611, establishing a committee to study off-shore wind development.

11:00 AM HB 1544, establishing a committee to identify the requirements needed to commit New Hampshireto a goal of 100% renewable energy for electricity by 2040.

Thursday, January 25

Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Room 204, LOB

1:00 PM HB 1329 This bill would require law enforcement agencies to adopt written policies regarding eyewitness identification procedures. This applies to both photo identification and live lineups.

Election Law, Room 308, LOB

10:00 AM HB 1220 requires that a driver’s license used by a person under 70 years of age to obtain a ballot must be current or expired less than 5 years.

10:30 AM HB 1510would require ballot clerks to provide written information to a voter using an out of state driver’s license as identification, informing them of the 60 day time period they have to obtain a NH driver’s license.

2:00 PM HB 1772, permitting online voter registration. This would require the Secretary of State to create and maintain an online portal allowing a person to complete a voter registration online. Signatures would be coordinated with the DMV when possible, and when not, the voter would be given the option of printing out the form and mailing it to the supervisors of the checklist.

Judiciary, Room 208, LOB

10:00 AM HB 1701 This bill requires the Commissioner of Environmental Services to require the Coakley Landfill Group to submit its records pertaining to the remediation at the site of the Coakley Landfill. The records would be subject to RSA 91-A, which means they’d be a matter of public record.

Here’s apreview of some of the important bills coming up the last week of this month. You’ll see lots more in next week’s issue.

Tuesday, January 30

Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs, Room 205, LOB

1:15 PM HB 1804 This bill revises the work requirements for the SNAP program and the NH Employment Program to correspond with the work requirements for the NH Health Protection Program. Under this proposal, if a parent gets booted off benefits for failure to comply with the work requirements, their children would lose benefits too. Voices of Faith will be present at the hearing room doors to express opposition to this cruel and harmful bill.

Wednesday, January 31

Judiciary, Room 208, LOB

1:00 PM HB 1319, prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. This would add gender identity to New Hampshire’s anti-discrimination law, thereby protecting people from being discriminated against in the workplace, in housing, or in access to public accommodation.Supporters are organizing a Lobby Day the previous week, January 24. Information and sign-up is here. Voices of Faith have shown support for this important issue in the past, and will be present to do so again.

Labor, Industrial, and Rehabilitative Services, Room 307, LOB

10:30 AM HB 1500 This bill defines workplace violence andworkplace injuries, and requires serious injuries and deaths in public sector workplaces to be reported to the Commissioner of Labor. OSHA, a federal agency, conducts such investigations at private sector workplaces. But no one is there to investigate if a teacher, state or local highway worker, or other public sector employee gets killed or seriously injured.

Coming up in Senate Committees

Tuesday, January 23

Commerce, Room 100 SH

1:30 PM SB 554 This bill restores a NH minimum wage and sets the minimum hourly rate paid to employees based on whether or not the employer offers health benefits to the employee through an employer sponsored plan. This increase to the minimum wage is done incrementally:On/after July 1, 2018, $7.50 per hour with health benefits, $9.00 per hour without. July 1, 2019, $9.00 per hour with benefits, $11.00 per hour without. July 1, 2020, $10.50 with benefits, $13.00 without. July 1, 2021, $12.00 with benefits, and $15.00 without. Tipped workers would continue to get paid at least 45% of the minimum hourly rate.

2:00 PM SB 567This bill would expand job training programs offered by the Department ofBusiness and Economic Affairs. It would increase the unemployment compensation administrative contribution paid by employers from 0.2% to 0.4%. These monies would increase the BEA’sTraining Fund. The BEA would be working with the WorkReadyNH program established with the community college system. Preference would be given to populations with high unemployment, such as people with disabilities, inmates transitioning to the community, non-English speakers, and recovering addicts.

Election Law and Internal Affairs, Room 102, LOB

9:00 AM SB 440establishes a prohibition on receiving contributions in violation of the law relative to prohibited political contributions. The bill establishes a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 per violation.

9:30 AM SB 527, relative to absentee voting. This claims to establish additional procedures for verification of absentee voter documents, and establishes procedures for correcting errors and omissions by absentee voters. This bid to solve the nonexistent problem of absentee voter fraud would turn town clerks into handwriting experts, and make absentee voting more difficult.

Energy and Natural Resources, Room 103, SH

9:45 AM SB 454 This bill requires the Department of Environmental Services to review existing scientific studies and implement rulemaking for ambient water quality standards and maximum containment levels for specific perfluorinated chemicals.

10:00 AM SB 309 This bill requires the Commissioner of Environmental Services to adopt a state drinking water standard; ambient groundwater quality standards; and surface water quality standards – allrelative to perfluorochemicals.

Finance, Room 103, SH

2:00 PM SB 540funds full day kindergarten, keno or no keno.

Health and Human Services, Room 101, LOB

2:00 PM SB 583This bill would establish a pilot program to eliminate employment barriers for certain parents enrolled in the NH Employment Program or eligible for TANF. This 2-year, statewide, pilot program would provide legal support and assistance in annulment of prior criminal convictions and/or expunging of arrest records that might hinder employment opportunities. This bill, which wouldhelp give workers a fresh start, has bipartisan support.

Thursday, January 25

Judiciary, Room 100, SH

1:20 PM SB 492, prohibiting bump stocks in NH. This bill establishes a misdemeanor offense for the manufacture, sale, possession, or use of a multiburst trigger activator known as a “bump stock,” the type of device used in the Las Vegas massacre last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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