Information on state issues and live bills upon which the League of Women Voters of New Hampshire is interested, is taking a position, and/or has determined action is needed.
Occasionally we post action alerts from the national League here as well.
League's choice of bills to highlight is determined by our priorities and areas of interest as expressed by members. League board members or designees may testify on some of the bills.
Complete lists of the next week's legislative hearings can be found on this website Click on either the House Calendars and Journals or the Senate Calendars and Journals links. The newest Calendar will be at the top of each list and will include hearings in the coming week (or two). Calendars come out each Friday. Room numbers and times are given for the hearings (SH = State House and LOB = Legislative Office Building, across the street behind the State House).
For information on other social justice issues in the legislature, you may want to read the weekly postings on the American Friends Service Committee's website as well: https://www.afsc.org/action/nh-state-house-watch
No House session scheduled.
Hearings in both bodies, including Finance committee work on bills already passed in the House, are highlighted in this week's Legislative Alert. Click here for the pdf.
Note that SB3 (the voter registration restrictions bill) will be discussed in the House Election Law committee's work session on Tuesday, May 9, beginning at 10 am. It is likely they will hold executive session on the bill as well.
House meets Thursday, May 4.
Senate meets Thursday, May 11.
Two former NH Governors agree with the League in our opposition to expanded gambling, especially casinos. "Editorial April 28, 2017."<http://www.fosters.com/news/20170427/lynch-and-gregg-why-casino-gambling-is-wrong-for-nh
Just found out that the casino bill has been voted 19-1 Inexpedient to Legislate in the House committee. Hurray! "That ship has sailed" one committee member commented. Gambling is not a responsible way to raise state revenue anyway, the League believes.
Also just found out that the House Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee voted unanimously to "retain" SB 7, the much criticized bill to reduce eligibility for food stamps. That means they will give it further consideration later this year, when they will recommend how the House should consider the measure in 2018. That's a good thing, let's them think about it more and reach a better decision next year.
On April 20 in general session the House and Senate each passed an amended HB329 that resolves the issue of ratifying the results of postponed elections. [from WMUR website] "Gov. Chris Sununu will sign into law legislation allowing officials of towns and school districts that postponed their elections due to the March 14 snowstorm to take action to ratify the results of those elections.... In rapid fire action [on April 20], the House and Senate suspended their rules and established a committee of conference, which quickly reached agreement on a minor change to the bill. They then suspended their respective rules to consider the committee of conference report, which was adopted by the Senate on voice vote and by the House on a roll call of 294-42." Towns with bond issues or other warrant articles that also need ratification will first have to hold a public hearing before ratifying results, but a full election will not be required.
League appreciates the efforts of a number of legislators to work together and quickly across party lines to resolve this issue.
Another bill to create a study committee should also pass, so that in any future emergency situation towns will have clear guidelines in advance.
Click here for the pdf of this week's legislative alert, April 11-15. The alert also contains a heads-up about two important hearings the following week.
The House and the Senate will next meet in full session on Thursday, April 20.
The exception is the budget and the capital budget bills, which by law are House bills and will be voted on in the coming week's House full session. The House will meet in full session on Wednesday, April 5, possibly continuing to Thursday, April 6. They will vote on the capital budget and HB 1&2, the state's operating budget (see below). If you wish to share your views on the budget with your representative(s), now is the time!
Highlights of hearings this week are listed following the budget paragraphs below.
The budget as proposed by the House Finance Committee will be summarized in a briefing on Monday, April 4, from 10 am to 11:30 am in Representatives Hall. It will be live-streamed, for anyone who wishes to watch from their computers. The link will appear on this page, with a red Live designation
Below is the intro from the Capital Budget, and below that the opening paragraphs from the HB 1 and 2 budget bills. Full text of the bills can be found in the House calendar and the full budget in the Calendar 18A addendum
HB25, the capital budget: The 2017 version of the state's capital budget represents a variety of capital projects over a spectrum of state agencies from new court facilities; Information Technology projects; state park improvements; state prison upgrades. The committee tried to take advantage of Federal and other matching funds to develop a proposal which will provide much needed projects, improvements and jobs throughout New Hampshire. It is imperative that we maintain our state owned buildings, and this proposed budget continues the commitment of the Public Works committee to do just that.
The Adjutant General's office receives a number of repair, renovation and roofing projects taking advantage of $22 million in Federal funds. New court facilities in Milford and Hampton and a number of roofing projects presented by the department of administrative services were approved.
The community college system of New Hampshire is slated to get $9.6 million of infrastructure improvements, information technology upgrades and industry pathway lab renovations. The department of Corrections will be getting some much needed safety cameras; body alarm systems; elevator replacement, etc.
The New Hampshire state library is projected to get funds to update and improve the state library's service to libraries throughout the state. The Plymouth area CTE center will receive funding for upgrading and funds will be going to support pre-engineering technology. The Department of Environmental Services will receive a number of drinking water, hazardous waste superfund match lab equipment and very important dam repairs and reconstruction.
The Fish and Game department is on tap to receive public boat access funds (League note: nearly $3 million) to construct a boat launch on Lake Sunapee.
Health and Human services has a number of safety and IT projects at their main facilities and at Glencliff in Warren. The Housing Finance authority will be on line to receive $500,000 for the affordable housing fund (League supports). The Liquor Commission will get funding for new stores in Hampton on I-95 North and South, and Portsmouth.
The Department of Resources and Economic Development gets funding for a number of state park projects, fire tower repairs and Jenness Beach bathhouse renovations. The Veteran's Home is projected to receive life safety improvements as well as security upgrades. Plymouth State University is slated to receive funding for renovations and upgrades to a life science building. Funds for the Concord steam project are included in HB 25. A number of highway funded salt shed replacements and district patrol sheds are slated for replacement or renovation.
The state treasurer has recommended that the capital budget should not exceed general fund obligations over $125 million; the committee viewed that very seriously and came in with a general fund obligation of $125,094,355 dollars. The overwhelming bipartisan majority of the public works committee voted for HB 25. Vote 20-2.
HB -1-A This bill is the state's budget for the next two fiscal years. As House rules require, it is a balanced budget and balanced with no new or increased taxes or fees. It is based on the unanimous House Ways and Means Committee revenue estimates. It appropriates $11.9 billion in total funds for the next biennium, up 4.9 percent from the $11.3 billion appropriated in the current biennium, but $276 million less than in the Governor's recommended budget. Included in the Finance total funds are $5.0 billion in taxpayer-supported general and education funds, up 5.8% percent from the $4.8 billion appropriated in the current biennium.
These appropriations meet the state's responsibilities in providing general government, health and human services, justice and public protection, environmental services, transportation and education, among others. And for the first time in many years, this budget provides specific funding for local and state infrastructure projects and for local property tax relief, with an appropriation of $45 million and $50 million, respectively. (for the rest of the budget explanation, you can read it in the House Calendar number 18 This budget passed the House Finance committee on a vote of 16-9. The minority opposition is also cited in the Calendar.
HB 2 This is the companion or "trailer bill" to HB 1-A, the biennial budget. HB 2-FN-A-L makes the necessary statutory changes to effectuate appropriations contained in HB 1-A, and is effective only upon enactment of HB 1-A. (Details in Calendar 18 at website above) This bill passed on a House Finance committee vote of 16-9. The minority opposition is also cited in the House Calendar 18.
House hearings of interest coming up: Tuesday, April 4
EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB 10:00 a.m. SB 193-FN, establishing education freedom savings accounts for students. (We list this because we know a number of our members and others are following closely this reallocation of state education funds.)
11:15 a.m. Full committee work session on SB 45, requiring a course in civics for high school graduation.
SB 43, relative to non-academic surveys administered by a public school to its students. Full committee work session on this bill. It is a parental opt-in opt-out bill.
ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB 10:00 a.m. SB 33, relative to the definition of political advocacy organization.
10:20 a.m. SB 114, prohibiting a candidate from receiving the nomination of more than one party.
10:40 a.m. SB 113, relative to an electronic poll book trial program. (League supports as a way of modernizing and speeding up the process at the polls.)
11:00 a.m. SB 108, relative to absentee ballot applications, to include public hearing on non-germane amendment to SB 108, relative to ratifying elections postponed from March 14, 2017. Copies of the amendment (2017-1229h) are available in the Sergeant-at-Arms' office, State House Room 318. Last Week League alerted you to issues with SB248, dealing with postponed town elections. The Senate voted on Thursday 3/30 on a completely amended SB248 that sets up a committee to study the procedure for future emergencies on election day (good idea, we think) but did not deal with the immediate need for this year's 70+ towns to have their town election results ratified (thus failing to address the needs of the towns). So the House leadership came up with an amendment to a little technical election law bill, SB108. The House bill would require towns that postponed to have another election (on May 23) at which voters would decide whether or not to ratify the results of their postponed March elections. This would be costly (unfunded mandate?) for the towns--and is it constitutional? The hearing on this bill is likely to be very lively! See last week's Call to Action for more on the reasons for the original SB248.
The House has a light week of hearings this week because their full session on Wed. & likely Thursday too will be on the capital budget and the two parts of the state's 2-year budget. We thank our representatives who do the hard work of weighing all sides and voting on this very important aspect of state government. Voters who wish to make their views known on particular items are encouraged to call or write to their representative(s). The SENATE will meet in full session on Thursday, April 6, starting at 10 am. After a marathon session on March 30, this week's session has only a few bills to consider, none of which are League priorities.
Senate hearings week of April 3-7: The full list of hearings and bills to be voted on in the full session can be found in the Senate calendar number 17
Tuesday, April 4
Education: LOB room 103 10:00 a.m. HB 620, relative to compliance with state and federal education mandates. 10:20 a.m. HB 356-FN, establishing a committee to study education funding and the cost of an opportunity for an adequate education. (As League noted when this bill came before the House, this topic was studied several years ago, but a dispassionate review now seems in order.)
Election Law: LOB room 102 9:00 a.m. HB 475, relative to honoring Jessie Doe and Mary L.R. Farnum, the first women elected to the NH house of representatives. (League will offer testimony in support of recognizing these incredible women who ran for public office the same year that women got the right to vote.) 9:15 a.m. HB 537, relative to campaign contributions. (League supports: a small step in campaign finance reform) 9:30 a.m. HB 552-FN, relative to investigation of voter verification letters. (This requires the Secretary of State to investigate letters returned as undeliverable when voters appear at the polls without identification or domicile proof as required. While League believes possible improper voting should be investigated, we don't know why it should be done by the Secretary of State's office and then turned over to the Attorney General's office where investigation would be repeated.)
Finance; Room 103, State House 1:00 pm HB 354-FN-A-L, making an appropriation to the department of education to provide additional adequate education grant payments to certain municipalities.
To our friends and members in Manchester's Ward 8 and to the friends and family of Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, the League expresses condolences on his passing on March 26. A special election to fill his seat will be announced later this spring.
This latest bill passed the Senate 13 to 10 in March 2017, has gone to House Ways and Means. House representatives need to be told that casino gaming is an unreliable and socially regressive way to fund state government.
Defeated in the Senate March 24, 2016 is another expanded gaming bill, SB551, which would have allowed one casino at Rockingham Park in Salem. League continues to doubt the figures presented as potential state revenue, given that Massachusetts' plans for a casino less than an hour away are going forward. League opposes this bill. Our position on gambling is on our Positions page.
Leading the effort to defeat expanded gambling last year and this year is an organization dedicated to preventing casinos from gaining entrance into our state: Casino Free New Hampshire. (see the website and Facebook page
Looking ahead: next full House session is Wed., April 5 possible continuation to Thursday. Their list of bills is not yet available.
Following the Budget: The Finance Committee will hold budget briefings on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2018 and June 30, 2019 and HB 2-FN-A-L,relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures. This will occur in Representatives Hall on Monday, April 3, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. This will be livestreamed, so you can listen at home: Click on the first item in the top left box.
House hearings March 27-April 1: None of our priority bills are being heard next week. For a complete list of House hearings check the House Calendar:
We are looking a week ahead to House Election Law committee meetings (LOB room 308) on Tuesday, April 4, for hearings on several bills that have already passed the Senate, including at 10:40 SB113 electronic toll books, which easily passed the Senate. (We support.)
Senate hearings March 27-April 1: None of our priority bills are being heard next week. Light week for committees, and all bills being heard have already passed the House. For a complete list of Senate hearings check the Senate Calendar.
Next full House and Senate sessions will both be held on Thursday, March 23, at 10 am.
Senate: none of the League priority bills seem to be on the Senate agenda. Because the Senate must act on all bills originating in that body by March 30, it is our guess that SB3 (tightening voter registration) and SB7 (tightening qualifications for food stamps) will be voted on March 30.
House: On the consent calendar (overwhelmingly supported in committees, so unlikely to generate floor debate)--many bills including these: HB 356-FN, (New Title) establishing a committee to study education funding and the cost of an opportunity for an adequate education. Recommended unanimously by Education committee OUGHT TO PASS WITH AMENDMENT. The education adequacy laws set the formula for how much the state distributes for each public school student and also differentiated aid (free and reduced meals, English language learner, special education and third grade reading). The formula has seen many changes throughout its history, and this bill establishes a committee to analyze the success of the current law and propose changes. An amendment was added to simplify the criteria under which the committee would act. (League note--this is probably a good thing, as the last time education adequacy was studied it was highly emotional. Time to look at it again with more objectivity.)
House: On the Regular Calendar bills include the following of note:
HB 354 making an appropriation to the department of education to provide additional adequate education grant payments to certain municipalities. Committee recommends OUGHT TO PASS WITH AMENDMENT 26-0, so not sure why this will be debated on the floor.
HB 647 establishing education freedom savings accounts for children with disabilities. Committee recommended INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE because of several problems with the bill. (Note that Senate passed related SB193 on March 16, but SB193 does not refer exclusively to students with disabilities.)
(Note that last week the House had a marathon 2-day session with dozens of bills--this time only about 8 on the regular calendar. Does that mean some bills tabled on March 8 and 9 might be taken off the table and voted on? Don't know; we have been told it would require a 2/3 vote to do that. Tabled last week was the civil rights bill HB478, among others.)
Committee Hearings: Tuesday, March 21 Senate
ELECTION LAW Room 102, Legislative Office Building
9:00 a.m. EXECUTIVE SESSION on pending legislation including SB3 and SB47, probably. (League and other voting rights groups oppose both of these bills.)
10:00 a.m.HB 91, relative to General John Stark Day. 10:20 a.m. HB 218, relative to activities at polling places (prohibits distributing campaign materials at the polls). 10:40 a.m. HB 247, relative to retention of voter registration forms (technical bill for supervisors of checklists and town clerks). 11:00 a.m. HB 262, establishing the blackberry as the state berry. (Warner 4th graders sponsored this bill)
11:20 a.m. HB 372, relative to construction of the terms "resident," "inhabitant," "residence," and "residency." (League opposes)
11:40 a.m. SB 248, ratifying the elections and meetings that were postponed due to a weather emergency on March 14, 2017. EXECUTIVE SESSION may follow.
FINANCE Room 103, State House
1:00 p.m. Hearing on proposed amendment #2017-0929s, establishing the Granite Workforce pilot program to SB 7, relative to eligibility for food stamps. (League has copied what was in the Senate Calendar for this hearing, but on 3/16 the Senate apparently added this further amendment after passing SB7 as amended 2017-0898s, so we're not sure exactly what will be discussed in this hearing.) This amended bill passed the Senate along party lines on March 16 after passionate discussion, now goes to Finance to figure out the funding issues.
EXECUTIVE SESSION on pending legislation may follow.
Wednesday, March 22 Senate
WAYS AND MEANS Room 100, State House
9:15 a.m. HB 560-FN-A-L, establishing keno. (League has opposed attempts to expand gambling in NH as a way of raising revenue for a number of reasons, but this bill is so far the least offensive in many years, allows for local rejection of licenses, limits hours and kinds of venues, etc. We will not oppose it in the hearing. Amended fiscal note suggests this might yield up to $8 million for the state's education trust fund annually.)
10 am or later, Executive Session on pending bills + may include HB489 establishing a commission to study adaptation of the tax structure of the state to economic and demographic change, which passed the House on a voice vote Feb. 16.
Hearings in the House week of March 20-24--a little break for Election Law and Education committees, but Finance and Public Works are going full tilt. If you want details, "check the House Calendar."<http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/caljourns/calendars/2017/HC_16.pdf
A huge thank you to all the people who turned out for the public hearing on SB3, the bill that attempts to change voter registration drastically. Great turnout; impassioned and reasoned testimony in opposition. The Senate Election Law committee will hold executive session on that bill and others on Tuesday, March 21, beginning at 9 am in LOB 102. League is eager to hear their discussion!
We are at that point in the legislative session where some bills have passed in either the House or Senate and are now being considered in the other body's relevant committees. Many other bills have been tabled, voted Inexpedient to Legislate, or have been Retained for further study (no action on them now). Some bills have passed in the original body but then were sent to their Finance committee for closer examination of costs. Those bills will come out of Finance for another vote in the full Senate or House. As a result, we'll see fewer committee hearings where public testimony will be considered than we've had in February.
The full Senate will next meet Thursday, March 16 at 10 am. To see the complete list of bills they will vote on, read the Senate calendar for March 10.
Of particular interest on the list of bills are these:
SB 83-FN-L, relative to the state minimum wage. Commerce committee recommends Inexpedient to Legislate, Vote 3-2. Understandable given that the House just defeated a minimum wage bill 193-169. UPDATE 3/16/17 Senate defeated this.
SB 193-FN, establishing education freedom savings accounts for students. Finance committee recommends Ought to Pass, Vote 4-1. (Basic bill has already passed the Senate. We have posted a NH Representative's statement on this bill on our website without having taken a League position--see Education Study page of LWVNH.org) UPDATE 3/16/17 Senate passed this bill.
SB 197-FN-A, making an appropriation to the department of justice to enforce election and lobbying laws. Finance committee recommends Ought to Pass with Amendment, Vote 4-1. This bill would allocate $500,000 to the Attorney General's office to enforce election and campaign finance laws--maybe they could actually check out some of the rumored claims of election irregularities and campaign finances with these funds! UPDATE 3/16/17 Senate amended this to $100,000 per year for two years (I think) and passed it.
SB 236-FN, making the Medicaid expansion law permanent. Health & Human Services committee recommends Ought to Pass with Amendment, Vote 4-1. UPDATE 3/16/17 Senate tabled this bill.
SB 233-FN, establishing a committee to study the legalization of marijuana. Judiciary recommends Inexpedient to Legislate, Vote 5-0. (Note that the House has passed a bill to decriminalize under 1 ounce of marijuana, but not to legalize it.) UPDATE 3/16/17 Senate killed this bill 19-4.
No Senate hearings of note this week.
The full House will next meet Thursday, March 23 10 am. We won't know which bills will be up for a vote in the House until March 17.
For a complete Calendar of House hearings March 13-March 17, click on this link.
Of particular note at this time of year is the hard work of the House Public Works and Highways Committee, which oversees the capital budget. They are having work sessions every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (except 3/14, town meeting day) for the next several weeks on various capital expenditure items. They meet in LOB 210-211 starting in the morning. Check the complete calendar above to see the specific items they will be addressing. Thank you, Representatives on the Public Works Committee, for your commitment.
Same goes for House Finance--meeting just about daily. Thank you, Representatives.
House hearings of note week of March 13-17:
House Election Law committee seems to be taking a well-earned rest before dealing with Senate bills that have crossed over. No hearings scheduled this week. A little break for the League too.
Wednesday, March 15 the Education committee is hard at work, Room 207, LOB. Note that these bills have already passed in the Senate, so if you wish to testify pro or con, now is the time:
9:45 a.m. SB 45, requiring a course in civics for high school graduation.
1:45 p.m. SB 43, relative to non-academic surveys administered by a public school to its students.
2:15 p.m. SB 44, prohibiting the state from requiring implementation of common core standards.
3:00 p.m. SB 8-FN, relative to school attendance in towns with no public schools.
Executive session on pending legislation may be held throughout the day, time permitting, from the time the committee is initially convened.
No other hearings scheduled on League priority bills this coming week.
It is traditional during the week of NH school vacation for the House and Senate not to meet in full session, so no big votes this week. Senate committees are also in recess. Next House session will be Wed or Thurs March 8-9 (possibly both days). In our next alert we will list specific League priority bills for those full House votes; we don't have that list yet.
Next Senate session will be Thursday, March 9, to vote on a number of bills including the following bills of interest to the League--where we have a position, we so indicate. If you wish to express your support or opposition in advance of these bills being voted on March 9, please call or email only your own Senator or senators you know personally. Under Election Law votes in the full Senate March 9:
*SB 113 relative to an electronic poll book trial program. UPDATE 3/9/17 This bill was voted Ought to Pass with Amendment in the full Senate. League testified in favor of this bill and we are pleased the committee agreed.One step in making voting more efficient.
SB 194-FN authorizing online voter registration. UPDATE 3/9 Full senate voted Inexpedient to Legislate. League testified in favor of this secure modernization of voter registration. We are disappointed.
Also Tuesday, March 7, for those following Education bills--these have already passed in the House, now move to hearings in the Senate: Room 103, LOB 9:00 a.m., HB 103, relative to school district policies regarding objectionable course material. 9:20 a.m., HB 166, relative to assessments administered to pupils in grades 3 through 8. 9:40 a.m., HB 233, relative to the submission of school emergency response plans. 10:00 a.m., HB 275, prohibiting the inclusion of statewide assessment results in a student's transcript without consent.
House hearings--no vacation break for some of these committees!
On Tuesday, Feb. 28: ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB 10:00 a.m. Continued executive session on HB 616-FN-L, relative to persons executing election affidavits. League opposes. There may also be reconsideration of HB 552, which League opposed, giving investigatory power to the Secretary of State regarding voter ID verification. UPDATE 3/8--This bill passed the House 181-163, goes on to Senate where we will continue the fight.
Several Education bills that have already passed the House have moved on to hearings in Finance--without an appropriation these bills mean little. Finance Committee decides on the appropriations. FINANCE - DIVISION II, Room 209, LOB 1:30 p.m. Division work session on HB 354-FN-A-L, making an appropriation to the department of education to provide additional adequate education grant payments to certain municipalities. 2:00 p.m. Division work session on HB 356-FN, establishing a committee to study education funding and the cost of an opportunity for an adequate education. 2:30 p.m. Division work session on HB 641-FN-A, relative to high school students participating in New Hampshire's dual and concurrent enrollment program and making an appropriation therefor. 3:00 p.m.Division work session on HB 647-FN-L, establishing education freedom savings accounts for children with disabilities
HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Room 205, LOB 9:00 a.m. Executive session on a number of interesting bills, not League priority but the public may wish to follow these: HB 472, permitting qualifying patients to cultivate cannabis for their own therapeutic use; HB 610-FN, implementing needle exchange programs in New Hampshire. Not sure whether they will also exec HB478, the anti-discrimination bill that adds "gender identity" to the list of protected characteristics--League submitted written testimony in support of this civil rights protection bill. UPDATE 3/9--TO THE ASTONISHMENT OF MANY, THIS BILL WAS TABLED. NOT LIKELY TO RETURN THIS YEAR--WOULD TAKE A 2/3 VOTE TO DO SO.
On Thursday, March 2: FINANCE - DIVISION II, Room 209, LOB continues its work from Tuesday: 3:00 p.m. Division work session on HB 354-FN-A-L, making an appropriation to the department of education to provide additional adequate education grant payments to certain municipalities; HB 356-FN, establishing a committee to study education funding and the cost of an opportunity for an adequate education; HB 641-FN-A, relative to high school students participating in New Hampshire's dual and concurrent enrollment program and making an appropriation therefor; HB 647-FN-L, establishing education freedom savings accounts for children with disabilities.
WHAT HAPPENED THIS PAST WEEK: The Governor signed into law SB12, repealing the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver. Regarding Election Law: This week was better than last for election reform bills with two Ought to Pass votes, one Retain (for further study by the committee, over the summer and fall), and one Inexpedient to Legislate (in effect, killing the bill for this year). In the full Senate on Thursday 2/23, the Inexpedient to Legislate recommendation on SB 33 (closes the loophole allowing independent groups to not disclose their spending) was defeated 14-9 and then SB 33 passed 14-9 (good news). Unfortunately, SB 115 (closes the LLC donation limit loophole) was defeated on the Senate floor, 14-9 Inexpedient to Legislate. (League had supported SB115 as one small step in a long road of needed campaign finance reforms.) In the House Election Law committee on Tuesday Feb.21, HB 537 (closes the $5K pre-filing donation loophole) passed 19-0 and is on the Consent Calendar for the next full House session. Also on 2/21, Election Law voted 20-0 to retain HB 533 (same as SB 33 above). A number of other Election Law bills that deal with amending election paperwork are being retained for further study.
Reminder that you can read the entire list of bills and hearings for the week on the General Court's website by clicking on House Calendar or Senate Calendar. You can also find the text of each bill by clicking on Quick Bill Search <http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/> League members, if you want to take specific action, I've attached a page about the House and Senate Election Law committees. Look at it, and if any of these people are representing your own district, you can be a big help by calling them about specific bills. Feel free to email me for more details! Liz Tentarelli.Click here for election law committee members list.
The next meeting of the full House will not be this week. No date yet announced.
Full Senate meets Thursday, Feb. 23. To see the list of bills the Senate will vote on, you can read their Calendar: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/scaljourns/calendars/2017/sc%2011.pdf Of particular interest are the following bills to be considered by the entire Senate: SB45 requiring a half year civics course in high school (seems like a good idea to League); SB133 reducing the requirement for staff at the prisons to go through body scans each time they enter the prison (League supports and Dept of Corrections supports); SB142 acquisition of a portrait of the first female senator in NH (League supports); SB44 prohibiting state from requiring use of Common Core standards; SB192 regarding school building aid; SB224 prohibiting conversion therapy on minors (similar HB587 being heard in House committee Tuesday). League supports SB115, a tiny step on the way to campaign finance reform regarding donations by LLCs.
Tuesday, Feb. 21, the following House committees will hear testimony or hold executive session on bills including these:
Education LOB room 207 11:00 am, executive session on a number of charter school bills.
Election Law LOB room 308 10 am hearing on greatly amended HB642 (hearing continued from earlier)--League opposed the original bill 11:30 am Executive Session includes many bills that League opposes; we will be taking notes.
Finance--Division II LOB room 209 2:30 work session on charter school funding bill HB 584 and on the higher education budget HB409.
Health and Human Services: LOB room 305-307 (big crowd expected today) 10 am HB587 prohibits counseling services from engaging in conversion therapy with a minor.UPDATE--RETAINED IN COMMITTEE 1:15 pm HB 478, prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity (LWVNH will offer testimony in support of this anti-discrimination bill) UPDATE--TABLED BY HOUSE 3/9
Judiciary LOB room 208 10 am Executive session on a number of bills including HB 578-FN, relative to banning abortion after viability (21 weeks given as date in bill's text). This bill would create a new RSA chapter: Viable Unborn Child Protection Act.
Legislative Administration LOB room 104 10:00 a.m. HB 475, honoring Jessie Doe and Mary L.R. Farnum, the first women elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives, by authorizing the acquisition of portrait(s) for the State House. (League supports, hopes this will come to pass in time for the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote and the founding of the League. Read about these two women in the January issue of the NHVoter on our Publications page: http://lwvnh.org/Publications.html UPDATE 3/8/17 PASSED THE HOUSE :) 11:10 a.m. HCR 8, urging the adoption of rules for the operation of an Article 5 convention (League opposes an Article 5 convention unless it is limited and rules are set in stone in advance.)
Senate Election Law, LOB room 102 9 am SB113 authorizing a trial program of electronic poll books (League supports) 9:30 am CACR9 Proposed Constitutional Amendment changing term of office from 2 to 4 years for governor, executive council, state senators, and state representatives. (League has a long-held position in favor of 4 years term for governor, will support at least that part)
Senate Judiciary Committee State House room 100 9:30 am SB233 to legalize up to 1 oz of marijuana and to create a study commission on marijuana
Wednesday, Feb. 22 House committee hearings of interest:
Criminal Justice, LOB room 204 10:00 am Executive session will include HB351 to expand the death penalty to include the murder of a child. League opposes the death penalty (our national position) so we oppose this bill.
Election Law, Room 308, LOB 10:00 a.m. Executive session on HB 642-FN, relative to eligibility to vote and relative to student identification cards; HB 372, relative to construction of the terms "resident," "inhabitant," "residence," and "residency."; HB 404, relative to eligibility to vote, voter registration forms, and absentee ballot requests; HB 402, relative to presumptive evidence of domicile for voters; HB 403, relative to domicile affidavits; HB 651-FN, relative to wrongful voting and penalties for voter fraud; HB 552-FN, relative to investigation of undeliverable voter verification letters; HB 616-FN-L, relative to persons executing election affidavits. (League will be there taking notes on discussion. Most of these bills are attempts to restrict voting rights or change current election law to make voting harder for groups of people or are a knee-jerk response to unsubstantiated claims of wide-spread voter fraud.)
Health & Human Services and Elderly Affairs, Room 205, LOB 10:00 a.m. Executive session on a slew of bills relating to medical marijuana. League has no position.
Coming up in House and Senate Committees--bills to be heard include:
Monday, February 13 Senate Health and Human Services, Room 101, Legislative Office Building 9:45 AM SB 236 This would make the Medicaid expansion law permanent. It is set to expire on December 31, 2018. An important bill for healthcare advocates to follow.
Tuesday, February 14
House Election Law, Room 308, Legislative Office Building
10:00 AM HB 616, requiring people who vote with an affidavit on election day to prove their qualifications for voting within 10 days. League opposes this bill as unrealistic; if a voter doesn't have a driver's license on election day, it is unlikely he will be able to produce one within 10 days!
10:20 AM Continued hearing on HB 348, authorizing the DMV to receive voter registration forms with driver's license applications. League supports this bill. The applications still will go to the town's supervisors of the checklist who must authorize placement on the poll books.
11:00 AM Executive session on HB 519, establishing a commission to study the feasibility of implementing a clearinghouse model for tracking political expenditures and contributions; HB 622, allowing all voters to vote by absentee ballot (League supports); HB 320, relative to procedures for apportioning electoral districts, creating a mathematical formula for redistricting; and HB 116, requiring legislative hearings to assess the consequences of the Citizens United decision.
Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs, Room 102, Legislative Office Building
9:00 AM SB 194 This bill would authorize online voter registration through the DMV. League supports this bill. Registering in your town is still possible, but this is one more option, easy to do for people with drivers licenses from NH.
9:20 AM SB 107 establishes an independent redistricting commission. League has been advocating for this for non-partisan way to redistrict for a dozen years in NH. Please support this sensible system. League will testify in favor of SB107, as they testified in favor of its companion bill in the House several weeks ago.
Senate Commerce, Room 100, State House 1:45 PM SB 83 establishes a state minimum wage, which would increase incrementally. In September 2017 the minimum wage would be $8.50. In 2018 it would increase twice: in March to $10.00, and in September to $12.00. The tipped minimum wage would remain the same as it is now, 45% of the minimum wage.
Of the many hearings being held in the NH Legislature this coming week, one stands out. HB 351 would make the murder of a child a capital crime, punishable by the death penalty. League agrees that the murder of a child is a terrible thing, but it is rare and punished effectively in NH. The League's national position is in opposition to the death penalty for ethical reasons (and also we might consider financial reasons--prosecution of just one capital crime costs the state millions of dollars). No need to testify, but if you can get to Concord, please sign in as OPPOSED to HB 351. Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2 pm, Room 204 of the Legislative Office Building.
On Tuesday, the Senate Education committee will hear testimony on SB192, which would reinstate school building projects state aid. Important for school funding advocates to attend this. LOB room 103. Also on Tuesday, the House Education committee will have an executive session on several school funding bills, beginning at 1 pm (LOB room 207). No public testimony will be taken, but school funding advocates may wish to monitor the discussion. It is a public meeting that anyone can attend. On Wednesday the House Education committee will have executive session starting at 9:30 am on bills that include funding for full-day kindergarten (HB155) and several others. Advance notice to members and friends focusing on education: On Tuesday Feb. 14, House Education committee will have executive session on HB207 prohibiting implementing Common Core standards in public schools and CACR7 about school funding and standards. Check out the bills.
On both Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 7 and 8, LOB 308, the House Election Law committee will hear testimony on 12 bills, of which League supports only one (I think--we're still waking thru 'em). The others we oppose and will so testify on some of them. ACLU and other groups are also testifying against bills that restrict voting access, make voting harder for some, violate the constitution, and in other ways erode our voting rights. Some of the bills seem minor at first, but the cumulative effect is "like being pecked to death by ducks." League members are busy writing testimony right now. (FYI--the bill we support is HB622, allowing voters to vote by absentee ballot without giving illness, disability, or being out of the area as reasons. League knows that many people have busy schedules, family obligations, transportation challenges, and other situations that would make absentee voting the reasonable way to vote. Long waits at the polls might be diminished; more people might vote--good things.) Gluttons for punishment, the committee is holding an Executive Session beginning at 1 pm on Tuesday. League opposes HB231 (proportional electoral voting), supports HB 235 (allowing the use of an assisted living photo ID to vote--I'm getting older just typing this email and may be there soon), HB320 (one way to do redistricting--has possibilities, but we prefer an independent redistricting commission be created and make that decision), and others.
Also on Tuesday, Feb. 7, the Senate Election Law committee meets at 9 am (LOB room 102) to hear testimony on SB106, which League and ACLU and others believe is a terrible bill that is likely unconstitutional. It raises issues that have been raised before and defeated. Will the fight to have fair and open elections ever be won?
House Science, Technology & Energy committee meets Tuesday, Feb. 7 (in Representatives Hall--they expect a crowd) at 10 am to hear testimony on HB 592 to repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
Wednesday, Feb. 8, is the House hearing on SB 11, the "right to work" without joining a union bill. It has passed the Senate already. 10 am in Representatives Hall--there will be crowds on both sides of the issue.
On Wednesday the House State-Federal Relations committee will hear testimony on HCR5, a Resolution calling for an Article V convention to proposed Constitutional Amendments on limiting the power of the federal govt., impose fiscal constraints, and impose term limits. (League opposes Article V convention bills unless/until such time as all the specifics of electors and scope are worked out. The possibility of a "runaway convention" are real.) (LOB room 206, 10 am)
Advance notice of a bill we will enthusiastically support: House Legislative Administration will meet on Tuesday, Feb. 21 10 am in LOB 104 to hear HB 475, honoring the first two women to serve in the NH legislature (1921--just after women got the right to vote) with portraits in the State House. For the story of these two women, see the League's January NH Voter, p. 4
In the Senate, the following committees will meet to hear testimony on bills: Tuesday, Jan. 31: ELECTION LAW AND INTERNAL AFFAIRS, Room 102, LOB
9:00 a.m. SB 109, authorizing a moderator to conduct a verification count of machine-counted ballots.
9:40 a.m. SB 114, prohibiting a candidate from receiving the nomination of more than one party.
10:00 a.m. SB 115, relative to political contributions made by limited liability companies (League supports this increased transparency in campaign financing)
JUDICIARY, Room 100, SH (The Judiciary committee has grouped several bills involving sexual assault issues)
9:00 a.m. SB 98-FN, eliminating the statute of limitations on sexual assault.
9:20 a.m. SB 164-FN, removing the limitations on actions for sexual assaults on victims under 18 years of age.
9:40 a.m. SB 166, relative to termination of the parent-child relationship in cases of sexual assault.
10:00 a.m. SB 167, relative to the burden of proof in termination of parental rights cases
In the House: The House will meet in full session on Thursday, Feb. 2. On the Consent calendar (these bills are voted on generally without debate on the floor, because the committee recommendation is unanimous or nearly so) are some bills on charter schools and reduced assessment testing in grades 3-8.
Also to be voted on (Regular Calendar) are the following bills, where the committee recommendations were split. If you care about these bills, contacting your representative before Thursday to make your views known could make a difference in the vote:
HB 103, relative to school district policies regarding objectionable course material
HB 129-FN and HB 297-FN , repealing the education tax credit (funds from corporations taking advantage of this have been used for scholarships for students at mostly religious schools)
HB 148, relative to chartered public school teacher qualifications [increasing the percent of chartered school teachers that must meet teacher qualification].
HB 276, relative to student exemption from the statewide assessment [allowing parents to opt out of testing for their children]
In the House, committees will hold hearings for the following bills on Tuesday, Jan. 31: RESOURCES, RECREATION AND DEVELOPMENT, Room 305, LOB
10:45 a.m. HB 463-FN, regulating groundwater pollution caused by polluting emissions in the air . Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=522&txtFormat=pdf&v=current [We know that many League members are concerned about the environment. Is anyone interested in attending this hearing to observe and report back to League?]
DATE Correction: this committee will meet Wed., Feb. 1. CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY will meet in Representatives Hall in the State House to hearing testimony on several important bills; expected to draw a crowd:
10:00 a.m. SB 12-FN, repealing the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver. (This bill passed in the Senate, has had two amendments since it's Jan. 10 hearing in the Senate.)
1:00 p.m. HB 640-FN, relative to the penalties for possession of marijuana.
2:00 p.m. HB 656-FN-A-L, relative to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.
Wednesday Feb. 1, ELECTION LAW committee will hear testimony and move into executive session, Room 308, LOB
10:00 a.m. HB 231, relative to allocation of electoral votes. (League opposes--this would create proportional allocation, such as Maine uses. It could, if used by many other states, lead to no victor in the electoral college and throw the presidential election into the House of Representatives. League will submit this written testimony in opposition.)
10:30 a.m. HB 320, relative to procedures for apportioning electoral districts [This is a redistricting plan relying on an outside expert to use mathematical algorithms to determine districts. League wants to learn more.] Bill text: <http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=534&txtFormat=pdf&v=current>
11:30 a.m. Executive session on pending legislation may be held throughout the day, time permitting, from the time the committee is initially convened.
HB 240, relative to state party conventions;
HB 497, relative to delegates to national party conventions;
HB 379, relative to political advertising in rights-of-way;
HB 453, relative to vacancies in the office of supervisor of the checklist;
HB 203-FN-A, establishing an independent redistricting commission; (League supports; testified last week in favor)
HB 389, relative to voters with physical disabilities;
HB 390, relative to parties on certain election forms and ballots and relative to the voter registration form used on the day of the general election.
Of interest to League members in the Kearsarge area, on Thursday's consent calendar in the House is the bill developed by 4th graders at Simonds school in Warner. They attended the hearing on the bill and gave reasons based on their research: HB 262,establishing the blackberry as the state berry. (Committee report:)The committee supports and applauds the efforts of the fourth grade students from the Simonds Elementary School in Warner to have the blackberry designated as the state berry. The blackberry is a native fruit found in all ten of New Hampshire's counties and is ideal for growing in the state's rocky soil. Some on the committee envision a number of potential marketing opportunities for New Hampshire growers in marketing the sale of blackberries and related products at farm stands and farmer's markets throughout the state. Vote to recommend this bill was 12-1 Ought to Pass in the Executive Departments committee.
<b?Update on two bills from an earlier alert: The Senate on 1/19/17 passed both the concealed carry without special license bill SB11, and the "right to work" bill SB12. Those bills will, at some point, go to the House for hearings and then a vote in the House.
Senate hearings: Tuesday, Jan. 24
ELECTION LAW, LOB room 102
9:00 am, SB 47, authorizing the Secretary of State to investigate whether election laws have been violated and to institute enforcement proceedings (previously the work of the Attorney General's office). Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=882&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
EDUCATION, Room 103, LOB
9:00 a.m., SB 45, requiring a course in civics for high school graduation.
10:30 a.m. SB 44, prohibiting the state from requiring implementation of common core standards. Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=215&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
Senate hearings: Thursday, Jan. 26
JUDICIARY, Room 100, State House
10:00 a.m. CACR 8, relating to eliminating registers of probate. Providing that part II, article 71 be amended to eliminate registers of probate. Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=586&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
10:30 a.m. SB 66-FN, including a viable fetus in the definition of "another" for purposes of
certain criminal offenses. Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=427&txtFormat=pdf&v=current Note that this is very similar to HB156, Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/Results.aspx?q=1
heard last week in the House Criminal Justice committee. Both bills explicitly state that abortion is excluded from consideration as a criminal offense.
The next House session will be Thursday, January 26, 2017, at 10:00 a.m.
House hearings: Tuesday, Jan. 24
EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
10:00 a.m. HB 354-FN-A-L, making an appropriation to the department of education to provide additional adequate education grant payments to certain municipalities. (School funding advocates may wish to attend this hearing. These are towns that did not get extra funding in the past.) Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=272&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
1:00 p.m. HB 533, relative to political advocacy organizations. Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=553&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
1:30 p.m. HB 519, establishing a commission to study the feasibility of implementing a clearinghouse
model for tracking political expenditures and contributions. [This is a long-term approach to increase transparency around campaign finances--commission would be appointed and study models of reporting] Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=611&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
2:00 p.m. HB 537, relative to campaign contributions [for candidates who have agreed to spending limits] Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=608&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB
11:00 a.m. HB 560-FN-A-L, establishing keno. (League has testified against this expansion of gambling a number of times over the past 5 years. It get defeated and then comes back like a bad rash.)
2:00 p.m. HB 415-FN-A-L, reducing business taxes, repealing certain taxes, establishing an income tax, and requiring payment by the state of a portion of retirement system contributions of political
subdivision employers. [yes, this bill proposes an income tax. Long bill, needs to be looked at carefully.] Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=217&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
Wed., Jan. 25
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB
1:00 p.m. HB 526, relative to rules relating to prison rehabilitation programs and inmate health. [bill is a minor amendment to existing rehabilitation rules but emphasizes the focus be on the inmates] Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=755&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
1:45 p.m. HB 544-FN, relative to earned time credits for prisoners participating in rehabilitative or
educational programming. [minor tweaking of a bill that passed last year, which League supported] Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=760&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB
11:00 a.m. HB 464, relative to voter identification requirements when obtaining a ballot. "This bill repeals the authority of election officials to vouch for the identity of voters or to accept any photo identification they determine to be legitimate." [League says this is the same old voter repression stuff and disapproves.] Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=566&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
11:30 a.m. HB 447, relative to allocating electoral college electors based on the national popular vote (League supports the National Popular Vote Compact as one way of achieving popular election of the President. The League's goal is the elimination of the Electoral College; in the meantime the NPVC is one way to deal with elections. League position can be found in Impact on Issues--see Positions on the LWVNH.org website) Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=368&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
JUDICIARY, Room 208, LOB
11:00 a.m. HB 476, relative to the duties of registers of probate. (a topic that came up during the recent election) [This bill would apparently restore the duties of the register of probate in each county, that had been earlier assigned to the clerk of the probate court. See related CACR 8 being heard in the Senate that would do exactly the opposite] Bill text is merely replacing "clerk" with the words "register of probate" in existing law: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=221&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Rooms 305-307, LOB
10:00 a.m. HB 115-FN, establishing a state minimum wage and providing for adjustments to the minimum wage (League does not have a position on this, but we know many of our members care greatly) Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=1&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
STATE-FEDERAL RELATIONS AND VETERANS AFFAIRS, Room 206, LOB
10:00 a.m. Executive session on several bills including HCR 3, rescinding all applications by the New Hampshire legislature for a federal constitutional convention and urging other states to withdraw similar requests (League signed in as supporting this bill when it was heard last week, based on our national League position); HR 7, calling on the United States Senate and House of Representatives to consider a constitutional amendment prohibiting campaign contributions unless the donor is eligible to vote in that federal election (an interesting bill--League listened to testimony last week and we are intrigued). (Reminder: no public testimony is taken during executive sessions, but they are worth watching to see how various legislators think about bills)
2:00 p.m. HCR 7, applying to the United States Congress to convene a limited convention for the exclusive purpose of proposing amendments to the federal Constitution concerning election reform that
do not abrogate or amend the First Amendment to the federal Constitution (League has serious reservations about the possibility of actually limiting a federal constitutional convention)
WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202, LOB--Several very interesting tax bills being heard this morning.
9:00 a.m. HB 440-FN-A-L, repealing the tax on interest and dividends.
10:00 a.m. HB 529-FN-A-L, phasing out and repealing the interest and dividends tax.
11:00 a.m. HB 489, establishing a commission to study the tax structure of the state. [Not sure how far this bill will go, but to League it seems we are long overdue for a serious look at the fiscal issues facing NH] Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=392&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
Wednesday, Feb. 1
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND ENERGY, Room 304, LOB (We are looking for someone to observe and report back to the League board on energy issues. If interested, please contact the League president via our contact page on LWVNH.org)
9:00 a.m. HB 462, relative to rules of the site evaluation committee.
10:00 a.m. HB 162, relative to the criteria for the issuance of certificates for the siting of high pressure
11:00 a.m. HB 493, relative to evaluating the public interest of gas pipeline capacity contracts.
1:30 p.m. HB 179, relative to financing the construction of high pressure gas pipelines.
Tuesday, Feb. 7
LEGISLATIVE ADMINISTRATION, Room 104, LOB
11:00 a.m. HB 406, establishing a committee to study procedures for a New Hampshire constitutional
convention [We've had state constitutional conventions before, so why we need to study the procedures is unclear. This would, however, lay groundwork for a possible future state constitutional convention.] Bill text: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2017&id=741&txtFormat=pdf&v=current
Same day, same committee, 11:am: HB235 adding assisted living photo IDs to the acceptable IDs list for voting purposes. Click here to read text
Same day, same committee, 1:20 pm. Hearing on HB116. This bill requires legislative hearings assessing the consequences of the Citizens United decision evaluating related proposals to amend the United States Constitution and calls upon New Hampshire's congressional delegation to support an amendment to the United States Constitution.
Education Tues., Jan. 17 11:20 am LOB 207: House Education committee will hear testimony on HB207. This bill prohibits the department of education and the state board of education from requiring any school or school district to implement the common core standards.
Wed., Jan. 18, 10:30 am LOB 207: House Education committee will hear testimony on a possible Constitutional Amendment, CACR 7, about the state's role in public education. "Title: relating to public education. Providing that the general court [meaning the state legislature] shall have the authority to define standards of accountability, mitigate local disparities in educational opportunity and fiscal capacity, and have full discretion to determine the amount of state funding for education." Click here for bill text This hearing is likely to be crowded--plan accordingly.
Healthcare Wed., Jan. 18, 1:30 pm, room 302 LOB: The House Commerce and Consumer Affairs committee will hear testimony on HB250, to establish a commission to assess the benefits and costs of a "health care for all" program for NH. Click here to read the bill
There are no Senate hearings this week on League priority issues.
SB11, prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union, was voted Ought to Pass by the Senate Commerce committee on 1/10/17. League does not have a position on so-called Right to Work legislation, but we realize many of our members feel strongly about it. If you wish to ask your NH Senator to vote one way or the other, now is the time to make your thoughts known. You can read the text of the bill at this website:. To find the phone number and email of your state senator, you may visit this website
SB 12, repealing the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed weapon, was voted Ought to Pass by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 1/10/17. League's national position in short states support for: Gun Control [to] protect the health and safety of citizens through limiting the accessibility and regulating the ownership of handguns and semi-automatic weapons. Support regulation of firearms for consumer safety. The full text of the League's gun control position is on page 80 of Impact on Issues, (the 82nd page of the pdf ) at this website
You can read the text of the bill at this website
If you wish to urge your state senator to vote on this, now is the time to make contact. To find the phone number and email of your state senator, you may visit this website
If the bills pass in the Senate, they will go to the House for further hearings and votes. Both bills would have the support of Governor Sununu, according to his own statements, if they make it to his desk.
League's choice of bills to highlight is determined by our priorities and areas of interest as expressed by members. League board members or designees may testify on some of the bills.
Complete lists of the next week's legislative hearings can be found on this website: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/ Click on either the House Calendars and Journals or the Senate Calendars and Journals links. The newest Calendar will be at the top of each list and will include hearings in the coming week (or two). Calendars come out each Friday. Room numbers and times are given for the hearings (SH = State House and LOB = Legislative Office Building, across the street behind the State House).
Tuesday, Jan. 10: The Senate commerce committee will hear testimony on the "right to work" bill. 1:00 pm in Representatives Hall, SH. Bill SB11-FN text
Tuesday, Jan. 10: Senate Judiciary committee will hear testimony on repealing the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver. 9:00 am SH room 100. Bill SB12 text
Tuesday, Jan. 10: House Election Law will have its orientation meeting, followed by hearings at 11:30 (HB249 relative to showing a ballot--reverses changes made to prohibition on showing a ballot that were enacted in 2014--the "ballot selfie" law), 11:50 (HB218 prohibits distributing campaign materials and electioneering inside the polling place), and 12:10 (HB253 eliminates the prohibition on wearing campaign materials at the polling place). In LOB room 308
Tuesday, Jan. 10: House Legislative Administration will hear testimony on a HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION HCR2 supporting efforts to ensure that students from NH have access to debt-free high education at public colleges and universities. LOB room 104 10:30 am.
Election Law: SB4, would require 30-days domicile in NH. LEAGUE OPPOSED. Update May 12, 2016--this bill passed the House with an amendment, but failed to get thru committee of conference. Bill is dead. SB423, would allow 17 year olds to register if they will be 18 by the next election. LEAGUE SUPPORTS THE SPIRIT OF ENCOURAGING YOUNG PEOPLE'S INTEREST IN VOTING. Update May 12, 2016--This bill passed. Tell all your young friends that if they will be 18 by the time of an upcoming election, they can go to their town or city clerk to register at their convenience, even if they are still 17.
SB464 --drug court grant program. LEAGUE SUPPORTED AND HAS TESTIFIED IN FAVOR. The amendment includes appropriation. Update: this bill has become law.
SB466--to send 17 year old offenders to the Sununu Youth Center rather than to prison or county houses of correction, in compliance with PREA recommendations. LEAGUE SUPPORTS. Update: this bill has become law.
SCR 3, (New Title) applying to the United States Congress to convene a limited convention for the exclusive purpose of proposing amendments to the federal Constitution concerning election reform that do not abrogate or amend the first amendment to the federal Constitution. MAJORITY: OUGHT TO PASS. MINORITY: INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE. 10-6 Update: May 12, 2016--Both SCR 3 and SCR 4 were Tabled by the House.
SCR 4, (New Title) applying for an Article V convention to propose an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that imposes fiscal restraints on the federal government. Click here to read our testimony. Update see above
SB498 would reduce a first-time marijuana (under 1/4 ounce) offense to a violation, thus eliminating the criminal record attached to a misdemeanor or felony. League's study of women incarcerated has revealed how difficult life is for offenders and their families when there is a criminal record. Update: June 2016 this bill became law
SB426--to create an end of life study commission. League has no position but is curious to see what a commission might propose. Update May 12: The House voted this bill Inexpedient to Legislate, killing the bill for this session.
SB381, relative to the combustion of the wood component of construction and demolition debris. This bill would allow the incineration of some construction debris, a practice that was outlawed in NH in 2008. NH has only one trash incineration facility, the Wheelabrator Plant in Concord. The minority finds that there was no demonstrated need for this change in the law, and that this wood may well contain toxic chemicals like lead or arsenic. An editorial in the Concord Monitor expresses concern that this could be the first step in NH becoming a regional disposal center. The editorial also mentions the fact that none of the bill's sponsors live in Concord. The committee recommends OTP by a vote of 11-8. The minority recommends it be referred for interim study. It is opposed by the NH Sierra Club. For more on this bill, see the Sierra Club's Facebook post. Update June 6, 2016--This bill passed both House and Senate but was vetoed by Governor Hassan. The veto was sustained.
HB 1482, relative to the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program. LEAGUE SUPPORTS further study because we don't believe the particular program that was in the bill is the best one to use in NH. Update: this bill has become law. League is sorry the Crosscheck Program won't receive further study before adoption.
HB1534, authorizing trial program of electronic poll books, passed in the Senate with an amendment, but eventually Bill did not pass..
HB 582, repealing the requirement for a license for concealed carry. Update: this bill passed both houses but was vetoed by Gov. Hassan in June. The veto was sustained in a later vote
HB1681, which would have decreased penalties for having hypodermic needles with a tiny amount of controlled drugs, which many saw as a first step to a future needle exchange program. The bill has been entirely amended to set up a commission to study needle exchange programs.Update May 2016: This bill was turned into establishment of a commission to study a needle exchange program. The House concurred with the Senate amendment to make this a commission, and the Governor signed it June 2016.
HCR12, a resolution "Whereas, a group of New Hampshire public and private sector leaders of the New Hampshire Coalition for Business and Education (NHCBE) has endorsed and committed to a statewide workforce enhancement goal whereby 65 percent of the state's working age population will hold a postsecondary credential or degree by the year 2025;" which would guide the state's policies toward education. "Click here to read the text of the resolution:<http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_Status/billText.aspx?id=803&txtFormat=pdf&v=current> Update May 2016: This bill has passed both houses, will go to the Governor for signing.
SB 509-FN, relative to voter registration forms and relative to voter identity verification. This bill incorporates changes to the Voter Registration form including the removal of existing wording requiring compliance with motor vehicle laws. The second section of this bill, as amended, changes the procedure for investigating voters who did not confirm their status after being sent a letter of identity verification.
Rep. Wayne Moynihan for the Minority of Election Law. League agreed with the minority that this bill should not become law. Rep. Moynihan explains some of our same arguments. As justification for this change to the law it was reported that, over the course of several elections, a "large" number of voter identification letters have accumulated in the office of the NH Secretary of State. Under the current law, it is the duty of the Attorney General's (AG's) Office to investigate these returned letters, and determine whether any voter fraud has occurred. The AG's Office states that it does not have the available staff or budget to enable the process of investigation to be completed. This bill proposes to expand the power of investigation from the AG's Office to the Secretary of State and to town clerks and checklist supervisors. It would become the duty of the town clerks and check-list supervisors to undertake the time and effort to scrutinize the letters and investigate the circumstances, and then compile a "list" of "not...legal voters." The bill's fiscal note states that it would require additional staff time at the local level and could result in increased local expenditures. Even with this downshifting of investigation expenses to the local towns and cities, the Department of Justice further anticipates that some "temporary full-time" investigators and paralegals would be needed to implement the bill, at a cost to the department of at least $167,000.00 per year. Over the years, the department's regular reports with respect the investigation of verifying letter has rarely if ever exposed any voter fraud. This bill downshifts unnecessary and burdensome state expenses onto cities and towns. It is opposed by the New Hampshire City and Town Clerks' Association. It creates expenses and personnel requirement upon the Department of Justice with no appropriations therefore, and no explanation as to the source of funding for the cities and towns. signed into law June 2016
HB 1426-FN, relative to earned time credits for prisoners participating in educational programming. Update: became law June 2016 League supports this provided that women have educational opportunities equal to male inmates. We believe this can happen when the new prison opens and is fully staffed.
Senate committees of interest: The Senate Public & Municipal Affairs committee will discuss this amended bill 4/27/16, LOB 102, 10 am: Amendment to HB 1534, that would allow Manchester, Hooksett, and Durham to use electronic poll books in the primary and the general elections as trial programs, then report to state on how it worked. It's really a new bill, and Manchester has already done a public presentation on the electronic book (a League board member attended, was impressed). The original bill was just a procedural thing about reporting deaths to supervisors of checklists. League supports Ought to Pass, as a possible way to expedite voting. Click here to read League's testimony on HB 1534 Update: we just found out about a new amendment to this bill-- Click here to read additional testimony on this very new amendment to the bill requiring both paper and electronic polls books be used for this trial, which seems to defeat the purpose. Update: did not pass
An election bill that was voted on 4/14/16 is HB 1313-FN, relative to eligibility to vote and relative to availability of voter information. The bill was defeated. League wanted this bill killed, voted Inexpedient to Legislate. See our testimony on testimony page.
SB 492, relative to expenditures from the energy efficiency fund was killed in the House. League discussed this issue at Quad States in 2014. For members and friends interested, here is a description of the bill and hearing from the New Hampshire Municipal Assn's e-newsletter 4-4-16. "NHMA strongly supports this bill, which increases to $5 million (from $2 million) the amount that can be distributed to municipalities and school districts from the sale of carbon allowances under the regional greenhouse gas initiative (RGGI). Those funds are used for energy efficiency projects, which reduce municipal costs and thus save money for taxpayers. The bill would also distribute additional funds to the low income core energy efficiency program, which provides weatherization for low income home-owners. SB 492 is identical to a bill that the Senate passed last year, but which died in a committee of conference. The objection last year was that the bill would eliminate the rebates to residential ratepayers that exist under current law. However, those rebates (about $1.50 a month) are insignificant compared to the savings that would result from SB 492, not only for low income customers, but for all residential customers. Municipal energy efficiency projects, of course, help to reduce property taxes for everyone. Further, by increasing energy efficiency, these programs reduce demand for energy and thus help to keep costs down for all customers. According to information provided last year by the Office of the Consumer Advocate (which is charged with representing the interests of residential ratepayers), between 2002 and 2015 the energy efficiency programs saved over 10 billion electric kilowatt hours and 16 million natural gas MMBtus, translating to customer savings of over $1.6 billion. SB 492 squeaked through the Senate on a 13-11 vote, and it will definitely have opposition in the House. After the hearing on Tuesday morning, the committee is planning to discuss and presumably vote on the bill at 1:00 p.m. the same day." (NHMA urged support).
HB 1313-FN, relative to eligibility to vote and relative to availability of voter information. (Note: League submitted testimony in opposition to this bill, on which we testified when it was in the House.) Click here to read the League's testimony. Update: Bill was killed in April.
This billed passed the Senate, but was tabled by the House in May 2016: An amendment to CACR 27 RELATING TO the operating budget. PROVIDING THAT the state shall not spend more from any fund than such fund receives in revenue, nor use the proceeds of any bond to fund its annual operating expenditures. Amend the resolution by replacing paragraph I with the following: I. That the second part of the constitution be amended by inserting after article 6-b the following new article: [Art.] 6-c [Balanced Budget.] The state shall not, without an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the total number of representatives apportioned under part 2, article 9 and of the total number of senators allocated by part 2, article 25, either spend from the general fund or any other fund capable of producing a surplus more in any biennial budget period than that fund receives in revenues, plus any surplus in that fund from the previous biennium and any amounts held in a revenue stabilization, reserve, or contingency account to the extent such account was funded by the general court before that budget period, or use the proceeds of any bond or other instrument of indebtedness to fund, directly or indirectly, its annual operating expenditures. (League note: This is essentially a balanced budget amendment of the NH constitution, but said budget could be overridden by a 2/3 vote of the legislature. If this or a similar CACR is eventually passed in the Senate and House by 60% of the members, the proposed constitutional amendment would be on the November ballot, which would then need a two-thirds vote by the voters to become part of the constitution.) It is dead for the 2016 election.
HB1696 to reauthorize NH's Medicaid Expansion Program, called the NH Health Protection Program. See note under "hearings" below for more information UPDATE--PASSED 3/30.
SB 507-FN, authorizing online voter registration. Inexpedient to Legislate, Vote 4-2. LEAGUE SUPPORTED PASSAGE OF THIS BILL.
SB 528-FN-A, making an appropriation for supportive housing for persons with substance use disorders. referred to Interim Study.(League note: this bill would appropriate $2 million to fund supportive housing as part of a multi-pronged plan to address drug use crisis in NH. League has no official position.)
HB 1511, relative to hours of polling. Became law with amendment. League believes that voter confusion over polling hours results in ballots not being cast despite the intent to vote.
HB 1143, relative to showing a ballot. This bill was defeated. League does not have a position on this bill, but we understand that first-time young voters feel life doesn't happen without a selfie to document it, currently illegal in NH.
The NH Senate deadlocked 12-12 on March 3 on a bill to suspend the death penalty, effectively killing the bill for this year. The League's national position is in opposition to the death penalty.
HB 1612-FN, relative to the age for purposes of compulsory education. This was voted Inexpedient to Legislate (killed).
CACR 17, relating to domicile for the purpose of voting. Providing that only a resident of the state may establish a domicile for the purpose of voting. This bill was defeated. LWVNH opposes this bill and has testified in opposition.
Rep. Wayne Burton for the Minority of Election Law. By redefining domicile as residence, this proposed amendment to our state constitution will have the effect of disenfranchising those coming to NH as college students, veterans seeking services, and medical professionals on interim appointments, for example, through requiring a permanency standard deemed constitutionally unacceptable by the US Supreme court. Changing settled law in ways that reduce voter turnout, now among the highest in the country, diminishes our exemplary status of which our forebears would be proud.
HB 1313-FN, relative to eligibility to vote and to availability of voter information, requiring 10 days residence before voting. . This bill was killed in the Senate March 2016. LWVNH opposed this bill. The NH Constitution and the US Constitution guarantee the right to vote to all citizens, 18-years-old or older. The US Supreme Court has said that you may not put a waiting period on a citizen's right to exercise the fundamental right to vote. No state has a residency requirement although some states that do not have same day registration are allowed a time period to confirm registration information before an election. "League Testimony"<http://www.lwvnh.org/files/1-18-2016_hb1313_lwvnh_testimony.pdf >
HB 1356, relative to construction of the terms "resident" and "inhabitant." This bill was eventually killed, but we expect similar bills to be filed in 2017. This bill is an attempt to rewrite the definition of domicile so that students, members of the military and several other categories of people will lose their right to vote. There are about 600 laws in NH dealing with questions of residency, abode, domicile and habitation. This bill does not take into consideration the complexities of the many laws that may somehow involve issues of residency or domicile, and it does not accommodate the different jurisdictions of the state and town officials who administer our laws. "League testimony"<http://www.lwvnh.org/files/1-18-2018_hb_1356_lwvnh_testimony.pdf >
HB 1482, establishing a committee to study improving the statewide voter registration database. This bill passed. LWVNH opposed it. We supported the original bill to create a study committee. The amended version calls for adopting what is called the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program. The program is a partisan program to compare voter checklists of states and remove duplicate names. The program has few controls and is best known for removing tens of thousands of people from certain racial and minority groups. It is so bad that the state of Florida dropped out. There are nonpartisan voter checklist programs that should be studied. The best offer a more complex crosscheck system which prevents removing legitimate voters from the checklist.
SB 507-FN, authorizing online voter registration. This bill was killed in March 2016 LWVNH supports. We supported the original version of this bill because it is a more secure and easier way to register to vote and to maintain the checklists. We support using HAVA funds which were given to NH by the federal government in 2003 to be used to modernize voting systems. The Secretary of State still has about $11 million in HAVA funds so we are disappointed by the amendment to pay for the change out of the General Fund.
SB 509-FN, relative to voter registration forms and relative to voter identity verification. This bill passed. LWVNH opposed. The bill was heavily amended.
early May 2015: LWVNH echoes this appeal presented to the NH Senate Finance committee--Rev. Gail Kinney's statement included a call to "'just say `no' to any effort to privatize juvenile offender services in the state of New Hampshire. New Hampshire's troubled young people should never, ever, ever be turned over to be profit centers for a private corporation."
August 2014: NH Juvenile Justice Reform Bill Signed
NH Kids Count and its partners in the NH Juvenile Justice Coalition celebrated passage of a sweeping juvenile justice reform bill (HB 1624) during the 2014 legislative session.
Both the House and Senate enacted HB 1624 with wide margins and Governor Hassan signed the bill into law. Effective July 1, 2015, HB 1624 raises the age at which juveniles are treated as adults in the courts from 17 to 18 and ensures other protections for youth.
Based on our study of incarceration issues in NH, the League testified in support of this bill.
In mid-February the NH House held a hearing on HB1552, which would expand the crimes under which the death penalty could be imposed. One is terrorism, which is already a federal capital crime. That bill was defeated in the House on March 9. League opposed expanding the death penalty.
In the 2017 NH Legislative session, the League plans to support actively a redistricting commission bill. We have testified in the past, and now with a national as well as our state position behind, will work to see that the 2021 redistricting process in NH is accomplished in an open non-partisan way.
A legislative study committee to review election law with a goal of improving voter participation was appointed in 2014. The committee initially announced its intention to begin public sessions around the state in April 2014. A meeting was held in Ossipee on July 29, 2014. A final meeting (though without a quorum) was held in late October. A report was issued by Nov. 1, but without a quorum it was unofficial.
Click on these links to find names and contact information for your United States Representative or United States Senators. This information was updated Jan. 2017. You can also sign up for weekly email newsletters from your Representative and Senators via their websites.
If you wish to contact your US Representative or Senator, be aware that paper mail is likely to be delayed significantly for security reasons. You may phone DC or NH offices, or you may send email via the Contact webform on each official's website.
View the Library of Congress' web page for comprehensive information on current and past federal legislation.
*Representative Carol Shea-Porter (District 1)
Washington Office: 1530 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
Dover Office: 660 Central Ave., Dover, NH 03820 1-888-216-5373
*Representative Annie Kuster (District 2)
Washington office: 137 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5206
Fax: (202) 225-2946
Concord NH: 18 N. Main St., Concord 03301
(603)226-1002 FAX: (603) 226-1010
Nashua NH: 70 E. Pearl St., Nashua 03060
(603) 595-2006 FAX: (603) 595-2016
*Senator Maggie Hassan
Washington office: B85 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3324
(Concord phone number being set up)
*Senator Jeanne Shaheen
Washington office: 506 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2841
Manchester NH: 2 Wall Street, Suite 220, Manchester, NH 03101
Dover NH: 340 Central Avenue, Suite 205, Dover, NH 03820
Ph: (603) 750-3004
_______ VOTING RECORDS ON ROLL-CALL VOTES
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