We have some incredible news: early this morning, HB103, establishing a dental benefit under NH Medicaid, passed the Committee of Conference! Our Healthcare team leaders and amazing members worked tirelessly for this bill to pass. This legislation will benefit some of New Hampshire’s most vulnerable residents; it is now headed to Governor Sununu’s desk for his signature!
The Legislature is now finishing its work for the 2022 legislative session. What a year it has been! Hundreds of bills have been defeated in the House and Senate. Some bills have passed both chambers in the same form and are making their way to the Governor, where he will decide whether to veto them or allow them to become law. This has been a challenging year, but we are celebrating victories, learning from losses, and gathering our energy for election season, which is around the corner!
The final stage of the 2021-2022 legislative session will unfold over the rest of May, as both chambers consider whether to approve bill amendments made by the opposite chamber. Even bills that have passed through the House and Senate may still die if either chamber disagrees with changes made by the other, and if the committee formed to negotiate a compromise cannot reach an agreement.
Finally, Rights & Democracy is happy to welcome Sebastian Fuentes as our new NH Movement Politics Director! Reach out and say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also excited that moving forward we will be offering a Spanish version of this update!
Invite others to sign up here for these weekly updates, and see highlights below for more. Let’s keep up the momentum as the session nears its end!
Until next week, and in solidarity,
Sebastian Fuentes, NH Movement Politics Director
Two RAD-supported bills are heading to the Governor after clearing their last legislative votes this week!
The Senate voted to accept the House version of SB 422, the bill expanding NH Medicaid to cover preventive dental care for low-income NH citizens, rather than only emergency room tooth extractions. The House voted to accept the Senate version of HB 1390, a bill requiring interpreters be provided for telemedicine services in many situations for patients who are not fluent in English, or who are deaf or hard of hearing. These are two great bills that will benefit NH residents!
RAD-supported bill SB 407, a bill expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage to new mothers for 12 months after birth, unfortunately perished this week. After passing the Senate, it was amended by House Republicans to require that colleges and employers with government contracts allow students and staff an exemption from vaccination mandates. The Senate had previously blocked House legislation with these provisions (HB 1210), and chose to walk away from the bill, rather than accept the House position.
A handful of bills are neither dead nor advancing to the Governor. These bills passed the House and Senate with different amendments. The two chambers are now deciding whether those differences can be reconciled and the bills salvaged, or whether agreement is impossible. Negotiators from each chamber have been appointed to attempt to reach compromise on the following RAD priority bills:
- RAD-opposed bill HB 1476, which would roll back important bail reforms first passed in 2018 to ensure that low-income people accused of crimes don’t sit in jail prior to trial simply because they can’t afford cash bail. It is unclear whether the House and Senate will be able to agree on the final version of this bill passed by the Senate, as the House voted to block a similar bill (SB 294) last week.
- RAD-supported bill HB 1066, directing and funding the NH Department of Environmental Services to study and prevent poisonous cyanobacteria blooms in NH’s lakes and ponds. We must protect our water resources!