When we launched the New Hampshire People’s Platform on the first day of the 2019 legislative session, we pledged to work on issues that a majority of Granite Staters care about, including affordable health care, a stronger public education system, more rights for workers, and a healthy environment for future generations.

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Can you take action on an issue you care about this week?

Top 3 Recommended Actions:

    1. Three bills that would strengthen public education are in the hands of the Finance Committee. Please email the committee before Wednesday, to say you support HB 177, HB 709, and HB 551 before the vote. All members of the committee may be reached with one email to  HouseFinanceCommittee@leg.state.nh.us
    2. Call or email your Senator and urge them to support the death penalty repeal, HB455
    3. Email the House Finance committee in support of the bill to legalize cannabis (HB481)HouseFinanceCommittee@leg.state.nh.us Or attend and sign in at any of the Finance committee meetings on Tuesday at 10am or Wednesday at 10am in Room 202 of the LOB.

Other Important Bills Moving Through the State House (by topic)

*OTP means that the committee that looked at the bill suggests it “ought to pass” in a floor vote.

 

Workers Rights:

Last week, the Senate passed SB 10, re-establishing and raising the minimum wage, by a party-line vote of 14-10. The bill would set the NH minimum wage at $10 per hour at the beginning of 2020. In 2022 the wage would increase to $11 if an employer offers at least 10 paid sick days to an employee, and $12 if they don’t.

SB 10 will cross over to the House, and the House-passed HB 186 moves in the other direction.  Over the coming weeks we will learn how backers of the two bills intend to resolve their differences in order to get a bill to the desk of Governor Sununu.

Passage of a minimum wage bill will be one of the focus points for the Dignity at Work Legislative Advocacy Day on April 4 – please attend!

                                                       

Family and Medical Leave

The Senate’s family and medical leave bill, SB 1, cleared the House last week, with a roll call vote of 291-141. Since there were no amendments, it will head to the governor’s desk, where he’s boasted of an ample supply of red veto pens. The House version of the bill, HB 712, is scheduled for an executive session in House Finance on Wednesday.  (See below.)

Our friends at the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy are hosting a rally on Tuesday, March 26, at the LOB, urging Governor Sununu to sign SB 1 and help NH families.

Rally in Support of Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance, 11:30 – 1 PM, hosted by the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy.

 

Energy & Climate

The Senate will be in session on Wednesday, March 27 at 3:00 PM and again on Thursday, March 28, at 9:00 AM.

SB 159, relative to net energy metering limits for customer-generators. Committee recommends OPT/A.

SB 165, relative to net energy metering by low-moderate income community solar projects. Committee recommends OTPA by a vote of 4-1.

 

Strengthening Public Education

On Wednesday, March 27 at 10 a.m. the House Finance Committee will have an executive session (no public testimony taken) and most likely will vote on these three important House bills:

  1. HB177 as amended freezing cuts to stabilization grants and restoring grants to 2016 levels
  2. HB 709 as amended, providing fiscal capacity aid and other forms of aid starting in 2021 (we sometimes refer to this as the “interim solution”)
  3. HB 551 as amended, establishing and appropriating funds for an independent school funding commission

Please email the committee before Wednesday, to weigh in on any or all of these bills before the vote.  All members of the committee may be reached with one email to  HouseFinanceCommittee@leg.state.nh.us

The Senate will be in session on Wednesday, March 27 at 3:00 PM and again on Thursday, March 28, at 9:00 AM.

SB 263, relative to anti-discrimination protection for students in public schools. This bill, as amended, defines discrimination, clarifies that an aggrieved person may initiate a civil action, and specifies that the Attorney General may also initiate a civil action against a school or school district. Committee recommends OTP/A by a vote of 3-2.

 

Criminal Justice/ Legalization of Cannabis

Email the House Finance committee (HouseFinanceCommittee@leg.state.nh.us) in support of HB481 or sign in at any of the committee meetings below:

Ways and Means, Room 202, LOB , Monday March 25

9:00 AM Subcommitee work session on HB 481, relative to the legalization and regulation of cannabis and making appropriations therefore’

Ways and Means, Room 202, LOB, Tuesday March 26th

10:00 AM Full committee work session on HB 481, relative to the legalization and regulation of cannabis and making an appropriation therefor. Followed by a subcommittee work session at 1:00 PM.

Ways and Means, Room 202, LOB, Wednesday, March 27th

10:00 AM Executive session on HB 481, relative to the legalization and regulation of cannabis and making an appropriation therefor.

 

Gun Violence Prevention

Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Tuesday March 26th, Room 204, LOB

11:00 AM HB 564, relative to possession of firearms in safe school zones. This bill prohibits carrying a firearm in a safe school zone, and establishes that a violation would result in a class A misdemeanor.

Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Wednesday March 27th, Room 204, LOB

10:00 AM  Executive session on HB 564, relative to possession of firearms in safe school zones.

 

Voting Rights

The Senate will be in session on Wednesday, March 27 at 3:00 PM and again on Thursday, March 28, at 9:00 AM.

SB 8, establishing an independent redistricting commission. The bill was amended to add strict guidelines about who is eligible to serve on the commission, as well as instructions on how the Secretary of State would be expected to screen applicants for membership in order to identify “persons who are compromise oriented, are able to be impartial, and have an appreciation for New Hampshire’s diverse demographics and geography.” The committee recommends OTP/A by a vote of 3-2.

SB 67, relative to the definitions of resident and residency. This bill would undo some of the provisions of last year’s HB 1264, including returning “for the indefinite future,” to the definition of resident and residency. The committee recommends OTP/A by a vote of 3-2.

 

Death Penalty Repeal

Judiciary, Room 100, SH, Tuesday March 26th

9:00 AM HB 455, relative to the penalty for capital murder.

The death penalty repeal bill, HB 455, has moved over to the Senate and is scheduled for a hearing by the Judiciary Committee, at 9 AM on Tuesday, March 26 in Room 100 at the State House. We expect the committee to “exec” the bill the following week and reach the Senate floor on April 11.  Urge your state senator to support repeal.

 

**The above info was compiled with major help from American Friends’ Service Committee’s weekly State House Watch email, published by Arnie Alpert and Maggie Fogarty. Thank you AFSC!