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 recommended action–

We are in the final days of the Senate’s budgeting process and this may be our last opportunity to influence them and fix the education funding crisis. No one plays a bigger role in drafting the budget than Senate leadership so it’s essential that they hear from us.

Call your Senator and ask them to speak to Senate leadership about the following:

  1. Support capital gains tax
  2. Support an independent study commision
  3. Ensure that the redistribution of the revenue raised is based on need

Please ALSO call Senate President Donna Soucy at 603-271-3040 and ask her to support the above as well.

 

Status of other bills we are supporting:

Health Care Justice

House Finance Committee: Division work sessions on three bills passed by the House and referred to the Finance Committee for additional review.  SB 290, relative to the New Hampshire Granite Advantage Health Care program. This bill allows general funds to be used to fund the program, and clarifies which beneficiaries may be subject to the paid or unpaid work requirement; and SB 293, relative to federally-qualified health care centers and rural health centers reimbursement. This bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to reimburse federally-qualified health care centers and rural health centers for services provided to persons whose Medicaid eligibility has been suspended for failure to comply with the paid and unpaid work requirements established under the Granite Advantage Health Care program. Tuesday Mary 21, 10:00 AM, Finance, Division III, Rooms 210-211, LOB

 

Energy, Environment, & Climate

The Senate will be in session on Thursday, May 23 at 10:00 AM

HB 156 Establishing a commission to study the establishment of a state department of energy. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 5-0.

HB 496 Establishing a committee to identify the requirements needed to commit New Hampshire to a goal of at least 50 percent renewable energy by 2040.  The committee finds that legislation is moving forward that would increase the percentage obligations under the Renewable Portfolio standard and that this bill isn’t needed. Committee recommends re-referral by a vote of 5-0.

The House will be in session on Thursday, May 23, at 10:00 AM

SB 165 Relative to net energy metering by low-moderate income community solar projects. This bill attempts to ensure that low to moderate-income residents can afford to participate in community solar projects. The sponsor worked with the Governor’s Office on the amendment. The committee recommends OTP/A by a vote of 12-7.

 

Worker Rights/ Minimum Wage

The Senate will be in session on Thursday, May 23 at 10:00 AM

HB 186 Establishing a minimum wage and providing for adjustments to the minimum wage. This bill would increase the minimum wage over a three-year period, topping off at $12 per hour in 2022. It also increases the rate for tipped employees from 45 percent of the hourly wage to 50 percent and establishes a youth minimum wage for employees under the age of 17. The committee recommends re-referral, by a vote of 3-2.

Executive session on SB 10, establishing the state minimum hourly rate based on whether or not an employer offers paid sick days to an employee.  Thursday, May 23, Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services, Room 307, LOB, 12:00 PM

The House will be in session on Thursday, May 23, at 10:00 AM

SB 100 Relative to discrimination in employment based on criminal background checks. The majority states that this allows the applicant’s skills and experience to be considered in advance of a criminal background check. The bill does not prevent the question from being asked in an interview. The minority says it wastes everybody’s time. Committee recommends OTP/A by a vote of 13-7.

 

Gender Justice

The Senate will be in session on Thursday, May 23 at 10:00 AM

HB 651 Allowing the use of campaign funds for child care expenses. An amendment was added to clarify the term “contribution.” Committee recommends OTP/A by a vote of 3-2.

Senate Committee Hearing on HB 608 Expanding the law against discrimination based on gender identity to other areas of the law prohibiting discrimination. Tuesday, May 21, 10:40 AM Judiciary, Room 100, SH

 

Voting RIghts

The Senate will be in session on Thursday, May 23 at 10:00 AM

HB 105 Relative to domicile residency, voter registration, and investigation of voter verification letters. This bill modifies the definition of domicile, modifies the forms and procedures for voter registration, and removes the requirement that the Secretary of State conduct post-election voter registration inquiries. This would remove some of the more egregious aspects of SB 3, which was passed in 2017. The bill is being challenged, and the NH Supreme Court allowed it to stay in place for last year’s midterm elections. The committee recommends OTP by a vote of 3-2.

HB 706 Establishing an independent redistricting commission. A bipartisan amendment to the bill widens eligibility for membership and gives legislators more of a voice in selecting them.  The goal is to eliminate partisan gerrymandering so that voters choose their representatives not the other way around. The committee recommends OTP/A by a vote of 5-0.

HB 611 Allowing voters to vote by absentee ballot. This would allow “no excuses” absentee voting. In current statute a voter must have an excuse: religious commitments, physical disability, or employment obligations.  The committee recommends OTP by a vote of 3-2.

 

Gun Violence Prevention

The Senate will be in session on Thursday, May 23 at 10:00 AM

HB 109 Requiring background checks for commercial firearms sales. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 3-2.

HB 564 Relative to possession of firearms on school property. The bill prohibits it. The committee recommends OTP/A by a vote of 3-2.

The House will be in session on Thursday, May 23, at 10:00 AM

SB 141 Establishing a committee to study violence against school personnel. Committee recommends OTP/A by a vote of 17-0.

 

Criminal Justice Reform

The Senate will be in session on Thursday, May 23 at 10:00 AM

HB 399 Relative to annulment of arrests or convictions for possession of a certain quantity of marijuana. This bill establishes an annulment procedure for arrests or convictions that occurred before September 16, 2017, when the decriminalization bill took effect. Committee recommends OTP/A by a vote of 3-2.

HB 481 Relative to the legalization and regulation of cannabis and making appropriations therefor. The committee recommends re-referral by a vote of 5-0.

HB 514 Imposing a waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a firearm. The bill was amended in committee to decrease the waiting period from seven days to three. The committee recommends OTP/A by a vote of 3-2.

House Committee hearing,  Tuesday, May 21, 9:30 AM Subcommittee work session on SB 311, relative to annulment of criminal records. This provides for annulment of a criminal record without payment of a fee in certain cases, specifies the waiting period for annulment in cases involving domestic violence, certain first-time offenses, or a defendant under 20 years of age at the time of a drug-related offence. It also reduces the waiting period for annulment of a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. This bill will be “exec’d” at 1:30 PM. Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Room 204, LOB

 

**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!