First two days back...
Good Morning, Bedford!
The New Hampshire House is required to convene on the first Wednesday following the first Tuesday in January, so here I am! We had two very full days in session this week, which I will try to summarize, first with an explanation and then with a look at some of our more visible bills.
During the second year of a particular term, the first order of business is to take another look at bills that were introduced in year one, but were either postponed or retained because they needed some work to make them better. So, this week we considered 95 bills that came out of committee with a recommendation for a voice vote and 60 that required discussion.
Like many of you, I didn't realize how much work went on between the end of a House session in June and the new beginning in January. Many committees and countless House members work on bills to revamp them or to introduce new legislation they intend to improve upon existing laws.
I think this is an important point to make: Any legislator who proposes a change or addition to state law, regardless of party, does so because they think they are doing something good. I may not always agree with something that is being proposed, or I may agree with something that others don't, but I have yet to hear a single proposal that was made with malicious intent. We are all trying to do what we think is right, and I will continue to focus on my mother's sage advice to listen twice as much as I speak!
Bills of particular note that passed in the House this week included:
*HB 124 increasing our renewable energy goals by 2025
*SB 159 increasing net metering for customer generators
*Two plastics bills: HB 102 would allow towns to develop their own ordinances about bags; HB 559 would do so at the state level. Stay tuned to see if the Senate passes either on to the Governor.
*HB 731 which establishes a minimum wage (NH does not have one) of $8.50 as of 2020, then raises it incrementally to $15 by 2025
*HB 687 which establishes an Extreme Risk Protection Order for people at risk of hurting themselves or others
*HB 739 which allows mental health services to be applied to the Medicaid spend down requirements
The bill that resulted in the most feedback to me BY FAR, HB 655, was tabled. In this case, that means it was considered relevant to hold on to, but not clear enough for members to feel confident about what the bill might ultimately do. This bill's intent is to offer protection to neighbors from loud, unruly events held at rental properties. Questions about who should be held accountable warrant further investigation. This bill could be brought forward again, but it is likely to need work before further action takes place.
Okay, I know I am at risk of writing more than you want to read, so I will close with a reminder that any of you that have questions or concerns should contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will do my best to get back to you in a timely manner. The House is not in session next week, but I'll be back when it is...
Have a great weekend! sm