• suemullennh

Rail to Minimum Wage

Updated: Nov 2, 2020

What a beautiful weekend, Bedford! Shout out to our newly graduated BHS seniors. I hope you take all of your talent, your energy and your idealism right out into the big old world and do great things. Work hard, make a difference, and don't forget where you came from. Congratulations! Truly, the best is yet to come.

Meanwhile, it was a busy week in Concord. The week long celebration of the State House Bi-Centennial was so much fun! Watching the Supreme Court hear oral arguments was fascinating. Viewing the original Declaration of Independence given to NH in 1776 was awe inspiring, and doing the people's work in the oldest continuous chamber in the country filled me with reverence once again.

On the legislative front, we considered 44 bills.

Some, like SB 82 which guarantees breakfast to students who qualify for free lunch, SB 39 that makes affordable mortgages accessible to veterans, active duty military and qualifying families, and SB 246 which strengthens background checks for day care workers, residential staff and child placement agencies went through on a voice vote with strong support on both sides of the aisle.

Others required much discussion and sometimes debate. The following noteworthy bills passed on the House floor and will be headed to the Governor:

SB 156 which limits political contributions by LLC owners

SB 289 which safeguards 175 million federal dollars for health and human services

SB 10 which raises the minimum wage to $10 in 2020 and $12 in 2021

SB 263 which extends non-discrimination law to schools

SB 290 which safeguards health insurance coverage for Medicaid recipients, if our new work requirements disqualify more than 500 participants, and

SB 241 which is the bill I struggled with the most this week. This is the bill that authorizes the development of plans for the capital rail project. Supporters see this as a critical need and one of the necessary components of retaining young people for a vibrant workforce. Opponents are justifiably concerned about the costs associated with the ongoing operations and point to states that have had to subsidize public rail service. I understand both arguments. In the end, it was the voices of young representatives, Republican and Democrat, who convinced me to support this planning phase. If their predictions come true, then this will be game changing for business and industry. Once the plans and estimated costs are in, we may or may not have reason to revisit the final decision. I'm not afraid of change, but we certainly are going to need to take a look at how this effects struggling families, older adults and non-riders. Stay tuned to see if the Governor give his seal of approval to move forward.

Hoping you are all soaking up the glorious warmth and bountiful blooming! Thanks in advance for reading this, and as always, if you have specific questions or concerns, you can always reach me at sue.mullen@leg.state.nh.

I'll be back next week! sm

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