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NH State House Watch

AFSC’s New Hampshire State House Watch newsletter is published weekly during legislative sessions (and occasionally at other times of the year) to bring you information about matters being discussed in Concord including housing, immigration, and labor rights.  We also follow the state budget and tax system, voting rights, corrections policy, and more. For an email subscription, visit our main page and click on <SUBSCRIBE>. 

We also have a weekly radio show on Mondays from 5 to 6 pm, re-broadcast Tuesdays from 8 to 9 am.  You can listen live on WNHN, 94.7 FM in Concord, or over the internet. You can download a podcast of any of our earlier shows.

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State House Watch

February 23, 2020

Happy Sunday, State House Watchers!  Staff travel delayed this week’s newsletter, but hopefully it will make for some enjoyable Sunday afternoon reading.

The two-day House session last week turned out to be a lot wilder than anyone expected. Last year at the beginning of the biennium, House members voted in a rule change to make sexual harassment and discrimination training mandatory. Many training opportunities were offered throughout the year, and if one could show proof that they had completed a similar training in their workplace, the requirement was considered met. A year later, there were still 14 Representatives who hadn’t taken the training. Seven of them were reprimanded Thursday on the House floor. Six more were absent and will face future reprimand.  House members were subject to a lengthy series of floor speeches from colleagues who complained that there were consequences for non-compliance.  Casey McDermott reported on the drama for NHPR.

The hours spent on the reprimands meant that a number of bills on the calendar were never voted on. They will be first up at the next House session, which has not yet been scheduled.

 

The House and Senate are on winter break this coming week, February 24-28, but both the House and Senate will be meeting for executive sessions and some committee hearings. Bills need to keep moving because deadlines are getting ever closer:

March 5 is the last day to report on House bills not in a second committee.

March 12 is the last day to act on all House bills not in a second committee.

March 19 is the last day to report ALL House bills.

March 26 is Crossover, the day when all House bills move to the Senate and the Senate bills all move to the House.

Since the House and Senate will not be in session this coming week, it’s a good opportunity for the State House Watch team to take a mini-break from our newsletter and radio show.  We'll be back on the air on March 2 and back in your inboxes on March 6.

Housing issues in the news

We were distressed to read last week’s story in the Concord Monitor about an elderly Concord woman whose apartment complex was sold; the new owners are increasing the rent. Bette Larsen lives on Social Security and can’t afford “market rate.” She is unable to find anywhere to move since many landlords do not want to accept Section 8 housing vouchers.  These stories are why we must invest in affordable housing, and they are why we continue to support multiple efforts in the legislature to address this important concern.  

HB 1247, a bill requiring landlords to give notice of 90 days of a proposed rent increase which exceeds 5 percent, came out of committee this week with an OTP/A recommendation by a vote of 12-7. In good news from the Senate, SB 487 a bill to repeal the housing appeals board came out of committee with an ITL recommendation.

Another attempt at gun violence prevention

House members approved, by a vote of 184-134, a three-day waiting period for handgun purchases. The bill, HB 1101, now moves to the Senate where it is likely to be favorably received.  For more information, see Kevin Landrigan’s story in the Union Leader.

Important lessons

On March 5, the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee will hold a hearing on SB 727, a bill that would require Holocaust and genocide prevention education to be included in the criteria for an adequate education. Mia Summerson of the Keene Sentinel spoke with Senator Jay Kahn, the bill’s sponsor, about why he thinks this is important. We agree.

Last week in the House

Hyperlinks on each bill take you to that bill’s “docket” where you can see where it is in the process, find links to the text of the original bill and any amendments, and find links to any roll call votes which have taken place.  For bills in the Senate, you can also find links to audio recordings of public hearings.

OTP – Ought to Pass

OTP//A – Ought to Pass with Amendment

ITL – Inexpedient to Legislate (i.e. defeat)

IS – Interim Study

LOB – Legislative Office Building

SH – State House

HB 1141 Establishing the crime of unsolicited disclosure of an intimate image. Voted OTP/A by a voice vote.

HB 1354 Prohibiting the wearing of a mask while participating in a public demonstration. Voted ITL by a voice vote.

HB 1641 Reducing the criminal penalties for certain controlled drugs. Voted OTP/A by a voice vote.

HB 1371 Proclaiming March 2 as Reading in New Hampshire Day. Voted OTP by a voice vote.  

SB 558 Extending the reporting date of the commission to study school funding. Voted OTP by a voice vote.

HB 385 Relative to making a maternity room available on State House grounds. Voted ITL by a voice vote.

HB 1679 Making an appropriation for the purposes of Meals on Wheels. Voted OTP/A by a voice vote.

HB 1239 Relative to eligibility for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. Voted ITL by a voice vote.

HB 1199 Relative to telephone costs for county prisoners. Referred to IS by a voice vote.

HB 1146 Relative to the duties of the site evaluation committee. Voted ITL by a voice vote.  

HB 1474 Relative to deductions from the business profits tax for investment in federal Opportunity Zones in New Hampshire. Voted ITL by a voice vote.

HB 1601 Removing the exception for married minors from the definition of sexual assault. Voted OTP by a Division Vote of 217-136 and referred to Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

HB 1555 (New Title) Establishing a committee to study increasing wages, educational opportunities, and the corresponding impact on recidivism among prisoners incarcerated in a state correctional facility who work at or under the supervision of such facility. Voted OTP/A by a voice vote.

HB 1663 Relative to the legalization and regulation of cannabis and making appropriations therefor. Referred to IS by a voice vote.

HB 1642 Prohibiting the state or a state official from using a facial surveillance system. This prohibits the use of face surveillance and facial recognition systems. Voted OTP/A by a voice vote and referred to Judiciary.

HB 1513 Requiring the commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services to study the conversion of the Medicaid program to block grant funding and making an appropriation therefor. Voted ITL by a voice vote.

HB 1638 Relative to the administration of the SNAP incentive programs. Voted OTP/A by a voice vote and referred to Finance.

HB 1632 Relative to financial investments and incentives for affordable housing development. Voted OTP/A by a Division Vote of 258-83, and referred to Ways and Means.

HB 1364 Relative to payments to the Public Utilities Commission in lieu of meeting renewable portfolio standards for biomass. Voted ITL by a Division Vote of 212-121.

HB 1402  Establishing procedures for municipal host customer-generators of electrical energy. Referred for IS by a roll call vote of 188-148.

HB 1661 Relative to the exemption from property taxes for water and air pollution control facilities. Voted ITL by a roll call vote of 203-127. A motion to reconsider failed in a division vote of 105-244.

HB 1281 Requiring insurance coverage for epipens.  Voted OTP/A by a roll call vote of 208-110.

HB 1101 Imposing a waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a firearm. Voted OTP/A by a roll call vote of 184-134.

HB 1218 Relative to net energy metering and limits for customer generators. Voted OTP/A by a roll call vote of 215-125 and referred to Municipal and County Government.

Last week in the Senate

The Senate was not in session last week; the next Senate session is Thursday, March 5 starting at 10 AM.

Coming up in House Committees

Monday, February 24

Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Room 302, LOB

9:00 AM Subcommittee work session on HB 1495 Prohibiting the sale of over-the-counter rape test kits; HB 1690 Prohibiting paper billing fees; HB 1508 Relative to paper receipts; and HB 1589 Requiring businesses in the state to take cash for monetary transactions.

Tuesday, February 25

Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Room 204, LOB

1:00 PM Executive session on HB 1524 Relative to how law enforcement shares personal information about certain non-violent offenders; HB 1159 Relative to cyberbullying, cyberstalking, and doxxing of a public servant; HB 1257 Establishing a committee to study the opportunities for citizen involvement in attorney general investigations of officer-involved shootings; HB 1269 Relative to posthumous exonerations and annulments; HB 1272 Prohibiting prison privatization; HB 1613 Allowing prisoners serving life sentences to be eligible for parole after 25 years; HB 1350 Requiring a locking safety device be provided for commercial firearms sales and transfers.

Education, Room 207, LOB

10:00 AM Executive session on HB 1306 Relative to the recitation of the Lord’s prayer in public elementary schools; HB 1334 Relative to the religious activities of teachers and students in public schools; HB 1163 Requiring schools to update documents and software to include the option of identifying a student as non-binary; HB 1337 Permitting parents or guardians to opt out of armed assailant drills in their child’s school; HB 1522 Requiring colleges and universities to report allegations of sexual assault to local law enforcement.

Wednesday, February 26

Education, Room 207, LOB

10:00 AM Executive session on HB 1251 Relative to participation in school sports programs for female student-athletes; HB 1148 Relative to the display of the national motto in schools; HB 1285 Relative to possession of firearms on school property; HB 1512 Relative to reducing school food waste and addressing child hunger.

State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs, Room 206, LOB

10:30 AM Executive session on HR 10 Urging the return of armed services members from the Middle East; HCR 9 Rescinding all requests by the New Hampshire legislature for a federal constitutional convention;  HB 1493 Establishing a committee to study the effects of deportation of primary earners on United States citizen family members.

Transportation, Room 203, LOB

10:00 AM Executive session on HB 1489 Allowing registered nurses to certify walking disability plate eligibility; HB 1547 Eliminating fees for walking disability placards.

Thursday, February 27

Environment and Agriculture, Room 303, LOB

10:00 AM Executive session on HB 1195 Relative to pesticide use and notification of such use on community playgrounds; HB 1208 Relative to notification of pesticide application in residential property.

1:00 PM HB 1422 Establishing a moratorium on the issuance of permits for new landfills or the expansion of existing landfills for the purpose of studying the creating municipal waste districts.

2:30 PM HB 1319 Prohibiting the siting of new landfills or expansions of existing landfills near state parks, national parks, or United States Department of Agriculture forest land.

Monday, March 2

Joint Committee on Employee Relations, Room 201-201, LOB

1:00 PM Hearing on the fact-finder reports between the State of New Hampshire and the State Employees Association of NH, Inc. The fact finder’s report is available at: http://gencourt.state.nh.us/misc/sea.pdf

Tuesday, March 3

Children and Family Law, Room 206, LOB

3:00 PM Executive session on HB 1516 Raising the minimum age for marriage.

Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Room 204, LOB

10:00 AM HB 1465 Relative to the annulment of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses. The current waiting period to petition for annulment of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense is three years. This bill would increase the waiting period to 10 years.

11:00 AM HB 1586 Relative to the statute of limitations for sexual assault. This would permit prosecution for aggravated felonious sexual assaults at any time, regardless of when the alleged offense occurred.

11:30 AM HB 1217 Requiring police officers to report misconduct. This would require law enforcement officers to report misconduct by other law enforcement officers. This bill will be exec’d at 1:00 PM.

1:00 PM Executive session on HB 1174 Requiring screening for all law enforcement officers for psychological stability and substance abuse disorders prior to assuming their duties as certified officers; HB 1608 Prohibiting the manufacture, sale, transfer, and possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices.

Election Law, Room 308, LOB

11:00 AM Executive session on HB 1191 Relative to the use of campaign contributions for personal use expenditures; HB 1279 Relative to the terms resident, inhabitant, residence, and residency; HB 1395 Establishing a committee to study ballot access and ways to improve civic engagement in New Hampshire; HB 1415 Establishing a committee to study the Montana disclosure act and anonymous out-of-state contributions preceding an election; HB 1525 Relative to the definition of a political advocacy organization; HB 1534 Establishing a commission to study the creation of online voter registration for the 2022 state elections.; HB 1651 Relative to prisoners’ voting rights; HB 1653 Relative to domicile, residency, voter registration, and investigation of voter letters; HB 1665 Establishing an independent redistricting commission; HB 1672 Allowing voters to vote by absentee ballot.  

*Note* This executive session will be continued on Wednesday, March 4, at 11:00 AM.

Environment and Agriculture, Room 303, LOB

10:00 AM Executive session on HB 1422 Establishing a moratorium on the issuance of permits for new landfills or the expansion of existing landfills for the purpose of studying the creating municipal waste districts; HB 1319 Prohibiting the siting of new landfills or expansions of existing landfills near state parks, national parks, or United States Department of Agriculture forest land.

Executive Departments and Administration, Room 306, LOB

1:00 PM Executive session on HB 1644 Relative to information required on marriage licenses.

Judiciary, Room 208, LOB

1:00 PM Continued executive session on HB 1120 Requiring periodic water tests of rental property; HB 1143 Repealing limited liability for manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition.

Resources, Recreation, and Development, Room 305, LOB

10:00 AM Executive session on HB 1537 Relative to standards for perfluorochemicals in drinking water and ambient groundwater.

Ways and Means, Room 202, LOB

1:00 PM Executive session on HB 1646 Relative to historic racing.

Wednesday, March 4

Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Room 204, LOB

1:00 PM Executive session on HB 1586 Relative to the statute of limitations for sexual assault; HB 1465 Relative to the annulment of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses.

Judiciary, Room 208, LOB

10:00 AM Executive session on HB 1226 Prohibiting surveillance by the state on public roadways or sidewalks; HB 1236 Relative to the expectation of privacy; HB 1236 Establishing a civil penalty for unauthorized sharing of electronic location information; HB 1475 Relative to prohibiting abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat; HB 1640 Relative to parental notification prior to abortion; HB 1659 Relative to patient-directed care and patient rights with regard to end-of-life decisions; HB 1678 Relative to prohibiting abortion in certain cases; HB 1675 Relative to the right of any infant born alive to medically appropriate and reasonable care and treatment.

Legislative Administration, Room 303, LOB

10:00 AM Executive session on HB 1227 Requiring the renovation of the smoker’s lounge in the legislative office building; HB 1303 Establishing a commission to study expanding public testimony opportunities to remote locations statewide; HB 1486 Establishing a committee to study information technology in the legislative process.

Coming up in Senate Committees

Monday, March 2

Joint Committee on Employee Relations, Room 201-201, LOB

1:00 PM Hearing on the fact-finder reports between the State of New Hampshire and the State Employees Association of NH, Inc. The fact finder’s report is available at: http://gencourt.state.nh.us/misc/sea.pdf

Tuesday, March 3

Commerce, Room 103, SH

1:30 PM SB 603 Relative to financial assistance for biomass and forest product workers. This bill authorizes the Department of Employment Security to use funds for skills training and job matching for employees in the biomass and related forest product industries who have been laid off.

1:45 PM SB 448 Relative to certification of an employee bargaining unit. This bill requires the public employee labor relations board to certify an employee organization which receives a majority written authorization for the purpose of collective bargaining. The bill also requires a public employer to recognize such employee organization as the exclusive representative for collective bargaining.

Education and Workforce Development, Room 103, LOB

9:15 AM  SB 727 Relative to Holocaust and genocide studies legislation. This bill requires Holocaust and genocide prevention education to be included in the criteria for an adequate education.

10:30 AM SB 480 Relative to participation in school sports programs for female student athletes. This bill prohibits public schools from permitting a male student to participate in a student sport designated for females. This is similar to HB 1251, the House bill that seeks to bar transgender athletes from participating in female sports. Both bills include options for intrusive anatomical searches and chromosomal testing.

Energy and Natural Resources, Room 103, SH

9:00 AM  SB 427 Establishing the New Hampshire youth climate and conservation council. Members of the council would be between the ages of 12 and 25. This would include one resident of each county, four middle school students, four high school students, and four college or university students. This makes a great deal of sense, given that climate is going to have a drastic impact on the future of our young people.

9:20 AM  SB 429  Establishing a committee to study the feasibility of building regional plastic to oil conversion plants throughout the state. This piece in Anthropocene takes a look at the process so far. This is new technology, still in the early stages.  

9:30 AM  SB 590 Establishing a committee to develop science-based emissions reduction goals for the state of New Hampshire.

Health and Human Services, Room 101, LOB

1:00 PM SB 698 Relative to the Interstate Compact on Child Placement. This bill enacts the 2009 edition of the Interstate Compact on Child Placement, contingent upon its enactment in 34 other states. The entirety of the compact is found in the bill.

1:15 PM SB 699 Relative to the Interstate compact on child placement 2009. This is the same as the previous bill.

2:15 PM SB 599 Relative to testing for lead in water in schools and child care facilities. This bill would require such testing.

2:45 PM SB 754 Establishing a dental benefit under the state Medicaid program. This bill requires the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services to solicit information and to contract with dental managed care organizations to provide dental care to persons under the Medicaid managed care program.  

Wednesday, March 4

Election Law and Municipal Affairs, Room 102, LOB

10:00 AM SB 530 Relative to property tax exemptions for renewable energy systems. This bill clarifies the application of municipally-enabled property tax exemptions for solar, wind, wood heating, and electrical storage systems. This is supported by Clean Energy NH.

A reminder, there will be no State House Watch newsletter next week. We will be back on March 6. See you then!

State House Watch Radio

With the legislature on vacation this coming week, State House Watch Radio will take a little break too.  Instead of our regular show, we’ll provide some great music.  We’ll be back with a live show on March 2.

State House Watch airs every Monday from 5:00 to 6:00 PM, and re-broadcasts on Tuesdays from 8:00 to 9:00 AM.  Listen live to WNHN-LP at 94.7 FM in Concord or wnhnfm.org on the internet.  You can find podcasts, too, of all our past shows, including last week’s with Olivia Zink of Open Democracy and AnnMarie French of the NH Fiscal Policy Institute.

Coming Up…

Sunday, February 23

“Culture and Race in the Public Sphere” is this week’s Elinor Williams Hooker Tea Talk at Portsmouth Public Library, sponsored by NH Black Heritage Trail, 2:00 to 4:00 PM.  Admission free.  More details here.

Every Sunday is Civil Rights Sunday at Market Square, Portsmouth, 3:00 to 4:00 PM. 

Monday, February 24

Memorial Service for Sandra Hicks, followed by pot luck luncheon at the American Legion Sweeney Post #2, 251 Maple St, Manchester, NH 03103 from Noon to 3:00 PM.  In lieu of flowers the family asks that a donation be made in her name to the Greater Manchester Black Scholarship Foundation.

Thursday, February 27

Opening of “Our Neighbors, Ourselves,” an exploration through art and creativity into the lives and stories of those who have come to New Hampshire from around the world, through April 11.  “We hope to highlight the experience of our immigrant brothers and sisters, to highlight the fact that immigration is not simply a ‘border’ issue.”  St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 3 Peabody Row, Londonderry.  Doors open at 6:30 PM, with main event at 7:30 PM.  More info here.

Sunday, March 1

“Racism without Racists: Educating Generations Past & Future” is the title of the next Elinor Williams Hooker Tea Talk at Portsmouth Public Library, sponsored by NH Black Heritage Trail, 2:00 to 4:00 PM.  Admission free.  More details here.

Thursday, March 5

Tenants Rights Forum with Elliott Berry of NH Legal Assistance, 6:30 to 8:00 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 669 Union Street, Manchester.  Sponsored by Progressive Manchester and the Manchester Housing Alliance. 

Saturday, March 7

Concord Friends Meeting hosts a fundraiser for AFSC’s Arnie Alpert Action Fund, with stories from Barbara Keshen and Renny Cushing and music with Steve Schuch.  Donations will support future projects of AFSC-NH. 7 PM at the Quaker Meetinghouse, 11 Oxbow Pond Rd. Canterbury NH.  RSVP to Events@ConcordFriendsMeeting.org.  Donate here!

Saturday, March 14

Community Change and Concord Showing Up for Racial Justice will host a conference on anti-racist organizing, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at NHTI in Concord.  “Whether you are working on justice issues related to education, healthcare, environment, economics, criminalization or immigration, racial justice is a common thread through all of our work.”  Find out more and RSVP.

UMOJA Gala to benefit New American Africans and the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success (ORIS) at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord, 6:00 PM.  Tickets and more information here.

Saturday, March 21

The NH Conference of the United Church of Christ will host the New England Environmental Justice Youth Summit at South Congregational Church in Concord, 9 AM-4 PM.  Rev. Gordon Rankin and Rev. Jim Antal of the UCC; Lila Kohrman-Glaser of 350NH.org; Dr. Jehann El-Bisi, Director of The River Cried "Mini Wi' Coni"; Josie Pinto of the NH Youth Movement; and Marla Marcum from the Climate Disobedience Center.  Registration and more info.

With best wishes,
Arnie and Maggie

AFSC’s New Hampshire "State House Watch" newsletter is published to bring you information about matters being discussed in Concord including housing, the death penalty, immigration, and labor rights. We also follow the state budget and tax system, voting rights, corrections policy, and more.

The AFSC is a Quaker organization supported by people of many faiths who care about peace, social justice, humanitarian service, and nonviolent change. Arnie Alpert and Maggie Fogarty direct the New Hampshire Program, publish the newsletter, and co-host the “State House Watch” radio show on wnhnfm.org every week while the legislature is in session.  

Susan Bruce is State House Watch researcher and writer. Fred Portnoy produces the radio show.

"State House Watch" is made possible in part by a grant from the Anne Slade Frey Charitable Trust. Your donations make our work possible. Click the “DONATE NOW” button on our web page  to send a secure donation to support the work of the AFSC’s New Hampshire Program. Thanks.