Thank you for adding your voice on controversial legislation. Significant votes will occur this week as the 2018 State legislative session begins on Jan. 3 and 4.
A variety of bills were assigned back to committees for further review in the 2017 session. These have been worked-on over the fall and now those reports need to be voted.
By and large these bills are among the most controversial, requiring some amendment. Many of these you have said are bad ideas. This includes the following:
SB 193 - School Voucher legislation is a very bad bill that would cost the state $10M annually (Reaching Higher) by the fifth year and force local taxpayers to pay for private school choice, and potentially religious school funding, and cost the state a bunch in legal challenges, however the portions of the act not challenged would remain in effect. The bill makes it seem like the ability to establish an education savings accounts for your child would be limited by income but that’s a lot of smoke screen. In addition, the requirements added to administer this program are significant for public schools, the savings account administrator, the NH Dept. of Ed., parents and private schools. Recommended in the House ought to pass.
HB 592 - Rolling back Regional Greenhouse Gas incentives to $0, essentially ending the program of incentives for renewable energy projects. Recommended in the House ought to pass.
HB 114 - Rolling back Renewable Portfolio Standard goals to 2015 levels and retaining that level into the future instead of increasing them as in current statutes. Recommended in the House ought to pass.
HB 236 - In child custody cases, relative to determination of parental rights and responsibilities and establishing a presumption in favor of shared parental rights, including residential responsibility, resulting in not less than 35 percent of the parenting time for either parent. Leaves it to court orders that ability to modify parental rights and responsibilities based on the best interest, of the child. Recommended in the House ought to pass.
HB 561 - limiting state retirees ability to work more than 1040 per year, the equivalent of 20 hours a week for another state retirement employer such as a school, city or government, limiting retirees ability to work and the agencies of the state the opportunity to benefit from a skilled labor force. Current limit is 32 hours per week. Recommended in the Senate ought to pass.
HB 372 - suppresses voter participation by setting the standards to vote at the same requirements as running for office. A resident shall be a person who has, through all of his or her actions, demonstrated a current intent to designate that [place of abode) domicile as his or her principal place of physical presence [for the indefinite future] to the exclusion of all others. A college student who is declared by a family’s income tax, but attends away from home and is affected by the local laws—tuition, healthcare, drug, guns on campus and any other laws that effect anyone else who lives in somewhere 9 to 12 months of a year. This laws restricts the state’s ability to retain and attract college students to reside in its state through civic engagement by defining that state domicile and residency shall not be interrupted or lost by a temporary absence, even if there is an intent to return to such residence or residency. Recommended in Senate ought to pass.
And we discussed a couple good improvements being considered:
HB 628, Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI) Program - All employers subject to this chapter shall remit FMLI premium payments on a calendar quarter basis. These quarterly insurance premium payments shall amount to 0.5 percent of wages per employee per week for each week of the preceding quarter. An employee shall be limited up to 12 weeks of FMLI in any one application period. An employee shall have had premium payments remitted as a percent of his or her wages for at least 6 months to be eligible for benefits and shall have worked in employment resulting in wages in the amount of at least 1,040 multiplied by the applicable minimum wage, in either the “base period” or “alternative base period”. An employee can opt out. Employers may offer equivalent programs. Recommended in the House ought to pass.
SB 170 - relative to the authority of towns to issue bonds for the expansion of broadband infrastructure, expands authority to public private partnerships and to provide service to any location unserved by FCC minimum rates of 25 mgbt download and 3 mgbt upload service. Defines location as a property and defines the procurement process for towns or municipalities that encourages existing. Recommended in the Senate ought to pass to then move to the House for consideration.