|News from the Legislature.
My priorities entering the Senate were:
- Fix gerrymandering
- Improve school funding and college affordability
- Reduce property tax down-shifting from the state
- Attract workforce
- Care for our youngest Granite Staters
- Protect the environment
- Better regulate firearms
- Fund health & human services appropriately
- Improve telecom and transportation infrastructure
I am pleased to report progress on almost every one of those fronts! The bills below are just a sample. While we still must work to put these bills on Governor Sununu’s desk, I expect most to make it there:
HB 706-FN-A An act establishing an independent redistricting commission — with 15 Republicans, 15 Democrats and 15 from neither of the leading parties — came out of the House with a 216 to 126 vote in favor! Unfortunately, that is not a veto-proof majority.
SB303 The Senate voted to fully fund Special Ed reimbursements to towns, for exceptionally expensive placements, at the 80% regulatory level in 2020, rising to 90% in 2021. It also requires that Medicaid reimbursements must be paid to school districts, not town of residence. This ensures, in consolidated school districts, that all school taxpayers benefit from the reimbursement, not just those in the town of the student’s residence, since all taxpayers bear the cost of those services.
SB12 promotes companies which offer graduates of NH institutions of higher learning a bonus of at least $1,000 per year to become employed in the state
SB247 The Sunny-Day Fund, designed to attract talent and research funding to the state, passed out of the Education and Workforce Development committee with a 4-1 vote. It moves onto the Senate floor on Mar 7.
SB 274 Expands newborn home visits to all Medicaid recipients; for some unknown reason, only Medicaid mothers under 21 currently receive visits to ensure they have the knowledge and resources they need to care for their new babies.
SB24 Raises the cost and reduces the number of future Regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions credits available for CO2 emissions. This bipartisan bill will reach the Senate floor on Mar 7 with an Ought to Pass recommendation from the Senate Energy Committee.
HB 109, which closes the background check loophole. The House Criminal Justice Committee voted along party lines, 10-9, to recommend passage.
SB 11 This bill, passed by the Senate unanimously, addresses many problems around mental health, with better pay for staff and extended facilities for boarding. It also provides funding for hospital emergency rooms to treat, not just house, patients with mental health issues.
SB241 A Planning Study for Commuter Rail passed with a partisan vote of 14-10 on the Senate floor. There will be no cost to taxpayers since the matching may be paid with $2 mil of the state’s $800 mil in available toll credits for federal matching.