Most committees have finished their first round of bills and many of them have been voted on in the full House. We’ll finish the rest of them in a marathon three days March 6-8th.
So far this month in the House:
- We overturned HB 587 so now the bill that bans conversion therapy for minors will go to the Senate.
- We passed HB 628 to authorize a family and medical leave insurance program for NH. It would allow those who pay into the program to take up to 6 weeks of leave for medical reasons, to care for an elderly parent, etc. It will go to the Senate.
- An Interim Study will be done on whether to set up a NH department of military and veterans services, to coordinate all the current services and offices for veterans.
- We failed to pass HB 1811 which would re-authorize the state’s Health Protection Program (Medicaid Expansion that 50,000 NH citizens are using). It has been sent to Interim Study and hopefully it will come back for a vote before the end of the session.
- We passed making birth control (hormonal contraceptives) available from pharmacists without paying for a doctor’s visit first. This will go to the Senate next.
- We defeated a bill that would have changed annual vehicle inspections to every two years. It remains an annual inspection.
- We voted on a new road usage fee for hybrid and electric vehicles that would impose an annual extra fee of up to $111 per year to make up for the fact that those vehicles use less gas and so they pay less gas tax for upkeep of the roads. It makes sense in a way, but would make more sense if it were based on weight and miles traveled. Also, it dis-incentivizes switching to cleaner cars when we should be encouraging more of them. This bill will apply to all vehicles that get over 20 mpg. It now goes to the Finance committee and then the Senate.
- We passed Resolution 13, condemning hate crimes and any other form of racism in NH
- We passed HB 1425 which changes simple assault from a misdemeanor to a violation,
- which has a much less severe penalty. There is some concern that a person who tickles or otherwise “grooms” a child for sexual pleasure would no longer be charged with a misdemeanor if this is changed.
- We voted down a bill that would have allowed people to carry a pistol or revolver on campus at the state university system or community college system. The majority felt that adolescents, many of whom are experimenting with alcohol and perhaps other drugs, are not a good combination with handguns.
- We voted to accredit the secure psychiatric unit at the prison as a psychiatric hospital. It’s where those with extreme and violent psychotic cases are kept, and this designation would help address concerns about care and treatment of the patients there.
- We passed (by three votes) HB 114 that would REDUCE the amount of renewable energy in our state-wide goal. I voted against it. Now it goes to the senate.