Making Democracy Work

Hot Legislation

State legislation requiring quick action.

Information on state issues and live bills upon which the League of Women Voters of New Hampshire is interested, is taking a position, and/or has determined action is needed.

Occasionally we post action alerts from the national League here as well.

NH Legislature --2016 session

Final NH House and Senate meetings were held June 16. They met in special session to vote on the drug grants bill that recently failed because of a non-germane amendment (this time standing by itself, as it deserves).

NH House met on Wed., May 11. Bills that were voted on in the House include the following of interest to League members. See notes updating their status.

Election Law: SB4, which is recommended Ought to Pass 10-7, would require 30-days domicile in NH. LEAGUE OPPOSES. Update May 12, 2016--this bill passed the House with an amendment. League is not happy. SB423, which committee recommends 10-7 Ought to Pass--would allow 17 year olds to register if they will be 18 by the next election. LEAGUE SUPPORTS THE SPIRIT OF ENCOURAGING YOUNG PEOPLE'S INTEREST IN VOTING. Update May 12, 2016--This bill passed. Tell all your young friends that if they will be 18 by the time of an upcoming election, they can go to their town or city clerk to register at their convenience, even if they are still 17.

SB464 --Finance committee has recommended Ought to Pass 26-0, the drug court grant program. LEAGUE SUPPORTS AND HAS TESTIFIED IN FAVOR. The amendment includes appropriation. Update May 12, 2016--this bill passed. League is happy. The bill needs to go to a committee of conference as the appropriation differs between House and Senate bills, but League assumes it come out favorably. SB466--Finance committee has recommended Ought to Pass 25-1, to send 17 year olds to the Sununu Youth Center rather than to prison or county houses of correction, in compliance with PREA recommendations. LEAGUE SUPPORTS.

SCR 3, (New Title) applying to the United States Congress to convene a limited convention for the exclusive purpose of proposing amendments to the federal Constitution concerning election reform that do not abrogate or amend the first amendment to the federal Constitution. MAJORITY: OUGHT TO PASS. MINORITY: INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE. 10-6 Update May 12, 2016--Both SCR 3 and SCR 4 were Tabled by the House. While it is possible, it is unlikely either will come up for another vote this session.

SCR 4, (New Title) applying for an Article V convention to propose an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that imposes fiscal restraints on the federal government. MAJORITY: OUGHT TO PASS. MINORITY: INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE. 11-5 see above

SB498 recommended Ought to Pass 12-7 would reduce a first-time marijuana (under 1/4 ounce) offense to a violation, thus eliminating the criminal record attached to a misdemeanor or felony. League's study of women incarcerated has revealed how difficult life is for offenders and their families when there is a criminal record. Update May 12, 2016--The House passed this bill as amended. We need to verify whether the amendment will need to go to committee of conference.

SB426--Judiciary recommends Ought to Pass 9-7 to create an end of life study commission. League has no position but is curious to see what a commission might propose. Update May 12. The House voted this bill Inexpedient to Legislate, killing the bill for this session.

SB381, relative to the combustion of the wood component of construction and demolition debris. This bill would allow the incineration of some construction debris, a practice that was outlawed in NH in 2008. NH has only one trash incineration facility, the Wheelabrator Plant in Concord. The minority finds that there was no demonstrated need for this change in the law, and that this wood may well contain toxic chemicals like lead or arsenic. An editorial in the Concord Monitor expresses concern that this could be the first step in NH becoming a regional disposal center. The editorial also mentions the fact that none of the bill's sponsors live in Concord. The committee recommends OTP by a vote of 11-8. The minority recommends it be referred for interim study. It is opposed by the NH Sierra Club. For more on this bill, see the Sierra Club's Facebook post. Update May 12, 2016--This bill passed the House.

NH Senate met Thursday May 12 10 am to vote on the following bill among others:

HB 1482, relative to the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program. Committee recommends Interim Study, 5-0, which LEAGUE SUPPORTS further study because we don't believe the particular program that was in the bill is the best one to use in NH. Update May 12. Bill passed the House with an amendment. This bill may need to go to committee of conference. League is sorry the Crosscheck Program won't receive further study before adoption.

HB1534, authorizing trial program of electronic poll books, passed in the Senate with an amendment. Not sure if this will require committee of conference.

Hearings of interest week of May 16-20: As the legislature winds down so do committee hearings. Next big work will be committees of conference hearings.
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The Senate will meet Thursday May 5 at 10 am. On calendar is HB 582, repealing the requirement for a license for concealed carry. Update May 2016: This bill passed the Senate.

Also on calendar is HB1681, which would have decreased penalties for having hypodermic needles with a tiny amount of controlled drugs, which many saw as a first step to a future needle exchange program. The bill has been entirely amended to set up a commission to study needle exchange programs.Update May 2016: This bill was turned into establishment of a commission to study a needle exchange program. The House concurred with the Senate amendment to make this a commission, and it will go to the Governor for signing.

Also on the calendar is HCR12, a resolution "Whereas, a group of New Hampshire public and private sector leaders of the New Hampshire Coalition for Business and Education (NHCBE) has endorsed and committed to a statewide workforce enhancement goal whereby 65 percent of the state's working age population will hold a postsecondary credential or degree by the year 2025;" which would guide the state's policies toward education. "Click here to read the text of the resolution:<http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_Status/billText.aspx?id=803&txtFormat=pdf&v=current> Update May 2016: This bill has passed both houses, will go to the Governor for signing.

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Update April 22: this bill passed in the House with an amendment. SB 509-FN, relative to voter registration forms and relative to voter identity verification. This bill incorporates changes to the Voter Registration form including the removal of existing wording requiring compliance with motor vehicle laws. The second section of this bill, as amended, changes the procedure for investigating voters who did not confirm their status after being sent a letter of identity verification.

Rep. Wayne Moynihan for the Minority of Election Law. League agreed with the minority that this bill should not become law. Rep. Moynihan explains some of our same arguments. As justification for this change to the law it was reported that, over the course of several elections, a "large" number of voter identification letters have accumulated in the office of the NH Secretary of State. Under the current law, it is the duty of the Attorney General's (AG's) Office to investigate these returned letters, and determine whether any voter fraud has occurred. The AG's Office states that it does not have the available staff or budget to enable the process of investigation to be completed. This bill proposes to expand the power of investigation from the AG's Office to the Secretary of State and to town clerks and checklist supervisors. It would become the duty of the town clerks and check-list supervisors to undertake the time and effort to scrutinize the letters and investigate the circumstances, and then compile a "list" of "not...legal voters." The bill's fiscal note states that it would require additional staff time at the local level and could result in increased local expenditures. Even with this downshifting of investigation expenses to the local towns and cities, the Department of Justice further anticipates that some "temporary full-time" investigators and paralegals would be needed to implement the bill, at a cost to the department of at least $167,000.00 per year. Over the years, the department's regular reports with respect the investigation of verifying letter has rarely if ever exposed any voter fraud. This bill downshifts unnecessary and burdensome state expenses onto cities and towns. It is opposed by the New Hampshire City and Town Clerks' Association. It creates expenses and personnel requirement upon the Department of Justice with no appropriations therefore, and no explanation as to the source of funding for the cities and towns.

NH Senate will meet in session on Thursday, May 5, 10 am.

One bill on calendar is HB 582-FN repealing the license requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver. Update: this bill passed in the senate 4/21, was referred to Finance, which recommends passage.

Another bill last week was HB 1426-FN, relative to earned time credits for prisoners participating in educational programming. Update: passed in full Senate with an amendment 4/21/16. League supports this provided that women have educational opportunities equal to male inmates.

HB1631 reduces the penalties for possession of a small amount of marijuana. Update: voted Inexpedient to Legislate in full Senate 4/21/16.

One bill that has been "laid on the table" but could be brought back is SB 463-FN, suspending the imposition of the death penalty. It is pending motion, Ought to Pass, by the Judiciary committee. If it comes up for a full vote, League would support passage.

Senate committees of interest: The Senate Public & Municipal Affairs committee will discuss this amended bill 4/27/16, LOB 102, 10 am: Amendment to HB 1534, that would allow Manchester, Hooksett, and Durham to use electronic poll books in the primary and the general elections as trial programs, then report to state on how it worked. It's really a new bill, and Manchester has already done a public presentation on the electronic book (a League board member attended, was impressed). The original bill was just a procedural thing about reporting deaths to supervisors of checklists. League supports Ought to Pass, as a possible way to expedite voting. Click here to read League's testimony on HB 1534 Update: we just found out about a new amendment to this bill-- Click here to read additional testimony on this very new amendment to the bill requiring both paper and electronic polls books be used for this trial, which seems to defeat the purpose.

No other League priority items are being heard week of April 25-29.

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An election bill that was voted on 4/14/16 is HB 1313-FN, relative to eligibility to vote and relative to availability of voter information. The bill was defeated. League wanted this bill killed, voted Inexpedient to Legislate. See our testimony on testimony page. ------- House committee hearings week of April 11-15, 2016: EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB 10:00 a.m. Executive session on SB 503-A, relative to pre-kindergarten education using "pay for success" financing; SB 326, relative to the membership of the community college system of New Hampshire board of trustees; SB 483-FN, (New Title) establishing a committee to study the necessity of creating a chartered public school program officer position and to study appropriations to chartered public schools for the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years. ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB 10:45 a.m. Continued public hearing on SB 418, relative to obtaining a ballot to vote and adding National Guard members to the absentee voting laws. 11:00 a.m. Executive session on SB 353, relative to names on ballots; SB 418, relative to obtaining a ballot to vote and adding National Guard members to the absentee voting laws; SB 456-FN, relative to reporting of receipts and expenditures by candidates and candidate commit
- tees; SB 4, (New Title) relative to eligibility to vote and relative to availability of voter information; SB 509-FN, relative to voter registration forms and relative to voter identity verification; SB 458-FN, relative to reporting by political committees; SB 423, relating to the right of 17-year olds to register to vote; SB 546-FN, relative to petitions for verification of checklists.

See below April 4-8 for notes on some of these election law bills.

Senate committee hearings week of April 11-15, 2016: None of the League's priority topics are being heard this week.

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Senate committee hearings week of April 5-8, 2016:

TUESDAY: JUDICIARY, Room 100, SH . Sen. Carson (C), Sen. Cataldo (VC), Sen. Daniels, Sen. Lasky, Sen. Pierce 9:00 a.m HB 1631-FN, relative to penalties for possession of marijuana. 10:00 a.m. HB 1681-FN, relative to hypodermic syringes and needles containing residual amounts of controlled drugs

WEDNESDAY: PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS, (a bunch of bills related to elections, some minor) Room 102, LOB Sen. Birdsell (C), Sen. Boutin (VC), Sen. Stiles, Sen. Lasky, Sen. Kelly 9:00 a.m. HB 1114, relative to the number of inspectors of election. 9:15 a.m. HB 1220, relative to disqualification of election officers. 9:30 a.m. HB 1223, relative to changes of address on election day. 9:45 a.m. HB 1377, relative to receipt of absentee ballots. 10:00 a.m. HB 1181, relative to designating an alternate cemetery trustee. 10:15 a.m. HB 1202, relative to applications submitted to a planning board. 10:30 a.m. HB 1482, relative to the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program. League opposes. Click here to read our testimony.

House committee hearings week of April 4-8, 2016:

TUESDAY: ELECTION LAW: Room 308, LOB 10:00 a.m.SB 353, relative to names on ballots. 10:10 a.m. SB 418, relative to obtaining a ballot to vote and adding National Guard members to the absentee voting laws. 10:25 a.m. SB 456-FN, relative to reporting of receipts and expenditures by candidates and candidate committees. 10:35 a.m. SB 4, (New Title) relative to eligibility to vote and relative to availability of voter information. League opposes. Click here to read our testimony. 10:55 a.m. SB 509-FN, relative to voter registration forms and relative to voter identity verification. League opposes. Click here to read our testimony. 11:15 a.m. SB 458-FN, relative to reporting by political committees. 11:30 a.m. SB 423, relating to the right of 17-year olds to register to vote. 11:40 a.m. SB 546-FN, relative to petitions for verification of checklists.

Energy bill TUESDAY 4/5: House Science, Technology and Energy Committee 10:00 a.m., in LOB Room 304 SB 492, relative to expenditures from the energy efficiency fund. League discussed this issue at Quad States in 2014. For members and friends interested, here is a description of the bill and hearing from the New Hampshire Municipal Assn's e-newsletter 4-4-16. "NHMA strongly supports this bill, which increases to $5 million (from $2 million) the amount that can be distributed to municipalities and school districts from the sale of carbon allowances under the regional greenhouse gas initiative (RGGI). Those funds are used for energy efficiency projects, which reduce municipal costs and thus save money for taxpayers. The bill would also distribute additional funds to the low income core energy efficiency program, which provides weatherization for low income home-owners. SB 492 is identical to a bill that the Senate passed last year, but which died in a committee of conference. The objection last year was that the bill would eliminate the rebates to residential ratepayers that exist under current law. However, those rebates (about $1.50 a month) are insignificant compared to the savings that would result from SB 492, not only for low income customers, but for all residential customers. Municipal energy efficiency projects, of course, help to reduce property taxes for everyone. Further, by increasing energy efficiency, these programs reduce demand for energy and thus help to keep costs down for all customers. According to information provided last year by the Office of the Consumer Advocate (which is charged with representing the interests of residential ratepayers), between 2002 and 2015 the energy efficiency programs saved over 10 billion electric kilowatt hours and 16 million natural gas MMBtus, translating to customer savings of over $1.6 billion. SB 492 squeaked through the Senate on a 13-11 vote, and it will definitely have opposition in the House. After the hearing on Tuesday morning, the committee is planning to discuss and presumably vote on the bill at 1:00 p.m. the same day." (NHMA urged support).

THURSDAY: FINANCE, Rooms 210-211, LOB 10:00 a.m. CACR 27, (New Title) relating to the operating budget. Providing that the state shall not spend more from any fund than such fund receives in revenue, nor use the proceeds of any bond to fund its annual operating expenditures.

THURSDAY: HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Room 205 LOB 3:15 p.m.SB 430, establishing a commission to study long-term peer-to-peer recovery services in New Hampshire.

Next week (April 11-15) TUESDAY, April 12: ELECTION LAW, Room 308, LOB 11:00 a.m. Executive session on SB 353, relative to names on ballots; SB 418, relative to obtaining a ballot to vote and adding National Guard members to the absentee voting laws; SB 456-FN, relative to reporting of receipts and expenditures by candidates and candidate committees; SB 4, (New Title) relative to eligibility to vote and relative to availability of voter information; SB 509-FN, relative to voter registration forms and relative to voter identity verification; SB 458-FN, relative to reporting by political committees; SB 423, relating to the right of 17-year olds to register to vote; SB 546-FN, relative to petitions for verification of checklists.

Weekly calendars can be found on the state's website.

To see the complete calendar of New Hampshire State Senate sessions and committee meetings, click here.

To see the complete calendar of New Hampshire State House sessions and committee meetings, click here.

LWVNH is supporting, opposing or following a number of the bills in the Legislature which we consider priority bills. Please come to the hearings and learn about League advocacy. We're always looking for members who wish to be part of our Legislative Action Team.

---Below are earlier postings, some with updates as we find out results---

Senate Hearings of note, week of March 28-April 1: Tuesday, 3/29/16 JUDICIARY, Room 100, SH Sen. Carson (C), Sen. Cataldo (VC), Sen. Daniels, Sen. Lasky, Sen. Pierce 9:00 a.m. HB 1426-FN, relative to earned time credits for prisoners participating in educational programming. (League supports this bill provided the women inmates have the same access to programs that qualify for earned time as the men.)

Wednesday, 3/30/16 PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS, Room 102, LOB Sen. Birdsell (C), Sen. Boutin (VC), Sen. Stiles, Sen. Lasky, Sen. Kelly 10:20 a.m. HB 1313-FN, relative to eligibility to vote and relative to availability of voter information. (Note: League submitted testimony in opposition to this bill, on which we testified when it was in the House.) Click here to read the League's testimony.

--- Update from March 21-25: Senate voted on a number of bills, among which are the following of particular interest to League members:

This bill passed 22 to 2: SCR 3, A RESOLUTION applying to the United States Congress to convene a limited convention for the exclusive purpose of proposing amendments to the federal Constitution concerning election reform that do not abrogate or amend the first amendment to the federal Constitution. Committee recommendation is Ought to Pass with Amendment (new title as above), Vote 2-1. (League note: Our national League study of Article V conventions has resulted in a League position [see Positions page of our LWVNH.org website]. This resolution does limit the convention to a specific topic, which our newly adopted position requires. It does not, however, specify how voting at the convention would be handled, therefore League must OPPOSE this resolution. We wonder what kinds of election reform might be discussed at such a convention...?)

This bill passed 15-9: SCR 4, A RESOLUTION applying for an Article V convention to propose an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that imposes fiscal restraints on the federal government. Committee recommendation is Ought to Pass with Amendment (new title as above), Vote 3-0. (League note: this resolution specifically limits the call for a convention to "the specific and exclusive purpose of proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States limited to the purposes stated therein" which is fiscal restraints. The limitation of topics to be considered does meet condition d. under which League could support this bill, but the other conditions are not met. Specifically condition c., that voting at the convention must be by delegate not state, is violated by the wording of this bill that calls for a one-vote per state rule. League must therefore OPPOSE this resolution.)

This billed passed the Senate, but was tabled by the House in May 2016: An amendment to CACR 27 RELATING TO the operating budget. PROVIDING THAT the state shall not spend more from any fund than such fund receives in revenue, nor use the proceeds of any bond to fund its annual operating expenditures. Amend the resolution by replacing paragraph I with the following: I. That the second part of the constitution be amended by inserting after article 6-b the following new article: [Art.] 6-c [Balanced Budget.] The state shall not, without an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the total number of representatives apportioned under part 2, article 9 and of the total number of senators allocated by part 2, article 25, either spend from the general fund or any other fund capable of producing a surplus more in any biennial budget period than that fund receives in revenues, plus any surplus in that fund from the previous biennium and any amounts held in a revenue stabilization, reserve, or contingency account to the extent such account was funded by the general court before that budget period, or use the proceeds of any bond or other instrument of indebtedness to fund, directly or indirectly, its annual operating expenditures. (League note: This is essentially a balanced budget amendment of the NH constitution, but said budget could be overridden by a 2/3 vote of the legislature. If this or a similar CACR is eventually passed in the Senate and House by 60% of the members, the proposed constitutional amendment would be on the November ballot, which would then need a two-thirds vote by the voters to become part of the constitution.) It is dead for the 2016 election.

HB1696 to reauthorize NH's Medicaid Expansion Program, called the NH Health Protection Program. See note under "hearings" below for more information UPDATE--PASSED 3/30.

Other bills to be voted on March 24 in the Senate (update coming as soon as state govt website posts results):

FINANCE committee has made recommendations as listed below: SB 507-FN, authorizing online voter registration. Inexpedient to Legislate, Vote 4-2. LEAGUE SUPPORTS PASSAGE OF THIS BILL.

SB 509-FN, relative to voter registration forms and relative to voter identity verification. Ought to Pass, Vote 3-2. LEAGUE OPPOSES THIS BILL. TESTIMONY ON OUR ACTION/TESTIMONY PAGE.

SB 513-FN, relative to the Sununu Youth Service Center. Interim Study, Vote 4-0. (League note: This bill would add a residential psychiatric treatment facility to the Sununu Youth Center, which currently has excess space now that many more youth with issues are managed in the community rather than at the detention center. To study this use of part of the facility makes sense to League, but we do not have an official position.)

SB 514, relative to the appropriation for Medicaid managed care. Inexpedient to Legislate, Vote 5-0.

SB 528-FN-A, making an appropriation for supportive housing for persons with substance use disorders. Interim Study, Vote 5-0 (League note: this bill would appropriate $2 million to fund supportive housing as part of a multi-pronged plan to address drug use crisis in NH. League has no official position.)

JUDICIARY committee has made recommendations as listed below: SB 336, relative to the qualifications for obtaining a license to carry a concealed pistol or revolver. Ought to Pass with Amendment, Vote 5-0 (League note: one word change from "suitable" to "proper" describing persons eligible for concealed carry license. Probably a legal distinction that League cannot explain without research.)

PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS SB 423, relating to the right of 17-year olds to register to vote. Ought to Pass with Amendment, Vote 4-0. (League note: some other states allow 17 year olds to vote in primaries provided they will be 18 by the general election. We did not attend hearings on this bill, have not heard the testimony.)

The House met in session on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, at 10:00 a.m.and on Thursday, March 24, the crossover deadline for action on all remaining House bills.

A number of bills were to be voted on by the entire House, none of them on our priority list:

Of interest is HB 1143, relative to showing a ballot. Election Law Committee's recommendation is INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE. Vote 17-0. Rep. William Gannon speaking for Election Law committee. "This bill would repeal the prohibition on a voter taking a digital image of his or her marked ballot. A US District Court order on this issue is currently being appealed. The majority believes that this legislation should not be adopted. We believe in the sanctity of the secret ballot. In early NH history, there was often coercion at the voting booth. We want the voter to feel free from all intimidation and outside pressures when casting a ballot. Voting is one of the most fundamental rights and its sanctity should be defended at all costs." (League does not have a position but some of us sympathize with the younger generation who believe that life events, such as a first voting experience, is not complete unless documented in selfies. That is currently illegal, and would stay illegal if this bill is voted Inexpedient to Legislate, which is the likely outcome.) This bill was laid on the table.

---- Updates on early legislative action & testimony: THE HOUSE MET IN SESSION ON MARCH 9 & 10, 2016 AT 10 A.M. Bills that came up for a vote in the NH House on March 9 or 10 on the "consent calendar," which means there is very little further discussion on the floor of the house.

HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE HB 1696, the main Medicaid expansion reauthorization bill. update: This bill passed the House 3/9/16 The League's national position on healthcare is difficult to parse in the context of this bill but seems to favor passage. The inclusion of access to treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders is part of our state League's position on NH's corrections system, so we would support this bill.

ELECTION LAW COMMITTEE HB 1511-FN-LOCAL, relative to hours of polling. Update: this bill was defeated in the house. League supported. We believe that voter confusion over polling hours results in ballots not being cast despite the intent to vote. Note: An amended version of the same bill was recommended out of the Senate Municipal and Public Affairs Committee, and will be voted on in the Senate on March 10. We support the current bill in the Senate.

HB 1143, relative to showing a ballot. This bill was defeated. League does not have a position on this bill, but we understand that first-time young voters feel life doesn't happen without a selfie to document it, currently illegal in NH. Rep. William Gannon for Election Law. This bill would repeal the prohibition on a voter taking a digital image of his or her marked ballot. A US District court order on this issue is currently being appealed. The majority believes that this legislation should not be adopted. We believe in the sanctity of the secret ballot. In early NH history, there was often coercion at the voting booth. We want the voter to feel free from all intimidation and outside pressures when casting a ballot. Voting is one of the most fundamental rights and its sanctity should be defended at all costs.

Bills on House regular calendar March 9-10 which means there was extensive floor discussion among the representatives.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY HB 1552-FN, a bill to expand the death penalty. update: The house voted not to expand the definition of the death penalty, 3/9/16 LWVNH opposes expansion of the death penalty. This bill would grow NH's relatively narrow death penalty law to be one of the broadest in the country by adding an expansive definition of "weapon of mass destruction" to include nearly any weapon, device, or drug, and expanding the class of victims to include any person enjoying a right or privilege protected by the constitution (i.e. life.) Not recommending passage of this bill still leaves in place NH's death penalty statute for a list of heinous acts against vulnerable victims and law enforcement. Note: the NH Senate deadlocked 12-12 on March 3 on a bill to suspend the death penalty, effectively killing the bill for this year. The League's national position is in opposition to the death penalty.

EDUCATION COMMITTEE HB 1612-FN, relative to the age for purposes of compulsory education. This was voted Inexpedient to Legislate (killed).

ELECTION LAW CACR 17, relating to domicile for the purpose of voting. Providing that only a resident of the state may establish a domicile for the purpose of voting. This bill was defeated. LWVNH opposes this bill and has testified in opposition.

Rep. Wayne Burton for the Minority of Election Law. By redefining domicile as residence, this proposed amendment to our state constitution will have the effect of disenfranchising those coming to NH as college students, veterans seeking services, and medical professionals on interim appointments, for example, through requiring a permanency standard deemed constitutionally unacceptable by the US Supreme court. Changing settled law in ways that reduce voter turnout, now among the highest in the country, diminishes our exemplary status of which our forebears would be proud.

HB 1313-FN, relative to eligibility to vote and to availability of voter information. This bill passed, requiring 10 days residence before voting. LWVNH opposed this bill. Will be heard in Senate committee 3/30/16. The NH Constitution and the US Constitution guarantee the right to vote to all citizens, 18-years-old or older. The US Supreme Court has said that you may not put a waiting period on a citizen's right to exercise the fundamental right to vote. No state has a residency requirement although some states that do not have same day registration are allowed a time period to confirm registration information before an election. "League Testimony"<http://www.lwvnh.org/files/1-18-2016_hb1313_lwvnh_testimony.pdf >

HB 1356, relative to construction of the terms "resident" and "inhabitant." This bill passed. Will be heard in Senate Public and Municipal Affairs (April maybe?) LWVNH opposed it. This bill is an attempt to rewrite the definition of domicile so that students, members of the military and several other categories of people will lose their right to vote. There are about 600 laws in NH dealing with questions of residency, abode, domicile and habitation. This bill does not take into consideration the complexities of the many laws that may somehow involve issues of residency or domicile, and it does not accommodate the different jurisdictions of the state and town officials who administer our laws. "League testimony"<http://www.lwvnh.org/files/1-18-2018_hb_1356_lwvnh_testimony.pdf > What you can do: Urge your State Senator to vote against this bill when it crosses over to the Senate. The bill is nothing more than another attempt to suppress the right to vote by denying the right to vote to certain citizens.

HB 1482, establishing a committee to study improving the statewide voter registration database. This bill passed. LWVNH opposed it. We supported the original bill to create a study committee. The amended version calls for adopting what is called the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program. The program is a partisan program to compare voter checklists of states and remove duplicate names. The program has few controls and is best known for removing tens of thousands of people from certain racial and minority groups. It is so bad that the state of Florida dropped out. There are nonpartisan voter checklist programs that should be studied. The best offer a more complex crosscheck system which prevents removing legitimate voters from the checklist.

What you can do: Urge your state Senator to vote against HB 1482 when it crosses over to the Senate.

THE SENATE MET IN SESSION ON THURSDAY, MARCH 10

PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS SB 346-FN-L, relative to hours of polling. This bill was tabled, likely dead for this year LWVNH supports. We supported the original bill which proposed standard polling hours of 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (with some exceptions). The amended version says polls may open any time until noon but must stay open until 8 p.m. A standard closing time is an improvement over the current confusing variety of closing times.

SB 507-FN, authorizing online voter registration. This bill passed, will go to the Fiance Committee with a request for funds to come from the General Fund. LWVNH supports. We supported the original version of this bill because it is a more secure and easier way to register to vote and to maintain the checklists. We support using HAVA funds which were given to NH by the federal government in 2003 to be used to modernize voting systems. The Secretary of State still has about $11 million in HAVA funds so we are disappointed by the amendment to pay for the change out of the General Fund.

SB 509-FN, relative to voter registration forms and relative to voter identity verification. This bill passed. LWVNH opposed. The bill was heavily amended.

Juvenile Justice

June 4, 2015 The NH Senate voted on HB 2, which includes language instructing the Dept. of Health and Human Services, that administers the Sununu Youth Services Center (primarily a residential facility for youth in trouble with the law) to reduce their spending by $3.5 million and to "develop a plan to reduce the cost of providing existing services...which shall include privatization of services. The League opposed prison privatization a few years ago and will keep a close eye on the plan as it develops to be sure that running of the Sununu Center is not turned over to a for-profit entity. See the :LWVUS position on privatization of government services.

early May 2015: LWVNH echoes this appeal presented to the NH Senate Finance committee--Rev. Gail Kinney's statement included a call to "'just say `no' to any effort to privatize juvenile offender services in the state of New Hampshire. New Hampshire's troubled young people should never, ever, ever be turned over to be profit centers for a private corporation."

August 2014: NH Juvenile Justice Reform Bill Signed

NH Kids Count and its partners in the NH Juvenile Justice Coalition celebrated passage of a sweeping juvenile justice reform bill (HB 1624) during the 2014 legislative session.

Both the House and Senate enacted HB 1624 with wide margins and Governor Hassan signed the bill into law. Effective July 1, 2015, HB 1624 raises the age at which juveniles are treated as adults in the courts from 17 to 18 and ensures other protections for youth.

Based on our study of incarceration issues in NH, the League testified in support of this bill.

Death Penalty Repeal

The NH Senate met in session on Thurs., March 3, 2016 at 10 am. At that time the senate voted 12-12 on SB463, to suspend the death penalty "until methods exist to ensure that the death penalty cannot be imposed on an innocent person." The bill is effectively killed for this year. The League's national position is in opposition to the death penalty.

In mid-February the NH House held a hearing on HB1552, which would expand the crimes under which the death penalty could be imposed. One is terrorism, which is already a federal capital crime. That bill was defeated in the House on March 9. League opposed expanding the death penalty.

Casino Gambling

Defeated in the Senate March 24, 2016 is another expanded gaming bill, SB551, which would have allowed one casino at Rockingham Park in Salem. League continues to doubt the figures presented as potential state revenue, given that Massachusetts' plans for a casino less than an hour away are going forward. League opposes this bill. Our position on gambling is on our Positions page.

Leading the effort to defeat expanded gambling last year and this year is an organization dedicated to preventing casinos from gaining entrance into our state: Casino Free New Hampshire. (see the website and Facebook page

Update on voting rights

The League of Women Voters New Hampshire continues to oppose restrictions on the right to vote, especially those that seem to target students, the elderly, and the poor.

In the 2017 NH Legislative session, the League plans to support actively a redistricting commission bill. We have testified in the past, and now with a national as well as our state position behind, will work to see that the 2021 redistricting process in NH is accomplished in an open non-partisan way.

A legislative study committee to review election law with a goal of improving voter participation was appointed in 2014. The committee initially announced its intention to begin public sessions around the state in April 2014. A meeting was held in Ossipee on July 29, 2014. A final meeting (though without a quorum) was held in late October. A report was issued by Nov. 1, but without a quorum it was unofficial.

State Legislature Calendar

To see the complete calendar of New Hampshire State Senate sessions and committee meetings, click here. To see the complete calendar of New Hampshire State House sessions and committee meetings, click here.

NH members of Congress

Here are the Washington DC phone numbers, state office phone numbers, and websites of the current New Hampshire US Senators and Representatives. Emails may be sent via the websites only.

This list was updated in January 2015.

Senator Kelly Ayotte (202) 224-3324 website Manchester NH office: 622-7979

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (202) 224-2841 website Manchester NH office: 647-7500

Representative Ann McLane Kuster (district 2) (202) 225-5206 website Concord NH office: 226-1002

Representative Frank Guinta (district 1) (202) 225-5456 website Manchester office: 641-9536