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 -- this week's activity

The next House session will be Wednesday, April 1st, 2015, at 10:00 a.m.; possibly on Thursday, April 2nd, as well.

REGULAR CALENDAR

PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS

HB 25-FN-A, making appropriations for capital improvements. OUGHT TO PASS WITH AMENDMENTAs proposed, this budget authorizes $124,817,373 in general fund spending down from $134,544,611 as originally submitted. Additionally, we take advantage of $118,394,100 in federal funds. The committee unanimously approved HB 25 as amended. Vote 18-0.

FINANCE

HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017. MAJORITY: OUGHT TO PASS WITH AMENDMENT. MINORITY:INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE. Rep. Neal M. Kurk for the Majority of Finance... This bill is the state's budget for the next two fiscal years.....While some appropriations were increased, in order to "live within our means," a number of appropriations had to be reduced. These reductions were difficult and painful for finance committee members to make. Some highlights of the budget:funding for opening the new women's prison is not included in the budget, as this new facility will not open until the next biennium....Vote 14-9.

HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures. MAJORITY: OUGHT TO PASS WITH AMENDMENT. MINORITY: INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE.Rep. Neal M. Kurk for the Majority of Finance. This is the companion or "trailer bill" to HB 1-A, Vote 14-9. Privatization of juvenile corrections is part of this bill.

COMMITTEE HEARINGS

Tuesday, March 31

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY, Room 204, LOB

1:00 p.m. SB 40-FN, including a viable fetus in the definition of "another" for the purposes of certain criminal offenses. The bill's definition of (3) "Pregnancy" means one or more developing embryos or fetuses implanted in the uterus or elsewhere in the female body.

Executive session on pending legislation may follow

COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS, Room 302, LOB

1:15 PM SB 219, relative to breastfeeding. This bill requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to women who are breastfeeding. The bill also exempts a nursing mother from jury duty.

RESOURCES, RECREATION AND DEVELOPMENT, Room 305, LOB

10:30 a.m. Subcommittee work session on SB 38, establishing a commission to develop a land conservation plan.

11:15 a.m. Subcommittee work session on SB 80, relative to the state trails plan and establishing a committee on rail trails.

1:00 p.m. SB 168, relative to the duties of the commissioner of the department of environmental services.

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND ENERGY, Room 304, LOB

10:00 a.m. Committee briefing by Meredith Hatfield, NH Office of Energy & Planning on the status of divestiture legislation.

1:00 p.m. Continued public hearing on SB 117-FN-L, relative to energy security and diversity.

Tuesday , April 7

WAYS AND MEANS, Rooms 202-204, LOB

9:00 a.m. SB 113-FN-A-L, relative to video lottery and table gaming. WE OPPOSE Executive session in pending legislation may follow

Call to Action

Action alert re Casino bill passed by the NH Senate. This action alert comes from the coalition against using expanded gambling to raise revenue (Casino Free NH)of which we are a member organization. They ask that we please make every effort to attend.

The House Ways & Means Committee has scheduled a hearing for SB 113 on Tuesday, April 7 at 9:00 a.m. in Rooms 202-204 of the Legislative Office Building. It is important that we have as many people as we can show up for this. It will be important to sign in opposition (not necessary that you present testimony, just sign in as "opposed."

This committee passed the Keno bill earlier this year, but it was retained by the House. It will be helpful to hear the arguments for the 2 casinos and questions asked. As has been the case for so many years, funding government services, whether it is to comply with court decisions or to pay for road and bridge repairs, League has believed that counting on expanded gambling is unreliable - especially now as more casinos are proposed in MA and ME and others are closing in NJ! CT has already subsidized their casinos from the general fund and believes this will continue.

The coalition plans a luncheon for representatives in April with a speaker from CT who has experienced the ups and downs there personally. We need to encourage all Reps to take advantage of the opportunity to hear his description of what he observed.

Gun Licensing

SB 116 would repeal the licensing requirement in NH to carry a concealed weapon. The LWV position clearly calls for licensing and background checks for guns. Members who wish to express their support for gun licensing should OPPOSE SB116. The bill passed the senate earlier in 2015. It is being heard in the House Criminal Justice committee on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. Members of that committee can be contacted via email. Their names are listed here

Juvenile Justice

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

May 22, 2014: The NH Senate did not pass SB202, a burglary clarification bill with the death penalty repeal attached as an amendment, by a 2 to 1 vote.

The House had passed that bill earlier in May by a 2 to 1 margin. The death penalty in NH stands.

Casino Gambling

Leading the effort to defeat expanded gambling 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

The casino bills have been defeated in the House in this legislative session.

Update on voting rights

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.

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.

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 has been 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