House OKs several business-related bills


As the New Hampshire House of Representatives on Wednesday hotly debated dozens of retained bills from last year -- everything from bringing back short-term loans to allowing guns on campus -- a number of measures won quiet approval.

All of them still must be passed by the Senate and escape the governor's veto pen.

Among them:
• House Bill 234: Mortgage bankers and brokers who negotiate three or more mortgages a year would no longer need a license.
• HB 351: Insurance companies would be mandated to include naturopathic doctors as primary care physicians in individual plans. It would only encourage insurers to reimburse them in small group plans.
• HB 408: Attorneys could provide mortgage advice to their clients with a broker's license, as long as they didn't act like brokers.
• Senate Bill 153: Real estate appraisal companies, and not just the appraisers themselves, would have to be registered with the state.
• HB 420: Independent contractors would only have to satisfy seven criteria, not 12, in order to allow companies to avoid hiring them as employees.
• SB 49: Employers would be able to advise on tip-sharing arrangements and help mediate disputes, though the final choice to participate in such arrangements would be up to the workers.
• HB 256: Businesses whose environmental permits are rejected would be able to mediate the dispute, and if they go to a hearing, a hearing officer would be appointed by the attorney general, not the Department of Environmental Services.
• SB 19: More landowners and businesses would be notified before wetlands are designated for protection, and the definition of such wetlands would be tightened, meaning more land would be open for development.