Bills headed to the governor: a scorecard
An overview of measures that have been approved in the NH House, Senate
In the final marathon days of the legislative session, it may be hard to keep track of many of the bills affecting New Hampshire businesses without a quick update.
So here is what actually passed last week without any amendments, meaning the bills are going straight to the governor’s office for signature without having to go through the conference committee process.
On the Senate side:
• Transgender rights: House Bill 1319 simply adds gender identity to the law outlawing discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. The Business and Industry Association supported this bill, not only because it felt it was the right thing to do, but also because it was against excluding anybody from the workforce amid a severe labor shortage. But some opposed it as government interference in decisions of private business, and others opposed it for privacy reasons when it comes to rest rooms at local businesses. The governor said he will sign the bill into law.
• Over-the-counter birth control pills: HB 1822 makes hormonal contraceptives available directly from pharmacists by means of a standing order. A medical provider will still have to give the order, but this would allow birth control pills to be sold over-the-counter with having to keep renewing prescriptions.
• Protections for forestry industry: HB 1402 prohibits municipalities from adopting ordinances that deal solely with forestry that adversely affect forestry activities. It also requires them to minimize any adverse effects to forestry activities when adopting any ordinances.
• Preemption of local regulations over seeds and fertilizers: HB 1233 says municipalities can’t ban fertilizers or genetically modified seeds. But they can still regulate their use.
On the House side:
• Insurance coverage of 3-D mammography: Supporters of Senate Bill 189 say 3-D mammography is now the standard of care, and while most insurance companies offer the coverage, medical professionals warn patients that they may not, discouraging a procedure that could save both money and lives. Opponents oppose a mandate to pay for a more expensive procedure that may not produce benefits and sought to send it to study. That motion failed, 154-178, and the House passed the bill, which is on its way to the governor.
• Electric vehicle station charging regulations and signs: SB565 doesn’t provide any money – that will probably come from the Volkswagen settlement – but it does provide some regulations, including universal access to publicly funded stations. The bill also instructs the NH Public Utilities Commission to come up with procedures to set rates. It also directs the Department of Transportation to design and put up signs notifying drivers of where the stations are.