House passes recycling, broadband bills

The New Hampshire House voted 176-168 Wednesday to impose a fee of $1 per ton on solid waste that companies burn or bury in landfills.

The goal of House Bill 634 is to reward recycling and set aside money to teach towns to do it better. Half the fund would go to training local officials and half to a grant program to spur programs that reduce the waste stream.

Rep. David Babson, R-Ossipee, said the bill would ease the pressure on limited landfill space and help attain the goal of recycling 40 percent of the state’s trash and garbage.

In other business, HB 203 was approve d on a voice vote. it would requiring warning labels on products with embedded electronic tracking devices for theft and inventory control. The bill also sets up a commission to study the possible threat to privacy.

The lower chamber also voted 250-99 to kill a bill sponsored by Rep. Ed Gionet, R-Lincoln, to site a casino resort somewhere in the North Country. He said HB 685 would earn the state $80 million to $100 million a year to ease property or business taxes.

“We have three resorts that are anxious to participate,” Gionet said. “This will be run by a Fortune 500 company, not gangsters.”

Rep. Jim Fitzgerald, R-Laconia, persuaded lawmakers to wait for a report on gaming due in June and look at a wider range of options to expand gambling.

A bill to let towns borrow the money to build, improve or buy broadband infrastructure in under-served communities passed, 211-118. Rep. Lynne Ober, R-Hudson, opposed HB 653, arguing that the connective black boxes would be obsolete before the bonds were paid off. Rep. Betsey Patten, R-Moultonborough, said voters are savvy enough to make that decision in their best interest.

“The time period for the bond won’t be any longer more than the useful life of the equipment,” she added. “The selectmen will have to win a super majority.”

The House voted 195-144 to kill a retained bill that would have slashed mercury emissions at coal-fired power plants from 125 pounds a year to 50 by 2009. Public Service negotiated a substitute bill this summer to extend the deadline four years. In exchange, the utility would add $250 million in stack scrubbers. – CHRIS DORNIN/GOLDEN DOME NEWS SERVICE

Categories: News