Lawmakers OK raft of business bills

Here are just some of the business-related bills that the Legislature passed on Wednesday:

• Senate Bill 140: Contractors will be able to pay the state Department of Environmental Services to mitigate wetlands rather than have to do it themselves. Contractors can pay $65,000 for each acre they would have to create into a wetland mitigation fund. It will go into effect 60 days after signed into law.

• SB 250: Starting next January, the state Department of Environmental Services will be able to directly go after landlords for lead-poisoning civil actions. Previously, the agency was required to refer the matter to the attorney general. DES also will be given more flexibility in how long landlords have to correct a hazard, leaving the timing to the discretion of DES, depending on the commissioner.

• SB336: Starting this July, landlords will no longer have to provide receipts when paid by check, and they may deduct “other lawful charges” specified in the lease from the security deposit. Currently landlords could only withhold real estate taxes or unpaid rent specified in the lease.

• SB352 tightens up some of the requirements of real estate appraisers. Those with a criminal record can no longer be in the business, and apprentices must be more closely supervised. Most of this bill will go into effect in 60 days after signing.

• House Bill 1126 would mandate that the state Bank Department license armored car companies as well as tighten up some of the criminal checks of various mortgage companies, brokers, pawnbrokers and money lenders.

• HB 1474 would increase the maximum amount paid in unemployment compensation, but an effort by the state Department of Employment Security to increase the amount employers pay to failed. So did a measure to give the department a greater percentage of the amount collected for administrative purposes.

• HB 1590 – inspired by the scandal that shut down Lakes Region Greyhound Park allows for more criminal background checks into horse and dog racing facilities, at the expense of the track making the application.

• HB 1744 allows the state Pari-Mutuel Commission to regulate charitable games of chance. Under the final version, the charitable organization will get at least 35 percent of the gross revenue, minus prizes paid out. (A recent investigation by the New Hampshire Business Review showed that many charities were getting much less than that.) It also limits the amount that a player can spend per game where the chips have no monetary value ($150) and impose a $250 limit overall. – BOB SANDERS

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