Legislature will convene Thursday to reach agreement on budget

The fate of several other bills will be determined, pending the governor's veto

The House and Senate won’t just be voting on the budget today, as agreed to by the committee of conference between representatives from each body to reach a compromise on two versions of the same bill.

Both bodies will each also vote on a number of other committee of conference agreements, including deals on the minimum wage, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and changing the way the state apportions the business profit tax for companies operating in states besides New Hampshire.

Unlike most sessions, neither body can amend the agreements. They can only approve, reject or ask for a new conference, which must be negotiated that day. Even if both chambers approve a bill, it can still be vetoed by the governor.

House Bills

The $13 billion state budget House Bill 1 and HB 2 will be voted on. Among the items in the amended trailer bill are:

·  A rollback of business tax cuts to last year’s levels and elimination of future business tax cuts.

·  Enactment of  a single sales factor for the apportionment of the business profit tax, which would result in most local businesses paying less but out of state corporations paying more.

·  Updates BPT taxes to conform to United States Internal Revenue Code, with some exceptions.

·  Will use general funds to keep Medicaid expansion going if the trust fund is not solvent.

·  Uses unemployment trust funds to triple state contribution to job training.

·  Separates keno from kindergarten funding. Keno money would go into the education trust fund, and kindergarten would be fully funded from that. There would also be an increase in school building aid.

·  Defining, regulating and taxing the sale of e-cigarettes.

·  Establishment of a community development fund to provide flexible loan capital for community development initiatives and one-time capital infrastructure revitalization and strategic investments.

·  A one-time appropriation to the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority for affordable housing and also would use funds from the real estate transfer tax to fund it on an ongoing basis.

·  Establishing a housing boarding of appeals to possibly override municipal zoning and planning decisions.

·  Extension of the Coos County job creation tax credit until 2027.

·  Establishment of a “sunny day fund” and grant program in the Department of Business and Economic Affairs to obtain and disburse grants for research and development.

·  Allowing the Public Utilities Commission to increase the systems benefit charge for energy efficiency without legislative approval.

·  An appropriation to the Department of Business and Economic Affairs to support the Small Business Development Center.

·  Establishing the Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry Development in the Department of Business and Economic Affairs as well as the position of director of the office.

·  An appropriation to the Department of Business and Economic Affairs to support education programs with nonprofit business incubators.

·  Establishing a lead paint hazard remediation fund for landlords.

·  Adds a student loan repayment program for advanced regenerative manufacturing and health care workforce.

HB 582 would use all residential proceeds from RGGI for residential energy-saving programs and all commercial proceeds to be rebated to customers. It also would make RGGI a permanent, non-lapsing program.

HB 326 would include sections less than 50 feet wide in the definition of a prime wetland if a municipality deemed it important to the integrity of the wetland, but not if they are manmade and the municipally must consider if it hurts the landowner.

HB 464 would create a local option for a property tax exemption for electric energy storage systems.

HB 534 would expand the scope of projects that are exempt from the department of administrative services competitive bidding requirement.

HB 508 would allow for direct primary care, where medical providers offer care on retainer, via a regular payment plan, without going through insurance companies.

HB459 would establish an industrial hemp pilot program. It legalizes the growing of hemp, defined as cannabis sativa with a THC content of less than 0.3 percent, by 2020.

HB 494 would declare the Coakley Landfill in North Hampton an imminent hazard and direct the Department of Environmental Services to contain it or clean it up or the attorney general’s office shall take action.

HB 628 would require that all newly constructed large public buildings include one universal changing station in a family restroom facility for those who have a physical disability.

Senate Bills

SB 10 would increase the minimum wage $10 next year and $12 at the start of 2022.  The conferees would leave the tipped wage at 45% of the minimum wage, as long as with tips, workers average $12 an hour per pay period (even when the minimum wage is still $10).

SB 190 would change how the sale of services for the purposes of computing the business profits tax and the business enterprise tax are apportioned, switching it from where the service is produced to where it is sold. That should help out companies based in New Hampshire, and hurt out-of-state companies that sell into the state. The Senate agreed to a House amendment to include business enterprise tax dividends in the apportionment switch.  (Other business tax changes are in HB2, above.)

SB 290 would loosen work requirements needed to receive expanded Medicaid coverage as well waive it until July 2021 if there is an inability to communicate with members who are not already exempted or in compliance with the work rules. The bill retains the clarification that hours spent in self-employment, mental health treatment and/or substance use disorder treatment or recovery activities all qualify to meet the work requirement. It raises the age of the dependent child exemption from under six years of age to through 12 years of age.

SB 216 would establish an automated vehicle testing pilot program.

SB 226 would require registration of pharmacy benefit managers.

SB 279 would require that health insurance cover fertility treatment.

SB 167  would set up a commission to investigate the cost-effective procurement of renewable energy generation resources, as Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island do today.

SB 246 would toughen the criminal records check requirements for licensing child care providers.

SB 194 spells out the obligations of insurers when it comes to data security, both in preventing breeches and responding to them. The agreement exempts industries like banks and credit associations, though notification of breaches to the Insurance Department would still be required.

Categories: Government