N.H. senators pass bills reducing late filings, nursing home disclosures

Businesses that didn’t file their renewal on time will get nearly $4 million of refunds if HB 1227 – passed by the state legislature last week – is allowed to become law by Governor John Lynch.

The bill will also reduce the future late filings to only $50 a year.

Currently, businesses must pay $50 late fee if they miss the filing deadline, plus $25 a month for every month they are late plus $100 to reinstate the business. The problem, said Senator Robert Boyce, R-Alton Bay, on the Senate floor- was that the state Secretary of State in April 2005 started sending out postcard reminders to businesses to remind them to file rather than a more official looking letter. The idea was to save money, but it backfired, said Boyce, because businesses “don’t give the same careful attention to a postcard then they do to a letter.”

The annual cost of late filing could result in a $450 penalty, “which is a bit over the top.”

The Senate passed the bill on a voice vote without debate. Since the same bill already passed the House and was heard by the Senate finance committee it now goes to the Governor for his signature.

The Senate passed two other bills affecting business that now await the Governor’s signature.

One bill required nursing homes give prospective clients a disclosure statement, detailing among other things: the nursing home’s rates, what medical services are offered on site, in what circumstance a resident could be discharged or transferred.

The other would require car repairs shops to separate out the cost of emission testing from the cost of a regular inspection. Motorists of some antique cars – which are exempt from the testing – were paying for an emission test that wasn’t required.

The Senate also amended two House bills that affect the retail industry.

After some debate it stripped a House bill requirement to disclose tracking devices, changing it into a study commission. Sen. Joseph Kenney, R-Union, whose floor amendment passed on a 17-6 vote, argued that the new technology needed further study. The commission will put off the matter for another year. Some senators argued that disclosure would alert potential thieves to merchandise that don’t have such devices. But Majority leader Robert Clegg, R-Hudson, said that study committee won’t change anything, because at the end of the day, the industry doesn’t want consumers to know, that “they know where you bought your underwear.”

The Senate did pass back to the House, relatively intact, another disclosure bill requiring companies notify affected individual if a security breach should occur. The language was amended to alleviate concern of the industry. —BOB SANDERS

Categories: News