The public’s business: conference committees start in earnest

NH House, Senate to seek compromises on a range of bills, including state budget

Members of the New Hampshire Senate and House will be hashing out differences between their versions of the budget, the minimum wage and numerous other bills in committees of conferences this week.

Many of the differences are minor, but there are larger disputes. The House budget, for instance, includes a capital gains tax, while the Senate’s rewrites the business profits tax apportionment laws.

Times listed are when meetings start, but bills involving tough negotiating, like the budget, are likely to reconvene throughout the week. For the latest information, click here. The site will also note if the both sides reached an agreement. Any agreement has to be voted on both the House and the Senate next week before being sent to the governor.

Monday, June 17

9 a.m.: Senate Bill 290, which would loosen work requirements needed to receive expanded Medicaid coverage as well as terminate the workfare requirements if reserve funds fall below a certain threshold. It’s $20 million in the Senate and $5 million in the House. June 17, State House Room 103

10:30 a.m.: SB 190, which 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 House amended the bill to include business enterprise tax dividends in the apportionment switch: State House 100

1 p.m.: HB 534, which would expand the scope of projects that are exempt from the department of administrative services competitive bidding requirement.

Also at 1 p.m., the $13 billion state budget, and trailer bill, House Bill 1 and HB 2, are on the agenda. 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
  • Switching to single sales to compute apportionment of business taxes, which should help companies based in New Hampshire.
  • Establishment of sports betting via 10 retailers (if approved by the municipality) and online, run by the state Lottery Commission.
  • Establishment of a mandated paid family and medical insurance program financed through a half percent payroll deduction.
  • Separating keno from kindergarten funding. Keno money would go into the education trust fund, and kindergarten would be fully funded from that. There also is 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 for one-time capital infrastructure revitalization and strategic investments.
  • Transfer of oversight of the job training program from the Department of Business and Economic Affairs to the Department of Employment Security.
  • A one-time appropriation to the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority for affordable housing. (The Senate, not the House, also uses 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.
  • Requiring a certain amount of excess money from the investor education fund to be deposited in the FRM Ponzi scheme victims’ contribution recovery fund.
  • 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 (Senate)


Tuesday, June 18

9 a.m. : SB 216, which would establish an automated vehicle testing pilot program.

11:45 a.m.: HB 464, which update the definitions of solar energy and wind-powered energy systems to include related hardware, such as inverters and storage. It also creates a local option for a property tax exemption for electric energy storage systems.

Noon:             HB 582, which 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.

1:30 p.m.: HB 508, which would allow for direct primary care, where medical providers offer care on retainer, via a regular payment plan, without going through insurance companies.

2 p.m.: HB 628, which 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.

3 p.m.: SB 167, which would set up a commission to investigate the cost-effective procurement of renewable energy generation resources.

Wednesday, June 19

9 a.m.: HB 326, which would include sections of 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 or and the municipally must consider if it hurts the landowner.

9 a.m.: SB 228, which would allow association health plans but with strict restrictions ensuring that a the new alternative can’t force rates up in the individual market, if federal rules permitting it survive a court challenge.

9:30 a.m.: SB 279, which would require that health insurance cover fertility treatment.

10 a.m.: HB 459, which would allow the growing of industrial hemp if it can be shown to have a low limit of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, but the Senate amended it to include provisions on animal cruelty.

10:10 a.m.: SB 246, which would toughen the criminal records check requirements for licensing child care providers.

10:30 a.m.: SB 10, which would increase the minimum wage $12 at the start of 2022 The Senate would do this in two steps, and if a company offers 10 paid sick days it would only have to pay $11 an hour It also sets the tipped wage at $4 an hour. The House bill does it in three steps, omits the sick day exemption and increases the tipped wage from 45 to 50 percent of minimum wage: eventually $6 an hour.

11:30 a.m.: SB 226, which would require registration of pharmacy benefit managers.

Categories: Government, News