The public’s business: on the NH legislative agenda for March 10-12

Senate to vote on family and medical leave, prescription drugs

Two visions of paid family and medical leave will be voted on by the full Senate New Hampshire this week. One, a proposal from last year calling for a mandatory program funded by a payroll deduction but free to employers was approved by legislators last year but vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu is expected to pass. Sununu’s version, a voluntary program under which private employers and employees can piggy-back on whatever is negotiated with the state public employees union, will probably be sent to study, a polite way of shelving it.

The Senate will also be voting on such measures as importing drugs from Canada, a bill that has Sununu’s support, as well as a number of other prescription drug bills and a $1.50-a-ton trash tax to fund recycling programs.

The House has so many bills to vote on that it will take all day Tuesday just to caucus.   Among the many bills include delaying institution of a single-sales tax factor, which would have helped many New Hampshire companies with businesses in other states, prohibiting providing polystyrene foam and straws to customers without asking, and requiring retailers to collect and recycle plastic bags, allowing municipalities to institute a local rooms and meals tax, requiring landlords to give extra notice for big rent increases, and requiring employers to submit data on gender wage differences so they can be publicized on the state Department of Labor website and requiring vehicles here meet California emissions.

Tuesday, March 10

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold hearings:

At 9 a.m. on Senate Bill 498, which would require the Public Utility Commission to promulgate rules on behind the meter energy storage, including possibly setting a rate that utilities must pay for it if it benefits the grid.

At 9:20 a.m. on SB 499, which would require the Public Utilities Commission to establish electric utility performance incentives and penalty mechanisms, for such things as affordability, reliability and renewable energy.

At 10 a.m. on SB 518, which would expand the benefits low income people of net metering for community solar projects, as well as other provisions encouraging energy storage

At 1 p.m., the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on SB 529, which would establish a workforce development student debt relief program and fund, and authorizes a portion of funds in the New Hampshire excellence in higher education trust fund to be used for this new program.

The Senate Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee will hold hearings:

At 1 p.m. on SB 420, which would permit qualifying patients and designated caregivers to cultivate cannabis for therapeutic use.

At 2 p.m. on SB 466, which would add sexual orientation, familial status, source of income, source of payment or profession to the patients’ bill of rights, meaning that providers can not be denied care because of it. It also allows terminal ill patient to choose who will be able to visit without restriction, including an unmarried partner.

At 2:30 p.m. on SB 647, which would require Medicaid cover telemedicine for substance use disorder

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold hearings:

At 1:15 p.m. on SB 691, which would require that insurers approve prior authorization for prescription drugs, if the process drags on for more than 48 hours

At 9:20 a.m. on SB 531, which would prohibit prior authorization when it comes to emergency room screening and stabilization and transport.

Wednesday, March 11

The Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee will hold hearings:

At 9 a.m. on SB 457, which would communications districts for bonding (similar to water districts.)

At 9:45 a.m. on SB 424, which would establish a property tax exemption for leased solar energy systems located on residential property.

At 9:45 a.m., the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on SB 693, which would allow health maintenance organizations to write preferred provider organization products for Medicare Advantage.

The full House will meet Wednesday and Thursday starting at 9 am. Here is what members are expected to vote on:

  • HB 1194, which would allow merchants to charge a nickel per single use bag or cup. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended killing it, 18-0.
  • HB 1482, which would require immediate disclosure of a security breach to anyone affected. Under current law, disclosure can be delayed while an investigation takes place. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 19-1.
  • HB 1508, which would prohibit businesses with more than20 employees from providing paper receipts unless requested or required by law, and they can’t include coupons or advertisements in any case. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended studying it, 19-0.
  • HB 1578, which would require Internet access providers to reimburse customers for interruptions in service and makes the failure to do so a violation of the Consumer Protection Act. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended killing it, 19-0.
  • HB 1680, which would require business to disclose the personal education it collects and what it does with it, and allows consumers opt out of selling their information, and sue for violations. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended studying it, 19-1.
  • HB 1697, which would prohibit, with limited exceptions, prescription drug manufacturers from offering coupons or discounts to cover insurance copayments or deductibles. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended studying it, 18-1.
  • HB 1102, which would require restaurants have their food protection manager, a position already required by law, trained on food allergy issues The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 16-4.
  • HB 1233, which would cap the deductibles paid on early interventions services. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 12-8.
  • HB 1274, which would require that bottled water meet the same purity requirements as the water that comes from a municipal water system. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 12-6.
  • HB 1280, which would require insurers to cap the total amount for insulin for covered persons at $100 a month, and shall not be subject to any deductible. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 12-8.
  • HB 1287, , which would insurance coverage for long-term antibiotic therapy for tick-borne illness. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 11-7.
  • HB 1320, which would require a landlord notify a tenant that he/she doesn’t offer rental insurance and recommends that the tenant get it. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended studying it, 18-1.
  • HB 1345, which would allow alternative treatment centers to be for profit. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 11-9.
  • HB 1410, which would ban some flavored vape products to those under 21 The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 11-9.
  • HB 1417, which would expand the prohibition against collecting biometric data from government to private entities and individuals The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 11-9.
  • HB 1455, which would makes it an unfair insurance practice to fail to pay a repair when the work conforms to manufacturer’s procedures. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 13-7.
  • HB 1472, which would prohibit food service businesses from providing a single-use plastic straw to a customer unless specifically requested. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 12-8.
  • HB 1483, which would allow companion dogs on open air restaurant patios. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 12-8.
  • HB 1484, which would prohibit retroactive denials of previously paid claims if there has been preapproval with some exceptions, and all such denials that are over six months old.. It also increases notification requirements of such denials, and requires clear reasons for them. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended killing it, 12-7.
  • HB 1495, which would prohibit the sale of over-the-counter rape test kits. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 12-7.
  • HB 1500, which would set up “student bill of rights,” licensing those that service student loans, and creating an ombudsman for the borrower. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended killing it, 12=8.
  • HB 1535, which would prohibit condominiums and homeowners’ associations from prohibiting or restricting the installation or operation of a solar photovoltaic energy system on the homeowners exclusive property.. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 12-8.
  • HB 1564, which would prohibit food services businesses from using polystyrene foam for one-time use. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 11-8.
  • HB 1588, which would set up a mortgage mediation procedure. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended studying it, 19-0.
  • HB 1589, which would require businesses accept cash for payment. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended killing it, 12-7.
  • HB 1633, which would require insurance coverage for will cover all medically necessary blood testing prescribed for tick-borne illness The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 12-8.
  • HB 1701, which would – as amended — require that stores of more than 15,000 square feet collect (with chains mostly over 5000 feet) and recycle of single use film plastics, including plastic bags. The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 12-7.
  • HB 1350, which would require a locking safety device be provided for commercial firearm sales and transfers. The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommended killing it, 12-8.
  • HB 1608, which would prohibit the manufacture, sale, transfer, and possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommended passing it, 11-9.
  • HB 1522, which would, as amended, require all post-secondary institutions to establish agreements, or Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) between the institution’s campus security and the local law enforcement agency to strengthen matters related to sexual assault. The Education Committee recommended passing it, 17-2.
  • HB 1643, which would require business organizations and labor unions to make political contributions through segregated funds. This bill also requires political committees to identify their top 5 contributors in political advertising. The Election Law recommended passing it, 13-7.
  • HB 1291, which would raise the amount of gross sales necessary for an exemption from the homestead food licensure requirement from $20,000 to $35,000. The Environment and Agriculture Committee recommended passing it, 19-0.
  • HB 1388, which would prohibit the sale of cats, dogs, and rabbits in retail stores. The Environment and Agriculture Committee killing it, 20-0.
  • HB 1418, which would allow department of agriculture funds to be used to increase farm energy efficiency. The Environment and Agriculture Committee recommended studying it, 19-0.
  • HB 1592, would allow for the sale of raw milk products less than 6 fl. Ox. if it’s a direct sale from producer to consumer, and labeled with an expiration date. The Environment and Agriculture Committee passing it, 19-0.
  • HB 1658, which would – as amended — remove processors and commercial traders from the licensing requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture. The Environment and Agriculture Committee recommended passing it, 19-0.
  • HB 1704, which would require the Department of Environmental Services make rules about composting meat and animal products The Environment and Agriculture Committee passing it, 19-0.
  • HB 1319, which would prohibit the siting of new landfills or expansions of existing landfills within two miles of state and national parks. The Environment and Agriculture Committee recommended passing it, 11-9.
  • HB 1422, which would establish a moratorium on the issuance of permits for new landfills for the purpose of studying the creating of municipal waste districts. The Environment and Agriculture Committee studying it, 15-5.
  • HB 1570, which would require producer of paints used for the exterior and interior of houses and other buildings set up a reduction and recycling program which includes collecting paints throughout the states. The Environment and Agriculture Committee killing it, 19-0.
  • HB 1424, which would authorize alternative treatment centers to acquire CBD to make their own hemp products. The Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 19-1.
  • HB 1623, which would create four safe harbors where opioids may be prescribed by telemedicine without an initial face-to-face visit to expand the availability of medically assisted treatment (MAT) for substance use disorder: Veterans Affairs clinics, county correctional facilities, hospital emergency rooms and though Doorways drug treatment facilities. The Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 20-0.
  • HB       1639, which would enable Medicaid recipients hovering on the eligible income threshold to get continuous coverage. The Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee recommended passing it, 20-0.
  • HB 1207 which would require landlords to notify prospective tenants of the use of pesticides or other toxins in the premises. The Judiciary Committee recommended killing it, 19-1.
  • HB 1120, which would require periodic water tests of rental property. The Judiciary Committee recommended passing it, 12-8.
  • HB 1143, which would repeal limited liability for manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition. The Judiciary Committee recommended passing it, 12-8.
  • HB 1247, which would require landlords give 60 days of notice before raising the rent by more than 5 percent, and 90 days if raising rent more than 8 percent. The Judiciary Committee recommended passing it, 12-7.HB 1391, which would require landlord gives tenants information about federal requirements about renting to service and support animals. The Judiciary Committee recommended passing it, 10-9.HB 1539, which would appear to toughen the requirements for landlords to relocate children with elevated lead levels during abatement. The Judiciary Committee recommended passing it, 11-7.HB 1144, which would require some employers to submit data on wage differences between male and female employees to the department of labor, which could post the data on its website. The Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitation Services Committee recommended passing it, 19-1.
  • HB 1104, which would give the selectmen the right to demolish buildings, after consulting with the planning board and conservation commission. The Municipal and County Government Committee recommended passing it, 18-0.
  • HB 1467, would enable municipalities to tax of commercial, industrial and residential property at different rates. The Municipal and County Government Committee recommended killing it, 18-1.
  • HB 1160, which would enable municipalities to collect a $2 local rooms and meals fee for a capital fund, a , a revolving fund or to support tourism. The Municipal and County Government Committee recommended passing it, 10-7.
  • HB 1252, which would regulate the sale of travel insurance. The Municipal and County Government Committee recommended passing it, 20-0.
  • HB 1347, which would require the department of environmental services to adopt rules concerning small groundwater withdrawals from new sources of water. The Municipal and County Government Committee recommended killing it, 20-0.
  • HB 1414, which would provide that any person who negligently cuts or carries away or causes to be cut or carried away any tree or timber on the land of another person without the permission of that person will be subject to a civil penalty. The Municipal and County Government Committee recommended passing it, 17-0.
  • HB 1537, directs the department of environmental services to set maximum contaminant limits for per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The Municipal and County Government Committee recommended passing it, 20-0.
  • HB 1124, 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. The Municipal and County Government Committee recommended passing it, 11-9.
  • HB 1541, which would add battery storage facilities to the definition of an energy facility, which means they large ones would go before the Site Evaluation Committee. The Science, Technology and Energy Committee recommended passing it, 18-0.
  • HB 1517, which would allow and set up inspection requirements for roadable aircraft. The Science, Technology and Energy Committee recommended passing it, 20-0.
  • HB 1116, which would make it clear that municipal waste incinerators can’t count as renewable energy. The Science, Technology and Energy Committee recommended passing it, 14-4.
  • HB 1229, which would require proposed natural gas facility infrastructure to include decommissioning costs of a proposed facility in its SEC application. The Science, Technology and Energy Committee made no recommendation.
  • HB 1444, which would require the adoption of vehicle emissions standards based on the California clean car standards. The Science, Technology and Energy Committee recommended passing it, 10-8.
  • HB 1481, which would expand the maximum net metering limits to 125 percent of average monthly demand. It would also change the rate the PUC set for net metering to make it more advantageous to the utility. The Science, Technology and Energy Committee recommended killing it, 12-7.
  • HB 1496, which would spend all residential RGGI proceeds for energy efficiency ending the residential rebate, but not change the commercial rebate. The House Science, Technology and Energy Committee recommended passing it, 10-8
  • HB 1518, which would set a fixed alternative compliance payment at $55 per megawatt hour to the renewable energy fund for utilities which fail to meet renewable portfolio requirements or buy renewable energy credits. The rate is currently set by the market and is very low. The Science, Technology and Energy Committee recommended passing it, 13-5.
  • HB 1676, which would require the department of health and human services monitor for certain radioactive air pollutants within ten miles of the Seabrook nuclear power plant. The House Science, Technology and Energy Committee made no recommendation.
  • HB 1200, which would delay the enactment of the single sales factor under the business profits and business enterprise taxes from 2022 to 2026. The Ways and Means Committee recommended passing it, 20-0.
  • HB 1477, which would increase the state cigarette tax 12 cents to $1.90 a pack. The Ways and Means Committee recommended studying it, 20-0.
  • HB 1477, which would increase the tax on e-cigarettes to 40 percent of the price. The Ways and Means Committee recommended studying it, 12-8.

The full Senate will meet starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, and 10 a.m. on Thursday Here is the what senators will be voting on:

  • SB 685, which would establish a wholesale importation program for prescription drugs from Canada by or on behalf of the state. The Commerce Committee recommended passing it, 5-0.
  • SB 708, which would require insurers cover nonopioid treatments for pain. The Commerce Committee recommended passing it, 5-0.
  • SB 739, which would require insurers reimburse those getting mental health and substance use disorders from the psychiatric collaborative process. The Commerce Committee recommended passing it, 5-0.
  • SB 759, which would require employer to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee related to the employee’s pregnancy or childbirth, unless it creates and undo hardship. The Commerce Committee recommended passing it, 5-0.
  • SB 486, which would require insurance plans which cover maternity benefits to provide coverage for emergency or elective abortion services. Commerce Committee recommended passing it, 3-2.
  • SB 603, , which would allow the department of employment security to use funds for skills training and job matching for employees in the biomass and related forest product industries who have been laid off or whose company has relocated. The Commerce Committee recommended passing it, 3-2.
  • SB 620, which require insurer cover biologically-based mental illnesses as well as make it easier to prescribe medicine for substance abuse, and reimburse disorder treatment services on average, at least as favorable as those in their contracts with primary care providers. The Commerce Committee recommended passing it, 3-2.
  • SB 622, which would all patients to sue for the harm caused by delaying prior authorization for services that a provided deemed medically necessary. The Commerce Committee recommended passing it, 3-2.
  • SB 623, which would require insurance coverage for PFAS and PFC blood tests. The Commerce Committee recommended passing it, 5-0.
  • SB 686, which would regulate the maximum allowable cost for prescription drug benefits paid by health insurers or pharmacy benefit managers and establish the New Hampshire prescription drug competitive marketplace. The Commerce Committee recommended passing it, 3-2.
  • SB 687, which would create a prescription drug affordability board to determine annual public payor spending targets for prescription drugs. The Commerce Committee recommended passing it, 3-2.
  • SB 688, which would include generic drugs in state’s antitrust laws. The Commerce Committee recommended passing it, 3-2.
  • SB 689, which prohibit a referral of a patient to a pharmacy by a health carrier or pharmacy benefit manager for pharmacy care, with some exceptions. The Commerce Committee recommended passing it, 3-2.
  • SB 683, which would establish a New Hampshire innovation program in the department of business and economic affairs.   The Education Committee recommended passing it, 4-1.
  • SB 462, which would give the state greater latitude in entering clean energy contracts, including power purchase agreements. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee recommended passing it, 4-0.
  • SB 591, which would shift the hard to measure current solid waste goal of 40 percent recycling and reduction, to the more quantifiable goal of 25% disposal reduction in weight compared to 2018 of 25 by 2030 and 45% by 2050. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee recommended passing it, 4-0.
  • SB 629, which would establish a $1.50-a-ton solid waste disposal surcharge, used to help local governments and local private businesses reduce solid waste and recycle. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee recommended passing it, 3-1.
  • SB 692, which would direct public utilities commission to assess utilities to pay for participation in regional activities. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee recommended passing it, 4-0.
  • SB 730, which would institute a voluntary paid leave program, by inviting insurance companies to bid on a contract for state workers that private companies could join and pay for, though they could get break on their business taxes. The Finance Committee recommended studying it, 4-1.
  • HB 712, , which would institute a payroll deduction to pay for a mandatory paid family and medical leave program at no cost to the employers. The Finance Committee recommended passing it, 4-1.
  • SB 754, which would require the commissioner of the department of health and human services to solicit information and to contract with dental managed care organizations (or an existing Medicaid managed care organization) to provide dental care Medicaid recipients. The Health and Human Services, Committee recommended passing it, 4-0.
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