The public’s business: On the NH Legislature’s agenda this week

Senate to vote on budget as House takes up minimum wage hike

The New Hampshire Senate is expected to vote on their version of the state budget this week, which includes a family and medical leave program, a freeze on future business tax decreases to last year’s level, establishing a housing board of appeals and legalizing sports betting. Meanwhile, the House will be voting on raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour, using money from the unemployment trust fund to triple the amount sent on job training and increasing the amount of solar energy utilities must use by 800 percent.

The House will meet starting at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5 and continue at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 6. Members will be voting on:

Senate Bill 58, which would require health insurers to reimburse providers at rates that reflect the increased cost 3D mammography.

SB 226, which would require registration of pharmacy benefit managers.

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

SB 272, which would require the state insurance commissioner to check whether insurers are following federal mental health and addiction parity guidelines. The amended bill also supports fair reimbursement for auto body shops from insurance companies.

SB 279, which would require that health insurance cover fertility treatment.

SB 225, which would give physician assistants the same authority as doctors in certain mental health practices..

SB 156, which would require that a political contribution by a limited liability company be allocated to members for purposes of determining whether a member has exceeded the contribution limits.

SB 2, which would increase the amount that can be spend for job training from the unemployment trust fund from $2 to $6 million. This could increase unemployment insurance premiums slightly in the last half of 2021.

SB 290, which would loosen the work requirements needed to receive expanded Medicaid coverage and do away with them altogether if large numbers of people are losing their Medicaid.

SB 10, which would increase the minimum wage to $10 at the start of next year, and $12 at the start of 2022, but if a company offers 10 paid sick days it could pay an $11-an-hour minimum. The amendment also increases the wage received by works who receive tips to 50 percent of the minimum.

SB 204, which would allow the Public Utilities Commission to set up two energy storage pilot programs with each utility, and if cost-effective, use storage to cut the state’s peak production by as much as 15%. It also allows municipalities to exempt storage from property taxes.

SB 103, which would allow municipalities to engage in multi-town bonding projects.

SB 286, which would enable energy-efficiency and clean energy districts to bond across municipal and county lines on project, allowing towns to opt out, as opposed to currently, when they need to opt in.

SB 285, which would allows municipalities to create municipal development and revitalization districts as a result of a climate change emergency and creates a coastal resilience and cultural and historic reserve district fund.

SB 241, which would put the Capital Corridor rail project into the state 10-year transportation plan, giving it access to state highway fund dollars.

SB 168, which would increase the solar renewable portfolio standard from .07 to 1.9 percent in 2020 to 5.4 percent in 2025.

SB 206, which would exclude the costs of lobbying and political activity from the rates or charges of public utilities.

SB 218, which would authorize the state commissioner of transportation to enforce federal regulations on drones.

SB 41, which would allow and regulate historical racing at racetracks and charitable gaming facilities.

SB 74, which would increase Register of Deeds fees from $25 to $35 to increase support for the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP).

SB 190, which would change how to apportion sale of services for the purposes of computing the Business Profits Tax and the Business Enterprise Tax, 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.

SB 242, which would require those collecting the internet sales tax to register with the state and prevent them from gathering information on sellers unless it has a written notice from the federal Department of Justice.

SB 270, which would provide $500,000 worth of annual credits against the business profits tax for businesses donating to career and technical education centers.

The Senate will meet Thursday at 10 am and will vote on the $13 billion state budget, House Bill 1 and HB 2, the trailer bill. 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 educational 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 NH Housing Finance Authority for affordable housing, and 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 Utility 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
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