The public’s business: On the NH Legislature's schedule this week
Establishing a family and medical leave program, business tax cuts rollback on the agenda
Two major votes on payroll deductions for a family and medical leave insurance plan, a vote and a hearing on whether to roll back business tax cuts and votes on a gas tax, employment law and the Affordable Care Act are on the NH Legislature’s schedule this week.
The week starts with a sunny disposition. On Tuesday, morning at 9 a.m., the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 247, which would establish a sunny day fund at the Department of Business and Economic Affairs. That means if the rainy day fund is bloated, as much as $15 million could be used for a DBEA fund for research and development to stimulate competitive research in key industrial sectors.
Here are some other things lawmakers have in store:
Tuesday, Feb. 12
After 10:30 p.m., the House Education Committee plans to vote on House Bill 689, which would appropriate $5 million for a program to give students who complete a financial literacy program $250 in a college investment account.
After 1 p.m., the Senate Commerce Committee will hold four votes on labor relations:
• SB 271-FN-L, requiring prevailing wages on state-funded public works projects
• SB 62, allowing seasonal workers who know they have a definite date for going back to work to seek work to collect unemployment benefits
• SB 197, banning non-compete agreements for workers earning less than twice the federal minimum wage
• SB 60, requiring that firms with 15 or more employees give their hourly employees two weeks’ notice of their work schedule
At 1 p.m., The Senate Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on SB 216, which creates an pilot testing program for driverless cars.
At 3 p.m., the House and Ways and Means Committee plans to vote on:
• HB 623, which would roll back business profits tax cuts, increasing the rate to 8.5 percent
• HB 482, which would allow the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee to do the same thing if there is a recession that depletes the rainy day fund
• HB 686, which would extend the interest and dividends tax to capital gains.
Wednesday, Feb. 13
After 9 a.m., the Senate Ways and Means Committee will hold hearings on:
SB 242, which would require notice if someone tries to collect an internet sales tax
• SB 135, which would roll back the recent cut in the rates of the BPT and business enterprise tax to last year’s levels and freeze them from there
• SB 301, which does the same thing, but also provides any money produced by the rollback to municipalities
At 10 a.m., the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee will hold a hearing on SB 308, which would increase Medicaid provider rates and does other things to ease the healthcare workforce shortage, such as providing scholarship for students in the field.
At 10:30 a.m., the House Public Works and Highways Committee plans to vote on:
• HB 478, which would increase registration fees for low- mileage vehicles
• HB 538, which would increase the 18-cent gas tax by a dime to fund state road and bridge projects
At 1:30 p.m., the House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitation Committee plans to vote on:
• HB 712, deducting a half a percent from workers’ paychecks for a family medical leave insurance program that would pay workers 60 percent of their wages to take care of a child or tend to the medical needs of themselves or a relative for up to 12 weeks.
• HB 223,which limits night work hours for youth. The full House recently sent that bill back to the committee.
After 2 p.m., the House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee will be voting on HB 233, which would put some key provisions of the Affordable Care Act into state law, in case the ACA is dismantled at the federal level.
Thursday, Feb. 14
Both chambers will meet after the governor’s presents his budget at 10 a.m.
The following bills are on the House consent calendar:
• HB 303, which would certify building code compliance inspectors
• HB 508, which would allow medical providers to offer care on retainer, via a regular payment plan, without going through insurance companies
The following bills will be voted on individually in the order that they are scheduled to be taken up. After the description, is the committee’s recommendation.
• HB 176, which would change school building aid grants from a maximum of $50 million per year, including debt service payments, to a minimum expenditure of no less than $50 million per year. Pass: 18-0
• HB 270, which would require that lenders wishing to foreclose on a mortgage go to court. Currently a lender only goes to court if challenged by the borrower. Kill: 13-5.
• HB 211, which would prevent potential employers from asking about salary history before an interview. Pass: 12-8
• HB 253, which would prevent potential employers from asking about criminal history on the application. Pass: 12-8
• HB 272, which would require written notices to temporary workers about their rights. Pass: 12-8
• HB 185, which would reduce I&D tax and then phase it out completely in five years. Kill: 11-8.
In the Senate:
• SB 59, which would add post-traumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder to the definition of “injury” for purposes of workers’ compensation. Pass: 4-1
• SB 146, which would eliminate the waiting period before eligibility to receive unemployment benefits. Pass 3-2
• SB 151, which would establish an administrative hearing procedure and penalty for an employer who fails to make payment of wages or who fails to secure workers’ compensation coverage. Pass: 3-2
• SB 195, which would prohibit the sale of certain furniture and carpeting with flame-retardant chemicals. Pass: 3-2
• SB 12, which would establish the New Hampshire college graduate retention incentive partnership (NH GRIP), providing financial incentives to college graduates who are hired by participating employers. It offers only $1 in funding. Pass: 5-0.
• SB 1, which would deduct a half a percent from workers’ paychecks to fund a family medical leave insurance program that would pay workers 60 percent of their wages to take care of a child or tend to their own or a family member’s medical needs. Pass: 4-2.