UPDATE End of 2017 STATE HOUSE Legislative Session
Thursday marked the final day of the state’s 2017 legislative session. I’d like to start this final session update with a positive report on a bipartisan effort: state funding for full-day Kindergarten. I’ve been following this issue throughout the session (and well before!) and although the end result is not perfect, from my perspective it is an example of bipartisan “progress.” Currently, 70% of NH school districts provide their families with a full-day Kindergarten program option; Milford, as you know, is not one of those districts. Milford has not been able to afford the cost of offering a full-day option due to the state’s funding of only half-day or only $1800 per student. (The additional cost for offering a full-day program would have had to be picked up 100% by local property tax payers). This latest bipartisan bill, SB 191, however, (which is now law) guarantees school districts that choose to offer full-day Kindergarten programs, another $1100-1800 per pupil — close to the $3600 full-day adequacy that is received for all other “full-time” students. $1100 of the additional $1800 is guaranteed. The bill also allows for up to an additional $700 if the Education Trust Fund receives ample revenues from keno. Is this ideal? Absolutely not, but it is definite progress. The bill allows districts the flexibility to decide when to offer a full-day program. It also provides parents with the option to send their child for half or full day.
Here is a link to the voting roll calls for SB 191 in the House and Senate; Senator Daniels voted against the state funding as well as Representatives Ammon and Burns; I, along with Reps. Biggie and Halstead, voted in support of it. Looking ahead to the 2018 session which will begin in January, there is already a bipartisan effort underway to secure the full additional $1800 in state funding per Kindergarten pupil (vs. partial $1100+), as well as a move to decouple the funding from keno revenues.
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the “Committee of Conference” budget did pass both the House and Senate along party lines. Here’s a link to the budget vote in the Senate and House. The major flaw in this budget is the continued drive toward downshifting of state costs to local municipalities and towns, in the name of “tax relief.”
In essence, the claim that this budget will benefit “everyone” is false. To say that the budget offers Milford residents any substantial tax relief is far from the truth. Proponents of this budget (and “downshifting”) are proudly pointing to the ONE (and ONLY) tax cut for Milford residents as “relief”: the elimination of the Electric Consumption Tax. Seriously, this tax cut will mean a whopping 33 cents/year in savings for each one of us!?! (This is NOT the best we can do!!)
HB 413 which was passed by the House in February would have sent $50 million back to cities and towns for local property tax relief, providing some much needed relief from the downshifting of state costs. The overwhelming House vote of support (267 Yay – 83 Nay) for local property tax relief was ignored by House and Senate Finance members and the majority of budget Committee of Conference members as they constructed the final budget. If you have any doubt about how we in Milford have been impacted by downshifting, just take a look at your local property tax bill escalation over the past decade. Downshifting of state costs to the local level have included:
- the elimination of the 35% state contribution to public school teacher and public safety employee retirement pension funds (this cost has had to be fully absorbed by our school budget via our property taxes);
- the state’s public education adequacy formula (~$3600 per pupil) has not been adjusted for inflation or to reflect true public education costs in over a decade — NH towns’ actual average cost per pupil tops $16,000;
- state school building aid has been suspended for nearly a decade (any and all school repair costs in this time period have been picked up by local property tax payers as well);
- critical community services have been underfunded at the state level so municipalities and towns have been forced to secure additional resources locally.
These are just a few examples of how downshifting to towns continues to burden taxpayers. Unfortunately, none of these downshifted costs are addressed or alleviated in the state budget that just passed. This “tax transfer” from the state level to the local level needs to be stopped in order for homeownership and life in Milford to be affordable. Stating that this budget carries “no new taxes or fees” is a blatant misrepresentation. Perhaps there were no new taxes and fees included at the state level, but locally, we know better!
The risk of continued downshifting in the near future due to substantial state revenue loss is almost a certainty given the details of this budget. Unfortunately additional business tax cuts are included in the budget without any accompanying safeguards. A bipartisan recommendation to ensure a trigger was established was ignored. This trigger/revenue threshold would have guaranteed state revenue levels were on target before any business tax cuts kick in (like the threshold that was in place for the past two rounds of business tax cuts). As it stands now, if state revenues drop (it’s predicted that we will lose millions of dollars in revenues from these tax cuts — over $200 million by FY2022), the state’s critical services will end up having to be cut further and the vicious cycle of downshifting will continue.
All legislators agree that we want to make NH a better place for businesses and workers. Top concerns of New Hampshire businesses include a trained workforce as well as reduced energy costs. Neither of these key concerns are addressed in this budget. In fact, when looking more closely at the business tax cuts that were included, the overwhelming majority of financial benefit will go to only a few BIG businesses: 80% of business profits taxes paid in NH are remitted by the 100 largest companies — most of these are out of state businesses.
Although the 2017 legislative session has come to a close, I will continue my work on behalf of Milford and focus on addressing the needs of our community at the state level. My work as a member of the House Ways & Means Committee and the legislative Children’s Caucus Steering Committee will persist over the summer and into the fall. The new legislation filing window for the 2018 session will be September 6-23.
I thank you for your input over the last few months and welcome your continued questions and insights!
June 17th STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE
I will be hosting office hours this upcoming Monday, June 19th, from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. at Milford Town Hall. Stop by the Board of Selectman’s Room with your questions.
Next Thursday we will be voting on the Committee of Conference’s version of the State Budget for 2018-2019. My concerns about the state budget for Milford have NOT changed (per my notes in last week’s June 11th update). There is NO property tax relief for Milford taxpayers in this budget. (See the full Committee of Conference report on HB 144 and HB 517 at: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/…/B…/fy2018_2019_budget.aspx )
There are a number of additional bills the House will be considering this Thursday as well, including the amended bill for full-day Kindergarten funding. Here’s a link to this week’s House Calendar.
Please reach out to me and your State Reps with your input. Feel free to stop by Town Hall on Monday afternoon, too. I’d love to see you.
June 11th STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE
At the State House, negotiations are underway for the 2018-2019 state budget. A Committee of Conference (COC) has been established to review the Governor, Senate and House versions of the budget. COC members are currently reviewing the budget line-by-line and are working to come to agreement on budget items that they disagree on. This Thursday, June 15th, is the deadline for all COCs to submit their reports.
I have several concerns for Milford about the budget as it currently stands. The current version includes NO restoration of state funding to towns and public schools (for teacher and town employee retirement and other costs); therefore NO PROPERTY TAX RELIEF for Milford. Making cuts at the state level and shifting the cost burden to local towns is referred to as “downshifting.” For elected officials who support downshifting decisions and then claim to “hold the line” on tax increases, I view this as political tax fraud.
Earlier this session the full House voted on a bill that would have directed $50 million to municipalities (I wrote about supporting this bill in my Feb 25th State House Update). That bill (HB 413) was tabled in House Finance and was not considered by Senate Finance. There is NO local tax relief in the current budget. The current budget DOES, however, include additional business tax cuts.
I continue to hear from Milford constituents about the continued property tax burden; the Senate’s budget does nothing to address this burden yet provides big businesses with another round of business tax cuts (after two rounds in FY 2016 and FY 2017; the latter of which has just kicked in). NH already ranks #7 in the Tax Foundation’s most recent State Business Tax Climate Index. I am not in favor of across the board business tax decreases (or increases) at this time. I can do the math and will resist a further decrease in state revenues. To move ahead with additional business tax cuts and resulting decreases in state revenues would continue to put the cost burden on hard-working families like you. It is time to stop the downshifting of state costs to local towns and municipalities which has cost towns like Milford millions of dollars. (From the input I’ve heard from you, my constituents, not one Milford resident has asked for a business tax cut; employers continue to cite workforce shortage and energy costs as their top concerns not tax climate).
Also, as far as education goes, the current budget includes increased state funding for charter schools but decreases overall funding to our public schools (this is another downshifting of costs to municipalities and towns; placing additional pressure on local property taxes). The potential for increased state adequacy funding for at least full-day Kindergarten remains; but the details have not been agreed upon. If the COC members decide on targeted town funding; Milford will not be eligible for any increase in state adequacy funding; if they agree to fund all towns who offer a full-day program (vs just targeted), Milford could benefit. I’ll keep you posted.
Another concern I have with this budget is the inadequate funding for our opioid crisis/substance use disorder treatment. As I’ve noted on my Facebook page, even though Granite Staters feel the opioid crisis is the most important problem facing NH (@UNHSurveyCenter), NH has the second lowest access to substance abuse treatment in the country (just above Texas).
As I mentioned, Thursday, June 15th, is the deadline for the CoC to submit their final report on the budget. On Friday, June 16th, the NH Fiscal Policy Institute will host a webinar on the budget report from 2:00 to 3:00 PM. If you are interested, register here. I will also plan to provide a summary of the NHFPI’s insights and other budget updates, especially regarding business tax cuts.
Meanwhile, keep your emails and calls coming. Please reach out to me and your State Reps and your Senator regarding your priority concerns and questions. In the full House, we are scheduled to vote on the COC budget on June 22nd.
May 27th STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE
The highlight of my week was meeting the NH Boys & Girls Clubs’ Youths of the Year at the State House on Thursday morning. These future leaders shared their amazing stories with us. Each one of them exhibited incredible character and leadership. At Thursday evening’s banquet, our Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley Youth of the Year, Shelby Houghton, was selected as the state of NH’s Youth of the Year! She will go on to compete in the regionals and will proudly represent our club and our state. Congratulations Shelby — we are so proud of you!!
In the House this week, committees were focused on wrapping up work sessions on outstanding bills for this session. House Finance made recommendations on a series of bills, including SB 191, SB 247, SB 38, SB 131, SB 155 and SB 101.
Full-day Kindergarten update
The House Finance committee is recommending SB 191-FN-A, “ought to pass as amended,” OTP-A. The full House will vote on this version of the full-day Kindergarten bill this upcoming Thursday. As I reported a few weeks ago, the full House supported SB 191 and funding full-day programs for any district that chooses to provide it. The amendment from Finance drew some controversy as it directs funds from keno to the Education Trust Fund to cover the majority of the cost for full-day K programs. However, the funds are not dedicated; the committee just wanted to clearly indicate where the funds for this newly expanded program would come from — keno would be a new source of revenue. The amendment also allows towns to offer parents the choice of enrolling their child in half-day or full-day Kindergarten. From Milford’s perspective, SB 191-FN-A is a better approach than the one in the Senate; SB 191 would provide additional state funding to our school district if/when we choose to offer a full-day program; the Senate version only provides state funds for targeted school districts (NOT including Milford).
Election Bill SB 3
In the House Election Law committee this week, members voted 11-9 to recommend that SB 3, the bill, OTP-A. The full House will vote on this recommendation this Thursday. The latest amendment still includes additional requirements for same-day voters and individuals who register to vote within 30 days or less. Amendment language includes: “the registration form shall require the voter to identify and provide evidence of a verifiable action he or she has taken carrying out his or her intent to make the place claimed on the voter registration form his or her domicile.” In addition, those individuals “…must mail or present evidence … within 10 days following the election, or within 30 days in towns where the clerk’s office is open fewer than 20 hours weekly.” The Town Clerk’s office will be required to verify whether each of these voters provided evidence or not. As you’ve probably followed in the news, and as indicated by the committee’s close vote of 11-9, this bill is controversial. The question at hand is whether this bill is necessary. So far, there has been no evidence of fraud in our NH elections but some folks believe we need to tighten voting requirements. From the other perspective, folks are concerned that this bill will suppress voting by intimidating individuals who recently relocate to NH as well as college students. Refer to page 13 of the House Calendar to view the committee’s majority and minority opinion reports.
Here is a link to this week’s House Calendar. Pages 5-20 reflect the bills we will be voting on, including SB 191 and SB 3.
Other bills of note include:
SB 38-FN passed out of Finance with a vote of support of 26-0 — it includes a $30 million appropriation to the department of transportation for local highway aid and aid for municipal bridges. This would provide needed funds to our town but unfortunately does not include any appropriation for school building aid.
SB 66-FN, includes a fetus in the definition of “another” for purposes of certain criminal offenses. Much of the media missed covering this fetal personhood bill’s recommendation out of committee. The House Criminal Justice Committee voted 12-8 in favor of passing this bill. The bill defines a fetus as “an unborn offspring, from the embryo stage which is the end of the twentieth week after conception or, in the case of in vitro fertilization, the end of the twentieth week after implantation, until birth” and “provide(s) that a viable fetus shall be included in the definition of “another” for the purposes of first and second degree murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, and causing or aiding a suicide.” This is another controversial bill with a close vote of 12-8 OTP out of committee; the minority “has serious concerns about the unintended consequences of this bill as amended by the committee. This bill recognizes a fetus as a person and an independent victim of a crime.” For full majority and minority opinion reports, refer to pages 11-12 of the House Calendar.
Please reach out to me and your other State Representatives and let us know your opinion on these bills!
The Senate completed their proposed draft of the State Budget and will present it to both the full Senate and the full House this upcoming week. I’ve been following the budget process closely and remain concerned that it provides no local property tax relief. My other major concern is that this Senate budget includes additional tax cuts for big businesses (BPT); the House Ways & Means committee voted in an overwhelming bipartisan vote (19-1!) against more business tax cuts at this time (by RETAINING SB 2, a bill that proposed more business tax cuts). In Ways & Means, we recently conducted an analysis, along with the DRA’s input, of business revenues and the recent business tax cuts impact on our economy. Since round two of the already scheduled business tax cuts are just kicking in and it is not clear yet the impact the cuts will have, we felt very strongly that it was too soon to schedule additional cuts at this time. From my perspective, the $20+million that would be provided to businesses via these proposed additional tax cuts could be more wisely spent elsewhere — property tax relief is just one possibility! Here is a link to the NH Fiscal Policy Institute’s comments on the Senate budget as well. I will keep you posted.
Meanwhile, Email me with any questions and keep your input coming!
May 20th STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE
It was fun seeing so many of you at the Milford Garden Club’s plant sale this weekend.
Reminder: I will be hosting office hours this Monday, 5/22, at Town Hall in the Selectman’s Room from 3:30 – 4:45. Feel free to stop by with your questions.
Last week: Election Law plus…
At the State House last week, committees held hearings for some of their “last” bills for this session, as well as held working and executive sessions on many outstanding bills.
I’ve heard questions from many of you about the status of SB 3, which aims to tighten NH domicile requirements for voting. The House Election Law Committee voted narrowly 11-9 to recommend the bill “ought to pass” in the full House. Although there have been many amendments to the original bill, it still adds registration requirements for voters who register within 30 days of an election (including same-day registrants).
The amended version would allow towns to pass the new “investigation” requirements back to the Secretary of State’s office (instead of having to conduct these themselves!), so our town clerk said that would make the bill much easier to administer. However, many of you remain concerned about the additional restrictions this bill may put on voters. The concerns you’ve shared include potential voter suppression, especially for first time voters and new NH residents, because of the bill’s threats of criminal investigation and potential fines. The full House will vote on SB 3 on June 1st. Reach out to your State Representatives and let us know your opinion on this bill.
Rep. Fisher Controversy
I saw several constituents at the Legislative Office Building this past week. One of the hearings of interest was the Legislative Administrative Committee’s findings on the case against Rep. Fisher of Laconia.
Although the Committee voted narrowly 8-6 to take no action against Rep. Fisher, the ruling was very controversial (and unfortunately political with all 8 Republicans voting NO action; and all 6 Democratic members voting to take action). First of all, Rep. Fisher had acknowledged that he made degrading posts toward women on the Red Pill forum. The majority of the committee found this irrelevant due to the “historical” nature of his posts. New evidence brought to the committee on Wednesday, however, strongly suggested that Fisher was still making misogynistic posts under a new username. The resulting discussion about a potential perjury charge via the Attorney General’s office is thought to be the reason Fisher finally ended up resigning.
As a new legislator, I’m relieved that Rep Fisher no longer serves as a Representative. I believe anyone voted into office to serve on behalf of constituents should be held to higher standards (regardless of the timing of their comments/actions). Procedurally, I was surprised and disappointed in the Committee’s findings and process, especially in Chairman Hinch’s decision not to allow a minority report to be published. For every committee decision/recommendation in the legislature, there is an option to provide a majority report as well as a minority report, explaining the committee members’ reasons/foundation for voting. In Ways & Means, even when our committee vote isn’t close (i.e., 19-1 or 17-3), the Chairman always provides those who voted in the minority with the opportunity to explain their vote in a “Minority Report.” In this controversial Fisher case, especially given the close vote of 8-6, it was procedurally suspect for the Chairman to block the publishing of a minority report on this decision. NH citizens deserve transparency.
Emergency House Session
The House held an “emergency” House session this past Thursday to approve an additional $32 million appropriation to our largest state agency, the Department of Health and Human Services. The Department needed these funds to erase an operating deficit due mainly to unanticipated rate increases and above-budgeted caseloads in Medicaid, as well as increases in hospital uncompensated care payments. DHHS minimized their year-end deficit (which was originally forecast to be closer to $66 million) by keeping vacant positions unfilled until July and by making additional spending cuts.
The House also concurred with the Senate on a number of bills on Thursday, including HB 94 which will strengthen NH’s human trafficking law.
As I mentioned on my Facebook page, although news coverage included the Senate Finance Committee’s vote of 4-2 to only include funding for targeted full-day Kindergarten in their draft budget, the House Finance Committee will make a decision this upcoming Wednesday on SB 191, which includes reimbursement for any town choosing to offer a full-day program. The full House voted strongly to support SB 191 earlier this month, with a bipartisan vote of 247-116. This legislation is important for Milford because it would provide the state funds needed to offer a full-day program in our schools and not rely on local property tax increases to fund it. None of the targeted funds would be available to the Milford school district.
As I mentioned above, the Senate Finance Committee is working on their version of the state budget. They’ll complete their proposal this upcoming week and then enter into committee of conference with House members. I’ll keep you posted.
Please Email me with any questions and keep your input coming! If you have a chance, stop by Town Hall on Monday for my office hours: 3:30 – 4:45.
May 13th STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE
It was a “work in progress” week in the NH House this week.
The House Finance Committee held hearings on both SB 191-FN, relative to funding for full-day Kindergarten and SB 247-FN. Both bills will be discussed during the committee’s working sessions this upcoming week and are scheduled for committee vote/Executive Session on May 24th.
Many of you have been following the controversy surrounding Representative Fisher. The Legislative Administrative Committee held a hearing to review his conduct and affiliation with the Red Pill reddit forum. The Committee is scheduled to discuss last week’s hearing findings this Wednesday morning at 10:30. They will hold an Executive Session at that time which will result in a proposed action for the full House to vote on. The allegations against Representative Sherry Frost will also be discussed then. Here is a link to an overview of the hearings/Representatives’ conduct. I must say I fully agree with Minority Leader, Stephen Shurtleff, and Governor Sununu who have called for Representative Fisher to resign, referring to his comments as “horrendous and repulsive.”
A couple of significant Senate actions to note from last week include their action on HB400-FN which aims to address our state’s mental health crisis. The full Senate voted unanimously to pass the bill. Advocates are pleased with the progress but very concerned that this bill doesn’t do enough. The bill is now headed to Senate Finance for scrutiny of the fiscal impact.
News on our opioid crisis included New Future’s economic impact report on the costs of substance misuse in New Hampshire. According to this report, since 2014 the costs to New Hampshire of substance abuse have increased from $1.84 billion to $2.36 billion. Also this week, UNH’s Granite State poll reflected, for the first time, that a majority of Granite Staters believe drug misuse is the most serious problem facing the state.
Here in Milford, our substance use prevention task force, “CAST,” held its monthly meeting this past week. We continue to focus on how to prevent substance misuse in our youth community, as well as support our children/young adults who have had to deal with this epidemic in their families.
As the Senate works on their version of the state budget over the next few weeks, I will be advocating to ensure we as a legislative body stand behind solutions to combat the drug crisis, and to enhance substance abuse prevention and treatment in our communities.
Also, my office hours for this month will be held at Milford Town Hall on Monday, May 22nd, from 3:30-4:45. Please stop by and share your questions and concerns with me!
May 6th STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE
Some good news from the State House this past week! As you may have heard in the news, the full House voted in SUPPORT of state funding for full-day Kindergarten (FDK) this week. This bill, SB 191, heads to House Finance next but the overall consensus is that the full House vote was its biggest hurdle. The fact that the bill has bipartisan support and the vote had a good margin (247-116) bodes well for its fate in Finance. I’ll keep you posted; the House Finance committee will discuss the finances of the bill on Tuesday, May 9th, at 1:30. (Follow this link to see how your Representatives voted on SB 191). As House Education Vice Chair, Terry Wolf explained, this state funding for FDK will prevent additional downshifting of school costs to local towns and municipalities.
Also beneficial for local towns and municipalities was the House’s passage of SB 38-FN, making an appropriation to the department of transportation for local highway aid and aid for municipal bridges. This bill sends $30,000,000 back to the cities and towns and adds $6.8 million to the state bridge aid program for municipal bridges. This bill heads to House Finance next.
Last Thursday’s House calendar also included votes on increasing Medicaid reimbursement to schools (SB 235-FN), delaying the second phase of Medicaid managed care (SB 155) and strengthening the state’s Rape Shield Law, (SB 9). All passed and are headed to the Governor for signature.
Some of you have inquired about the controversy surrounding Representative Fisher. The Governor, House Speaker and House Minority Leader have all requested his resignation. The full House voted 307-56 to refer him (as well as Rep. Frost) to the Legislative Administration committee for a hearing next Tuesday, May 9th. Here is a link to NHPR’s report which provides a good summary.
SB 247-FN also passed the full House with an amendment. House Finance will consider this bill’s financial implications this Tuesday at 2:30. The casino bill, SB 242, did NOT pass, in fact, the full House voted to indefinitely postpone this bill which has been reintroduced session after session for 20+ years. Here is a link to the full list of votes from Thursday’s House Session.
Next week, as the Calendar reflects (pp. 4-6), the House committees’ focus will include working and executive sessions. In House Ways & Means, we will provide a revenue projection update based on April’s final numbers. These updated revenue projections will be used by Senate Ways & Means and Finance as they work on the 2018-2019 state budget.
The full Senate will convene on Thursday. Bills under consideration will include HB 400, requiring the department of health and human services to develop a 10-year plan for mental health services, among others (see pp. 3-7).
Email me with any questions — and please keep your input coming!
April 29th STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE
I’m happy to report on some bipartisan progress from Concord this week!
As I mentioned on Twitter (@joelle4milford) and Facebook earlier in the week, the majority of House Education Committee members voted to amend the Governor’s full-day Kindergarten bill (SB 191) to include state adequacy funding for ALL students who attend public full-day Kindergarten programs; they’ve recommended the bill “ought-to-pass.” The Full House will vote on it this upcoming Thursday. For those of you who have reached out to me in support of FDK, this is a very positive bill for Milford schools. The Governor’s version included targeted aid only, so no funds would have directed to Milford. The new version of the bill, as amended, would provide the Milford School District with full-day state adequacy funds once the district offers a full-day program. Reach out to your State Representatives this week to ask that they support SB 191 as amended. (FYI — Representative Halstead voted against the bill in committee).
The House Education Committee also cast a bipartisan vote of 15-4 to retain the controversial bill, SB 193, establishing education freedom savings accounts for students. As I’ve written in previous weeks’ updates, this bill as written could have drained our public school budget of substantial funds as well as caused an increase in our local property taxes. There was also a question regarding its constitutionality. The retention of the bill is the next-best thing to killing the bill — as it will remain in House Education until (or if) they decide to work on it again next year.
In House Ways & Means, we met with the Department of Revenue Administration to review business tax revenues through mid-April. We’ll be meeting again next week to look at this month’s final revenue numbers as well as hear from additional agencies on other key taxes. We’ll provide the Senate with our updated revenue projections which will impact their budget development.
The Senate Finance Committee will hold a public hearing on the budget this Tuesday, May 2nd, beginning at 1:00 p.m. in Reps Hall. What is your priority: what would you like to see in the final budget? Spoken and written testimony will be accepted by the committee. Or, email our Senator, Gary Daniels, who serves on Senate Finance. From what I’ve heard, Senate budget priorities include infrastructure support for municipalities and towns; improving mental health treatment/access; opioid addiction community support (via the Alcohol Fund); and full-day Kindergarten adequacy funding, to name a few. The key will be to develop a balanced budget that adequately funds critical supports for NH citizens (like the priorities listed above). That way, we’ll be able to stop the state’s downshifting trend which, as we have all learned, causes our property taxes to surge. I will keep you posted!
Email me with any questions — and please keep your input coming!
April 22nd STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE
The full House and Senate worked together this week to take a step toward ratifying this past March’s postponed Town elections (due to snowstorm). We voted to adopt the House/Senate Committee of Conference recommendation on HB329 Thursday morning. The bill is headed to the Governor’s office for signature; this law will allow the governing board of municipalities and towns (in Milford’s case, the Board of Selectman) to hold a public meeting and then vote to ratify the Town’s election results. (Union Leader summary).
The House Health & Human Services Committee voted unanimously (20-0) to retain the controversial SB 7, which aimed to tighten food stamp eligibility in NH. (This retention is a polite way of killing the bill). So many constituents from Milford advocated on behalf of our community against this bill — well done!
In the House Education Committee, the Governor, a number of bipartisan legislators and parents, along with numerous advocates, testified in favor of full-day Kindergarten and specifically SB 191 on Tuesday. This bill provides adequacy funding for full-day K programs in districts with high Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) populations as well as a high density of English Language Learners (ELLs). HB 155, which would have provided adequacy funding for any school district that chose to offer a full-day program, was retained earlier this session on a partisan vote (Republicans against; Democrats in support). If SB 191 passes, however, the state is one giant step closer to providing adequacy funding for all districts who choose to offer a full-day program.
Also in House Education this week, there was a working session to discuss SB 193, establishing education freedom savings accounts for students (see previous weeks’ coverage on this bill below). I posted Reaching Higher’s coverage of the hearing on my Facebook page earlier this week. Next Tuesday, 4/25, at 10:00 (in Legislative Office Building LOB Room 207) the Committee will be voting on their recommendation to the full House on both bills, SB 193 and SB 191. Email Milford Rep. Carolyn Halstead with your input; she serves on the House Education committee.
Also on Tuesday, the hearing for SB 3, which looks to tighten domicile requirements for voting, was held in Reps Hall. The House Election Law Committee is not scheduled to meet next week but will most likely discuss this bill in a working session in early May.
In House Ways & Means’ public hearing for SB 242, relative to video lottery and table gaming (also known as the “Casino” bill), the testimony was overwhelmingly against the bill. Our committee recommendation to the full House is to ITL/kill the bill (vote of 19-1). The committee retained SB2, which looked to provide businesses with an additional BPT/BET tax cut. This means this bill will not be considered again until next year’s session (at the earliest).
Looking ahead to next week, I mentioned above that the House Education Committee will be “exec-ing” both SB 193 and SB 191 this Tuesday morning (10:00 in Legislative Office Building LOB Room 207). Also on Tuesday, the Senate Health & Human Services committee will hold a hearing on HB 400, which would require the department of health and human services to develop a 10-year plan for mental health services (LOB Room 101 at 1:00). During the hearing, the committee will also consider a proposed amendment that would require the department of health and human services to also establish the positions of associate commissioner and medical director in the department of health and human services and to establish the office of the child advocate.
The Senate Finance committee will continue to host budget briefings by the various departments. The Department of Health & Human Services will make their presentations next Friday beginning at 9:00. Refer to next week’s Senate Calendar (page 16) for more details.
As usual, I’ll aim to keep you posted on Facebook and Twitter throughout the week. Meanwhile, keep the emails coming!
April 16th STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE
The highlight of my week in Concord was greeting the various fourth grade classes from Heron Pond! It was so nice to see them on their tour of the State House … and to hear their great questions!
I also enjoyed seeing constituents “at work” at a few public hearings. This is democracy at its best — when you speak up for what you believe in!!
The hearing for SB 7, which tightens food stamp eligibility in NH, was standing room only in the House Health & Human Services committee — with some people overflowing into the hallways. The overwhelming majority of folks testified in opposition to the bill. Please read this Concord Monitor editorial which summarizes much of the testimony heard and many points which I have shared with you. This bill will be reviewed by the committee this Tuesday morning at 9:30, along with two other critical bills — SB 235-FN, relative to Medicaid reimbursement to schools for students with medical needs and establishing a home and community based behavioral health services program for children, and SB 247, preventing childhood lead poisoning from paint and water and making an appropriation to a special fund. The committee will forward their recommendation to the House for a full vote at an upcoming session. I have heard from many of you on these bills — thank you for contacting me! (I plan to oppose SB 7; but support both SB 235 and SB 247).
The Senate voted 21-2 to pass a bill designed to allow towns that postponed town or school elections, because of the March 14 snowstorm, to ratify the town election results. The Cabinet‘s article provided an overview of how this impact’s Milford’s elections. The bill is headed to the House next.
Coming up this week, the House Education Committee is scheduled to have a working session to discuss testimony from the hearing that was held earlier this month on SB 193, establishing education freedom savings accounts for students. The working session is scheduled for 10:00 on Wednesday in the House Education Committee Room (Legislative Office Building Room 207). As I reported last week, the majority of testimony given at the public hearing was against the bill. Here is a link to Republican Alex Luhtjarv’s letter of testimony; Mr. Luhtjarv is currently the President of the Hillsboro-Deering Federation of Teachers. The emails I’ve received from you are also overwhelmingly against the bill. Most constituents are not against school choice per se, but are very concerned about the negative financial impact this would have to our Milford school budget and resulting increases on our property taxes. Thank you for your input; I plan to oppose this bill. Email Milford Rep. Carolyn Halstead with your input; she serves on this committee.
Also this week, the House Election Law committee will have a public hearing on SB 3, which looks to tighten domicile requirements. This bill recently passed through the full Senate with a party line vote of 14 Republicans for the bill; 9 Democrats opposing. The controversy is around the added requirements to “prove residency.” Please let me know your thoughts, or attend the hearing if you can. The hearing will be held on Tuesday at 10:00 in Reps Hall in the State House.
In House Ways and Means this Tuesday, we will be hearing SB 242, relative to video lottery and table gaming — also known as the “Casino” bill. It is expected to be a well attended hearing — please let me know your thoughts. The hearing will be held in Legislative Office Building Rooms 202-204.
Also this week, I will be hosting office hours tomorrow, Monday 4-17, in the Selectman’s Room in Town Hall from 3:30 – 5:00. Please stop by with your questions and concerns — I’d love to see you!
April 8th STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE
A bit of a frustrating couple of days at the State House. I tried to keep you updated on the House Budget Sessions via Twitter and Facebook. The most disappointing aspect for me was that the Speaker and Republican Party leaders refused to make any compromise within their own Republican caucus or across the aisle with Democrats. There seemed to be plenty of opportunity to work to find a better budget that a majority could support. As it stood, HB 2 –without any compromises or amendments– would have failed seniors, children & working families. Even the Governor’s BIPARTISAN push for fully funding the Alcohol Fund to fight our opioid crisis and his support of full-day Kindergarten weren’t considered. And the property tax relief they were touting only amounted to $19 per person a year. (A huge crowd of families advocating for additional opioid crisis and Kindergarten funding greeted us on our way into the State House on Thursday >>)
As the Concord Monitor reported, the Republican Majority Whip’s motion to adjourn without a budget agreement at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday surprised most; to me it it was irresponsible (I certainly voted against adjourning). Looking ahead, we’ll need to work with our Senate colleagues on their version of the budget and then, later in June, via committee of conference, the House will have input into the final budget version. I agree with Governor Sununu’s statement, “On matters of economic development, education and our opioid crisis, failure is not an option,” he said in a statement. “Granite Staters deserve results.”
Earlier last week, the House Education Committee’s hearing for SB 193, establishing education freedom savings accounts for students, drew such a big crowd that it was moved to Reps Hall. (See my write up on this bill and its potential impact on Milford’s public schools in last week’s update below). It was great to hear that several of you attended the hearing. The majority of testimony given at the hearing was against the bill. The House Education Committee will hold their executive session on SB 193 within the next few weeks. I will keep you posted; meanwhile, email Milford Rep. Carolyn Halstead with your input, she serves on this committee which will be making a recommendation to the full House.
The public hearing for SB 7, which tightens food stamp eligibility in NH, has been scheduled for next Wednesday, April 12th, at 1:00 p.m. in the House Health & Human Services Committee room 207 in the Legislative Office Building. I have heard from several of you with concerns about this bill. As WMUR reported, “State Senate Republicans tried to entice their Democratic colleagues to back their plan to tighten the state’s food stamp eligibility requirements by attaching it to a work program for low-income Granite Staters.” From my perspective, the workforce program in and of itself has merits but it should be a separate piece of legislation. My main concern with the bill as amended is that it potentially eliminates the food supply for 18,000+ NH kids; it also decreases the amount of federal dollars NH will receive (pushing more costs to the local level). Last week’s Cabinet included an article on potential food stamp cuts at both the state and federal levels. “From a Milford perspective, I’m concerned about the impact on our children, families and seniors who rely on these programs for food,” State Rep. Joelle Martin said.
I received several phone calls with concerns about the status of SB 248. Senator Jeff Woodburn led the charge on a compromise amendment for this bill that will allow officials of towns and school districts that postponed their local elections due to the March 14 snowstorm to take action to ratify the results. This passed through the Senate by a vote of 21-2. It heads to the House Election Committee next — I will keep you posted. This is an important bill for Milford.
Here is a link to the House Calendar for a full list of public hearings next week (pages 3-5). The Senate Calendar can be found here. I will be holding office hours on Monday, April 17th, from 3:30-5:00 p.m. Swing by Milford Town Hall’s Selectmans Room with your questions/concerns. I’d love to see you.
April 1st STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE
Happy April Fools Day?! We often have to deal with a little snow during spring in NH BUT… I could do without this much (as I’m sure you all agree)!!
The bills and issues I continued to receive the most inquiries about include SB 3, relative to domicile for voting purposes; SB 7, decreasing eligibility for food stamps; and SB 193, establishing education freedom savings accounts for students.
SB 3 which looks to tighten domicile requirements passed through the full Senate this week with a party line vote of 14-9. The Senate floor debate lasted 90 minutes — highlighting the controversy about the added requirements to “prove residency.” The bill heads to the House next — I will let you know when the public hearing is scheduled. Here are links to news coverage by Associated Press, Union Leader — please let me know your thoughts.
SB 7, tightens food stamp eligibility in NH. This bill passed the full Senate this week after much controversy. As WMUR reported, “State Senate Republicans tried to entice their Democratic colleagues to back their plan to tighten the state’s food stamp eligibility requirements by attaching it to a work program for low-income Granite Staters.” From my perspective, the workforce program in and of itself has merits but it should be a
“From a Milford perspective, I’m concerned about the impact (of SB 7) on our children, families and seniors who rely on this program for food,” state Rep. Joelle Martin said. Federal Budget May Strain Local Resources — The Cabinet
separate piece of legislation. My concern with the bill as amended is that it potentially eliminates the food supply for 18,000+ NH kids. SB 7 heads next to the House — I will let you know when the public hearing is scheduled.
There will be a public hearing on SB 193, this Tuesday, April 4th, at 10:00 a.m. in House Education Committee Room 207 in the Legislative Office Building. This bill passed the Senate earlier this month along party lines 14-9. The controversy around this bill is that an “Education Freedom Savings Account” allows taxpayer dollars (90% of the public school adequacy funding or approximately $3,250) to be placed in an independently managed scholarship fund for a student. Parents or guardians would then be allowed to use those scholarship funds to pay for private school tuition, homeschooling expenses, or other academic expenses. Looking at the numbers more closely, there are currently ~6,000 home-schooled children and ~17,000 private-schooled children in NH. If SB 193 becomes law, potential millions of dollars could be tapped from public school adequacy funding for these savings accounts — dollars that have never been deducted from public school budgets before. The main concern I’ve heard is the potential inflationary impact on our property taxes to offset the school budget revenue losses. Another constituent expressed, “With $3,500/year, families in low-middle income brackets, like me, won’t able to benefit from these funds.” (Annual tuition for most private schools in the area far exceeds this number). An additional concern raised has been that “most of the scholarship money would go to more financially well-off families who do not need the funds, and put an additional strain on our already tight public school budget.” Is this the right financial approach for school choice and for Milford? Email me your thoughts. Reach out to your other Milford Reps as well.
Looking at the status of the House Budget, the House Finance committee voted on their final draft last week. The full House will be briefed on the budget this Monday; voting is scheduled for Wednesday (and potentially Thursday). We will be voting on several amendments as well, including an amendment to increase funding for full-day Kindergarten offerings (2017-1207h) and an amendment (2017-1200h) that “increases annual funding for the alcohol abuse prevention and treatment fund to 5 percent of the previous fiscal year gross profits derived from liquor sales.” I’ll aim to keep you posted on budget votes from the floor. Meanwhile, keep the emails coming!
March 26th STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE
It was great to see many of you at my office hours last week — thank you for stopping by Town Hall! Thanks, too, for your emails and phone calls. Please keep them coming. I will be scheduling office hours in April, too. (Date and time coming soon)
The bills and issues I’ve received the most inquiries about this past week include SB 3, relative to domicile for voting purposes; SB 7, decreasing eligibility for food stamps; and SB 193, establishing education freedom savings accounts for students.
SB 3 which looks to tighten domicile requirements came out of the Senate Election Law committee with a recommendation of Ought to Pass as Amended. It’s caused a lot of controversy due to the added requirements to prove residency. Joan Dargie, our Milford Town Clerk, attended the Executive Session this past week and has concerns about the bill. NH1’s recent coverage of the bill’s progress, noted that the current version of the bill has eliminated the most controversial provision “that police could knock on new voter’s doors to verify their addresses elicited a lot of push back.” NHPR has also covered the bill’s progress. SB 3 will be voted on in the full Senate soon. Contact our Senator, Gary Daniels with your input.
SB 7, tightens food stamp eligibility and adds several waiver requirements. I included news links about this bill in my update last week (WMUR, NHPR, Union Leader). The Senate Finance Committee voted 3-3 to ITL/kill the bill this week — the next step is a full Senate vote. Our Senator, Gary Daniels, is Chair of Senate Finance and cast one of the votes in SUPPORT of SB 7. The folks at SHARE are concerned about this legislation. To support SHARE and our families who rely on this program, please Email Senator Daniels and ask him to KILL SB 7.
I have also received a number of questions about the House Budget. Many of you are concerned about House Finance Division III’s decision to zero out the Alcohol Fund. Currently, 1.7% of the state’s liquor profits are set aside in this fund to assist with alcohol/drug prevention, treatment and recovery programs. Governor Sununu’s budget actually doubles the Alcohol Fund, increasing much needed community funding for prevention and treatment programs. There remains potential for this decision to be reversed either in the House or Senate (or later in June in Committee of Conference). I will keep you posted. Meanwhile, please reach out to your Milford legislators with your concerns. (Overview of the Alcohol Fund by New Futures; News coverage: Union Leader).
The House Finance Committee Division II’s decision to not allocate any funding for full-day Kindergarten programs also differed from the Governor’s budget which included $18 million ($9 million/year) in targeted aid. Milford would only benefit once full-day adequacy is legislated for all municipalities (not just targeted), and when a full-day program is offered to all students; but most FDK proponents agree that targeted aid would be a step in the right direction toward a state-wide FDK offering. Gov Sununu reaffirmed his support for full-day Kindergarten this week.
The full House Finance committee will be working on their final updates to the House version of the state budget this week. The full House will convene on Monday, April 3rd for an overview/briefing on this budget; a full House vote is scheduled for April 5th.
I’m also including a link to the Facebook page for an upcoming legislative forum sponsored by the legislative Children’s Caucus. I’ve spent time
over the past few weeks working with fellow Children’s Caucus members to organize this event for legislators. Our goal is to take a closer look at how our state policies are (or are not) supporting our children and what changes we should be considering. This event is also open to the public — please let me know if you’re interested in attending.
March 18th STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE
It was nice to see so many of you this morning at the polls at Milford Middle School. If I missed you, please feel free to stop by Town Hall on Monday afternoon during my office hours, 3:30-5:00. Bring your budget questions and/or share your concerns.
My Office Hours
Monday, 3/30, 3:30-5:00 p.m. Milford Town Hall Selectman’s Room
Stop by with your questions and concerns.
This upcoming week in Concord, the House Finance committee will be busy working on the budget with work sessions scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. House Ways & Means will update their February revenue projections. There are also a number of hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday (see pages 7-9 of this week’s House Calendar). Thursday we will have full session of the House — refer to pages 3-6 of this week’s Calendar to view the bills up for full House vote. As always, be in touch with your Representatives with your input on bills of interest to you.
The Senate held session last week. One controversial bill, SB 7, which tightens eligibility for food stamps, passed 14-9. This bill heads next to Senate Finance. It has caused quite a bit of debate (WMUR, NHPR and the Union Leader all covered this). From a Milford perspective, I’m focused on understanding the impact for our children and families who rely on this program for food. The bill as written would decrease the amount of SNAP funds received from the federal government by NH (and therefore, Milford!) and most likely create another wave of downshifting of cost burden to our town-level. SHARE does so much for our community; I worry about the resulting budget cuts for their lean operation and about the food supply for our community members in need. I’ll be following up with SHARE to get their perspective and will keep you updated on this bill.
The full NH Senate supported SB 239-FN, which would create a much needed special Child Advocate Office. This bill heads next to Senate Finance.
Email me with your questions/concerns, or stop by Town Hall next Monday for my office hours.
STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE
It was a very busy week at the State House last week. I received many emails from you about HB 478, prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, as well as HB 620, relative to compliance with state and federal education mandates. I tried to keep you updated on my Facebook page, and have included further details here.
I was very disappointed in the motion on the House floor to “table” HB 478. I feel strongly that it is our job as elected officials to work on the challenging issues, not to avoid (“table”) them. Due to the vote (187-179) to table the bill, there wasn’t even a discussion or a chance for debate on the bill — there was no time given to ask questions or try to clarify concerns. The motion later in the session day on Thursday to remove the bill from the table for debate was voted down as well (180-168).
“It is our job as elected officials to work on the challenging issues, not to avoid them.”
HB 620, however, reflected a strong bipartisan effort within the House Education Committee to work together to address concerns heard during the public hearing. Representatives Mel Myler and Mary Heath worked with Chairman Rick Ladd and Vice Chair Terry Wolf to introduce a floor amendment to further study the questions/issues:
“HB 620 as proposed was too complex and the education committee did not have enough time to study its impact on the rule making process of the Department of Education,” said Representative Myler. “Under the compromise floor amendment we adopted, all current rules have been grandfathered. A study committee this spring and summer will take the time to seek input from various interest groups and stakeholders regarding how rules impact their concerns. The amendment is an example of how a bipartisan, collaborative effort can focus on mutual concerns.”
Another education bill, HB 557, allows a school district to utilize public school funds to be used in private schools. The House voted in support of this 188-163. HB 370, which aimed to increase state support for childcare costs at the Governor’s proposed $15 million level, was voted down(ITL) 168-166. (69% of NH’s children live in families where all parents are in the workforce; NH childcare costs are among the highest in the nation). Now the House Finance committee will decide what the final appropriation will be.
There were a number of Election Law bills up for House vote on Wednesday. I’d like to thank our Milford Town Clerk, Joan Dargie, for her insight on these bills. Joan attended several of the public hearings and provided me with her view on how each of the bills would impact Milford voting and overall election reform. Her perspective was very helpful especially since the Election Law Committee recommendations to the full House were so close (with many partisan votes of 11-9). Overall the House voted to tighten restrictions on voter registration and rejected bills to increase political finance transparency:
- HB 116, which aims to support an amendment to the US Constitution to address the corrupt influence of money in politics (as a consequence of the Citizens United decision), failed 193-165.
- HB 372, which aims it make it more difficult for NH college students to vote in NH, passed 188-163.
- HB 622, allowing all voters to vote by absentee ballot, was voted down/ITL’d 200-145.
- HB 320, which proposed the use of a computer program as a foundation for nonpartisan redistricting failed 184-161.
- For CACR 6, which would prohibit legislators to sponsor, advocate or refrain from voting on legislation which created a financial conflict of interest, the House voted against/ITL’d 208-153.
There were several labor bills up for vote. Unfortunately, in most cases, the results did not favor the worker:
- The House voted to ITL/kill HB 130, which would prohibit an employer from using credit history in employment decisions.
- For HB 115, establishing a state minimum wage, the House voted to kill/ITL 193-169.
HB 578 which aimed to ban abortions after “viability” failed by a vote of 280-82. The House also voted to maintain “buffer zones” at abortion clinics (HB ).
HB 640, decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, passed 318-36. Substance use advocates worked closely with legislators on this bill to incorporate key prevention concerns and to maintain fines. HB 215, establishing a commission to study the legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana passed as well.
All bills that have passed in the House will next head to either House Finance or the Senate.
Public Hearings this upcoming week:
* The House Finance Committee is holding a Public Hearing on the budget tomorrow, Monday, starting at 3:00 p.m. at the State House in Reps Hall. What is your priority: what would you like to see in the final budget?
Otherwise, next week is a quiet week in the House. There are a few public hearings being held — refer to this week’s calendar for details.
The Senate will have Session on Thursday, March 16th. See the Senate Calendar for a list of bills they’ll be voting on. Email our Senator, Gary Daniels, with your input. Those bills that pass, will crossover to the House later this month.
STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE, March 4th
For winter break week, it was quieter than usual at the State House but pockets of the House were still busy with budget and subcommittee work. In House Ways & Means, we completed our first revenue projections for this fiscal year, FY17, as well as FY18 and FY19 (for details, refer to page 3 in this week’s House Calendar). As you may have heard in the news the W&M projections were below Governor Sununu’s late January projections but were based on more recent revenue numbers and economic conditions. Revenue projections are critical for the budgeting process. The House Ways & Means committee will update revenue forecasts each month throughout the budgeting process. Our next projections in March will reflect the first glance at actual business returns and refund requests (the majority of NH businesses file in March/April).
The activity this upcoming week in Concord will certainly make up for the lull last week! Budget hearings, bill hearings and full House Sessions will keep us busy. There will be House sessions both Wednesday and Thursday where the full House will vote on over 200 bills. Here’s a link to the House Calendar — the Consent and Regular Calendar sections lists the bills we’ll be voting on (see pages 4 – 53).
Education Bills I have heard from quite a few of you on a number of education bills, especially with concerns about HB 620, relative to compliance with state and federal mandates as well as HB 370 which seeks to increase state support for childcare costs but came out of committee with a close vote of 15-11 against. Thank you for your emails! Based on feedback to date, I’m inclined to vote against HB 620 and in support of HB370.
There are also several bills pursuing school choice and vouchers as covered in the news. A recent report by US NEWS & WORLD REPORT ranks NH’s public schools as #2 in the country! Here are more insights on this ranking. It is my intention to ensure our state budget supports our high quality public schools and dedicated public school teachers. We need to make sure we’re preserving the quality of our top-notch public schools while pursuing innovative approaches.
Election Law bills Many of the election law bills that have been heard in committee will be voted on this week. Almost ALL of the committee votes on these bills were very close with votes of 11-9; 12-8. To view the summary of the majority and minority opinions, please refer to pages 33-36 of this week’s House Calendar. And please Email me with your input!
Non-Discrimination bill, HB 478 I have also heard from many of you regarding the non-discrimination bill, HB 478. Thank you for your emails. This bill aims to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. The House HHS committee voted 15-2 in support of the bill — the full House will vote on it this Wednesday. I recently provided my perspective on the bill in response to a question on the Milford Residents FB pg:
Abortion Bill, HB 578 Another controversial bill which has not received much news coverage is HB 578, relative to banning abortion after viability. This bill updates viability of a fetus to “21 weeks or more.” The committee vote was contentious and resulted in a 10-7 recommendation of Ought to Pass. I’m anticipating an in-depth debate on the floor on this vote on Wednesday.
The committee’s recommendation for adjusting the state’s minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, HB 115, is 12-9 ITL/not in favor.
Public Hearings next week
As I’ve mentioned, the Legislature had begun working on the state’s FY2018/2019 budget. I’d like to remind you that the state’s budget is the people’s budget. I’ve spoken to so many of you about your concerns regarding an economy that works for everyone, high quality public education, the opioid and mental health crisis and about local property tax burdens, especially on our seniors. Please consider speaking up about what matters to you. Continue to email your Milford legislators and consider sending an email to the House Finance committee members. Another way to provide input is to attend any of the House Finance committee’s upcoming Budget hearings:
- In Concord, on Monday, March 13, in Representatives Hall, second floor of the State House in Concord, starting at 3 p.m. and going into the evening.
- In Plymouth, this Monday, March 6, at the Silver Center for the Arts, Plymouth State University, starting at 5:30 p.m.
- In Derry, this Monday, March 6, at the Derry Town Hall, starting at 4:30 p.m.
The budget process has just begun and it’s critical to let your legislators know what your priorities and concerns are.
Tuesday public hearings:
- 10:30 a.m. House JUDICIARY Committee Room 208, Legislative Office Building. HB 652, establishing a veterans track within the court system and relative to the inclusion of veterans benefits in the calculation of gross income for purposes of determining child support.
- 1:30 p.m. Senate HHS Committee Room 101, Legislative Office Building. SB 155, relative to implementation of the Medicaid managed care program — proposing that Step 2 of the Medicaid managed care program shall not be implemented until July 1, 2019.
As always, please contact me with your concerns/input. I’d also be happy to talk with you in-person. Please email me to set up a meeting. I will be scheduling March office hours for Monday, March 20th. Stay tuned for hours/location. Thank you!
STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE, February 25th
We were in a bit of a lull in the House this week and focused mainly on committee work. In Ways & Means, we’re working diligently on updating the state’s revenue projections for FY17, 18, 19 so that the budgeting process can be as accurate as possible.
There were a few key hearings in the House, including one that drew a lot of attention, HB 478. This bill aims to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. The House HHS committee listened to testimony and voted 15-2 in support of the bill so it heads next to the full House.
The Senate was very busy with several votes on election law, kindergarten adequacy, and more. They voted on several education bills with a focus on school choice and local control. One of the most controversial bills, SB 193, would create a program where parents could receive state funding to send their children to any school they choose, including religious schools. Those bills that passed will head to the House next. The Senate voted against restoring state aid for school building projects, defeating SB 192 in a party-line 14-9 vote. The School Building Aid Program has been suspended since 2010.
SB 7 had a controversial hearing on whether or not to tighten the eligibility for food stamps. Several news sources reported that this bill was written, in part, by a conservative, Florida-based think tank that’s pushed similar measures around the country. I also heard concerns from many of you in Milford.
Please make sure your voices are heard: NH laws should be made in the best interest of the people of NH. My goal is to be a voice for Milford. Be in touch with your legislators and share your thoughts/recommendations. To email ALL of your Milford legislators, click here.
Governor Sununu signed SB 12 into law on Wednesday which allows individuals to carry weapons concealed without a special permit. The Governor also spoke in favor of block grants to “transform” Medicaid this week. Many argue that block grants will mean less money for NH and poorer overall coverage. Ultimately this decision will largely depend on what Congress and the Trump administration proposes.
Other Highlights this week
I had the opportunity to hear a panel of NH employers and economists discuss our economy and future. The #1 concern they shared was workforce shortage and development.
Public Hearings next week
Normally, the House is on break this week for winter vacation, but since it’s a budget year, several committees have scheduled work sessions. Refer to the House Calendar for a list of committee/subcommittee meetings.
Of note, House Finance, Division I, has scheduled a work session on HB 413-FN-A-L, relative to payment of a portion of retirement system contributions of political subdivision employers, on Tuesday, Feb. 28th, 11:15 in LOB Room 212. (This bill passed the House on Feb. 15th and was referred to House Finance). My hope for Milford is that the 15% ($40m) allocation to municipalities stays intact.
The Senate will vote next session on a number of bills that may be of interest:
- SB 94-FN-A, making a capital appropriation for affordable housing. Came out of Senate committee with a recommendation of OTP (ought to pass) 4-0.
- SB 194-FN, authorizing online voter registration. The Committee recommendation was Inexpedient to Legislate (kill), Vote 3-2.
- SB 153-FN-A, making an appropriation for early childhood intervention services. Committee recommended this bill Ought to Pass with a vote 4-0.
- SB 235-FN, relative to Medicaid reimbursement to schools for students with medical needs and establishing a home and community based behavioral health services program for children. Committee vote was 4-0 Ought to Pass.
STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE, February 18th
It was very busy at the State House this past week with double House session days, Wednesday and Thursday. Yesterday, I posted a quick update on voting results for a few bills. Here are results for a few more:
- Passed YES OTP-A HB 489, “establishing a commission to study the tax structure of the state.” We need to explore other revenue options at the state level so that we can curb escalating property tax burdens.
- Killed/YES ITL so NO to HB 566, “repealing the community revitalization tax relief incentive.” So, Milford will be able to participate in this effective program if we vote YES on the upcoming Warrant article.
- Killed/YES ITL so NO to HB 597-FN-LOCAL, “relative to calculating the cost of an opportunity for an adequate education and providing fiscal capacity disparity aid.” School adequacy funding continues to be an issue. Increasing adequacy funding at the state level is needed (and will take pressure off of local property taxes). I will keep you posted on additional adequacy bills as well as the budget process.
- Retained for further study HB 621-FN-A-LOCAL, “establishing a road usage fee”
- Killed/YES ITL 204-144; so NO to HB 350-FN, “prohibiting possession of a firearm at a polling place”
As you can see, the motion to “ITL” means “Inexpedient to Legislate” or kill a bill. A YES vote for an ITL motion is a vote against the bill.
A motion of “OTP” means “Ought to Pass” and is a YES vote in support of the bill.
Click here if you’d like to search for House Voting Results by bill number and see how your Reps voted. When searching for a bill’s voting results, be sure to double check which motion was voted on >> Remember: ITL means against/kill; OTP means in support of/pass. Questions? Email me
Public Hearings next week
Tuesday, Feb. 21st:
- 9:30 a.m., Senate Judiciary Committee, State House Room 100, SB 233-FN, relative to the legalization and regulation of marijuana and establishing a committee to study the legalization of marijuana.
- 10:00 a.m., Legislative Office Building House Election Law Committee Room 308, HB 642-FN, relative to eligibility to vote and relative to student identification cards.
- 1:15 p.m. Legislative Office Building Rooms 305-307, (House Health & Human Services Committee), HB 478, prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity.
- 1:30 p.m. Legislative Office Building Senate Health & Human Services Committee Room 101, SB 235-FN, relative to Medicaid reimbursement to schools for students with medical needs and establishing a home and community based behavioral health services program for children.
Wednesday, Feb 22nd:
- 9:00 a.m. State House Room 100, Senate Ways & Means Committee, SB 208-FN, establishing a working families property tax refund program.
- 3:00 p.m. State House Room 100, Senate Capital Budget Committee, SB 94-FN-A, making a capital appropriation for affordable housing.
Quick updates on some key NH House votes this week…some good news & some bad:
* YES to killing “Right-to-Work” (SB 11-FN)
* YES to restoring state funds to towns to cover a portion of state pension costs (HB 413)
* NO to establishing an independent, non-partisan redistricting commission (HB 203)
* NO to allowing Seniors to use assisted living IDs as voter IDs (HB 235)
More news to follow tomorrow in my Feb 18th STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE
STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE, February 11th
The snow did not stop work at the State House this week! Committee hearings and executive sessions packed both Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday featured a full House Session followed by Governor Sununu’s Budget Address. Our Ways & Means Committee had the opportunity to meet with the Governor for coffee before his Budget Address on Thursday morning (PHOTO: Rep. Charlie Burns & I with Governor Sununu)
News highlights from this week’s developments at the NH State House:
- Union Leader‘s state house coverage this week included reporting the House Labor Committee’s vote to NOT pass SB 11-FN, “so called” Right to Work. This bill will head to the full House for a final vote this upcoming week.
- Nashua Telegraph reported an overview of the Governor’s Budget, Lawmakers cheer parts of budget but seek detail.
- NHPR also provided additional coverage of the Governor’s Budget, highlighting key measures that might interest us in Milford — including $18 million for targeted full-day kindergarten and the Infrastructure Revitalization Fund which would provide funds to towns for roads and bridges repair.
- The Concord Monitor also reported on the Governor’s Budget, as well as SB 196-FN-A, seeking to restore full funding to the Alcohol Fund.
Public Hearings next week
There are very few hearings scheduled for the upcoming week (see pages 32-35). Committees will focus mostly on Subcommittee and Executive Committee work on Tuesday. The House will convene in Reps Hall on both Wednesday and Thursday for full House Sessions (see pp 7-31).
There are a few Senate hearings (pp. 8-10) to note, including:
Monday, February 13th: ** CANCELLED DUE TO SNOW **
- 9:15 a.m., Legislative Office Building Senate Health & Human Services Committee Room 101, SB 235-FN, “relative to Medicaid reimbursement to schools for students with medical needs and establishing a home and community based behavioral health services program for children.”
Tuesday, February 14th:
- 9:30 a.m., Legislative Office Building Senate Education Committee Room 103, SB 228-FN-A, “establishing the New Hampshire college graduate retention incentive partnership (NH GRIP).”
- 9:20 a.m., Legislative Office Building Senate Election Law Committee Room 102, SB 107, “establishing an independent redistricting commission.”
Bills up for full House Vote this week include:
- SB 11-FN, “prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union.” As mentioned above, the House Labor Committee voted 14-7 against SB11 and is recommending to the full House to ITL/kill this bill.
- HB 203-FN-A, “establishing an independent redistricting commission.” Close committee vote 11-9, against this bill.
- HB 350-FN, “prohibiting possession of a firearm at a polling place.” Committee with a close vote of 9-7 recommended against this bill.
- HB 413-FN-A-LOCAL, “relative to payment by the state of a portion of retirement system contributions of political subdivision employers.” This bill passed with support 10-9 out of the House Executive Departments and Administration Committee. It seeks to restore partial state funding to municipalities for retirement costs for teachers, police and fire. For Milford, this would mean lower property taxes! I am in full support of this bill.
- HB 566, “repealing the community revitalization tax relief incentive.” The House Ways & Means Committee unanimously agreed (21-0) to recommend to the full House that we ITL/kill this bill in order to continue this successful and beneficial economic development incentive.
- HB 597-FN-LOCAL, “relative to calculating the cost of an opportunity for an adequate education and providing fiscal capacity disparity aid.” Close committee vote 11-7 against this additional funding.
- HB 644-FN-A-LOCAL, “extending the interest and dividends tax to capital gains, increasing exemptions from the tax, and providing for retirement system contributions on behalf of employers other than the state.” Summary from the Calendar’s Minority report …This complex bill attempts to lower property tax burdens, especially to families with lower-middle incomes and seniors. It would extend the interest and dividends tax to include some capital gains and increase exemptions. 98% of new revenues collected would come from the top 20% income recipients; no taxpayer in the bottom 40% of income recipients would experience a tax increase. Senior exemptions would increase three-fold. The bill also earmarks $45 million of new revenue for payment by the state to municipalities (for pension costs) and provide substantial property tax relief. Another close committee vote 11-8 against this bill.
- HB 489, “establishing a commission to study the tax structure of the state.” Committee voted unanimously (21-0) that this commission be formed.
For a full list of bills that will be voted on this Wednesday and Thursday during the House’s General Session, refer to pages 7-31 of the House Calendar. As always, please contact me with your questions and input, or if you’d like me to add any specific bill vote or hearing to this posting.
I am also including links to your other Milford State Rep’s and your State Senator’s emails here (thanks for the suggestion Marie!).
If you’d like to email ALL of your legislators about a specific issue or bill, click here. Here are individual emails:
STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE, February 4th
It was a pleasure seeing Milford neighbors at the State House this week! Thanks for participating in our democracy (and for letting me know you were coming).
News highlights from this week’s developments at the NH State House:
- NHPR‘s overview of State political news includes an overview of the Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance bill, potential marijuana-related legislation, and more.
- Union Leader includes a write up on a house bill to change NH’s time zone to Atlantic standard time, HB209. There was a very close vote in the House with many State Reps (including me) concerned about an uncoordinated regional approach (the bill only considers Massachusetts’ decision). This bill passed narrowly and now heads to the Senate.
- The Telegraph covered the hearing for Frank Edelblut’s nomination as NH Commissioner of Education. The Telegraph‘s state news also reported on other bills and State House developments.
Public Hearings next week
Tuesday, February 7th:
- 9:30 a.m., Legislative Office Building Senate Education Committee Room 103, SB 191, “An Act relative to the definition of average daily membership in attendance” (specifying the manner in which full day kindergarten pupils are counted in a school district’s average daily membership).
- 10:00, Legislative Office Building House Election Law Committee Room 308, a series of bills related to election rights and definitions. See page 15 of this week’s House calendar for the full list of bills.
- 11:15, Legislative Office Building House Legislative Administration Committee Room 104, CACR6, “relating to conflict of interest. Providing that no member of the general court shall sponsor, advocate for, nor vote on any legislation which would create a financial conflict of interest.”
- 1:00, State House Senate Finance Committee Room 103, SB 196, “relative to liquor revenues deposited into the alcohol abuse prevention and treatment fund” (increasing the amount to be deposited into the alcohol abuse prevention and treatment fund).
- 1:00, Legislative Office Building House Ways & Means Committee Room 202, HB615-FN, “reducing the rates of the business profits tax and the business enterprise tax.”
- 1:15, State House Senate Health & Human Services Committee Room 101, SB 153, “making an appropriation for early childhood intervention services.”
- 1:45, Legislative Office Building Senate Health & Human Services Committee Room 101, SB 223-FN, “relative to staffing recommendations from the quality assurance review of the division of children, youth and families.”
Wednesday, February 8th:
- 9:00, Legislative Office Building House Election Law Committee Room 308, a series of bills related to election rights and definitions. See page 18 of this week’s House calendar for the full list of bills.
- 10:00, State House Reps Hall House Labor Committee, SB 11-FN, “prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union.”
Bills up for House Vote on Thursday, February 9th
- Senate Bill 12, “repealing the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver.“
For a full list of bills that will be voted on this Thursday during the House’s General Session, refer to pages 9-13 of the House Calendar, “Regular Calendar” section. Please contact me with your questions and input.
STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE, January 28th
It will be another busy week in the committee rooms next week! I’ve highlighted a few hearings below that I thought would be of interest to you. I’ve also included hearings for bills that some of you have inquired about. (Feel free to email me if there are other bill hearings you’d like me to include).
- Tuesday, Jan 31st, 1:00 p.m., Legislative Office Building, House Finance Committee Room 210-211, HB 370-FN-A, “making an appropriation for the purpose of meeting new federal regulations relative to child care.”
- Tuesday, Jan 31st, 1:00 p.m., Legislative Office Building, House Education Committee Room 207, HB-597-FN, “relative to calculating the cost of an opportunity for an adequate education and providing fiscal capacity disparity aid.”
- Tuesday, Jan. 31st, 1:00 p.m., the Executive Council will hold a public hearing on the nomination of Frank Edelblut to be the next Commissioner of the state Department of Education. The hearing will be in council chambers at the State House.
- Tuesday, Jan 31st, 2:45 p.m., Legislative Office Building, House Finance Committee Room 210-211, HB 606-FN-A, “establishing a scholarship fund for health care providers who stay in New Hampshire for 5 years and making an appropriation therefor.”
- Wednesday, Feb. 1, 10:30 a.m., Legislative Office Building House Ways & Means Committee Room 202, HB 644-FN-A, “extending the interest and dividends tax to capital gains, increasing exemptions from the tax, and providing for retirement system contributions …”
- Wednesday, Feb. 1, 11:00 a.m., Legislative Office Building House Health, Human Services & Elderly Affairs Committee Room 205, HB 536, “directing the wellness and primary prevention council to establish a system of family resource centers of quality.”
- Wednesday, Feb. 1, 10:00 a.m., State House Reps Hall, Senate Bill 12, “repealing the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver.“ This bill has passed through the Senate. This is the House Criminal Justice Committee’s public hearing.
- Wednesday, Feb. 1, 1:00 p.m., State House Reps Hall, HB 640-FN, “relative to the penalties for possession of marijuana.” This is the House Criminal Justice Committee’s public hearing.
- Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2:00 p.m., State House Reps Hall, HB 656-FN-A, “relative to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.” This is the House Criminal Justice Committee’s public hearing — there are several versions of this bill that will be heard over the next few weeks.
- Wednesday, Feb. 2:00 p.m., Legislative Office Building, House Labor Committee Room 307, HB 628-FN, “relative to a family and medical leave insurance program.”
(The debate on Right-to-Work legislation,SB 11-FN, has moved to the House after passing in the Senate. The House Labor Committee’s public hearing is scheduled for the following Weds, Feb. 8, 10:00 a.m. in Representatives Hall).
Bills up for House Vote
For a full list of bills that will be voted on this Thursday during the House’s General Session, refer to pages 7-10 of the House Calendar, “Regular Calendar” section. Please contact me with your questions and input.
News highlights from this week @the NH State House:
- Union Leader’s overview of House Session Thursday, 1/25: NH HOUSE ...
- NHPR’s coverage of Politics this week
READY, SET, ACTION!
I have heard from many of you over the past weekend … how do I ensure my voice is heard at the state level? Who do I contact regarding a bill? How do I let my Representatives and Senators know whether I want them to support or oppose legislation?
Public hearings are scheduled for each bill. You may attend these hearings. You may choose to sign in, either in support or opposition to a bill, or you may provide “testimony.” Testimony can be your statement in writing and/or spoken about why you support or oppose a bill. If you aren’t able to make a hearing, you also may send your testimony via email to the committee where the hearing is scheduled.
You may also simply contact your Milford Reps and Senator. If you are a Milford resident, we have five State Representatives. I have listed our Reps’ emails below, including myself. The General Court website includes a House Roster , which includes Representatives’ contact information. In addition, I’ve provided emails below:
- Barbara Biggie, email@example.com
- Charlie Burns, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Carolyn Halstead, email@example.com
- Joelle Martin, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Keith Ammon, who also represents Hollis and Mont Vernon, email@example.com
Our State Senator is Gary Daniels, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will continue to provide weekly updates on this site, as well as my Facebook page highlighting some of the key hearings forthcoming. However, if you’d like to follow the bills on your own, visit the General Court website. The House and Senate calendars are published every Friday for the following week.
And please keep your emails and questions coming. I’m happy to answer your questions and would like to hear from you!
STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE, January 21st
Here is this week’s summary from the State House in Concord. I’ve included some highlights of this past week’s activity as well as alerts on upcoming hearings and votes. I encourage you to review the General Court website for more details, and to contact me with your questions and input.
Key activity from this past week & Upcoming votes:
- On Thursday, 1/19, the Senate voted 12-11 OTP (ought to pass) in support of SB 11-FN, “prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union.” The bill will next go to the House. Contact/email your State Reps and let your voices be heard. Related news articles:
- On Thursday, 1/19, the Senate voted 13-10 in support of Senate Bill 12, “repealing the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver.“ This bill will next go to the House. Contact/email your State Reps and let your voices be heard. Related news articles:
Public Hearings this week that may be of interest:
It will be a busy week in the committee rooms next week! For a full schedule of House and Senate hearings, refer to the General Court website. I’ve highlighted a few hearings below that I thought would be of interest to you. I’ve also included hearings for bills that some of you have inquired about. Please email me if there are other bill hearings you’d like me to include.
- Tuesday, 1/24, 10:00 a.m. in HOUSE Children & Family Law Committee, Legislative Office Building Room 206, HB 355-FN, “relative to criminal record checks in adoption proceedings and foster family home licensing.”
- Tuesday, 1/24, 10:00 a.m. in HOUSE Criminal Justice & Public Safety, Legislative Office Building Room 204, HB 350-N, “prohibiting possession of a firearm at a polling place.”
- Tuesday, 1/24, 1:00 p.m. in HOUSE Children & Family Law Committee, Legislative Office Building Room 206, HB 422-FN, “repealing the child protection act.”
- Tuesday, 1/24, 3:00 p.m. in HOUSE Resources, Rec & Development Committee, Legislative Office Building Room 305, HB 485, “relative to standards for emerging contaminants in drinking water.”
- Tuesday, 1/24, 3:30 p.m. in HOUSE Finance Committee, Legislative Office Building Rooms 210-211, HB 387-FN-A, “making an appropriation to the department of health and human services for the developmental services system.”
- Wednesday, 1/25, 9:20 a.m. in SENATE Ways & Means Committee State House Room 100, SB 74-FN, “relative to economic revitalization zone tax credits.“
- Wednesday, 1/25, 10:00 a.m. in Legislative Office Building Labor Committee Rooms 305-307, HB 115-FN, “establishing a state minimum wage…”
- Wednesday, 1/25, 1:15 p.m. in Legislative Office Building Public Works Committee Room 201, HB 347-FN, “making an appropriation for rural bus service.”
- Wed., 1/25, 2:30 p.m. in Legislative Office Building Labor Committee Rooms 305-307, HB 442, “relative to criminal records checks in the employee application process.”
The next House session is scheduled for Thursday, 1/26, 10:00 a.m. in Reps Hall. This week’s House Calendar lists the voting schedule for the day (refer to the listed “Consent Calendar” items and “Regular Calendar” bills). Here are links to contact your State Reps and your Senator.
STATE HOUSE WEEKLY UPDATE, January 14th
Here is this week’s summary from the State House in Concord. I’ve included some highlights of this past week’s activity as well as alerts on upcoming hearings and votes. I encourage you to contact me with your questions and input.
Key activity from this past week & Upcoming votes:
- On Tuesday, 1/10, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3-2 OTP (ought to pass) on Senate Bill 12, “repealing the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver.” The bill will go to the full Senate this week for a vote. If you’d like to weigh in on this, contact our Senator, Gary Daniels: Email or phone: (603)271-4980. For background/more details:
- Union Leader: Senate Panel Backs Eliminating Permit Requirement
- Legislative Spotlight: Concealed Carry & Right to Work with Senator Jeb Bradley (R) and Senate Minority Leader, Jeff Woodburn (D)
- On Tuesday, 1/10, the Senate Commerce Committee voted 3-2 OTP in support of SB 11-FN, “prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union.” This bill will also go to the full Senate this week for a vote. If you’d like to weigh in on this, contact our Senator, Gary Daniels: Email or phone: (603)271-4980. For background/more details:
- Legislative Spotlight: Concealed Carry & Right to Work with Senator Jeb Bradley (R) and Senate Minority Leader, Jeff Woodburn (D)
- Concord Monitor Hundred Fill Reps Hall for Hearing on Right-to-Work Bill
- On Thursday, 1/12, the House Education Committee hearing on HB 155-FN, “relative to funding for kindergarten programs,” was standing room only. The overwhelming majority of attendees signed in and/or spoke in favor of this bill. The House Education Committee votes on whether to send this to the full House next week. If you’d like to weigh in on this, contact our State Rep who is on House Education, Carolyn Halstead: Email or phone: (603)672-7141. Let her know whether you’d like her to support this bill or not. For background/more details:
Public Hearings this week that may be of interest:
It will be a busy week in the committee rooms next week! Click here for a full schedule of House and Senate hearings. I’ve listed a few that I thought might interest you. Please email me if there are other bill hearings you’d like me to include.
- Tuesday, 1/17, 10:00 a.m. in Legislative Office Building Criminal Justice Committee Room 204, HB 106, “provides that a victim’s testimony in a sexual assault case shall require corroboration only in cases where the defendant has no prior convictions for sexual assault.”
- Wednesday, 1/18, 1:00 p.m. in Legislative Office Building House Election Law Committee Room 308, HB 203-FN-A, “establishing an independent redistricting commission.”
- Wednesday, 1/18, 1:30 p.m. in Legislative Office Building House Commerce & Consumer Affairs Committee Room 302, HB 250, “establishing a commission to assess the benefits and costs of ‘health care for all’ program for NH.”
- Wed., Jan. 18, 10:30 a.m. in Legislative Office Building House Education Committee Room 207, CACR 7, “relating to public education. Providing that the general court [meaning the state legislature] shall have the authority to define standards of accountability, mitigate local disparities in educational opportunity and fiscal capacity, and have full discretion to determine the amount of state funding for education.”
WEEKLY UPDATE FROM CONCORD
It is my goal to write to you, my constituents, each week to highlight the past week’s actions in Concord, as well as alert you to upcoming hearings and/or potential legislation. As we discussed over the summer and fall, it is challenging to follow the activity at the State House and to understand how certain state policy decisions may impact us here in our community. I aim to provide a weekly summary from the House of Representatives and encourage you to contact me with your questions and input.
Upcoming Public Hearings that may be of interest:
- Tuesday, January 10th, 9:00 a.m., State House Room 100: Senate Bill 12-FN, “repealing the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver,” This bill “allows a person to carry a loaded, concealed pistol or revolver without a license…” Click here for full bill text.
- Tuesday, January 10th, 1:00 p.m., State House, Representatives Hall: SB 11-FN, “prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union.” This bill has raised a lot of questions regarding worker’s rights to unionize. Proponents of the bill say it would “protect an employee’s rights to make a choice;” opponents say so-called “right-to-work laws are designed to limit the power of unions and will lead to lower wages for workers.”
- Thursday, January 12th, 1:00 p.m., Legislative Office Building Education Committee Room 207, HB 155-FN, “relative to funding for kindergarten programs.” This bill would increase funding for school districts who offer full-day kindergarten programs (from half-day adequacy to full-day adequacy). The bill does not mandate districts to offer full-day programs, but provides full-day funding if/when they choose to offer a full-day program.
- For the full listing of public hearings scheduled for next week, refer to the Senate Calendar and the House Calendar. If you plan to be in Concord, please let me know. I’d be happy to meet you. Also, please contact me with your questions and input.
Voting highlights from this past week:
- On Thursday, 1/4, the House voted against the Amendment to House Rule 30, to eliminate the House Committee on Child & Family Law, 196-172; therefore, the House Committee on Child & Family Law was restored.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, MILFORD
Wishing you a wonderful 2017!
I’m looking forward to serving as your State Representative. The 2017-2018 legislative session opens this Wednesday. My aim is to keep you posted on upcoming bills on this site and via Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow hearings and legislation that interest you at the NH General Court website. I look forward to hearing from you! Please feel free to email or call: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, Milford!!
9 November 2016
Good morning, Milford! Thank you for your votes and for electing me as one of your State Reps! I am honored to represent you and am committed to being a voice for you and a vote for Milford at the statehouse.
Let’s keep our conversations flowing — I’ll be creating a website/communication portal soon…stay tuned. Meanwhile, feel free to email me.
Here are the voting results for Milford.
Thank you, Alan Woolfson, for your support:
“Hey Milford! It’s time to forget about partisan politics and do something for yourself, your children and your town. Vote Joelle Martin for State Rep. Joelle is a friend of mine and a fellow board member at the Boys and Girls Club of Souhegan Valley.
She is committed to promote Milford’s well-being and is interested in you and and your children and cares about what you have to say, irrespective of your party affiliation. She is one of the few people running for state rep that puts our agenda ahead of her own.
VOTE Joelle Martin for State Rep!”
Alan Woolfson, Milford
Support Martin as Milford Rep
To the Editor:
We recently had the great pleasure of talking at length with Joelle Martin, a Milford resident running to represent Milford residents as a District 23 representative.
To start, this was the first time in almost 30 years of living in town that we were personally approached by a candidate for state office. At no time during any previous election cycle has someone wanting our votes actually sought our opinions. This makes quite an impression.
What we learned from Ms. Martin is that she will be a passionate advocate on behalf of Milford residents. She describes herself as “purple” – neither wholly red or blue – and thus willing to listen to both sides and seek out ways to improve our educational, economic, environmental and social challenges. Her years of experience in a high-powered business world gives her the insight to understand that local economic growth helps everyone. A career switch to education has given her knowledge of opportunities available to improve our schools if there is someone willing to build partnerships and cooperation. She is also very concerned that our local law enforcement professionals have the resources to battle the State’s opioid crisis, which affects all aspects of community.
In visiting with Joelle, we realized that there is very little or no communication coming back to us from our elected officials. Although we take some blame as more effort can be made to follow how our representatives vote on issues, but why haven’t there been websites, or newspaper columns, or other media sources telling us what these reps are doing, and how they are voting?? Joelle aims to greatly improve communication channels with her constituents to fill this void.
Joelle has been actively canvassing door-to-door listening to Milford voters. She was not hand-picked by the ‘establishment’ to tow the party line. She is sincere, intelligent, and energetic and wants to truly represent Milford in Concord. She has our vote.
Bill and Kathy Parker Milford
as published in The Cabinet Thursday, November 3, 2016
- Thank you, Andy Hughes for your letter to the editor in a recent edition of The Cabinet, “Candidates Should Follow Joelle Martin’s Example.”
- A recent article published in The Cabinet highlights one of the key reasons I’m running for office. In this editorial, Meet Me in the Middle, in the “Purple,” I explained:
“When it comes to making state policy decisions that impact our community, we need to put political ideology aside, listen to our Milford neighbors’ needs and struggles, and then collaborate to make the right decisions to support them…” For the full article, click here.
Securing a BETTER FUTURE for you, for our kids, for Milford
As State Representative for District 23, Milford, I am committed to securing a BETTER FUTURE for you, for our kids, for Milford.
A Voice for You …A Vote for Milford.
So many of you have shared your concerns with me and I am listening. You believe that Milford needs a clearer, more representative voice when it comes to state policy decisions, and I agree. With my collaborative approach, I will develop creative solutions and support smart policies that foster a:
My years of experience as a senior level business executive, preschool teacher and community volunteer have helped me become an:
- Effective Advocate
- Trustworthy Leader and
- Responsible Decision-Maker
As your State Rep, I will apply these skills to secure a BETTER FUTURE for you, for our kids, for Milford.
Please VOTE for JOELLE Martin for State Rep on November 8th!
I will be a voice for you … a vote for Milford.