Today a ton of bills were passed and killed in the NH House and Senate. They range in topics but all have an impact on the future of our state. Below are press releases on a variety of bills that had votes today.
Senator Bette Lasky Applauds Senate Passage of Online Voter Registration
Concord, NH –Today, the NH Senate passed SB 507, authorizing online voter registration on a voice vote. Senator Bette Lasky (D-Nashua), the prime sponsor of SB 507 released the following comments after the Senate vote:
“Making the process of registering to vote and casting your ballot more consistent and accessible is something we can all agree on and I’m pleased that my Senate colleagues supported this important legislation,” said Senator Lasky. “Allowing our citizens to register to vote online would help create a more accessible system and increase the number of citizens exercising one of their most important rights. As the First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary state, New Hampshire needs to continually move forward as technology advances and be an example to the rest of the country.”
23 states have already implemented online voter registration and 5 more states will be added to that list this year. Research has also shown in these states that online voter registration has sustained or increased voter registration.
“New Hampshire has built a strong reputation for voter participation, but we can always do more to help busy Granite Staters take part in our elections. I thank my Senate colleagues for their support and for creating a more effective and efficient election process for our Granite State citizens.”
Statement from Governor Hassan on House Passage of Ten-Year Transportation Improvement Plan
CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan issued the following statement on the Ten-Year Transportation Improvement Plan passed today by the New Hampshire House of Representatives:
“A solid and modern transportation infrastructure is critical to the success of our people and businesses, and the Ten-Year Transportation Improvement Plan passed by the House today advances a number of critical transportation goals that will help build on our bipartisan progress over the last several years. This includes maintaining and preserving our roads and bridges, completing the widening of Interstate 93, accelerating construction of Exit 4A in Londonderry and Derry and the first phase of widening the portion of Route 106 critical for access to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“However, I am disappointed that the leveraging of federal funds for the environmental and engineering work necessary to bring commuter rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester was removed. The business community continues to call on us to take action because commuter rail will improve access to the entire region, provide new housing and transportation opportunities, spur economic development and create jobs. I remain committed to working with members from both parties, local communities, the federal government, our businesses and Massachusetts to find a consensus and make this vital project a reality.”
Senator Bette Lasky Praises Passage of Public-Private Partnerships for Intermodal Infrastructure and Transportation Projects
CONCORD- Today, the NH Senate pass SB 549, which would allow the state to enter into agreements with private entities in order to fund intermodal infrastructure and transportation projects. After the vote, Senator Bette Lasky (D-Nashua), prime sponsor of SB 549, released the following comments:
“Enabling public-private partnerships (P3s) is an important step toward meeting our infrastructure needs with limited financial resources from the state and I thank the Senate for their support,” said Senator Lasky. “Improving our transportation infrastructure benefits all Granite Staters and by enabling the state to work with private funders, our state can access additional funding opportunities with greater efficiencies, which will save the state money.”
SB 549 was developed through the work of a public-private partnership (P3s) study committee and the committee’s recommendation that New Hampshire pursue this funding option. According to the study committee’s report, 33 other states already have laws authorizing P3s for highway and bridge projects.
“A strong and dynamic transportation infrastructure helps sustain our families and businesses. Finding creative and innovative solutions to help finance transportation projects when state funds are unavailable is essential to not only expanding economic growth, but expanding opportunity for all Granite Staters. I am happy that the Senate moved this legislation forward so that we can sustain and promote the growth of our state’s businesses and economy, while protecting taxpayer dollars and minimizing the financial risk to our state.”
Senator David Pierce Statement on Tabling of SB 531 (Senate version of the Medicaid Expansion)
CONCORD – Today, the State Senate agreed to table SB 531, which would have reauthorized the NH Health Protection Program, in order to take up the reauthorization in HB 1696, which passed the House yesterday on a bipartisan vote. After the conclusion of the Senate session, SB 531 prime sponsor Sen. David Pierce (D-Lebanon) released the following statement:
“While Senate Democrats would have preferred to reauthorize the NH Health Protection Program as drafted in SB 531, we are committed to finding a solution on reauthorization that has broad, bipartisan support and agreed to table our bill. Just as we did two years ago, we need to come together, across party and ideological lines to ensure that 48,000 hard working Granite Staters continue to have access to quality, affordable health care the health and financial security that comes with it.”
“There’s no question that the NH Health Protection Program has been a success and met the goals we set out to achieve when we passed SB 413 in 2014. Our hospitals have seen a significant decline in inpatient, outpatient and emergency room visits by uninsured Granite Staters, leading to a decrease in uncompensated care, which is a hidden tax on us all. By reducing uncompensated care, we also reduce the healthcare cost-shifting onto our people and businesses.”
“Continuing the program is also essential as we continue to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic. Thousands of Granite Staters have accessed substance abuse and behavioral health services through coverage under expansion and reauthorizing the program is critical to increasing treatment capacity in New Hampshire.”
“HB 1696, which was passed by a strong bipartisan vote in the House yesterday, will ensure that we continue this critical program that strengthens the health of our workforce and boosts our economy. I, along with my Senate Democratic colleagues, stand ready to renew this important program and we look forward to working with our Republican colleagues in the Senate to get this critical legislation to the Governor’s desk as soon as possible.”
Senator Martha Fuller Clark Praises Senate Passage of Legislation to Protect Children from Illegal Adoptions
Concord, NH –Today, the Senate passed SB 543, which prohibits unauthorized advertising for adoptions and ensures that all adoptions follow state guidelines. Senator Martha Fuller Clark (D-District 21), prime sponsor of SB 543, released the following comments after today’s Senate session:
“SB 543 addresses a gap in our current law that we could have never thought about just a few years ago: advertising children for sale or adoption online. While this problem may seem outrageous, at the public hearing, we heard examples from other states where babies and children were being offered for sale or trade on websites.”
“In our ever-changing world, we must make sure to protect our children and SB 543 ensures that if a parent decides to make the difficult decision to give a child up for adoption, it is done so through a safe and regulated process. I thank the Senate for unanimously supporting the passage of this much needed important legislation.”
Governor Hassan on House Vote to Pass Net Metering Legislation
CONCORD – Following a bipartisan vote by the New Hampshire House of Representatives to pass House Bill 1116, relative to net energy metering, Governor Maggie Hassan issued this statement:
“The solar industry is a critical part of our growing clean energy economy in New Hampshire, which recently ranked New Hampshire as one of the top five states for renewable energy and is creating good-paying, high-quality jobs, spurring economic development and helping combat climate change. Businesses and families across the state are utilizing solar to lower their energy bills and to increase their energy independence, contributing to the diverse and reliable energy supply that is critical to a more affordable and more innovative energy future.
“Lifting the cap on net metering is essential to the continued success of New Hampshire’s solar industry, and I applaud the House for its bipartisan vote to pass this critical measure. The Senate has already supported this legislation, and I urge them to concur with the version passed by the House and send this bill to my desk as quickly as possible so that we can lift the cap on net metering.”
Senator Woodburn Praises Addition of Biodiesel to List of Renewable Energy Sources
CONCORD – Today, the NH Senate passed SB 386, which adds biodiesel producers to renewable energy classes in order to incentivize more biodiesel production. After the vote, North Country Senator Jeff Woodburn released the following comments:
“Encouraging the production and use of local renewable fuels like biodiesel not only makes sense for our environment, but helps boost our local economy. Innovative companies like White Mountain Biodiesel in the North Country are already using biodiesel to power the Mount Washington Cog Railway and passage of SB 386 helps to encourage more companies to do the same. As a co-sponsor of this bill, I was very proud to support not only expanding the use of domestically-produced renewable fuels, but I was proud to stand up for our North Country businesses.”
Senator Woodburn Praises Passage of Legislation to Protect Victims of Unauthorized Disclosure of Sexually Explicit Images
CONCORD – Following the bipartisan passage of SB 465, which closes a loophole in current law in order to protect victims of nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images, Sen. Jeff Woodburn released the following statement:
“Disclosure of sexually explicit material without consent and for no legitimate purpose causes immediate, devastating, and potentially irreversible harm to victims of this crime,” said Senator Woodburn. “Unfortunately, rapid advances in technology have created a loophole in our state laws that prevent prosecution of this crime. SB 465 closes this loophole and establishes a penalty for this devastating crime.”
Twenty-six other states have enacted similar laws to deal with the unauthorized disclosure of sexually explicit materials.
“The ability of people to gain access to and distribute private, sexually explicit material has raised all sorts of issues that we could have never imagined even just a few years ago. Police and prosecutors are seeing an increase in these types of crimes, but need the tools to protect victims of this crime. I thank my Senate colleagues, especially the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who worked to make this a better bill, for their support.”