Welcome back to the New Futures' newsletter, we hope your year is off to a great start! With the 2020 Legislative Session in full swing, we have been very busy across New Hampshire and at the State House. This session we are continuing to work alongside advocates, partners, and lawmakers on important legislation to improve the health and wellness of the Granite State. We are closely following more than 100 bills crucial to improving the health of NH, and our three 2020 advocacy campaigns - Tobacco 21, Rx Drug Price Relief, and Early Childhood Investments - are off to great starts. We are beyond grateful for all the work put in by community stakeholders and advocates.
We hope this newsletter keeps you informed about the health policy issues currently facing our state and helps you stay engaged. With that, the sections this month's newsletter includes:
Community Engagement Corner
Upcoming Events and Opportunities
In the News
We are looking forward to another great month of working to keep the Granite State a healthy place to live, work and raise a family. Now let's get into it. Happy reading!
New Futures' 2020 Campaign Priorities Update
Through partnership, engagement, and much hard work, we plan to make significant strides forward during the 2020 Legislative Session to advance the health and wellness of NH.
To start the year, the State Senate voted 16-8 to pass SB 248, a bill that would raise the legal tobacco sales age to 21. This bill will now move to the NH House of Representatives for a public hearing and a vote. A change to federal law just before the holidays raised the minimum age to 21, however, SB 248 is necessary to provide the state the clarity and authority it needs to enforce the federal law. For the health and safety of Granite State youth, we must take this opportunity to increases the sales age to 21 to make NH law consistent with federal law and eliminate any public confusion.
We will continue to keep you updated on hearings and votes, and in the meantime, we strongly urge you to call your Representative and let them know how important it is that we protect our youth from the harms of tobacco.
In a productive session earlier this month, the Senate Commerce Committee held hearings on a host of bills pertaining to the high cost of prescription drugs. Of the bills heard, a handful of New Futures priorities were included:
SB 685 Affordability: Other countries, including Canada, obtain drugs from manufacturers at much lower costs. This bill seeks to develop a program to import certain high cost drugs from Canada to make them more affordable.
SB 687 Transparency: We must be able to know what is going on with prices, to responsibly control drug prices to hold lawmakers, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies accountable for their actions. This bill establishes a drug affordability board to get more information about proposed prices hikes and to inform cost control strategies. It also requires drug manufacturers to report price increases over 20 percent.
SB 690 Accessibility: To ensure access to necessary drugs for Granite Staters, NH must be guaranteed stable and predictable drug pricesduring the coverage year. This bill prohibits insurers from making changes to the list of covered prescriptions, known as the formulary, by either removing a drug or raising the price to a higher cost-sharing tier during the plan year.
The bills will likely be voted on by the Committee in the coming weeks. In the meantime, it is critical to makecalls to Senators on the Commerce Committeeand urge them to support these bills! You can also sign the petition below to tell lawmakers to lower the cost of prescription drugs.
For New Hampshire to have a prosperous future, we have to give all children the opportunity to develop socially, intellectually, and emotionally. In January, both of New Futures' priority bills were heard, SB 716 in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and HB 1638 in the House HHS Committee, and will continue to be worked on by the committees.
SB 716 Medicaid to Early Childhood: This bill would leverage existing Medicaid funds to improve early childhood development by covering maternal depression screenings at well child visits, parent education programs, adoption of mental health diagnostic codes for young children, expanded case management and care coordination for children at high risk of trauma as well as future planning to support primary prevention in New Hampshire.
HB 1638 SNAP incentives: This bill would provide state support to SNAP incentive programs which allow families to buy more local and healthy options by doubling the value of fresh, locally grown produce purchased by SNAP shoppers.
Committee votes will take place in the coming weeks. It is important we reach out to lawmakers on the House and SenateHHS Committees and urge them to support these bills that protect the future of NH.
Other Bills We Are Following
In addition to our campaign priority bills, other critical legislation we are following this year include:
Alcohol and Other Drug Policy:
HB 1610: New Futures supports this bill, which establishes a manufacturer pharmaceutical drug take-back program. The drug take-back program would offer residents free, convenient, and environmentally responsible options for disposing of unwanted medication. Drug manufacturers would fund the program at no cost to taxpayers. This bill had a hearing in the House HHS Committee and will be voted on by the Committee in the coming weeks.
SB 621: New Futures opposes this bill, which would allow ready to drink spirit-based cocktails to be sold in convenience and grocery stores- making these higher alcohol percentage drinks widely accessible and available. This bill will have a public hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee on February 4th at 2:30pm in the State House, Room 100.
HB 1280: New Futures supports this bill, which would require insurers to cap the total amount of insulin covered for a person at an amount not to exceed $100 for a 30-day supply of insulin. This bill had a hearing in the House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee and the executive session is scheduled for February 4th at 10 am in LOB 306.
HB 1140: New Futures supports this bill, which would establish a hospital merger advisory commission. This bill had a hearing in the House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee and the executive session will be on February 4th at 10am in LOB 306.
Access to Treatment Policy
SB 600: New Futures supports SB 600, a bill which would require medication assisted treatment for substance use disorders for prisoners incarcerated in a county correctional facility. It is awaiting a hearing in the Senate HHS Committee.
Early Childhood Policy
HB 1539: New Futures supports this bill, which would require property owners or managers to relocate tenants to alternate housing within 30 days following a state order for lead hazard reduction. This bill had a hearing in the Judiciary Committee and will be voted on by the committee on February 18th at 1pm in LOB 208.
SB 618: New Futures supports SB 618, which would require employers to provide access to a space for nursing mothers and reasonable break time; also provides a tax break against the business enterprise tax for employers who provide nursing accommodations. This bill had a hearing in the Commerce Committee and will be vote on by the committee in the coming weeks.
Children's Behavioral Health Policy
HB 677: New Futures supports this bill, which would modify our current but outdated discipline and expulsion policies and would help school districts to implement Multi-Tiered System of Supports for Behavioral Health and Wellness (MTSS-B), the evidence-based prevention framework, which supports our youth and helps improve school culture. HB 677, which was initially introduced last year, is currently under review in the House Finance Committee.
SB 665: New Futures supports this bill which would increase state support for the implementation of MTSS-B in school districts around the state. SB 665 will be heard in the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee on Tuesday, February 4th at 10:30am in LOB 103.
Community Engagement Corner
This month we were busy delivering trainings to dozens of individuals and organizations interested in sharpening their advocacy skills going into a new legislative session!
Our first Full-Day Advocacy Training of the year was held on January 23rd, pictured above (If you haven’t signed up for or March 26 training, there are still spots available!). We are so appreciative to our guest speakers this month, Representative Matt Wilhelm and experienced advocate Carrie Martin Duran, for sharing their firsthand knowledge about the importance of advocate voices in the legislative process. Our full-day advocacy trainings cover topics such as how a bill becomes a law in New Hampshire, best practices for engaging with legislators, and practical advocacy skills.
We also partnered with NH Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselors Association (NHADACA) to hold a full-day training at NHADACA's Concord office, where attendees were able to earn CEUs, which was a first for us!
We also delivered trainings for a number of organizations around the state looking to build up their advocacy capacity as a whole, including the Council for Youth with Chronic Conditions, TLC Family Resource Center, the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness provider network, Child Care Aware of NH, and One Sky Community Services. If your organization is interested in learning how to advocate, let’s set up a consultation to plan a training that meets your needs!
Drug Price Relief Events
Drug$: The Price We Pay Documentary Screening & Conversation
On January 8th, New Futures along with the NH Rare Disorders Association, NH Alliance for Healthy Aging, NAMI NH, and NH Asthma Control Program hosted a panel discussion and screening of the documentary "Drug$: The Price We Pay." We are planning on hosting more of these screenings in the coming weeks so look for one near you!
Drug Price Bills Trainings
Holly Stevens, New Futures' Health Policy Coordinator and Martha Mcleod, NH Alliance for Healthy Aging's Community Engagement Coordinator, went on the road to host presentations about the impacts of rising Rx drug prices on Granite Staters health and the bills the legislature is currently considering to combat these skyrocketing prices. The presentations were given to the public for free throughout January in Nashua, Littleton, and North Conway.
Through our work in advocacy, we understand that funding restrictions often prevent meaningful participation in policy and advocacy efforts. That said, In December, New Futures Kids Count announced a new Field Grant opportunity to early childhood coalition partners and others for the 2020 Legislative Session.
New Futures is still accepting applications to support individual advocacy in the early childhood community. With these stipends, New Futures hopes to increase participation and engagement from advocates and the profile of early childhood issues in the New Hampshire Legislature and across the state.
We have a lot of work ahead of us next year to promote health and wellness in New Hampshire. In the coming months, we need your help to advocate for policies that will:
Support vulnerable children and strengthen families by increasing access to quality and affordable child care, family support and strengthening programs, resources for child protection, home visiting programs, and nutrition assistance programs;
Help lower the cost of health care and prescription drug, and increase access to effective, evidence-based health programs;
Protect young children and communities from the harms of tobacco addiction and marijuana commercialization;
Increase access to critical substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery programs;
Reduce barriers to testifying and engaging in the legislative process;