2015 SUMMARY: NH ALCOHOL AND DRUG POLICY
June 29, 2015
SB 93 RELATIVE TO THE DEFINITION OF BEVERAGE
This bill would increase the maximum alcohol content for fermented malt beverages to greater than 6 percent based on the Liquor Commission approval. New Futures opposes SB 93 because there is no percentage cap in the statute, thus the alcohol percentage could increase significantly. Also, flavored malt beverages, also known as “alcopops”, are disproportionately consumed by underage youth. Alcopops are sweetened alcoholic malt beverages, such as Mike’s Hard Lemonade, that are often fruit-flavored and/or carbonated, and resemble soda or energy drinks.
Outcome: Both the Senate and House passed this bill with amendments and as a result, the bill went to committee of conference. New Futures supported the House amendment which capped the amount at 8% with needed approval from the Liquor Commission. The Senate agreed with the House position.
SB 99 ESTABLISHING A COMMITTEE TO STUDY ALLOWING THE SAMPLING OF BEER OR WINE AT FARMER’S MARKETS, ESTABLISHING A COMMITTEE TO STUDY POWDERED OR CRYSTALLINE ALCOHOL, AND RELATIVE TO THE DEFINITION OF ALCOHOL.
New Futures supported the House amendment regarding powdered alcohol.
Outcome: The House amended the original bill to include a study committee on powdered alcohol and include a definition in current statute to regulate product if it comes into the state. The Senate agreed with the House position in conference committee.
HB 114 RELATIVE TO GROCERY STORE SALES BY STORES LICENSED TO SELL ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
This bill eliminated the minimum grocery inventory language and would have allowed the creation of package-store type arrangements. New Futures opposes HB 114.
Outcome: Retained in the House Committee.
HB 122 RELATIVE TO ADVERTISING OF LIQUOR OR BEVERAGES.
This legislation would qualify a long–standing restriction in RSA 179:31, VII(a) which currently prohibits references or pictures to minors in liquor or beverage advertising - New Futures opposes
Outcome: Passed the House and Senate. Governor vetoed bill. House and Senate overrode by required two-thirds vote and will become law
HB 554 RELATIVE TO SALES OF BEER IN REFILLABLE CONTAINERS
This bill would authorize the sale of beer in refillable 64 ounce containers (“growlers”) by both off-premise and on-premise licensees in New Hampshire. New Futures opposes this legislation because it blurs the distinction between on premise and off premise licenses, creates wider access to alcohol “to go”, and encourages consumption of five or more drinks in a single sitting because beer must be consumed quickly before it goes flat.
Outcome: The House passed the bill with amendment but the Senate killed the legislation.
HB 150 ESTABLISHING A COMMISSION TO STUDY THE LEGALIZATION, REGULATION, AND TAXATION OF MARIJUANA.
This bill would have created a committee to study the legalization of marijuana and the growing, selling, taxing, limiting use, advertising, and promotion of marijuana and marijuana-infused edible products. New Future opposes.
Outcome: The House passed the legislation but it was killed in the Senate
HB 618 RELATIVE TO PENALTIES FOR THE POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA AND RELATIVE TO THE CULTIVATION OF MARIJUANA PLANTS
HB 618 seeks to decriminalize possession of one ounce of marijuana (40 – 60 joints) and significantly reduces the criminal penalties for the cultivation of marijuana and for dealers involved in the sale and distribution of large quantities (five pounds or more) of marijuana. New Futures opposes HB 618 because it would increase access to and use by youth and also benefits dealers in larger amounts of marijuana and growers by significantly reducing penalties for their illegal conduct.
Outcome: The House passed the legislation by a wide margin but it was tabled in the Senate.
HB 593 PERMITTING QUALIFYING PATIENTS AND REGISTERED CAREGIVERS TO CULTIVATE CANNABIS FOR THERAPEUTIC USE
HB 593 seeks to amend the newly passed therapeutic cannabis law to permit patients and caregivers to grow their own marijuana. New Futures opposes HB 593 because it would undermine the carefully crafted 2013 legislation, which has a regulatory structure designed to insure both patient health and public safety.
Outcome: The House passed this legislation but it was retained in the Senate and may come back next session.
SB 22 RELATIVE TO CERTAIN CHANGES IN THE LAW GOVERNING THE THERAPEUTIC USE OF CANNABIS.
The original version of the bill included technical changes to the program but also allowed Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) to create satellite dispensaries. New Futures opposed the addition of the satellite dispensaries because it was counter to the regulatory structure of the 2013 legislation.
Outcome: The Senate amended the bill by removing the satellite dispensaries. The remaining bill passed both the Senate and the House.
SB 106 RESTRICTING THE SALE OR POSSESSION OF SYNTHETIC DRUGS.
This bill prohibits the sale, use, or possession of synthetic drugs in this state. The bill also requires the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery to make recommendations for public awareness and education on the dangers of synthetic drugs. New Futures supports SB 106 because it is an appropriate response to the public health and safety problems resulting from synthetic drugs in our state.
Outcome: The bill was passed by both the Senate and the House.
HB 270 GRANTING IMMUNITY FROM CRIMINAL PROSECUTION TO CERTAIN PERSONS INVOLVED IN A DRUG OR ALCOHOL RELATED EMERGENCY
(911 Good Samaritan Law) Drug overdoses are a major cause of preventable deaths. We have first responders who routinely carry an important life-saving drug and quick action to call emergency services to the scene of an overdose will save lives. New Futures supports
Outcome: The bill was passed by both the Senate and the House.
HB 271 RELATIVE TO POSSESSION AND ADMINISTRATION OF AN OPIOID ANTAGONIST FOR OPIOID-RELATED OVERDOSES
New Futures supports because it expands access to naloxone for families, friends and other individuals via prescription from a prescribing physician.
Outcome: Passed both the House and Senate and signed by Governor on June 2nd
ACCESS TO TREATMENT
SB 84 RELATIVE TO THE DEFINITION OF TELEMEDICINE.
This bill modifies the State Insurance Statute to amend the definition of telemedicine to permit physicians to prescribe via telemedicine. New Futures supports bill as amended as it will significantly increase capacity to treat SUD and MH issues. Outcome: This bill passed both House and Senate.
SB 112 REQUIRING MEDICAID TO COVER TELEMEDICINE SERVICES.
This bill modifies the State Medicaid Law and Managed Care Provisions of the Insurance Law to permit Medicaid Managed Care entities to pay for services delivered to Medicaid beneficiaries via telemedicine. New Futures supports this bill as it will significantly increase treatment capacity for Substance Use Disorders and allow for billing recovery supports performed telephonically. Outcome: This bill passed both House and Senate.
SB 185 RELATIVE TO THE NEW HAMPSHIRE HEALTH PROTECTION PROGRAM.
This bill extends the New Hampshire Health Protection Program by removing the sunset provision contained in the original law which would terminate the program when the match from federal funds dips below 100% on December 31, 2016. New Futures supports this bill because the New Hampshire Health Protection Program provides necessary Substance Use Disorder treatment services to low-income NH residents and this bill would ensure continued access to these services beyond 2016. Outcome: Senate Health and Human Services Committee laid this Bill on the table with the understanding that legislators would first attempt to reauthorize the program through the State Budget Process.
HB 206 RELATIVE TO NON-ACADEMIC SURVEYS OR QUESTIONNAIRES GIVEN TO STUDENTS.
This bill requires school districts to adopt a policy regarding student participation in non- academic surveys or questionnaires, requiring parents to affirmatively opt-in to allow their child to participate. New Futures opposed this bill as it targeted participation in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which collects necessary data regarding NH youth drug and alcohol use. New Futures had particular concerns about requiring parents to opt-in, as it could cause a drastic decline in the survey’s participation rate and threaten the accuracy of the data collected. Outcome: The House Education Committee amended this bill to require opt-out versus an opt-in provision. The House passed the bill as amended. Senate Education passed the bill with an additional provision to establish a Study Committee. These changes addressed New Futures concerns with the original bill. The House concurred with the Senate amendments.
HB 223 RELATIVE TO EXTERNAL REVIEW UNDER THE MEDICAID MANAGED CARE LAW.
This bill clarifies the right to external review for persons enrolled in the New Hampshire Health Protection Program’s Marketplace Premium Assistance Program. New Futures supports this bill as it extends additional protections to Medicaid beneficiaries’ right to external review of insurance denials and service limitations when receiving Medicaid benefits through plans offered on the private healthcare marketplace.
Outcome: This bill passed both the House and Senate as originally drafted. The Governor signed the bill into law on June 2, 2015. See Chaptered Law 0064, Session Year 2015; Effective 8/1/15.
HB 548 ESTABLISHING THE FEDERALLY FACILITATED HEALTH EXCHANGE AS THE HEALTH EXCHANGE FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE.
New Futures supports this bill as it would shield the state from any backlash that might occur as a result of a pending United States Supreme Court decision (King v. Burwell) regarding the Premium Assistance Tax Credits and their availability for individuals purchasing plans through Federally Facilitated Exchanges.
Outcome: House Commerce Committee voted this bill inexpedient to legislate arguing that it was premature to pass the bill before the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision on the King v. Burwell case. The House adopted the Committee recommendation of inexpedient to legislate.
HB 687 RELATIVE TO ELIGIBILITY FOR MEDICAID.
This bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to verify income, residency, and identity for purposes of eligibility for Medicaid. The bill also requires the Department to procure and contract with a vendor to conduct data matches to verify eligibility for medical assistance. New Futures opposes this bill as it conflicts with federal law mandates around Medicaid eligibility and would cause undue delays in eligibility determinations for individuals in need of medical assistance.
Outcome: House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee agreed this bill conflicted with federal law and voting the bill inexpedient to legislate. The House adopted the Committee recommendation of inexpedient to legislate.