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Although the 2013 Legislative Session is not yet officially over – a number of legislatively created commissions and study committees will be meeting during the summer and early fall as will House and Senate Committees that have retained a number of 2013 bills for further study and work – because both the House and Senate adjourned on June 26th after approving the FY 2014/2015 budget, it seemed a good time to provide an end of session report on New Futures 2013 Legislative and Policy Priorities.

This report is dedicated with deep gratitude to numerous stakeholders, community members, partners, and advocates who actively participated in the 2013 legislative process by communicating directly with policy makers, attending public legislative hearings, submitting letters to the editor, participating in public education events, and myriad other ways made their voices heard in support of public policy to reduce alcohol and other drug problems and improve the lives of their fellow citizens in New Hampshire. THANK Y​OU!


  • Increase Funding for the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment (“Governor’s Commission”) to support critically needed substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services.
    • The major work of the 2013 legislative session was the FY 2014/2015 Budget (July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2015), and we focused our advocacy on increasing funding for alcohol and other drug services through the Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Treatment Fund (“Alcohol Fund”) under the direction of the Governor’s Commission.  In past budget years the statute creating the Alcohol Fund has been suspended and state funding appropriated to the Governor’s Commission had been reduced by more than 50% to $1.547 million per year.
    • The Governor’s Budget continued the practice of suspending the operation of the Alcohol Fund and level funded the Governor’s Commission at $1.547 million per year.  The House made no changes to the Governor’s proposal in this area.
    • The Senate continued the suspension of the Alcohol Fund but added $250,000 per year to the Governor’s Commission for prevention services. The final budget approved by the House and Senate on June 26th and signed by the Governor or June 28th included the additional funding for the Governor’s Commission.  The additional $250,000 per year falls far short of full funding of the Alcohol Fund but does represent a 16% increase over funding in FY 2012/2013.
  • Improve Access to Substance Use Disorder Treatment Through the Implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the Expansion of Medicaid.
    • Health Insurance Marketplace (Exchange).  Our advocacy goal was to ensure that the essential health benefits included in the benchmark plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace comply with the federal requirement of substance use disorder and mental health benefits at parity.  The Senate blocked legislation that would have enabled a robust partnership marketplace and ensured both effective state oversight of the plans offered in the marketplace and compliance with the federal requirement of substance use disorder and mental health parity.  Our advocacy is ongoing on this issue and concurrent with the release of final federal parity rules, which are expected before the end of the calendar year.  
    • Medicaid Expansion.  Our advocacy goal was the implementation of Medicaid Expansion and the addition of substance use disorder services at parity for the existing Medicaid population.   The FY 2014/2015 budget, as introduced by the Governor and approved by the House included Medicaid Expansion.  The Senate removed Medicaid Expansion from the budget and replaced it with a study commission on Medicaid Expansion that is required to issue its final report by October 15, 2013.  New Future, along with many other groups, will be actively involved with the study commission to ensure that the state moves forward with Medicaid Expansion.
  • Defeat Legislation to Legalize or Decriminalize Possession/Use of Marijuana.  New Futures successfully opposed all legislation to legalize or decriminalize the manufacture, distribution, sale, possession, or use of marijuana.  Research had clearly established the risk posed by marijuana, particularly as it relates to youth. The 2013 bills and their final dispositions are:
    • HB 621, which would have decriminalized the possession of one quarter ounce of marijuana, passed the House but was killed in the Senate.
    • HB 337, which would have legalized all activities involving any amount of marijuana, was killed in the House.
    • HB 492, which proposed to legalize, regulate, and tax the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana was retained in the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee for further review and discussion in the summer/fall.  The committee is required to make a recommendation on the bill no later than November 7, 2013.
  • Support the Implementation of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
    • ​New Futures is an active participant in the Advisory Council formed to support the Pharmacy Board as it moves forward with the implementation of the PDMP. We serve on several Council work groups and assisted in the preparation of the federal grant application for startup funding.
    • SB 83, which made technical corrections to the PDMP legislation that passed in 2012 (repeal of the sunset provision, addition of the NHHA as a member of the Advisory Council, and extension of the date of the LBA Audit of the program), passed the House and Senate without significant opposition and was signed by the Governor on June 7, 2013.
  • Promote Effective Alcohol Policy by defeating legislation that would expand access to alcohol, adversely affect underage youth, or undermine New Hampshire’s status as a control state jurisdiction and the mission of the Liquor Commission to balance profit with proper regulation and control.
    • ​The 2013 alcohol- related bills with which New Futures was involved and their final dispositions are:
      • HB 120 (relative to hours of sales by off-premises liquor licensees) would permit off-premises licensees (grocery and convenience stores) to sell alcohol until 2:00 AM (current law is 1:00 AM).  HB 120 was retained by the House Commerce Committee.
      • HB 168 would have increased the beer tax from $.30/gallon to $.40/gallon and designated the increased revenue to the Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Treatment Fund. Even though beer tax has not been increased since 1983, the presence of the concept of a “tax increase” early in the legislative session struck terror into the hearts of everyone, including the Governor, and the bill was quickly and decisively defeated.
      • HB 253 (eliminating limitations on sales by nano breweries for consumption on premises).  As introduced, this bill attempted to provide additional protection to nano breweries in a manner that was both inconsistent with the three tier alcohol sales system and unfair to other on-premises licensees.  It passed in an amended form that addressed these issues.
      • HB 575 (relative to the hours of sales by on-premises licensees).  As introduced HB 575 would have allowed on-premises liquor licensees to sell alcohol until 2:00 AM rather than current law which is 1:00 AM.  HB 575 passed in amended form that gives communities control over whether the hours are to be expanded.


In addition to the legislative and policy priority bills identified above, we note the following bills that may be of interest to those following alcohol and other drug policy issues in 2013.

  • HB 118 (providing legal immunity for 911 calls for drug or alcohol-related emergencies) was re-referred in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • HB 153 (prohibiting the designation of industrial hemp as a controlled substance) was re-referred in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • HB 573 (relative to the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes).  The House and Senate passed different versions of the bill, which differences were resolved in Committee of Conference.  The Governor has indicated that she will sign the bill which includes a list of specific conditions and symptoms for which therapeutic cannabis can be obtained from one of the four dispensaries that may be established in the state.  The bill does not permit qualifying patients to grow their own marijuana for therapeutic use.
  • Driving Under the Influence Bills:
    • HB 348 (relative to determining the period of license revocation for driving under the influence) was killed in the House.
    • HB 496 (relative to driving privileges for certain first time DWI offenders) was retained in the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.
    • SB 20 (making modifications to the DWI ignition interlock program) was passed by the House and Senate and is on its way to the Governor for signature.