February 2020 Newsletter
Welcome back to the New Futures' newsletter! February is over and the 2020 Legislative Session is nearing the halfway mark. While New Futures' staff, advocates and partners have been very busy all across the Granite State, we expect March to be our busiest month yet! Many of the 100+ bills we are following, including campaign priorities, will be put to test in the coming weeks.
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!
Campaign Priorities Update
Through partnership, engagement, and much hard work, we are working to make significant strides forward during the 2020 Legislative Session to advance the health and wellness of NH.
On Thursday, March 5th, dozens of advocates turned out for a public hearing on SB 248, which would raise the state tobacco age to 21. The Senate passed the bill earlier in the year and the House Commerce will continue to review it in the coming weeks. We will continue to keep you updated on hearings and votes.
We must take this opportunity to increase the sales age to 21. SB 248 will make NH law consistent with federal law to eliminate any public confusion and ensure local authorities can enforce the new age. Take Action! Lawmakers need to hear from you.
We strongly encourage you to contact your Representatives, especially those on the House Commerce Committee, and let them know how important it is to protect our youth from the harms of tobacco products.
RX DRUG PRICE RELIEF:
This coming Thursday, March 12th, the full Senate will vote on SB 685 and SB 687, two critical prescription drug price relief bills. Last week, the Senate Commerce Committee voted ought-to-pass with amendments on these two bills. SB 690, the non-medical switching bill, is still being reviewed and will be voted on by the committee in the coming weeks.
- 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-- 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-- 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.
Let's make sure these bills get passed on Thursday, March 12th! Call Senators and let them know what these bills mean to you.
EARLY CHILDHOOD INVESTMENTS:
This past month, both of New Futures' early childhood priority bills, HB 1638 and SB 716, passed their respective legislative bodies. HB 1638 passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote and is now under review by the House Finance Committee. SB 716 passed the Senate, also by a voice vote, and was referred to the House.
- SB 716 Medicaid to Early Childhood -- This bill would leverage existing Medicaid funds to improve early childhood development by covering maternal depression screening 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 NH.
- HB 1638 SNAP Incentives -- This bill would provide state support to nutrition assistance programs which allow families to buy more local and healthy option by doubling the value of fresh, locally grown produce purchased by SNAP shoppers.
For New Hampshire to have a prosperous future, we have to give all children the opportunity to develop socially, intellectually, and emotionally. We need your help to pass these bills!
Reminder: New Futures is still accepting applications to support individual advocacy in the early childhood community.
Other Bills We're Following
In addition to our campaign priority bills, we are following dozens of other critical pieces of legislation, including:
Alcohol and Other Drug Policy:
Early Childhood Policy
- HB 1539: New Futures supports this bill which would require property owners to relocate tenants to alternate housing within 30 days following a state order for lead hazard reduction. In an executive session on February 20th, the House Judiciary Committee voted ought to pass with amendments. Next week, the bill will go to a vote in the full House.
- SB 618: New Futures supports this bill which would require employers to provide access to a space for nursing mothers and a reasonable break time. On Thursday, March 5th, the Senate passed the bill by a voice vote, it will now head to the House.
Access to Treatment Policy
- SB 600: New Futures supports this bill which would require medication assisted treatment for prisoners with substance use disorders in a county correctional facility. It passed the Senate on a voice vote and will now move over to the House.
Children's Behavioral Health Policy
- HB 677: New Futures supports this bill which would modify school discipline and expulsion practices and help schools implement MTSSB. On Thursday, March 5th,the Senate Commerce Committee voted ought-to-pass with amendment.
- SB 665: New Futures supports this bill which would provide state support for the implementation of MTSS-B in schools. It was heard in the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee on February 4th. The committee is continuing to review this bill and will vote in the coming weeks.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT CORNER
Pediatric Legislative Advocacy Day
Meeting with Governor Chris Sununu at the State House during the Pediatric Legislative Advocacy Day.
On Tuesday, March 3rd, New Futures hosted pediatric residents from the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the NH Pediatric Association for a full day of legislative advocacy. The day started with an advocacy training and overview of two policy priorities for pediatric professionals - Tobacco 21 and Paid Family and Medical Leave.
For the second part of the day, pediatricians met with the Governor and legislators at the State House and LOB. The pediatricians were able to share their stories to help legislators understand complex healthcare issues. Pediatricians see firsthand the impact policies have on children and families, and they are uniquely positioned to use their voices to affect health care legislation. They testified at hearings for HB 712 Paid Family and Medical Leave and SB 599 Relative to testing for lead in water in schools and childcare facilities.
Magnify Voices Expressive Arts Contest
Celebrating Children's Mental Health Awareness Month and the winners of the 2019 Magnify Voices Creative Expressions Contest at the NH Fisher Cats game last year.
The idea for the Expressive Arts contest arose out of the need to highlight the current inadequate system serving youth and families in NH. Youth in middle and high school (grades 5 - 12) are invited to submit creative pieces about their experiences with mental health in New Hampshire. Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges with varied expertise. All creative pieces will be showcased at the Magnify Voices Festival at the Red River Theatre on May 6th and throughout the year at various events to help raise awareness, erase stigma and effectuate change! Click here for more information on the contest.
There will also be a celebration on May 16th at the NH Fisher Cats game for Mental Health Awareness Month and the winners of the Magnify Voices contest. Please stay tuned for more information. If you are interested in sponsoring the celebration at the NH Fisher Cats game, please click here.
IN THE NEWS
NH Business Review (1/31/20) Bob Sanders: New Hampshire’s Canadian conundrum.
Seacoast Online (2/12/20) Garry Rayno: Police chiefs oppose bill to sell pot in NH liquor stores.
Sentinel Source (2/14/20) Olivia Belanger: Youth coalition hosts session aimed at raising NH tobacco age.
Seacoast Online (2/17/20) Loralei Kyes: Letter: NH should raise smoking age to 21.
Concord Monitor (2/23/20) Brittany O’Donnell: Letter: Support bills to make prescriptions affordable.
Concord Monitor (2/24/20) Ayah Roda and William Murphy: Our Turn: Health insurance bait and switch must end.
Concord Monitor (3/3/20) James Flynn: Youth Tobacco use is a public health problem in NH.