This Week at the State House (Week of 6/10/24)

This Week at the State House (Week of 6/10/24)

The end of the legislative session is near and a few of New Futures’ priority bills are continuing on their path through the State Legislature, with critical final votes this week that will determine whether they advance to the Governor’s desk. All of our other priority bills are either awaiting action from the Governor or have been defeated this session.

New Futures and our partner organizations invite you to join us for our 2024 Advocate Appreciation Celebration to thank you for your hard work in advocating for policy change in New Hampshire this session. This FREE event takes place this Thursday, June 13 from 4 to 7 pm at White Park in Concord. Enjoy food trucks, entertainment, raffles, and games - RSVP now!

Learn more about where bills are heading below:

Updates on Committee of Conference Meetings

Last week, Committees of Conference met on several of our priority bills. The following three bills survived Committees of Conference and will return to the House and Senate chambers for a final vote this Thursday, June 13. If approved, the bill goes to the Governor; if rejected, the bill dies.

Cannabis Commercialization: HB 1633, as amended by the Senate, meets many of New Futures’ Principles for Responsible Cannabis Policy, including an increase to 20% of cannabis revenue designated for substance misuse prevention, treatment, and recovery funding; strong protections for kids; and sound public health policy. The Committee of Conference made a change to decriminalize cannabis possession up to one ounce until legalization takes effect in 2026.

Ending Hunger for Older Adults and Children: SB 499 would help feed NH’s older adults, people living with disabilities, and children. The Committee of Conference agreed on a final version of the bill that includes participation in the Elderly Simplified Application Project, which helps older adults access nutrition assistance benefits, and funding for New Hampshire’s participation in Summer EBT, a federal program that feeds hungry kids during the summer. Email your State Legislators using NH Hunger Solutions’ easy action form to urge them to support the Committee of Conference report for SB 499.

Resources for Child Care Centers: The Senate added an amendment to HB 1202 that includes language from SB 596 that better supports child care centers in meeting the needs of all children. This amendment would still provide additional funding to child care centers caring for children with extra behavioral or developmental needs through the New Hampshire Child Care Scholarship program. The Committee of Conference agreed to keep this amendment in their final version of HB 1202. Email your state legislators to urge them to support the committee's report to HB 1202. If you’re interested in calling your legislators, a sample script and contact information is also provided.

The following two issues were defeated in Committees of Conference. We will continue to work with partners around the state and will look to bring these pieces of legislation back next year:

Supporting Development of Recovery Housing: HB 1521, as originally introduced, would have expanded access to recovery housing in New Hampshire by helping cities and towns develop recovery housing resources. Unfortunately, the Senate passed an amended version of the bill that would make it more difficult to develop recovery houses in some communities, and the Conference Committee could not come to an agreement on this bill.

Oversight of Substance Use Treatment System: The Senate amended HB 1079 to incorporate language from SB 495, which would improve New Hampshire’s substance use treatment system by strengthening patient protections and ensuring high-quality services. Unfortunately, the substance use treatment language did not make it into the Conference Committee’s final version of the bill.

Headed to the Governor

The following bills have passed both the N.H. Senate and the House of Representatives, and are on their way to the Governor’s desk. Once received, the Governor can sign the bill into law, veto the bill, or leave it on his desk unsigned, which means it then becomes law.

Child Care for Child Care Workers: SB 404 would provide child care workers with access to the New Hampshire Child Care Scholarship program as a proactive approach to addressing the child care workforce crisis.

Growing the Health Care Workforce: SB 403 aims to increase access to care by creating voluntary certification for Community Health Workers (CHWs). Voluntary certification would provide a clear career path and greater financial stability for these frontline health workers.

RSV Immunization: SB 559 would ensure access to the RSV immunization for New Hampshire children. This bill doesn’t make the immunization mandatory; it simply removes financial barriers for families who choose to get it.

Treatment Services in NH’s Criminal Justice System: SB 508 would increase access to substance use and mental health screening and treatment for individuals in New Hampshire's criminal justice system. This would help them receive the treatment services they need, reduce criminal recidivism, and help New Hampshire overcome the ongoing addiction and mental health crises.

Insurance Coverage Mandate for Youth Mental Health Services: SB 411 would create a committee to study emergency mental health services for youth in New Hampshire. These services include wraparound services, behavioral or mental health crisis assessments, crisis intervention services, crisis stabilization services, intensive in-home services, residential treatment services, intensive structured outpatient programs, parent and youth peer support services, and partial hospitalization programs. These services are critical to ensuring that the needs of New Hampshire's most vulnerable children are met.

Preventing Childhood Lead Exposure: SB 399 would help families access lead testing by removing financial barriers. This would help protect Granite State children, who are at the highest risk for lead poisoning, from the harmful impacts of lead exposure.

Banning Hemp-Derived THC Products: SB 505 would permanently ban hemp-derived THC products known as delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10. These dangerous and unregulated products were sold in NH due to a legal loophole, until a 2023 law banned them for one year.

Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation: FOUR anti-LGBTQ+ bills are heading to Governor Sununu's desk. It’s critical we ask Governor Sununu to veto anti-LGBTQ+ bills and keep New Hampshire inclusive and welcoming for everyone.

Learn more about the bills:

  • Discrimination in Public Spaces: HB 396 would allow for discrimination against transgender people by banning them from using restrooms or locker rooms and participating in sports that align with their preferred gender identity. Bans such as these prohibit transgender youth from participating in typical daily activities and make them feel unwelcome in their communities, which leads to poorer mental health outcomes.
  • Sports Ban for Transgender Girls: HB 1205 would ban transgender girls from playing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity at public middle and high schools. It is unclear how this bill would be enforced, which could lead to intrusive and damaging inquisitions on any student-athlete.
  • Censorship in Schools: HB 1312 attempts to silence discussions of gender and sexuality in the classroom by implementing a two-week advance notice of any curriculum including those topics. When LGBTQ+ youth feel support, acceptance, and open representation within their homes, schools and communities, they have much better mental health, educational and social outcomes.
  • Restricting Access to Medical Care for Transgender Teens: HB 619, as amended, would ban gender-affirming surgery for transgender youth and prohibit doctors from referring care for transgender youth to out-of-state doctors. Transgender youth, like all youth, have the best chance to thrive when they are supported and can get the doctor-prescribed medical care they need when they need it. Gender-affirming care is evidence-based and supported by medical authorities like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association.

To check in on the status of all our priority bills, visit our Current Legislation page and select an issue you care about!

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