This Week at the State House (Week of 6/3/24)

This Week at the State House (Week of 6/3/24)

Last week, both the House and Senate met to vote on amended bills. Some bills were passed with amendments (concurred) and are now heading to the Governor, while others will go to a Committee of Conference this week to work through differences. These committees, composed of representatives from both chambers, are unique to each bill and will meet over the next few days to attempt to reach a compromise. If they reach an agreement, then the bill will advance to the Governor, but if they don’t, then the bill will not move forward this session.

Learn more about where bills are heading below:

Upcoming Committee of Conference Meetings

Last week, the House of Representatives and Senate requested Committees of Conference to meet on several of our priority bills. The committees will meet this week to attempt to compromise on amended bills and vote on how to move forward.

Monday, June 3:

11:00 am - Supporting Development of Recovery Housing: HB 1521, as originally introduced, would expand 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. Email committee members to urge them to pass the House’s version of the bill, which includes the original language that would increase access to recovery housing resources.

1:30 pm - Ending Hunger for Older Adults and Children: SB 499 would help feed NH’s older adults, people living with disabilities, and children. This bill will go to a Committee of Conference along with another bill, HB 1278, which was amended to include components of SB 499. Both committees have the opportunity to ensure that NH implements the necessary programs that will help end hunger in NH. Email committee members using NH Hunger Solutions’ easy action form to urge them to pass the bills with ALL of the original funding and programs that will help feed NH older adults and kids.

Tuesday, June 4:

10:30 am - 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. However, the Senate-amended bill does fall short on social justice principles. The bill keeps criminal penalties for possession until 2026 and does not have opportunities or programs for the communities impacted by the war on drugs. The House of Representatives voted to non-concur with the Senate amendment, so the bill will now go to a Committee of Conference.

12:30 pm - Resources for Child Care Centers: The Senate added an amendment to HB 1202 that includes language from SB 596. 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. CALL Representatives on the committee to urge them to pass the Senate’s version of the bill, which includes the amendment that provides additional resources to child care centers. A sample script and phone numbers are provided.

Thursday, June 6:

11:00 am - 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. Email committee members to urge them to pass the Senate’s version of the bill, which includes components of SB 495 to improve the state’s substance use treatment system.

Headed to the Governor

The Senate met last week to vote on concurrence and approved the House’s amendments to the following bills, which will now advance to the Governor’s desk:

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.

The following bills are awaiting action from the Governor:

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 after passing both the NH Senate and the NH House of Representatives. The Governor has several options - sign these bills into law, allow them to become law without his signature, or veto them to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ kids. 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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