Upcoming Hearings and Votes (Week of 3/25/24)

Upcoming Hearings and Votes (Week of 3/25/24)

Welcome back to another edition of our weekly Upcoming Hearings and Votes email! This week, we are focusing our efforts on bills related to cannabis commercialization and recovery housing. Let’s dive in!

Learn more and take action below:

Upcoming Public Hearings - Wednesday, March 27

11:00 AM: HB 1633 - Cannabis Commercialization (House Finance, LOB Room 210)

The House Finance Committee will hold a public hearing on an amendment to HB 1633, which looks to legalize recreational cannabis in New Hampshire. While the bill and the non-germane amendment meet many of New Futures’ Principles for Responsible Cannabis Policy, both could direct more resources to substance use and mental health prevention, treatment, and recovery. Email the Committee to urge them to prioritize funding to reduce the harms of legalizing another addictive product.

Upcoming House Votes

Recovery Housing: HB 1521 supports the development of recovery housing in New Hampshire by helping cities and towns develop recovery housing resources. A few weeks ago, the Executive Departments and Administration Committee voted unanimously to pass the amended bill. This week, the bill will go to the House floor for a vote.

Protecting the Alcohol Fund: The House will vote on HB 1702, a bill that would repeal the Liquor Commission Fund and remove the requirement that five percent of gross profits from state alcohol sales be directed to the Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Treatment Fund. This bill is expected to be killed on the House floor.

Recapping Last Week

Senate Votes

Alcohol Advertising: The Senate voted to table SB 335, the bill that would add responsible labeling and product placement restrictions to current alcohol advertising laws, limiting advertising to NH youth and helping to prevent underage drinking. Although SB 335 was tabled, there’s still a chance that the Senate could choose to take it off the table and act on it later this legislative session.

RSV Immunization: SB 559, the bill that ensures access to the RSV immunization for New Hampshire children, passed the Senate last week! This bill doesn’t make the immunization mandatory; it simply removes financial barriers for families who choose to get it. Next, the bill will cross over to the House of Representatives.

Health Care Workforce Investments: The Senate voted to pass an amended version of SB 403, which seeks to boost New Hampshire’s health care workforce. The amended bill no longer includes funding for workforce investments, but it still proposes to create voluntary certification of Community Health Workers, among other important provisions. Certification provides a clear career path and greater financial stability for these frontline health workers.

Reducing Hunger for Older Adults: The Senate voted to pass an amended version of SB 499, the bill that aims to reduce hunger for NH children, older adults, and people with disabilities. Still included in the amendment is the Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP), which makes it easier for older adults to enroll and stay enrolled in SNAP, helping them get the food and nutrition they need. Next, the bill will cross over to the House of Representatives.

Mandatory Outing in Schools: The Senate was originally scheduled to vote Thursday on SB 341, but pushed the vote to April 4. SB 341 would require school employees to disclose the gender identity or sexual orientation of students to parents. Requiring teachers to share sensitive information with parents before the student is ready removes the students' opportunity to feel supported by a trusted adult. Additionally, outing a student to unsupportive parents can threaten their physical and mental health. If you haven’t already, email your Senator to urge them to oppose forced outing bills to protect youth in schools.

House Votes

Sports Participation for Trans Girls: The House passed HB 1205, a bill that would ban transgender girls from playing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity. Following this vote, Children’s Behavioral Health Policy Coordinator Emma Sevigny stated “All students deserve the same opportunities to develop the social and behavioral skills that sports cultivate. New Futures is disappointed that the House chose to specifically discriminate against trans female athletes today by the passage of HB 1205 and deny them the ability to develop these critical life skills.” Next, this bill will cross over to the Senate. The Senate will be voting on many sports ban bills in the upcoming weeks, so we encourage you to email your Senator to urge them to defeat these harmful bills.

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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