Upcoming Hearings and Votes (Week of 5/13/24)

Upcoming Hearings and Votes (Week of 5/13/24)

This week, New Futures has several priority bills up for votes in the Senate and in executive sessions. This includes all of our campaign bills - child care for child care workers, growing the state’s health care workforce, preventing childhood lead exposure, and responsible cannabis policy. Other priority bills involve anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, substance use recovery, and more.

We’re also recapping last week’s votes.

Learn more and take action below:

Upcoming Votes - Senate

The Senate is scheduled to hold two sessions this week, on Wednesday afternoon, May 15 and all day on Thursday, May 16. The following New Futures priority bills are scheduled for votes:

Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation: There are five remaining anti-LGBTQ+ bills this session, and four of them will have votes in the Senate this week. These votes offer the last chance to advocate to your Senator before the bills go to the Governor’s desk. It’s critical we tell our lawmakers that we need to keep New Hampshire inclusive and welcoming for everyone. If you’d rather call your Senator for bigger impact, you can find a sample script and look up your Senator’s contact info on our website.

  • 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 1660 would ban Medicaid insurance plans from covering some types of gender-affirming care for transgender youth; and 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.

Cannabis Commercialization: Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to adopt an amendment to HB 1633. This amendment restores funding for treatment, prevention, and recovery, but does not include a potency limit that aligns with the New Futures’ Principles for Responsible Cannabis Policy. The bill will go to the Senate floor for a vote on Wednesday, May 15 - Email your Senator to ask them to amend the bill to lower potency limits.

The House of Representatives will not hold a session this week.

Upcoming Executive Sessions

Child Care for Child Care Workers: SB 404 would provide child care workers with automatic access to the New Hampshire Child Care Scholarship program regardless of household income, so that child care workers can stay in the workforce once they become parents. The House Division III Committee voted to pass an amended version of the bill that transforms the program into a pilot program that would allow more child care workers with families to remain in the workforce. Email the House Finance Committee to show your support for SB 404.

Resources for Child Care Centers: SB 596 would 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 House Division III Finance Committee is expected to vote on a recommendation for SB 596 on Tuesday morning, and then the full House Finance Committee will vote on Tuesday afternoon. Email the committee to show your support for SB 596.

Supporting Development of Recovery Housing: HB 1521 would expand access to recovery housing in New Hampshire by helping cities and towns develop recovery housing resources. This would help the state further address the ongoing addiction crisis. The Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee will hold an executive session to vote on a recommendation for the bill on Tuesday, May 14. Email the committee to urge them to support HB 1521.

Ending Hunger for Older Adults and Children: SB 499, as unanimously passed by the Senate, would help feed NH’s older adults, people living with disabilities, and children. However, the House Finance Committee introduced an amendment that threatens to dismantle the bill, removing every provision that aids in feeding NH children, and only keeping the federal Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP), which makes it easier for older adults and people with disabilities to access SNAP benefits. The House Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on a recommendation for the bill on Tuesday, May 14 at 1 pm. Email the committee to urge them to reject the proposed amendment and support the Hunger Free NH Act as unanimously passed by the Senate using NH Hunger Solutions' easy action form.

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. The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee is holding an executive session to vote on a recommendation for the bill on Wednesday, May 15 at 10 am. Email the committee to urge them to support SB 399.

Banning Hemp-Derived THC Products: The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee held a public hearing on a non-germane amendment to SB 505 last week. SB 505 in its original form 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. The non-germane amendment would legalize the sale of hemp-derived THC products at New Hampshire retailers, like gas stations and convenience stores, without imposing effective regulations. Next, the committee is scheduled to vote on a recommendation for the bill on Wednesday, May 15 at 1 pm. Email the committee to urge them to reject the non-germane amendment and pass the original bill.

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. Email the committee to urge them to OPPOSE discrimination against trans people in NH.

Recapping Last Week

Executive Sessions

Insurance Coverage Mandate for Youth Mental Health Services: Last week, the House Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee voted 14-6 on an Ought to Pass recommendation for SB 411, which 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. Email your Representative(s) to urge them to support youth mental health services in New Hampshire before it goes to the House floor on May 23.

House of Representatives Votes

Treatment Services in NH’s Criminal Justice System: On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted to pass SB 508 would increase access to substance use and mental health screening and treatment for individuals in New Hampshire's criminal justice system. The bill, which passed 210-143, is now likely to go to a Committee of Conference, where members will work to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions. Once passed, it will help individuals receive the treatment services they need, reduce criminal recidivism, and help New Hampshire overcome the ongoing addiction and mental health crises.

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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