SESSION NOTICE: The House will meet on Thursday, November 2nd at 1:00 p.m. to act on the Governor’s veto of House Bill 86. In accordance with Part II, Article 15 of the NH Constitution, there will be no mileage paid for attending the House session.

CAUCUS NOTICE: TBD

House Majority Leader Responds to Fiscal Committee Approval of Medicaid Expansion Work Requirement Waiver Application

CONCORD- House Majority Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack) released the following statement in response to the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee approving the application for a waiver on the work requirement for those participating in the expanded Medicaid program. The committee approved the waiver application by a voice vote.

“This provision protects taxpayers and provides an incentive for childless, able-bodied citizens to participate in the workforce if they are to be enrolled in the program. Our state needs workers, and this creates a pathway between program participants and our business community looking to fill jobs in this growing economy,” said Hinch.

“The budget bill that included the work requirement language passed with a bipartisan vote. It is the position of this legislature and the law of the state that we submit this waiver application, and we believe this is a reasonable personal responsibility measure.”

Background: HB517 (2017) included a provision for a work requirement for any person participating in the expanded Medicaid program in New Hampshire, and gave authority to the governor and the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee to approve the application. If the waiver is not approved, the program will not been reauthorized beyond December 31, 2018. The criteria for the requirement are as follows:

Newly eligible adults who are unemployed shall be eligible to receive benefits under RSA 126-A:5 XXIV-XXV, if the commissioner finds that the individual is engaging in at least 20 hours per week upon application of benefits, 25 hours per week after receiving 12 months of benefits over the lifetime of the applicant and 30 hours per week after receiving 24 months of benefits over the lifetime of the applicant of one or a combination of the following activities:
(A)  Unsubsidized employment.
(B)  Subsidized private sector employment.
(C)  Subsidized public sector employment.
(D)  Work experience, including work associated with the refurbishing of publicly assisted housing, if sufficient private sector employment is not available.
(E)  On-the-job training.
(F)  Job search and job readiness assistance.
(G)  Vocational educational training not to exceed 12 months with respect to any individual.
(H)  Job skills training directly related to employment.
(I)  Education directly related to employment, in the case of a recipient who has not received a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalency.
(J)  Satisfactory attendance at secondary school or in a course of study leading to a certificate of general equivalence, in the case of a recipient who has not completed secondary school or received such a certificate.

House Speaker Reacts to Court’s Ruling Upholding Major Provisions of Senate Bill 3

CONCORD – House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson) offered the following statement after review of the Court’s ruling on a request for preliminary injunction in the NH Democratic Party et. al v Gardner et al suit challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 3.

“We’re very pleased that the Court upheld the major provisions of Senate Bill 3. This is an important first ruling in what will be an ongoing adjudication that we believe will lead to the law being upheld,” said Jasper. “Although the penalties in the law cannot be enforced at this time, the Court found no reason to delay the implementation of the other provisions of the law that provide for a more transparent and honest voter registration process.”

Senate, House members praise NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner

Concord, NH — Senator Regina Birdsell (R-Hampstead), Senator Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry), Senator Harold French (R-Franklin) and House Speaker Pro Tem Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry) issued the following statements:

“New Hampshire’s Bill Gardner is the nation’s longest-serving Secretary of State and one of our most regarded and well-respected public servants,” said Senator Regina Birdsell (R-Hampstead), Chair of the Senate Election Law & Internal Affairs Committee. “As an official who is elected by the Legislature every two years, term after term he has a track record of earning support from both Republicans and Democrats and working in a bipartisan manner on a range of legislation each year.”

“I’ve had the distinct honor to work alongside Secretary Gardner to ensure and protect the integrity of our state’s elections and continue to believe he has our state, the Constitution and our citizen’s best interests at heart, regardless of party affiliation, in every well-informed decision he makes,” added Birdsell.

“Attacking the integrity of Secretary Gardner is reprehensible. He has always maintained a non-partisan stand on election related issues and should be commended for his work for New Hampshire over many years. I agree that he is one of the most respected public figures in our state who has been consistently dedicated to ensuring fairness in our elections,” said Senator Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry).

“There is no place for these recent attacks on his role as Secretary of State and his bipartisan track record over the years speaks for itself. Secretary Gardner has always been well-revered and trusted to uphold the sanctity of our state’s elections year after year,” said Senator Harold French (R-Franklin). “I will continue to stand in support of Secretary Gardner as I have every reason to believe he will continue to protect our rights to fair elections now and in the future.”

“I’ve known Secretary Gardner for over 30 years, and I’ve never known him to be anything but an honest broker who does what he believes is right for the State of New Hampshire,” said House Speaker Pro Tem Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry). “He deserves better than being attacked for his public service on a presidential commission. His decades of experience and his non-partisan objectivity are an asset to the State. Any board or commission he is chosen to serve on is lucky to have him.”

Speaker Receives Voter Registration Statistics Requested of Departments of State and Safety

CONCORD – Late yesterday, New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson) received a response to an inquiry of the NH Department of State and Department Safety. The inquiry, sent August 16, 2017, sought statistical information on the efforts of both departments to match voter checklist information with records of the Department of Safety. Speaker Jasper sought the information to benefit the legislature in its assessment of the effectiveness of our current election laws as well as future legislation that could improve our voter registration and verification processes. Speaker Jasper offered the following statement upon initial review of the response to his inquiry, “I appreciate the work our state agencies do to ensure they meet the requirements of our existing election laws, and maintain these important statistics.”

Among the information provided by the departments are the following statistics:

6540 individuals registered to vote on November 8th, 2016 using an out-of-state driver’s license.
As of August 30th, 2017, only 1014 (15.5%) of those voters had been issued a New Hampshire driver’s license.
As of August 31, 2017, of the remaining 5526 individuals, only 3.3% had registered a motor vehicle in New Hampshire.
As of August 31, 2017, 5313 (81.2%) of the individuals who used an out-of-state driver’s license had neither held a New Hampshire driver’s license nor had registered a vehicle in New Hampshire.
196 names on the checklist are being investigated as possibly having voted in New Hampshire and one other state.

(The full text of the Speaker’s request and the full response signed by Secretary of State Gardner and Commissioner of Safety John Barthelmes are attached.)

Attachments:

170816 – Letter to Comm. Barthelmes & Sec. Gardner
170906 – Depts of State and Safety Response

House Leaders React to Dismissal of NH Voter List Release Lawsuit

CONCORD – House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson) and House Majority Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued statements in reaction to the dismissal of a suit brought by the ACLU and 2 elected members of the New Hampshire Legislature against New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner seeking to block the release of voter checklist information to the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.

House Speaker Shawn Jasper:

“From the outset, I had faith in Secretary Gardner’s interpretation of his duties, and his commitment to uphold the laws of New Hampshire, while never compromising the privacy of our citizens. This is part of what I believe is a long overdue review at the federal level, of our election systems, with the goal of increasing confidence and security. I am pleased that the data release has been cleared and our state now can play a role in the presidential commission’s efforts at improving election integrity.”

House Majority Leader Dick Hinch:

“It’s unfortunate that this lawsuit, and grandstanding by Democrats in the state legislature calling for a special session, distracted from the real concern many New Hampshire citizens have about election integrity. Rep. Shurtleff has yet to produce petition signatures requesting a special session he announced over a month ago, which demonstrates that even members of his own party quickly realized the premise for their opposition was not well founded.”

State Leaders Announce Return of $30M to Towns and Cities

For Immediate Release:
July 24, 2017

Contact:
Ben Vihstadt
benjamin.vihstadt@nh.gov
603-271-2121

Concord, NH – Today Governor Chris Sununu announced the return of $30 million to towns and cities for road improvements as a result of signing SB 38, making an appropriation to the department of transportation for local highway aid and aid for municipal bridges.

“Addressing New Hampshire’s infrastructure needs is critical to ensure safety on our roads,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “This is a key first step in rebuilding our state’s infrastructure and reducing property tax obligations for every citizen in the state. We’re sending cash back to towns so that localities can provide relief on their tax base – a home run for taxpayers. For years we have heard how the state cannot control local property taxes, but what we can do is use infrastructure grants to give our towns more financial flexibility and target key areas of need to our communities, which will revitalize New Hampshire’s aging infrastructure, and reinvigorate our local economies.”

“Modernizing our state’s roadway and bridge infrastructure is a priority for New Hampshire. Due to responsible budgeting in FY 16-17, our state produced significant surplus that has not only grown the rainy day fund, but allowed our state to return millions of taxpayer dollars to our communities,” said Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem). “Nearly $30 million will be returned to cities and towns to directly support critical infrastructure improvements that will benefit our citizens across the state.”

Speaker Shawn Jasper said of the announcement, “This year, Governor Sununu and the legislature have made it a priority to send money back to cities and towns. We are proud we can make local needs a priority. The distribution of these dollars demonstrates our commitment to improving our state’s infrastructure in each corner of our state. The health of our roads and bridges are an important investment for our communities and local economies.”

Click here for a full list town distribution amounts

In Memoriam: Rep. Ron Belanger

It is with great sadness today that we inform you of the passing of Rep. Ron Belanger of Salem. We learned of his passing this afternoon. Ron was serving his 13th term representing the people of Salem and had served in various leadership roles during his tenure. Ron was also very involved in his community, having served as a selectman as well as a member of the planning board and the zoning board of adjustment. Once we receive any details of the services for Ron, we will pass them along to you. In the meantime our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this time.

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Phone: (603)271-3665
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