2017 House Committee of Conference Procedures

The Chairmen of the policy committees will receive bills amended by the Senate and should check with their committees to determine whether to recommend that the House concur, non-concur, or non-concur and request a Committee of Conference.

When a committee requests that the bill be sent to a Committee of Conference, the Chairman will recommend members for appointment. If the bill has gone to more than one committee, the members may come from the different committees as determined by the Speaker. Chairmen should recommend only those members from their policy committees. The Speaker shall make the final decision of Conference committee members, and the committee choices are generally limited to those who support the House position.

The first named House member shall serve as Chairman of the House Conferees. For House bills in Committee of Conference, the House Conferee Chairman shall set the time and place of the first meeting with the Clerk’s Office and shall chair each meeting of the Committee of Conference. The first meeting shall be posted in the Clerk’s Office and outside the committee room at least 24 hours in advance. If a Committee of Conference meeting recesses, the reconvening time shall be posted in the Clerk’s office and outside the committee room with at least 12 hours’ notice. [House Rule 49 (c)]. (more…)

House Majority Leader Statement on Approval of HHS Emergency Funding

Today, the House approved the Senate version to HB 629 by a vote of 283-32. An amendment approved by the Senate last week used this bill as the vehicle to provide $33.2 million in emergency funding for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Representative Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued the following statement:

“This is an unfortunate but necessary use of the surplus funds. For a number of reasons, including missed projections for reductions in standard Medicaid caseloads, and lack of information on provider rates, this budget gap appeared, and we had to act. The legislature never likes to be the position of having to rescue agencies or programs, but it’s our responsibility to make sure the operation of government and services like Medicaid are able to continue without significant disruption.”

Background: The Senate amended the House-passed portion of the bill to deal with an anticipated deficit of $66.5 million almost entirely in the Medicaid managed care program at the Department of Health and Human Services.  To deal with this, the department is reducing its expenditures and finding additional drug rebate revenue in the amount of $34.2 million. The Senate amendment adds an appropriation of $33.2 million to the Department. Together, this should cover the total HHS anticipated deficit. The additional appropriation will come from the 2017 surplus, with the “rainy day fund” expected to remain at $100 million. (more…)

MacKay Praises House Concurrence on Bipartisan Bill on Grandparent Guardianship

Today, the House approved the Senate version to HB 629 by a vote of 283-32. The underlying bill is a bipartisan act establishing a preference for the appointment of a child’s grandparent as guardian of the minor in certain cases, whose prime sponsor is Representative Mariellen MacKay (R-Nashua).

The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to make benefit eligibility information available on the department’s website as well as to grandparents seeking guardianship over their grandchild. HB 629 also places the burden of proof on the petitioner to demonstrate that guardianship is in the best interest of the child in situations where guardianship was brought on due to the parents substance abuse. This bill also establishes a preference for grandparents to be appointed as guardians in cases where it is sought as a result of a parent’s substance abuse.

Representative Mariellen MacKay (R-Nashua) issued the following statement:

“I am pleased that the House today overwhelming approved HB 629. With this legislation New Hampshire is leading the way in giving grandparents a voice when it comes to the guardianship process in cases dealing with substance abuse. This important legislation will keep children out of the foster care system and allow them to stay with their families. HB 629 is about love, passion, family, and just doing the right thing, and I couldn’t be more proud to see this bill overwhelmingly pass the legislature.”

Background: An amendment approved by the Senate last week used this bill as the vehicle to provide emergency funding for the Department of Health and Human Services. The amendment did not modify the underlying bill which previously passed both chambers by a voice vote.

Statement by Speaker Shawn Jasper with regard to the resignation of Rep. Robert Fisher

“Rep. Robert Fisher has informed the House Clerk of his resignation from the NH House, effective at noon today.  It is unfortunate that the debate surrounding his actions while serving in the House have detracted from the good things that we have accomplished this session.  But I welcome his resignation for the good of the institution and I hope that we can now move forward with our important legislative agenda.”