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…)
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.
“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.”
SB 38, making an appropriation for local highway aid and municipal bridge aid, passed the House today on a voice vote. House Majority Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack) released the following statement in response to the passage of SB38.
House Majority Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued the following statement:
“This bill will send $30 million back to municipalities for the purpose of constructing, reconstructing, and maintaining roads and $6.8 million in bridge aid. This aid package comes in addition to the dollars that flow back to communities through existing formulas. This session we’ve made it a priority to send money back to cities and towns. We are proud we can make local needs a priority. The passage of this bill further strengthens our commitment to improving our state’s infrastructure. The health of our roads and bridges are important investment for our communities and local economies.”
House Majority Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack) offered the following statement in response to the passage of SB9, relative to the admissibility of proffered evidence in sexual assault cases. The bill passed the House by a 328 – 30 vote.
House Majority Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack):
“This is an important piece of legislation that protects the privacy of sexual assault victims, their families, and strengthens New Hampshire’s rape shield law. This will ensure that a victim’s sexual history will remain sealed from the jury, public, and press while not infringing upon a defendant’s rights or jeopardizing due process.”
“Although in line with practices in New Hampshire, SB9 is a critical clarification in the law that will not leave victims of sexual assault forced to choose between their right to privacy and their right for justice. I commend the House for passing SB9, and I look forward to it being signed into law.”
Today, the House passed SB131, which establishes a cross border drug interdiction program. The bill will add five state troopers to work with Massachusetts officials to target drugs and dealers along the border, and adds $2.4 million to the Granite Hammer program, which will allow more communities to take advantage of drug interdiction efforts. The bill passed the House by a 252-108 vote.
House Majority Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack) released the following statement in response to the House’s passage of SB131:
“New Hampshire is in the midst dealing with a significant drug and opioid crisis, and the passage of this bill is a vital component of combating that crisis. SB131 will enable law enforcement to continue targeting drug dealers and work to cut off the supply of drugs coming into this state, including heroin, fentanyl, and the latest addition of the fatal drug carfentanil. By adding five additional troopers to work directly with Massachusetts police and officials, critical resources and information will be shared in order to stem the flow of drugs crossing our borders.”
“We are facing an unprecedented crisis in New Hampshire that is claiming lives on a daily basis. The law enforcement community has demonstrated an urgent and compelling need for this program continue, and this bill will continue operations that take drugs off the streets and put dealers and traffickers behind bars. We realize this crisis in our state requires a three legged