2017 LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Fiscally Responsible State Budget

  • Passed a 2-year spending plan that meets the needs of our state with no new or increased taxes or fees, and no downshifting.
  • Growth in spending over the 2-year budget period is limited to no more than the rate of inflation plus growth in population, ensuring responsible and efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
  • General Funds spending levels for FY2019 will be $85 million less than the Democrat spending plan for FY 2009, passed 10 years ago.
  • Increased the Rainy Day Fund from $93 million to $100 million to protect New Hampshire’s bond rating and strengthens our financial position (HB144)
  • Based on conservative revenue estimates, to ensure the state will never be in jeopardy of spending more than we can reasonably expect to receive in revenue. (HB144 & HB517)

Making New Hampshire More Business Friendly

  • Passed reductions in the rate of the Business Profits Tax (from 7.9% to 7.5%) and Business Enterprise Tax (from .675 to .5%) to continue our efforts to reduce the cost of doing business in New Hampshire, making our state more competitive to attract and retain jobs and grow our economy. (HB517)
  • Increased the amount of the expense deduction under the business profits tax from $100,000 to $500,000 so businesses can invest in their business and create more jobs (HB517)
  • Statewide property tax exemptions for commercial and industrial construction (HB316)
  • Permitted employers to pay wages to employees weekly or biweekly. (HB194)
  • Clarified definition of employee to ensure locally owned small businesses franchisees retain oversight of local employees (SB89)
  • Revised the New Hampshire trust code, continuing New Hampshire’s firm commitment to being one of the best legal environments for trusts, trust companies, and fiduciary services (SB225)

Protecting Constitutional Rights

  • Repealed antiquated permit requirement to carry firearms (SB12)

Election Integrity

  • Passed voter domicile reform and clarified voter residency parameters for NH elections (SB3)
  • Allowed the Secretary of State to follow up on returned voter identification letters (HB552)
  • Balanced the needs of towns to quickly ratify election results and giving voters a voice through a public meeting (SB248)
  • Required that information on the use of out-of-state driver’s’ licenses ID cards be recorded in the statewide centralized voter registration database. (HB430)

Aid to Cities and Towns

  • Increased Meals and Rooms revenue distribution by $5 million (HB517)
  • Provided $36 million in road and bridge aid, in addition to what is included in the budget, to boost municipalities’ ability to address infrastructure needs (SB38)
  • Provided approximately $45 million to school districts over the biennium in special education aid (formerly catastrophic aid) (HB144)

Education

  • Increased charter school funding by $250 per student in FY18 and $375 per student in FY19 (HB144)
  • Established the Dual and Concurrent Enrollment program that ensures all NH 11th and 12th grade students have the opportunity to enroll in and receive college credit in STEM courses while they are still enrolled in a high school or career technical education center. (HB144, HB517)
  • Allowed towns to receive grant funding for full day kindergarten funded through Keno revenue, including an option for half day kindergarten. (SB191)
  • Allowed towns without a public school to contract with neighboring private nonsectarian schools (SB8)
  • Established the Governor’s Scholarship Program, designed to keep graduating high school students in the state. (HB144, HB517)
  • Established a new Robotics Education Development Program and provided $375,000 in grants to school districts to establish a robotics team and participate in competitive events. (HB517?)
  • Prohibited the state from requiring a school district implement common core standards (SB44)
  • Eliminated the requirement of students to submit a non-academic survey or questionnaire without written consent from a parent or guardian (SB43)
  • Required school districts to provide advance notice to parents and legal guardians of course material involving discussion of human sexuality or human sexual education (HB103)
  • Required the development and implementation of a pre-engineering and technology curriculum for public school students in kindergarten through grade 12 (HB412)

Reorganize,  Reform, and Modernize Government

  • Divided the functions and responsibilities of the Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) between 2 agencies to better meet the needs of the state: Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and Department of Business and Economic Affairs. (HB517)
  • Established a committee to review and suggest improvements and reforms to the organizational structure of the Department of Education, and gives the commissioner the ability to reorganize certain aspects of the Department to ensure resources and personnel have the greatest impact. (HB356)
  • Required the department of health and human services to develop a comprehensive 10-year plan for the mental health system, provided additional resources for mental health care, and reformed DCYF to ensure NH laws prioritize child safety (HB400)
  • Repealed the provisions of RSA 77-B, the commuters income tax, which had been found unconstitutional decades ago, and was not enforced, but remained on the books. (HB104)
  • Repealed various dedicated funds that had no activity in the last fiscal year (HB332)
  • Directed the Department of Admin Services and Department of Information Technology to identify and eliminate double counting of agency transfers to DoIT for FY2018, to more provide more transparent budgeting (HB144)
  • Created a division of taxpayer services within the Department of Revenue Administration (HB517)
  • Allowed the lottery commission to extend their products to the internet and mobile devices to expand and modernize the lottery market (HB144, HB517)
  • Established regulatory framework to allow fantasy sports contests for money (HB580)

Health and Human Services

  • Health and human services receives more funding in FY2018-2019 than in any prior one: $4.8 billion, up 7.0% from the $4.4 billion in the current budget.
  • Increased funding for the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery from 1.7% to 3.4% of the prior year’s gross Liquor profits.
  • Appropriated $56.8 million to the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services, a $23 million increase over the previous biennium (HB144)
  • $22.6 million in total funds over the biennium for the provision of mental health services, including:
    • a Medicaid wraparound benefit for children with severe emotional disturbances
    • 20 designated receiving facility beds
    • 20 transitional step-down beds in FY 2018 and 40 such beds in FY 2019
    • a mobile crisis team and related apartments. (HB144)
  • Provided funding for 20 additional child protective services workers, implementing recommendations made by the independent assessor’s DCYF report issued in December 2016. (HB517)
  • Created an Office of the Child Advocate providing independent oversight of the DHHS Division for Children, Youth, and Families to assure that the best interests of children are being protected. (HB517)
  • Required the DHHS Commissioner to establish and utilize a competitive bid process for family planning Services. (HB517)
  • Prohibited state funds awarded to reproductive health care facilities to be used for abortion services. (HB517)
  • Requested approval for a work requirement for Medicaid Expansion to protect taxpayers and provide a incentives for childless, able-bodied citizens to participate in the workforce if they are to be enrolled in the program. (HB517)
  • Appropriated $250.1 million in FY 2018 and $260.9 million in FY 2019 for developmental services, an increase of $57 million over FY 2016 actual expenditures and FY 2017 adjusted authorized amounts. (HB144)
  • Established a study of the seacoast cancer cluster investigation (HB484)
  • Accelerated the process by which a person licensed as mental health practitioner in another state are able to practice in this state, and qualified alcohol and drug counselors from other states are able to practice in this state, helping to address shortage in providers. (HB468, SB54)
  • Made an appropriation to the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct an independent review of the division for children, youth and families (HB517)
  • Creates a new youth drug treatment center in Manchester at the Sununu Youth Services Center (HB517)

Energy

  • Established a committee to research and propose solutions to lower energy costs (SB125)
  • Repealed the Electricity Consumption Tax to reduce electricity costs for ratepayers, including businesses and homeowners  (HB517)

Public Safety

  • Allowed the state of NH to bring criminal charges where there was a death of an unborn child, providing necessary justice for women and their families should their choice to carry a pregnancy to term be taken away (SB66)
  • Established a cross border drug interdiction program to assist law enforcement efforts in apprehending drug dealers and traffickers (SB131)
  • Strengthened NH’s rape shield law, protecting victims’ and families’ privacy (SB9)
  • Established stronger security screening procedures at state correctional facilities to prevent drugs and contraband from entering prisons (SB133, HB517)
  • Required registered sex offenders to report online identifiers, including social media account names. (SB69)

Expanding Personal Liberty

  • Legalized the sale of firecrackers (SB23)
  • Allowed the playing of home poker games (HB164)

Judicial System Reform

  • Enabled the circuit and superior courts to establish a veterans’ track to provide the flexibility needed to deal with problems exacerbated by military service (PTSD, substance abuse, etc.) which led to criminal behavior (HB652)
  • Established a preference for the appointment of a child’s grandparent as guardian of the minor in cases where the minor was taken from their parents due to an opioid addiction (HB629)
  • Required appointment of counsel for an indigent defendant in cases involving nonpayment of an assessment or nonperformance of community service (HB200)
  • Established a commission to study processes to resolve right-to-know complaints (HB178)

2015-2016 LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Jobs and the Economy

  • Lowered the Business Profits Tax for the first time in 20 years, and the Business Enterprise Tax for the first time ever, enabling New Hampshire to regain its competitiveness over neighboring states. HB2/SB9 (2015)
  • Expanded the Research and Development Tax Credit in FY18. HB2 (2015)
  • Authorized Business Finance Authority to assist Balsam’s redevelopment. SB30 (2015)
  • Protected NH businesses from unfair tax treatment when they go public or acquire new investment capital. SB342 (2016)
  • Simplified the tax-filing process for businesses and increased expensing deductions for purchases, such as equipment, from $25,000 to $100,000, enabling businesses to invest in more capital quicker. SB239 (2016)
  • Approved reforms to Workers Compensation, enabling employers to contest unreasonable health care charges. Lowering Workers Comp is a key obstacle for job creation in New Hampshire. SB133 (2015)
  • Protected electric ratepayers by approving a deal for Eversource to divest its power generating assets, which otherwise would have stuck ratepayers with 100% of Stranded Costs. SB221 (2015)
  • Updated and reformed New Hampshire’s securities laws. SB266 (2015)
  • Protected the local fishing industry from stifling regulations. HB464 (2015)

The State Budget

  • Approved a balanced, responsible budget that meets New Hampshire’s needs:
    • Full funding of Development Disabilities and Waitlist.
    • Fully funds ServiceLink and Meals on Wheels.
    • Increased state support for alcohol and drug treatment and prevention programs by 75%.
    • Funds Mental Health Settlement while increasing state support for existing mental health infrastructure.
    • Ensure opening of 10-Bed Crisis Unit at NH Hospital.
    • Increases funding for higher education, including a two-year tuition freeze at the Community College System.
    • Provides tax relief for NH businesses that employ 95% of private sector workforce, the first rate relief in 20 years.
    • Rejects $129 million in tax increases in Governor Hassan’s budget.
  • Approved Capital Budget that funds priority infrastructure projects. HB25 (2015)

Energy

  • Required ratepayer protections under agreement to allow Eversource to divest its power generating assets. SB221 (2015)
  • Protected ratepayer rights. SB170 (2015)
  • Improved ability of Site Evaluation Committee to review energy projects. HB614 (2015)
  • Improved Site Evaluation Committee rules for gas pipelines to protect landowners.  SB572 (2015)
  • Modified the cap on net energy metering tariffs available to eligible customer-generators, enabling the continued growth of the solar industry in New Hampshire, and providing consumers with more energy options. HB1116 (2016)

 

Education & Schools

  • Strengthened requirements for parents to be notified of potentially objectionable course material in public schools. HB332 [Vetoed by Governor]
  • Provided state support to local school districts for courses given to home-schooled students. SB151 (2015)
  • Increased state funding for University System by $12 million over two years (8%).
    HB1 (2015)
  • Increased state support for Community College System by $3.8 million, enough to ensure a two-year tuition freeze. HB1 (2015)
  • Phased out cap on Adequate Education Grants. HB2 (2015)
  • Increased state support for Charter School students. HB1 & 2 (2015)
  • Allowed towns to provide property tax exemption for Charter Schools. HB662 (2015)
  • Protected local school districts from Common Core mandates. SB101 [Vetoed by Governor]
  • Increased state support for Community and Technical Education Centers. SB190 (2015)
  • Allowed use of the SAT or ACT tests to fulfill the high school assessment requirement. HB323 (2015)
  • Honoring military service by permitting high school students who are members of the armed forces to wear their uniforms at graduation HB1225 (2016) and permitting the placement on school property of a memorial or memorial plaque honoring those who have died during military service. HB1130 (2016)
  • Enhanced public safety enabling school districts to use criminal history records checks for school employees and designated school volunteers. SB152 (2016)
  • Encouraged civic engagement by requiring high school students to pass a competency assessment of the United States and New Hampshire government and civics.
    SB157 (2016)
  • Allowed a school district to assign a child to another public school in another school district or to an approved private school if there is no public school for the child’s grade in the child’s resident district and allow a school board to make a contract with a private school to provide for the education of a child who resides in a district which does not have a public school at the child’s grade level. HB1637 (2016) [Vetoed by Governor]

Health and Human Services

  • Funded vital state assistance programs, including Meals on Wheels, ServiceLink, and Developmental Disabilities. HB1 (2015)
  • Preserved Emergency Shelters and staffing at NH Hospital. HB1 (2015)
  • Increased state support for alcohol and drug treatment and prevention programs by 75%, including new Substance Abuse Disorder Benefit under Medicaid. HB1 (2015)
  • Funds state Mental Health Settlement by increasing funding for existing mental health infrastructure by $6.5 million. HB1 & 2 (2015)
  • Reduced bureaucratic hurdles for Managed Care Organizations to administer prescription drugs to treat mental illness. HB564 (2015)
  • Authorized use of “telemedicine” to improve healthcare delivery at lower cost. SB84 & SB112 (2015)
  • Strengthened protections against lead poisoning in children. SB135 (2015)
  • Provided parity for oral anti-cancer therapies. SB137 (2015)
  • Established procedures for the implementation of phase 2 of the Medicaid managed care plan SB533 (2016)

Helping Cities and Towns

  • Authorized cities and town to establish special assessment districts. HB486 (2015)
  • Reduced costly and unnecessary mandates on local elections. HB493 (2015)
  • Authorized municipalities to improve storm water protections. SB97 (2015)
  • Increased state aid under Meals and Rooms Tax. HB1 & 2 (2015)
  • Increased state support for local public schools. HB1 & 2 (2015)
  • Enabled towns and cities to adopt a property tax credit which extends the current veterans’ property tax credit to all honorably discharged veterans. HB430 (2016)

Public Safety

  • Established sustainable funding for State Police Detectives Bureau and Division of Homeland Security. HB1 & 2 (2015)
  • Improved ability to investigate child abuse and neglect allegations. SB244 (2015)
  • Passed “Good Samaritan” protections for people requesting medical assistance for victims of drug overdoses. HB270 (2015)
  • Improved interoperability of public safety radios. SB46 (2015)
  • Restricted the sale of synthetic drugs like Spice. SB106 (2015)
  • Enabled Fish & Game to revoke license of persons of convicted of sexual assault while hunting. HB212 (2015)
  • Increased penalties for indecent exposure. HB597 (2015)
  • Establishes fine for persons convicted of domestic violence to assist victims of domestic violence. HB681 (2015)
  • Established a program to transition to drivers’ licenses and identification cards that are compliant with federal identification law HB1616 (2016)
  • Strengthened New Hampshire’s anti human trafficking laws HB1628 (2016)
  • Granted Federal Border Patrol agents greater law enforcement capabilities in rural Coos County HB1298 (2016)
  • Modified the funding sources for the Police Standards & Training Council to ensure resources are available to train and certify the next generation of law enforcement professionals HB1428 (2016)

Protecting Taxpayers and their Constitutional Rights

  • Approved a Balanced Budget using conservative revenue estimates and no tax increases. HB1 & 2 (2015)
  • Doubled the Rainy Day Fund to protect NH’s fiscal health and bond rating. HB1 (2015)
  • Rejected $129 million in job-killing tax increases in Hassan Budget. HB1 & 2 (2015)
  • Provided tax relief for NH Businesses, cutting our uncompetitive business tax rates.
    HB1 & 2 / SB9 (2015)
  • Increased state aid to cities and towns for schools, road construction, and Meals and Rooms revenues, helping local taxpayers. HB1 & 2 (2015)
  • Improved state agency budget reporting requirements. SB32 (2015)
  • Reformed Real Estate Transfer Tax to remove improper tax on ground leases.
    SB232 (2015)
  • Repealed antiquated permit requirement to carry firearms.
    SB116 (2015) & HB582 (2015) [Vetoed by Governor]
  • Strengthened protections against EBT card abuse.
    HB219 (2015) & SB169 (2015) [SB169 Vetoed by Governor]
  • Established Tax Amnesty, Voluntary Disclosure programs to enable collection on delinquent tax revenue. HB2 (2015)
  • Improved disclosure requirements for homeowners facing foreclosure. SB50 (2015)
  • Limited asset forfeiture to only cases resulting in a criminal conviction where  the state has found by clear and convincing evidence that the property was derived from, or used in, the commission of a crime. SB522 (2016)

Preserving the Integrity of our Elections

  • Eliminated “Drive-By Voting” through 30-day residency requirement. SB179 (2015) [Vetoed by Governor]
  • Authorized the secretary of state to share voter information and data through the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, reducing the opportunity for voter fraud  HB1482 (2016)

Addressing the Heroin and Opioid Crisis

  • Established a fourteen-member commission to study Narcan and produce a long-term plan on the use and distribution of Narcan. SB447 (2016)
  • Strengthened laws in several areas including: law enforcement, the program for monitoring prescriptions for controlled drugs, the education of medical providers, and insurance coverage for treatment. SB576 (2016)
  • Added penalties for the possession and use of fentanyl that are equal to the penalties for the possession and use of heroin and crack cocaine. SB576 (2016)
  • Passed mandatory standards for prescribing rules and required using the controlled drug prescription health and safety program database. HB1423 (2016)
  • Established a law enforcement grant program to assist the state, county, and local law enforcement in addressing the opioid crisis by targeting drug dealers and traffickers. HB1000 (2016)
  • Added technology upgrades for the controlled drug prescription health and safety program. SB522 (2016)
  • Established a special non-lapsing account for the department of health and human services to fund drug education, prevention, and treatment programs. SB522 (2016)
  • Required opioid agreements between prescribers and patients if the patient is using opioids for more than 90 days within any 6-month period. SB523 (2016)
  • Established a commission to study requiring controlled drugs and controlled drug analogs to be sold in tamper-proof form. SB523 (2016)
  • Established the statewide drug offender grant program. SB464 (2016)
  • Made a supplemental appropriation to the governor’s commission on alcohol and drug abuse prevention for additional treatment and recovery funding and to the New Hampshire housing finance authority for temporary housing for those in recovery. SB533 (2016)
  • Encouraged public schools to include drug and alcohol education as part of their health education curriculum. SB369 (2016)