Feb. 6 - Issue 5

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State House Watch February 6

2015 Issue 5


The legislature is back in full swing, interrupted only by the weather. We hope that you are warm as you read this, and that your back is ready for more shoveling. 

Next week's highlight will be the Governor’s Budget Address, on Thursday, February 12, when Governor Hassan will speak to a joint session of the House and Senate at 1:00 PM. We are eager to hear what the governor has to say about the state’s system of raising revenue, especially concerning proposals to close loopholes on overseas profits and capital gains, and bills to reduce business taxes.  We hope that the governor will voice support for adequate funding for education and safety net programs, and that she will continue to call for an increase in the minimum wage.

Perhaps Governor Hassan will even show up in Representatives Hall on Tuesday, February 10, when the House Labor Committee will hold a 1 PM hearing on four bills concerning the minimum wage.  We’ll be there, with NH Voices of Faith.  Read on for details on the minimum wageright-to-work-for-lessin-state tuitionCitizens UnitedSelective Service registration, and more.

The House will be in session on Wednesday, February 11, starting at 10 am, and will vote on several bills we’ve been following.  The Senate will be in session on Thursday, February 12, starting at 10 am.  

Abbreviations
OTP – Ought to Pass
ITL – Inexpedient to Legislate (i.e. should be defeated)
OTPA – Ought to Pass with Amendment
LOB - Legislative Office Building
SH - State House

Last Week’s Committee Developments – Good News, Bad News

HB 675 would enable NH students to pay in-state tuition at the University and Community College Systems regardless of their immigration status.  The House Education Committee heard moving testimony Tuesday from three immigrant students and additional background from AFSC, Catholic Charities, and the NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees.  Nevertheless, they voted 11 to 7 yesterday to recommend the bill “inexpedient to legislate.”  

State Representative Jim Verschueren had this to say about the issue: My view is that these young people are not law-breakers. They were not of legal age when they came here. Now they are among the youth of our state. They have grown up American. We have an opportunity to benefit from their talents by educating them to become productive, contributing citizens. Applying for citizenship is one of the criteria the bill would require of such students. I think we would be wise not to put roadblocks to their success.

Also exec’d this week was HB 269, which would allow landlords to collect first and last month’s rent and a security deposit. This bill was recommended ITL by the majority of the committee, on a vote of 13-2.  It is on the House Calendar for Wednesday.  

From the Majority Report: The religious community, charities and nonprofit organizations were unanimous in opposing this bill. Local welfare administrators expressed extreme concern that passage of this bill would increase welfare budgets and raise property taxes. To require prospective tenants to pay first and last month’s rent in addition to a security deposit will create an undue hardship on families already struggling to access affordable housing.

HB 371, the bill to support a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Citizen’s United decision, was recommended ITL by the Legislative Administration Committee in a contentious vote of 5-4. It will be debated by the full House on Wednesday.  

Coming up for Votes in the House on Wednesday, February 11

Consent Calendar 

HB 152, establishing a state poem. The bill was filed at the request of a NH citizen, who proposed adopting a poem written during WWII by a soldier far from home. The committee found it unsuitable and voted 15-0 to ITL. 

HB 219, limiting where EBT cards can be used. We have problems with this bill, but the committee did not.  They voted 17-0 OTP.

Regular Calendar


HB 269, allowing landlords to require the first and last month’s rent and a security deposit. (see above)  

HB 371, to examine the consequences of the Citizen’s United decision. (see above)

HB 147 would increase the amount of the homestead deduction, from $100,000 to $120,000. The majority felt this increase would match the increase in property valuation over the last decade. The committee voted OTP/A on a vote of 14-5.

Coming Up for Votes in the Senate on Thursday, February 12

Regular Calendar

SB 156, prohibiting discrimination against employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.  This bill is at the request of a study committee formed in 2014 to study the protection of employees from domestic violence.  It comes out of committee with a recommendation of OTP

SB 5 stipulates that a 2/3 majority is required in the event of an exception from an automatic transfer of a surplus into the rainy day fund. That’s 2/3 of the House and Senate. The committee voted 4-2 OTP.

SB 116 repeals the license requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver. The committee voted 3-1 OTP. 

Coming Up in House Committees on Monday, February 9
  
Ways and Means, Room 202, L0B

2:30 PM  HB 386, reducing the amount of the business profits tax from 8.5% to 7%. The fiscal note attached to this bill finds that it will reduce state general and education trust fund revenue by $60,088,235 in 2016 and each year after, meaning that NH would lack sufficient revenue to adequately fund our state. 

Coming Up in House Committees on Tuesday, February 10


Criminal Justice and Public Safety
Room 204, LOB
10:00 AM  HB 605, repealing mandatory minimum sentencing requirements. 

Election Law, Room 308, LOB
10:00 AM  Executive sessions on CACR 4, which allows 17 year olds eligible to vote in the general election to also vote in the primary, and which seems sensible to us; and CACR 11, to authorize all voters to vote absentee. This would be a boon to working folks all over the state. Again, it sounds sensible to us. 
1:00 PM  Subcommittee work session on HB 393, dealing with the distribution and disclosure of model legislation, and compensation received by legislators. This is aimed at ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. 

Executive Departments and Administration, Room 306, LOB
10:30 AM  HB 602, relative to the use of drones.

Labor, Industrial, and Rehabilitative Services, Room 307, LOB
10:15 AM HB 411, prohibiting the payment of subminimum wages to persons with disabilities. 
11:00 AM HB 496, preventing public employers from using criminal history in employment decisions. 
11:30 AM Executive session on HB 477.  This bill changes the weekly compensation for temporary total disability, permanent total disability, and temporary partial and permanent partial disability. This bill also requires the Labor Commissioner to establish medical payment schedules.

1:00 PM The House Labor Committee will be hearing four minimum wage bills in Representatives Hall. 

HB 392 raises the minimum wage to $8.25 in 2016, $9 in 2017, and $10 in 2018. Afterward, it establishes a state minimum hourly wage to be adjusted for the cost of living.

HB 163 establishes a state minimum hourly rate of $16 per hour beginning 60 days after passage.

HB 370 allows counties and municipalities to establish their own minimum wage rates. 

HB 684 raises the minimum wage to $9.10 and the tipped minimum to $4.35, beginning in 2016. Two annual increases would follow, to $11.40 in 2017 and $14.25 in 2018.  Thereafter the minimum wage would go up with the cost of living.

We support increasing the minimum wage. New Hampshire workers should be able to afford the basics for themselves and their families.  

NH Voices of Faith will hold a vigil outside of Representatives Hall from 12 noon to 1:30 pm.  There will be a "Raise the Wage" visibility outside the State House beginning at 12:30. Join us! 

Ways and Means, Room 202, LOB
2:00 PM  HB 438, exempting the business activities of persons doing business as a proprietorship from taxation under the business profits tax. The fiscal note attached to this bill finds that it would decrease revenues going into the state general and education trust fund by $17,025,000 in 2016, and unknown amounts in the ensuing years. This bill would have a serious impact on the state's ability to fund education, safety net services, and other basic operations. 
2:30 PM  HB 437, exempting from taxation under the business enterprise tax persons who do business activity as a proprietorship.  The fiscal note finds that this bill would decrease revenues to the state general and education trust fund by $17,100,000 in fiscal year 2016, and unknown amounts in future years. Again, this is an attempt to eliminate revenue sources to adequately fund our state government. 

Coming Up in Senate Committees on Tuesday, February 10 

Commerce, Room 100 SH
1:15 PM  SB 47, repealing the payment of subminimum wages to persons with disabilities. 
2:00 PM  SB 3 requiring the insurance department to set rates for payment for medical services necessary for the treatment of injured workers under workers’ compensation.

Transportation, Room 103, LOB
1:00 PM  SB 118, requiring men under 26 years of age to consent to register with the Selective Service System when applying for driver licenses or nondriver picture identification cards. AFSC has consistently (and successfully) opposed this concept since 2002.    

Ways and Means, Room 103, SH
9:00 AM  SB 6, increasing the research and development tax credit against the business profits tax.  The Departmentt of Revenue Administration estimates this bill will decrease state general and education trust fund by $500,000,000 in 2016 and every year after. It is yet another attempt to undermine state revenue sources. 

Coming Up in House Committees on Wednesday, February 11

Labor, Industrial, and Rehabilitative Services, Room 307, LOB
1:00 PM or immediately following House session.  Subcommittee work session on HB 465, relative to workers compensation for domestic employees.

Coming up in Senate Committees on Wednesday, February 11

Public and Municipal Affairs, Room 102, LOB 
9:45 AM  SB 207, eliminating the requirement that moderators photograph voters without identification.

Coming Up in House Committees on Thursday, February 12

Executive Departments and Administration, Room 306, LOB
12:00 PM  Continued public hearing on HB 448, establishing February 6 as Ronald Reagan Day. (If you want to know Arnie’s thoughts on the subject, check out his blog post.  Spoiler alert: The subtitle is “Just Say No.”)

Coming Up in House and Senate Committees on Tuesday, February 17 - Two hearings onRight-to-Work-for-Less

1:00 PM  The House Labor Committee will be hearing HB 402, the Franklin Partin Right-to-Work Act, which would prohibit collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union.  The hearing will be in Representatives Hall. 

2:20 PM  The Senate Commerce Committee will be hearing SB 107, a bill that would prohibit collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union. (Translation: right to work for less) (See above)  The hearing will be in State House Room 100.   

Next week on "State House Watch" Radio

Gilles Bissonette, Staff Attorney with the NH Civil Liberties Union (NHCLU) will join Maggie and Arnie for the first half hour to discuss NHCLU legislative priorities for this session.  The second half hour is "White House Watch," covering the road to the White House.  Our guest will be Dean Spiliotes, a political scientist behind the NHPoliticalCapital.com website. Our show airs on Monday from 5 to 6 pm and re-broadcasts on Tuesdays from 8 to 9 am.  You can listen live at 94.7 FM in the Concord area and wnhnfm.org anywhere you can get an internet signal.  You can also download podcasts of past shows.  If this announcement looks familiar, thanks for being a careful reader.  Last week's show was canceled due to snow.  That wouldn't happen again, would it?  

Upcoming Events

Monday, February 9 - The NH Citizens Alliance invites you to join them for a Community Conversation in the Winchell Room of the Manchester City Library, on Pine Street, from 5:30 to 7:00 PM. Light refreshments will be served. Click here to RSVP, leave a message at 603-225-2097603-225-2097 ext 23, or text to 603-860-5273603-860-5273. Leave your full name and phone number so that organizers can contact you if there’s bad weather.  

Tuesday, February 10 - "American Denial," a documentary about racism in America, based on the work of Gunnar Myrdal.  Following the film there will be a discussion led by Woullard Lett of the Greater Manchester NAACP and also including Eddie Edwards, a former police chief who now serves on the staff of Rep. Frank Guinta, and Rev. Ray Ealy from New Fellowship Baptist Church.  6:30 PM at Red River Theatre in Concord.  Admission is free.  

"Pay 2 Play: Democracy's High Stakes," an informative and entertaining documentary, will be shown at three free screenings:

  • Thursday, February 19, at the Nashua Unitarian Universalist Church, at 7 pm.
  • Tuesday, February 24, at the Concord Unitarian Universalist Church, at 6:45 pm.
  • Thursday, February 26, at First Congregational Church in Rochester, at 6:45 pm.

See the AFSC event calendar on our webpage for more details on this film.

Check out AFSC’s Governing Under the Influence webpage!  It’s got info about upcoming visits of presidential candidates Carly Fiorina and Rick Perry, reports from our “bird dogs” on their encounters last week with George Pataki, and new blog posts that shed light on the corporate influencers that drive up military spending and put more people behind bars.

-Arnie Alpert and Maggie Fogarty

PS - Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook.  Search for “American Friends Service Committee-NH” to “like” us.  After all, we are your Friends.

AFSC’s New Hampshire "State House Watch" newsletter is published to bring you information about matters being discussed in Concord including housing, the death penalty, immigration, and labor rights.  We also follow the state budget and tax system, voting rights, corrections policy, and more.  Click here for back issues.

The AFSC is a Quaker organization supported by people of many faiths who care about peace, social justice, humanitarian service, and nonviolent change.  Arnie Alpert and Maggie Fogarty direct the New Hampshire Program, publish the newsletter, and co-host the “State House Watch” radio show on WNHN-FM.  Susan Bruce helps with research and writing.  Addy Simwerayi produces the radio show.  

"State House Watch" is made possible in part by a grant from the Anne Slade Frey Charitable Trust.

Your donations make our work possible.  Click the “DONATE NOW” button on our web page to send a secure donation to support the work of the AFSC’s New Hampshire Program.  Thanks!


American Friends Service Committee 
4 Park Street
Concord, NH 03301
http://afsc.org

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