NEW BILLS 2020 SESSION
Bills will be grouped according to the committee that is conducting the hearing as sometimes several bills are dealt with on the same day. We will send out reminders when hearing votes and floor votes are scheduled.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION ON THESE BILLS REGARDING HOUSING BEFORE THEIR HEARING DATES
On October 30, 2019 the Governor announced a plan to force towns to include more high-density/low-income housing by placing mandates on zoning and planning boards, force training in the area of ‘urbanism’ by unelected, unaccountable private interest lobbies, and at the same time, vowed to give massive rewards to developers who propose high-density projects in the form of subsidies and tax deferments. These tax deferments will only place a further tax burden on the single-family homeowners of a town.
The timeline of events concerning this matter:
HOUSING APPEALS BOARD
In 2018, a bill (SB 557) to create a Housing Appeals board failed. The board would have been able to allow developers to override any decisions by ANY board in a town (including zoning and planning boards, school boards, historic district commissions, and conservation commissions) regarding their projects.
In 2019, a bill (HB 104) to once again create an HAB was killed in committee. The HAB was seen as an egregious usurpation of local control.
In 2019, four Republicans in the NH Senate slipped into the budget their own HAB bill (SB 306) which they knew would not pass the House. It is to take effect in 2021 IF NOT REPEALED and will be used to make decisions for towns under certain circumstances, such as if a timeline for approval is not met or a developer is not happy with a decision.
LSR 2020-2813 is Senator Birdsell’s bill to repeal the Housing Appeals Board. It has bi-partisan support from the House and Senate, but does not yet have a bill number. It should be SUPPORTED. There are a few other similar bills with study committees attached or for study committees, not yet scheduled. (More info on that later…)
TAKE ACTION ON HOUSING BILLS COMING UP FOR HEARINGS
THESE BILLS WILL BE HEARD BEFORE THE HOUSE MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE
(*Bills are part of Governor’s Plan)
EMAIL THE COMMITTEE AND ASK THEM TO ITL ALL OF THE FOLLOWING BILLS.
HB 1450 – Intended to reduce zoning appeals but would effectively reduce the power of zoning boards.
(OPPOSE – HEARING ON 01/15/2020 10:00 AM)
*HB 1629 – “Retraining” of zoning and planning boards in ‘new urbanism’ policies, mandating timelines for housing decisions with threat of sending to HAB, mandating types of housing, and more.
(OPPOSE – HEARING ON 01/21/2020 09:30 AM)
*HB 1632 – Perks and tax breaks for developers who build high-density.
(OPPOSE – HEARING ON 01/21/2020 10:30 AM)
HB 1248 – Another bill promoting developer tax incentives.
(OPPOSE – HEARING ON 01/21/2020 11:30 AM)
HOUSING BILLS TO BE HEARD BEFORE THE SENATE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE
(Use drop-down menu on above linked page to see bills currently assigned to this committee)
EMAIL THE COMMITTEE AND ASK THEM TO ITL THE FOLLOWING BILL. (Dan.Feltes@leg.state.nh.us; Lou.Dallesandro@leg.state.nh.us; Chuck.Morse@leg.state.nh.us; Bob.Giuda@leg.state.nh.us; Jeanne.Dietsch@leg.state.nh.us; email@example.com)
SB 475 – Rewards developers with tax breaks on the school portion of the tax bill.
(OPPOSE – HEARING ON 1/15/2020 at 9:45 AM in Senate Hearing Room 100)
THESE BILLS from 2019 NEED TO BE REPEALED – [SB 15, SB 241, SB 154, SB 43, SB 12, HB 415]
Here are some of the other bills’ descriptions from last session that need to be repealed.
SB 241 – OPPOSE – SB 241 Bill Status Page
SB 241 would allow federal grant money to start plans for a commuter rail system.
This is probably the MOST important bill to ask the Governor to VETO, and he will if he really is willing to stand by his “no new taxes Pledge”. To think that bringing the bankrupt ($10B), accident-prone (4 derailments in 2019 alone) MBTA up to Concord (at a cost of $1M per day paid to a Parisian company named Keolis) would help NH’s economy, is not only preposterous but would likely cause the need for new “broad-based” taxes. In addition, the installation of transit encourages artificially inflating ridership through Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), which translated means more “stack’n’pack” housing, also opposed by most towns in NH. See this information file for the full story on the commuter rail boondoggle.
SB 154 – OPPOSE – SB 154 Bill Status Page
Originally: This bill “enables” municipalities to adopt a credit against property taxes assessed on certain workforce housing according to “density”. It was amended to a study committee: This bill establishes a committee to “study” tax incentives for development of dense workforce housing in community centers.
Once again we cannot understand what Republicans are thinking with the sponsorship of this bill. It is crony capitalism — gives financial favors to private entities (developers), does not help renters — and is funded by YOU the taxpayers.
SB 43 – OPPOSE – SB 43 Bill Status Page
SB 43 would establish a commission to “study” barriers to increased density of land development in New Hampshire.
Clearly this bill would explore the benefits that could be bestowed to developers to encourage the building of “high-density” units whether the inhabitants of a town want it or not, using YOUR tax dollars. When you read the bill text, you will see that this “study” commission would be stacked with numerous UNACCOUNTABLE, UNELECTED, PRIVATE special interests, as is usually the case. It is not the State’s purview to force towns to build certain types of housing. Worse yet, there is no representation of the will of the voters. Once again it’s YOUR tax money, and THEIR agenda.
SB 12 – OPPOSE – SB 12 Bill Status Page
SB 12 would establish the New Hampshire college graduate retention incentive partnership (NH GRIP) to provide financial incentives to college graduates who are hired by participating employers and makes an appropriation to the department of business and economic affairs for that purpose.
Since when it is government’s purview to take our tax dollars to reward people for staying in the state? Just like the unconstitutional “workforce housing” bill, and other bills that attempt to mandate and control local matters, this bill has no place in our NH laws. It is not at all a function of government and is seen as a blatant attempt to change the political climate of an area.
The NHLA was correct when they stated:
“To take money from all NH residents in order to create another handout exclusively for students who attend college is unfair to other young adults who may choose other career options. The high business and property tax rates in NH are two of the main driving forces that make NH a less-attractive option for businesses and young working adults. The legislature would better serve residents by reducing spending and taxes, instead of spending even more tax money on creating new bureaucratic programs and band-aid fixes.”
HB 415 – OPPOSE – HB 415 Bill Status Page
HB 415 would make the adoption of the SB2 ballot law (which allows the public to vote by ballot on certain questions before the town) even more difficult to institute by forcing people to attend the physical town meeting in order to consider SB2 in the first place. This is true “voter suppression” since towns with more than a few hundred people can no longer accommodate “in person” voting.
STEALTH BILLS IN BUDGET!
[SB 15, SB 306]
STEALTH BILLS are those that could not pass, were laid on table, and then were surreptitiously placed in a budget proposal in the hope that no one would notice.
While claiming he is against new taxes, the Governor is helping to promote the use of your tax dollars to create situations that would reward private interests while causing your local vote to be overridden, causing your taxes to increase and your property values to decrease.
Sadly, REPUBLICAN Senators Giuda, Bradley, Carson and Representative Hinch have their fingerprints all over these “stealth” low-income, high-density-enabling bills, in conjunction with Democrats.
SB 15 – OPPOSE – SB 15 Bill Status Page
SB 15 would allocate $10 million up front for the Affordable Housing Fund, and, starting in October, $5 million a year from the real estate transfer tax, to go to a dedicated fund to support affordable housing projects. This function is not within the purview of state government! Once again, they are taking YOUR tax dollars to promote low-income, high-density housing.
Update: The amount suggested for the Affordable Housing Fund is more substantial. Over the years, the fund has only been given money sporadically.
The state seeded the revolving fund with $4 million in 1988 and waited 14 years to add an‐ other $5 million in 2002. It contributed $800,000 in both 2007 and 2015. It also appropriated $2 million and $2.5 million in 2016 and 2018, respectively. But that money was mainly targeted to people with substance use disorders and behavioral problems.
The governor has recommended adding $10 million to the fund and the House has recommended $5 million, but only as one-time appropriations. In SB 15, the Senate matched the governor’s $10 million and added a $5 million-a-year contribution from the real estate transfer tax, creating a dedicated fund.
But the House Finance Committee retained SB 15. The Senate Finance Committee then put it in the Senate’s proposed budget, though it reduced the one-time appropriation to $5 million and kept the $5 million-a-year transfer.
SB 306 – OPPOSE – SB 306 Bill Status Page
SB 306 would allow a 3-person state board to be formed that would make it easier for developers to override the local zoning laws of a town in a case where their projects were rejected. This is the Senate’s “companion” bill to the failed HB 104 proposed by Senator Bob Guida (R-02) The cost of this state board was increased from $400K/year to $850K.
EXTRA: Here is the AUDIO file of the hearing. At the beginning you can hear a Republican Senator from NH complaining about the lack of funds for workforce housing, and the restrictive density regulations imposed by towns.
We will continue to list selected NH STATE bills that WILL affect the rights of residents in ALL NH TOWNS and town government. Most, if passed, would curtail the right of the residents to determine how their town is run or is developed, and/or additionally would raise taxes because the cost of funding would come from your tax dollars.
A Senate bill is “SB”, a House bill is “HB”. Each bill has to be approved by BOTH bodies.
You have five chances to have your say on these bills. First, you may testify in person at the two public committee hearings when they discuss the merits of the bills in each body (most simply send testimony by email). Next, you can write to the two full bodies to tell them how to vote on the committee recommendation. Finally you can ask the Governor to approve or veto a bill that passes both Houses.
To further clarify, if a bill leaves both the study committees of the NH House and NH Senate (with the recommendation of either “Ought to Pass” (OTP) or “Inexpedient to Legislate” (ITL),) you can still write to the full House and/or full Senate to let them know how you want them to vote on that recommendation. If a bill passes both houses, and is headed for the Governor’s desk for approval, you can still email Governor Sununu and ask that he sign or veto it.
When the full body votes, they vote for the recommendation, not for the bill itself. So for example, if you wanted a bill to pass and the committee voted it “ITL”, the full body should then be instructed to vote “NO” to “ITL”. Likewise, if a bad bill gets an “OTP” from a committee, the full body should be asked to vote “NO” to “OTP”.
Here is a helpful file that describes how to read Bill Status pages and what the terminology means.