BILL WATCH

These are selected NH STATE bills that WILL affect the rights of residents in ALL NH TOWNS. Most, if passed, would curtail the right of the residents to determine how their town is run or is developed, and/or additionally raising taxes because of the cost of funding.

You have five chances to have your say on these bills; 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 their testimony by email), you can write to the two full bodies to tell them how to vote, 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.
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***PASSED BY BOTH HOUSES – ASK GOVERNOR TO VETO***

SB 154 – OPPOSESB 154 Bill Status Page
This bill enables municipalities to adopt a credit against property taxes assessed on certain workforce housing according to “density”. 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, does not help renters — and is funded by the taxpayers.

UPDATE: This bill was amended in the House Committee from: “AN ACT allowing municipalities to adopt a credit against property taxes for certain workforce housing, and authorizing the sale of certain property by the town of Milton.” to this: “…establishing a committee to study tax incentives for promoting development of dense workforce housing in community centers……”

Instead of outright allowing the tax credit, the bill was changed to simply establish a ‘study committee’ on tax credits, which says already has been done. It just passed the House.

ACTION: Email Governor Sununu and demand he VETO this bill.
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SB 43 – OPPOSESB 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 is to benefit developers whether the inhabitants of a locality want higher density or not. It is not the State’s purview to force towns to build certain types of housing.

This bill PASSED the full Senate and the full House. See the Roll Call.

ACTION: Email Governor Sununu and demand he VETO this bill.
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SB 12 – OPPOSESB 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.”

This bill PASSED both the full House and Senate.

ACTION: Email Governor Sununu and demand he VETO this bill.
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**BILLS UP FOR FULL VOTE**

SB 241 – OPPOSESB 241 Bill Status Page
SB 241 would allow federal grant money to start plans for a commuter rail system.

Trains are old technology and usually a taxpayer boondoggle. Not only that, their installation encourages Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), which translated means more “stack’n’pack” housing. See this information file.

UPDATE: This bill for a study passed the Senate 14-10 along partisan lines. The House Public Works and Highways Committee recommended “OTP”. Now it will go to the full House of Representatives for a vote.

ACTION: Write to the Full House and ask them to vote NO on this bill. It is rumored that it will pass the House so it wouldn’t hurt to email Governor Sununu and ask that he VETO it.
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HB 415 – OPPOSEHB 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.

UPDATE: This bill PASSED the House and is up for a vote in the full Senate on May 15, 2019.

ACTION: Please write to the full Senate and ask that they vote NO on this bill.
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**BILLS STILL IN COMMITTEE**

HB 522 – SUPPORTHB 522 Bill Status Page
HB 522 would establish a study committee to examine the detrimental health effects of 5G technology.

This bill PASSED the full House and is now in Senate committee hearings.

ACTION: Write to the members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee to ask them to “OTP” this bill.

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SB 15 – OPPOSESB 15 Bill Status Page
SB 15 would allocate $10 million up front 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!

This bill has PASSED the full SENATE. It now sits in the House Finance Committee where it has been RETAINED, meaning it will have to undergo more discussion and not be addressed until January.

ACTION: Write to the HOUSE Finance Committee and ask them to “ITL” this bill.
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BILLS LAID ON TABLE

HB 104 – OPPOSEHB 104 Bill Status Page
HB 104 would allow a state board to be formed that would make it easier for developers to override the local zoning laws of a town in cases where their projects were rejected.

The House Judiciary Committee recommended “ITL” with a vote of 18-0. It has not been assigned to a Senate committee and was PULLED from the “CONSENT CALENDAR”.

ACTION: Watch this page in case HB 104 comes up for a full vote in the House, or there is a similar bill introduced in the Senate.

AND HERE IT IS:

SB 306 – OPPOSESB 306 Bill Status Page
SB 306 would allow a 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 HB 104 proposed by Senator Bob Guida (R-02)

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.

This bill was “LAID ON TABLE”. This means that the House or Senate may vote again on the bill someday, but for now the bill has been set aside. If the session ends and the bill has not been taken off the table, the bill dies.

URGENT UPDATE! We have just been informed that the bill is tabled “for incorporation into the Senate budget; the Senate budget will be completed by the end of May.” How this is possible we are not sure. Please contact members of the Senate about this immediately. The only other way to stop it is to ask the House Finance Committee to reject the Senate budget and the Governor to VETO it.

Read more about it in Seacoast Online and in our own article HERE.

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Read our LTEs regarding some of the above issues: Legislation Letters