Legislative Update: May 25, 2018
Signed, sealed, delivered
The House and Senate concluded their regular business for the 2018 session on Wednesday when they met to confirm conference committee reports. The votes, based on agreements already made in the conferences, were for the most part pro forma. The Senate rejected only one committee of conference recommendation, while the House voted down only three of about 60 reports.
Big ticket items
The so-called Christmas tree bill containing $102 million in outside-the-budget state spending was approved by both chambers. The Senate gave approval by voice vote, while the House voted 242-92 to approve the measure. Some proposed items, such as funding for congregate housing and a foster grandparent program, were dropped as part of the House-Senate compromise. The larger items survived, however. They include funding for uncompensated care payments to hospitals and money for the repair of red-listed highway bridges, new state employee labor contracts and the Rainy Day fund.
The more things change, the more they stay the same
Municipal election practices will remain unchanged after the House voted to reject a committee of conference report on a bill relative to postponing local elections in the event of bad weather. The House, which had passed a version giving the decision to postpose to local town moderators, was set to agree with the Senate’s version, which gave the power to the secretary of state. Supporters said the bill is a response to calls for change in the wake of late season snowstorms in the past two years that have created some havoc on local voting days. Opponents, however, prevailed with the argument that the amended bill created more confusion for local towns than the status quo.
Both chambers voted to confirm a committee of conference recommendation on a temporary business tax exemption and loan forgiveness bill that will open doors for companies that are either part of or working with the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI). The initiative aims to make New Hampshire the hub of an emerging industry that will raise regenerative manufacturing to the commercial level. Governor Chris Sununu has already said he will sign the bill.
Navy wins, too
On Saturday, the United States Navy will hold an official commissioning ceremony in Portsmouth for the U.S.S. Manchester, LCS 14, one of the navy’s new littoral class combat vessels. U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is the ship’s sponsor. The Manchester is the second navy ship named for the Queen City. The first was a light cruiser, CL-83, that served from 1946 to 1960 and saw action in the Korean War.
He wants back in
Former Democratic Senator Mark Fernald of Sharon this week announced his candidacy for the District 9 state Senate seat. Sen. Andy Sanborn, a Republican from Bedford, is vacating the seat to run for Congress. There are already three other Democrats and one Republican in the race. The district encompasses 14 towns, from Bedford and vicinity out to Peterborough.
The legislature is in recess until they are called back to address bills vetoed by Governor Sununu. So far, he has only vetoed one bill, but has promised to so on the death penalty repeal bill, and he may well use his pen on several more. Lawmakers will likely return in the fall to take up vetoes.