July 30, 2018: Lending support to our biomass/renewable energy economy with a tour of the Springfield,NH power plant. T, he governor vetoed Senate bills 446 and 365, crucial to survival of this plant and other important parts of Sullivan County's economy. On Sept. 13, Representatives and Senators will have their chance to help the Governor correct his mistakes.
Sue's Report to Sunapee concerning the 2017 Session of the New Hampshire House of Representatives:
The primary focus of the first year of a biennium is crafting a budget for the next two years. For the first time, the House was unable to pass a budget sending that responsibility over to the Senate. Obviously, the budget primarily reflects the outlook of the Senate! The budget continued previously enacted and some new business tax cuts. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee (Revenue), it has been eye-opening to discover how many methods are proposed to reduce revenues to the state through special tax cuts and a myriad of tax credits. Thankfully, the Committee has a bipartisan sense of responsibility to preserve the state’s ability to provide needed services. As a result, many Ways and Means legislative recommendations are unanimous.
As usual, the House had a casino bill in front of it and, as usual, the bill went down to defeat - or indefinite postponement which is a kinder variety of defeat. Other gambling issues, however, were rampant. Most interesting was allowing Keno to be installed in restaurants and bars if a town votes in favor of it. Proceeds from Keno are to be shared by all communities to pay for the remaining costs of full-day Kindergarten as the budget covered only a portion. Locally, Claremont and Franklin are interested in opening their businesses to Keno. The last Lottery Commission report on income from Keno was rosy.
There were many retained bills that were voted on at the beginning of the 2018 session after extensive study during the summer and fall. SB 193 has been a source of heated argument over its proposal to divert public money into a privately-run scholarship company authorized to use the funds to pay fees for students entering private or parochial schools or for home schooling. The bill passed the House Education Committee and the full House. It is now in front of the Finance Committee where the short and long term financial implications of the bill are under examination.
The most important and interesting bills before my other Committee, Resources, Recreation and Development, highlighted the concern of citizens on the seacoast and in Merrimack County over the emergence of what seems to be childhood cancer clusters and the contamination of wells from arsenic and PFOs. The legislation calls on the Department of Environmental Services to reevaluate their standards for these “emerging contaminents” and force companies to clean up the damage and refrain from any further damage. The House approved a modest approach to these concerns. Other environmental issues approved were prevention of lead poisoning in children through early blood testing, an issue where Claremont has been a leader, and retaining our state’s commitment to fostering green energy.
A final challenge to the legislature this year will be whether or not to reauthorize the New Hampshire Health Protection Plan, our unique approach to Medicaid Expansion. Our local hospitals fully support continuing this plan as it reduces emergency room use and offers help for citizens suffering from addiction, especially to opioids. The opioid epidemic, while leveling off, remains an unresolved public health problem.
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in state government as your local representative. Don’t hesitate to call or email with your concerns, comments and/or advice!Type your paragraph here.
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Tuesday, November 6, 2018!