Legislative Update May 13, 2016

By May 13, 2016Advocacy

Surge in the War on Drugs

The House on Wednesday passed several bills containing a total of about $9 million in spending aimed at reducing the number of opioid overdose deaths. The measures include funding for drug courts to help divert addicted people away from prison and into treatment, drug abuse prevention and treatment programs, supportive housing and money for law enforcement and prosecution. Governor Hassan also announced a new statewide drug crisis hotline that will take calls at all hours of the day, 365 days a year.

That’s not a Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Legislation passed Thursday by the Senate would establish state regulations on the private and government use of drones. The Senate added provisions to address concerns by insurance, real estate and other industry entities. The differences mean the bill will head to a House-Senate committee of conference to see whether the two chambers can reach agreement.

If Your Sim Card is Working, you can use an App on Your Mobile Device to get a Lyft From Uber

The Senate on Thursday passed legislation that clears the way for transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft to operate legally in the state. The bill as amended requires the Department of Safety to create a special TNC permit and establishes insurance requirements. A provision for notification of lienholders when vehicles are to be used for TNC services was also included at the request of banks and credit unions. Governor Hassan issued a statement praising the Senate action. She urged the House and Senate to reach agreement on the bill, saying the innovative nature of the measure will help attract businesses, entrepreneurs and young people to the state.

Now it’s Really Real

Following years of debate, Governor Hassan this week signed into a bill that will give residents options in the federal Real ID program. According to the Department of Safety, residents will now have until Oct. 1, 2020 to obtain a federally compliant drivers license in order to travel by air or enter secure federal buildings. Prior to this week’s signing of the law, the state had not been compliant. Some residents had already encountered difficulties entering federal buildings. Without the new law, all residents would have been required to have a passport for travel or federal building access by January, 2018. Residents who decline to participate in Real ID after October of 2020 will have to carry a passport or go through enhanced screening procedures.

A Promise is a Promise

The House on Wednesday overturned a recommendation by its own Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee to kill a bill that would end the requirement to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon. House members instead passed the repeal measure by a 217-132 vote. A similar bill has passed the Senate. Governor Hassan, however, has both bills in her sights and has promised to veto them. Last year she vetoed another bill that would have ended the concealed carry permit requirement.

The Remains of the Day

With both chambers having finished deliberations and action on committee bills, lawmakers will now deal with attempting to reconcile changes made to remaining bills by one body or the other. The Senate and House can either concur with changes, decline to concur at all, or seek a committee of conference to attempt to work out differences. There are also some 30 bills on the Table in each chamber, with many, if not most, destined to remain there when the session ends. Both chambers will hold final sessions before June 2 to confirm actions on the remaining bills.