Legislative Update May 20, 2016

By May 20, 2016Advocacy

Finishing Touches on Opioid Efforts

The House and Senate this week were at work on the last remaining legislation from the long list of bills that had been proposed as weapons in the fight against the state’s opioid drug abuse crisis. A major opioid bill, appropriating more than $5 million for treatment and prevention, supportive housing and drug prosecution, will go to committee of conference with the hope that the chambers can reach agreement. Lawmakers appear to have agreed on a bill that would require public school drug education in grades K-12. The bill was initially one of the measures slated for early action back in January, but it got caught up in disagreement between the bodies over some of the details. The Senate on Thursday concurred with the House on another measure that will remove certain prior authorization requirements for people seeking treatment for drug addiction, thereby improving access to some medications.

Can we Talk?

House and Senate committees of conference will meet between now and end of the month to attempt to agree on differences in bills amended by the other chamber. Measures being negotiated include a bill proposing to regulate transportation networking companies (TNCs) such as Uber, and a bill that would regulate the public and private use of drones. Also under discussion are the 10-year highway improvement plan, mandatory minimum sentences, free skiing for seniors at Cannon Mountain during the week and the use of body cameras by police.

Wait for it….

Governor Hassan left her veto pen on the desk this week, but expect the ink to start flowing. The Governor has promised vetoes on two bills that would eliminate or greatly loosen the requirement to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon. She will also veto a bill that would require a 30-day waiting period before a new state resident could vote.

Make Room. There’s one More

Despite an already crowded field, still another resident is now vying to become governor. Jillietta Jarvis of Sandown is gathering signatures for a petition that would allow her to run as an independent. Jarvis said she wants to offer voters a choice other than the candidates in the two main parties. If she is successful in getting 3,000 signatures, Jarvis will join a slate that already has four Republicans, four Democrats and one other independent. The GOP race features state Rep. Frank Edelbut, state Sen. Jeanie Forrester, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, and Executive Councilor Chris Sununu. On the Democrat side, former Deputy Secretary of State Mark Connolly, activist Derek Dextraze, former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, and Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern are running. Activist Mike Gill is running as an independent.

All Hail June 1

With the end of yesterday’s sessions, the House and Senate will each meet in session one more time, on June 1, to finalize work on committee of conference recommendations. Close to 70 bills are in committees of conference. On those where the committees can agree, the bills will require final votes. About 30 bills remain tabled in each chamber, with the vast majority of those destined to die there.