Legislative Update May 27, 2016

By May 27, 2016Advocacy

It’s all About Compromise, and you Can’t Change my Mind on That

About 70 bills were up for negotiation in the final week of the 2016 session, and for those bills and their sponsors, it was do or die time. The pace was frantic and passions were high all week, as House and Senate conferees faced a Thursday deadline on all remaining legislation.

We Agree

Conferees agreed on a natural gas pipeline eminent domain bill that would require a company to take a homeowner’s entire tract of land if the house is located within 250 feet of the proposed taking boundary. Agreement was reached after the Senate dropped a provision that would have changed the allocation of energy efficiency funds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Agreement (RGGI).

Three bills on business tax deductions provided a challenge for lawmakers, as the House, the Senate and Governor Hassan had all taken slightly different but in some ways overlapping positions. After much give and take, a deal was reached. Businesses will have a $100,000 cap on the federal Internal Revenue Code Section 179 deduction for capital expenses, up from the current $25,000 the state allows. The state will also update its tax code, ending the use of the federal year 2000 code to be more in line with current federal codes. On the step-up in basis tax, businesses will have a choice of taking the deduction on either the front end or back end. As a result of the negotiations, one of the three bills became unnecessary. The governor has signaled her intention to sign the other two.

Lawmakers also agreed on a bill that will allow Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber to operate legally. A key provision is a change that makes the law effective immediately upon passage. Governor Hassan supports the measure.

Also headed for approval is one of the last key pieces of legislation in the opioid abuse fight, a measure that will add $5 million to substance abuse prevention and treatment, supportive housing and drug prosecution.

We Disagree

A much anticipated bill regulating private and government use of drones died on the final day of conferences when House and Senate conferees could not find common ground on several key provisions.

Will She Agree?

Some bills met with success in negotiations between the House and Senate, but whether or not Governor Hassan will sign them is another matter. The governor recently vetoed a bill that expanded a tax exemption for certain premium cigars. This week the legislature countered with a bill that contains all the language of the vetoed tobacco bill, but also has a provision on health care for state employees that the governor would likely favor. It remains to be seen what the governor will do.

It Ain’t Over ‘til the Wooden Gavel Bangs

The House and Senate will end the 2016 regular session when they both meet next Wednesday, June 1, to finalize action on the bills that were negotiated this week.