In New Hampshire's citizen Legislature, every bill introduced gets a public hearing. A few of the notable ones on tap this week involve or include: The beer tax, guns and regulations, business taxes, sex education, coin-operated amusements, labor rights and rules.
It's Inauguration Day Monday and the New Hampshire Statehouse and offices are closed for Martin Luther King Jr. civil rights day Jan. 21.
Hemp, Guns and Deadly Force. The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has a busy Tuesday, public hearings including bills on hemp and guns. House Bill 153 would prohibit the designation of industrial hemp as a controlled substance (10:30 a.m.). And House Bill 135 is relative to physical force in defense of a person and relative to the definition of non-deadly force (1:30 p.m.). Hearings are in Room 204 of the Legislative Office Building. Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, was one of the speakers this weekend at the Statehouse to rally against state and federal efforts to impose new restrictions on gun owners.
House Majority Leader Stephen Shurtleff, D-Concord, is sponsor of HB135. It would:
- eliminate the provision allowing a person to use deadly force anywhere he or she has a right to be.
- amend the definition of non-deadly force.
- and repeal the provision granting civil immunity for the use of force in certain circumstances.
The bill would nix the following language in the statute: "the act of producing or displaying a weapon shall constitute non-deadly force."
Home Brewing Law to expand? Several legislators are behind a bill to amend the state law authorizing and regulating home brewing to include the production of liquor and wine for personal or family use. The House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee will hear the bill on Wednesday at 1:45 p.m. in Room 302 of the LOB.
Debate gets frothy on Beer Tax. The House Ways & Means Committee will hear House Bill 168 on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in Room 202 of the LOB. This is the bill that would increase the beer tax. Last week, Gov. Maggie Hassan vowed that she would veto said bill if it were to ever reach her desk.
The end of collective bargaining for public employees?. Democrats may have vanquished Republicans in 2012, but some GOP legislative initiatives appear to remain in the debate in 2013. Senate President Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, is sponsoring Senate Bill 37, which would expand the definition of "terms and conditions of employment" as it relates to public employee labor relations, according to the bill. The proposed language to be added to the public employee labor relations statute includes giving public employers "the right to determine standards for evaluations, compensation, selection, layoff and retention, discipline, assignment and transfer, and other traditionally accepted managerial rights..." The NH Labor News network blasted the bill as a "sneaky" way of trying to undermine and destroy collective bargaining for public employees.
In this Privacy Corner: The House Municipal and County Government Committee on Wednesday will hear a bill designed to remove social security numbers, and similar identifying information, from Registry of Deeds documents available on the Internet. Rep. Rick Watrous, D-Concord, and Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, are the sponsors. Besides social security numbers, the bill would require registers of deeds to remove Armed Forces service numbers, credit card numbers and deposit account numbers from documents put online. House Bill 204 has a fiscal note, but the NH Association of Counties reports the impact on county expenditures is "indeterminable" this fiscal year and subsequent years.
Sex Ed v. Moral Beliefs. The House Education Committee hears House Bill 201, relative to school district policies on health and sex education. That hearing's at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Room 207 LOB. The bill would include in state law a provision for an exception for "moral beliefs."
Coin-operated Rides. State Rep. J. Cali-Pitts' concern over a coin-operated ride giving her grandson a wild ride prompted the Portsmouth Democrat to sponsor House Bill 207. The bill aims to clarify that coin-operated amusement rides "shall be subject to inspections and regulation by the Department of Safety." The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee meets Tuesday at 11 a.m. to hear the bill. It's in Room 306 of the LOB.
New Hampshire Medal of Honor. Per request of the Adjutant General, a bi-partisan group of lawmakers has sponsored House Bill 220 to revise eligibility requirements for the New Hampshire Medial of Honor. The House State Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee hears the bill Thursday, 10 a.m., in Room 203 of the LOB. Sponsors include Rep. John Graham, R-Bedford, Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, and Sen. Lou D'Allesandro, D-Manchester.
Back to Business: Research & Development. Senate Ways and Means on Tuesday hears Senate Bill 1, "an act increasing the research and development tax credit against the business profits tax." This would repeal the prospective repeal of the R&D tax credit. Who's sponsoring this? Who isn't. There are more than two dozen sponsors listed on the bill, including Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Odell, R-Lempster, Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry, Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, Sen. Bette Lasky, D-Nashua, Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth, Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord, Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Morse, R-Salem, and House Republican Leader Gene Chandler. According to the Department of Revenue Administration, the bill would decrease state revenue by $1 million in fiscal years 2014-2015, and by $2 million in 2016 and each year thereafter. Senate Ways and Means meets Tuesday at 9 a.m. in Statehouse Room 103 to hear the bill.
What bills or issues before the Legislature concern you? What are you following? Let us know in the comment stream below.