Message From House GOP Leader Dick Hinch

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House GOP Leader Dick Hinch


House Republicans & Friends Across New Hampshire,

The House will meet for session on Tuesday, March 19th at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, March 20th at 10:00 a.m., and Thursday, March 21st at 10:00 a.m. if necessary. 

House Republicans, keep in mind that there will be a Republican caucus on Tuesday, March 19th at 9:00 a.m. in Rooms 301-303, LOB, Wednesday, March 20th at 9:00 a.m. in Rooms 301-303, LOB, and Thursday, March 21st at 9:00 a.m. in Rooms 301-303, LOB.

The House had it’s only session day on Thursday. House Democrats passed HB 186, establishing a state minimum wage and providing for adjustments to the minimum wage. This job-killing legislation raises the minimum wage to $12.00/hr. Before this bill was voted on, the progressive wing of the Democratic party attempted to raise the minimum wage to $15.00, rather than the already disastrous $12.00. Unsurprisingly, over one-third of the Democratic caucus supported this outrageous amendment. 

In the Ways & Means committee, all but one House Democrat voted to repeal the Education Tax Credit Program in New Hampshire. This program enables parents of less fortunate children to seek different options for their education, and there were hours of testimony in support of this life-changing program. Why anyone would look to repeal this program is beyond me. For more information, read our press release below. 

We have three full days of House session scheduled next week, our busiest yet. House Republicans will be voting on nanny-state bills attempting to restrict plastic straws and plastic bags, firearm laws attempting to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens, and the Senate version of the Family Leave Income Tax program. For more detailed information, see the “House Session Preview” below.

Lastly, please take a moment to watch, or re-watch, heartfelt remarks delivered by my friend Rep. David Welch (R-Kingston) on the House floor yesterday setting the record straight about the pearl controversy, and the effects of the misinformation spread by opponents of gun rights. It’s linked below.

All the best, and have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Dick Hinch, House Republican Leader

Click here to view the latest House Calendar

Video Link: Rep. Welch Sets the Record Straight on Pearls

(Video opens in browser window)

NH Journal: N.H. House Democrats Have Already Passed $300 Million In New Taxes, Fees

CONCORD– Under the new Democratic majority, the New Hampshire House has given preliminary approval to nearly $310 million in tax and fee increases over the next four years, and more than half a billion dollars in new spending.

“Democrats are trying to unravel all of the positive work Republicans have done over the last two to four years on tax reductions and reforms, and responsible budgets and spending,” House Republican leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) told NHJournal.  “Republicans in the House have been united in voting against the absolutely crazy tax and fee increases, and the excessive number of appropriation bills.”

The full House voted to increase the state’s two largest business taxes, accounting for most of the increased tax revenue in Fiscal Years 2020-2023. But the House has also passed several other pieces of legislation that increase state revenues or expenditures.  If all the bills given House approval were to be signed into law, taxes and fees would increase by $108 million in the next two years, and by $202 million in the following biennium, according to official estimates from the Legislative Budget Assistant’s Office (LBAO).

Other new revenues come from a tax on mutual funds to pay for a new state college savings program, an increase in OHRV and snowmobile fines, and more than doubling environment fees.

Spending would jump by $319 million in FY 20-21, and $246 million in FY 22-23. These figures do not capture the full increase in the state budget. In many cases, lawmakers have only appropriated funds for the first year or two on a new program, and the LBAO does not assume that spending in one budget will necessarily be carried over to the next.

In other instances, state departments are simply unable to estimate the cost of a proposed tax or spending increase. For example, the LBAO estimates that HB 712, the family and medical leave program pushed by Democrats at the State House, would cost nearly $25 million to administer over the next four years, but cannot determine how much the program would take from workers’ paychecks to pay for the additional leave mandates.

The Department of Revenue Administration says it does not know how much extending the state’s Interest and Dividends Tax to capital gains would raise under HB 686.

Regarding the proposed spending increases Speaker of the House Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) told NHJournal in a statement, “The House has not yet finished the budgeting process. When finished I trust the House will put forward a budget that is both fiscally responsible and works for all Granite Staters.”

Other spending initiatives to receive House approval include lifting the cap on the state’s Building Aid program, maintaining stabilization grants to municipalities scheduled to receive smaller state education grants, and $10 million for invasive species management.

The tax and spending bills are currently in the House Finance Committee, which will recommend whether to include them in the state’s two-year budget. Last month, Gov. Chris Sununu (R-Newfields) presented his budget proposal, a $13 billion spending plan without any tax or fee increases. Business taxes have been an especially contentious issue in Concord over the last three budget cycles, with Republicans pushing through a plan to ramp down the Business Enterprise Tax and Business Profits Tax in several stages, while Democrats have wanted to keep them where they are. HB 712 would reverse the latest drop in BET and BPT rates, and cancel the final reduction scheduled for January 2021.

The House Finance Committee must make its budget recommendation by Thursday, April 4, and the House needs to send its budget to the Senate by Thursday, April 11.

HB 2 is now available!

HB2, the budget trailer bill, is now available online. Please use the links below to view the index or the full bill. This is the governor’s version of the bill, which Democrats are sure to change.

You can find other budget documents on the Legislative Budget Assistant Office’s website.

House Republican Leader Reacts to Committee Vote on HB687

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) reacted to the Criminal Justice & Public Safety committee vote on HB687, relative to extreme risk protection orders. The committee voted 20-0 to retain HB687 in committee.

“Today’s vote in the Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee is another example of the Democrats’ rushed agenda hitting a roadblock due to lack of planning and transparency. Prior to the executive session held today, Democrats did not provide the courtesy to Republicans to review the amendment ahead of the vote. Even some of the Democrats did not see it. This is the kind of backroom legislating we don’t need, especially on an issue as serious as removing firearms from law abiding citizens based on an accusation.”

House Republican Leader Reacts to Committee Vote on Bill to Repeal Education Tax Credit

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) reacted to the House Ways & Means committee vote of 10-9 to recommend HB632, repealing the education tax credit, ought to pass.

“Many Democrats, including the committee chair, have a vendetta against this program that helps less fortunate kids. I don’t understand how a party who claims to be pro-education wants to put the kibosh on giving families the opportunity to pursue a personalized education path. The committee heard hours of compelling testimony from dozens of kids that have benefited from this program, and all but one Democrat turned their back on them.”

House Republicans Concerned About Increased Government Mandates on Businesses

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch issued a statement following the House vote on HB186, establishing a state minimum wage and providing for adjustments to the minimum wage. The bill would establish a state minimum wage of $9.50 per hour in 2020, then raise it incrementally to $12.00 per hour by 2023.

“So far this year, House Democrats have passed bills that signal to our small businesses that they want them to pay higher taxes, higher electric rates, and provide family leave insurance and have their employees pay a tax on their wages to pay for it. Now they want to tell them how much to pay their employees, even if it’s unsustainable. Where does it stop?” Hinch said.

“We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the county, and a shortage of workers. This has created a market where businesses compete for workers, and it has driven up wages. This is how economics should work. Artificially raising wages will force job creators to rethink hiring, cut hours, or look to automation. State government should stop telling job creators how to run their businesses.”

House Session Bills Preview
 There are several important pieces of legislation coming up next week. For more information, see below:

Bill Text:
Committee Recommendation: OTP
Committee vote: 10-9
Republican Vote: Republicans on the committee unanimously opposed OTP

Minority Committee Report:

Rep. Jess Edwards for the Minority of Ways and Means. The bill kills the NH Educational Tax Credit as of July 1, 2020. The Minority believes that allowing businesses and individuals to donate money before filing their taxes keeps those funds from ever becoming “state money.” This understanding is essential to understanding why the tax credit is unaffected by NH Constitution Article 83 which concerns itself with that “money raised by taxation.” There is a moot Superior Court decision stating otherwise; but, the NH Supreme Court vacated it without giving the law’s proponents a chance to be given direct appeal. US Supreme Court decisions have supported the concept that tax credits are not “money raised by taxation.” The tax credit is a pittance at $1.2 million a year which saves state and local governments over $5 million conservatively by having over 410 students currently opting for alternative education outside government expense. Even if the $1.2 million hit the treasury, it is minuscule at less than $3,000 per student. Parents choose and oversee the schools they select for their children and deserve the support, tolerance, and respect of the NH legislature. The schools work with the neighborhood public school to coordinate the fulfillment of IEPs in settings that make the greatest academic and economic sense. Some students testified to having fled religious and ethnic discrimination. The minority was bipartisan nature with 9 of the 19 votes being cast against killing this important educational safety valve.

Bill Text:
Committee Recommendation: OTP/A
Committee vote: 12-7
Republican Vote: Republicans on the committee unanimously opposed OTP/A

Minority Committee Report:

Rep. Kimberly Rice for the Minority of Children and Family Law. The minority believes current law on the minimum age of marriage was just put into effect in January. When that law was passed there were several safeguards put into place, including adding judicial permission for individuals aged 16 and older to marry. We also have several concerns regarding a pregnant 17-year old being able to marry a military father. We would prefer to wait, before raising the age to 18.

Bill Text: (HB 558), (HB660)
Committee Recommendation: OTP/A (Both bills)
Committee vote: 12-8 (HB558), 11-9 (HB560)
Republican Vote: Republicans on the committee unanimously opposed OTP/A on both bills

Minority Committee Report:

Rep. John Hunt for the Minority of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. It’s seems ironic that with only 18 miles of ocean frontage, NH should be on the forefront of restricting plastic straws whose greatest impact is on sea turtles. The idea that you can only get a straw if you ask for it, will now replace “Would you like fries with that?” with what every server will now have to ask every restaurant, drive through and Dunkin’ customer. Live Free or Die means we are free to say “No straw, thank you” rather than “Please give me a straw because I really do not know how to drink that shake with out a straw”.

Rep. John Hunt for the Minority of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. This bill, as recommended by the majority of the committee, is a fast track attempt to move New Hampshire from having no laws governing the use of plastic bags to adopting far reaching legislation that will touch every resident, tourist, restaurant, grocery store and merchant. The State of New Hampshire may benefit from a study of the experiences in states that have enacted similar legislation. The minority agrees with the majority that something should be done, but we need to proceed cautiously to identify any unintended consequences that may result from this legislation and to develop common sense solutions that are right for our state. The minority amendment establishes a study committee to address these issues.

Bill Text:
Committee Recommendation: OTP
Committee vote: 10-9
Republican Vote: Republicans on the committee unanimously opposed OTP

Minority Committee Report:

Rep. John Burt for the Minority of Criminal Justice and Public Safety. The minority believes there is no problem with illegal gun sales, use or possession in New Hampshire, yet this bill will create a ban on simple transfers of firearms between friends, family and neighbors. If enacted into law, this bill will place otherwise law abiding people at risk of arrest and prosecution. Then there will be a problem. The minority further believes this bill is so narrowly drafted that a literal interpretation of the language would prohibit an instructor from loaning a gun to a student or a friend borrowing another friend’s hunting rifle for the weekend. And if these friends or instructors and students are willing to visit a licensed gun dealer to affect the transfer, there is no requirement that gun dealers actually do this work, and if they do there is no limit on the amount they can charge for the service. The process would need to be reversed after the course or hunting trip so that the original owner can resume possession of his firearm.

Bill Text:
Committee Recommendation: OTP/A
Committee vote: 12-8
Republican Vote: Republicans on the committee unanimously opposed OTP/A

Minority Committee Report:

Rep. John Burt for the Minority of Criminal Justice and Public Safety. This bill will force individual gun buyers to wait up to eleven days between the purchase and delivery of a firearm after passing an instant background check at the time of purchase. The sponsors have not shown any evidence of criminals obtaining firearms from licensed dealers. However, this bill will burden licensed dealers with additional record keeping requirements that will force them to increase prices making it more expensive for law abiding people to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Furthermore, this bill also allows any law enforcement officer, without a warrant, to inspect dealer records. This deeply violates the Fourth Amendment.

Bill text:
Committee Recommendation: OTP
Committee vote: 12-7
Republican Vote: Republicans on the committee unanimously opposed OTP

Minority Committee Report:
Rep. Lino Avellani for the Minority of Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services. This Senate version of a Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI) plan is a mandatory participation plan applicable to every public and private employee currently employed in the State of NH. This bill also mandates all employees participate in this social style, state run insurance plan, whether they meet the eligibility requirements to qualify for participation or not. This legislation does not explicitly exempt general fund revenues from being used to cover shortfalls or exempt employers from making up similar shortfalls of this fund. This legislation is also another burden on employers that include additional payroll costs and filings. This version also mandates employers with 20 or more employees hold their positions for them, which will increase small employer overhead costs. While employers may offer better coverage, this legislation sets a minimum standard for such coverage under FMLI and offers no exemption process for employers who already have an existing plan in place. There are also several private insurers that now offer this type of FMLI insurance on the open market. NH small businesses do not need another layer of state intrusion in the employer/employee relationship. The minority feels this bill does just that and also increases the costs for our small businesses, which are the backbone of New Hampshire’s economy.

Bill Text:
Committee Recommendation: OTP/A
Committee vote: 11-7
Republican Vote: Republicans on the committee unanimously opposed OTP/A

Minority Committee Report:

Rep. Steven Smith for the Minority of Transportation. This bill establishes new criteria for obtaining a NH driver’s license. It states that, among other documents, you can bring your expired alien registration card. The person will also sign a form attesting to everything they presented. While the bill has a penalty section for disclosing this, it also refers to all the exceptions under which it can be disclosed pursuant to RSA 260:14. It is bad policy for the state to create the impression that the information is secure when it is not. This bill has far reaching implications with the federal government. None of this was discussed. The committee had a public hearing on March 6 and an executive session on the bill five short days later, with no research or work sessions. The minority believes that the bill exposes undocumented people to prosecution and that the bill needs more work.


Thursday, March 21, 2019 Last day to act on HBs not in a second committee, except budget bills
Thursday, March 28, 2019, noon Last day to report House Bills, except budget bills, Last day to report list of retained HBs
Thursday, April 4, 2019 Last day to report budget bills, Last day to act on House Bills, except budget bills
Thursday, April 11, 2019 BUDGET CROSSOVER – Last day to act on budget bills
Thursday, May 2, 2019, noon Last day to report Senate Bills going to a second committee
Thursday, May 9, 2019 Last day to act on SBs going to a second committee
Thursday, May 30, 2019, noon Last day to report all remaining SBs, Last day to report list of retained SBs
Thursday, June 6, 2019 Last day to act on SBs
Thursday, June 13, 2019 Last day to form Committees of Conference
Thursday, June 20, 2019 Last day to sign Committee of Conference reports (4:00 p.m.)
Thursday, June 27, 2019 Last day to act on Committee of Conference reports


Republicans: 167
Democrats: 233

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