By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – From repealing a prohibition on hunting with a ferret to banning assault weapons in New Hampshire, to health care, energy, and climate issues, New Hampshire’s House and Senate will be busy again during the next session.
In 2020, lawmakers will be dealing with a host of new issues and some old ones that did not pass last year.
As of Oct. 17, there were 661 Legislative Service Requests or LSR’s filed, and counting.
An LSR is a request to have a bill drafted and if successful, eventually voted into law. The House has filed these LSRs here or at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/lsr_search/LSR_Results.aspx
The Senate has only just begun to file its LSRs, beginning with Democrats announcing an initiative to address prescription drug prices.
As always, the devil will be in the details.
The LSRs give only a gist of what the lawmaker who is filing it is trying to achieve. It’s a title.
The detail work on the bill is to come with the Office of Legislative Services hammering out the language. The road to becoming a new law is a long one and full of opportunity for the public to have an impact.
You can read a bill’s content, come to hear or even testify when each bill gets a hearing before a committee and then follow it through both chambers. If successful, it will eventually go to the governor to sign or veto. There are opportunities for all to voice their opinions, to learn, engage, and impact New Hampshire.
And… Every two years, it’s the public’s time to vote.
If you don’t like what you have seen or are seeing from your elected representative – from the Governor to your Senator or House Representative – you can vote them out of office. The primary will be Sept. 8, 2020, and the general election, Nov. 3, 2020.
All 400 House representatives and 24 state Senators face the decision of running for re-election or bowing out for someone else to do the job.
Between campaigning, there are energy and climate bills to contend with, those addressing health care and a slew of gun bills are back on the table. There is a new one: to ban assault weapons in New Hampshire.
The only one that uses “opioid” in the search – is House Bill 2020-2482 allowing insurance to cover yoga to be considered a substitute for opioids.
There’s one repealing the prohibition of hunting with a ferret House Bill 2020-2365.
Vaping will be an issue with new health care worries emerging since last year and a temporary ban on the sale of vaping products in neighboring Massachusetts.
Marijuana home-grows and marijuana legalization will be back for a replay.
While some these measures passed their respective chambers last year, they did not withstand a veto from Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. A veto override requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers.
One major bill from the last session did override. That was the capital murder bill, eliminating the death penalty in New Hampshire.
InDepthNH.org will be closely following the action in the House and Senate again this year. Let us know what LSRs you are following and why by sending an email to Paula Tracy at email@example.com
One of the first package of initiatives that the Senate has filed deal with prices at the pharmacy. They are looking to import low-cost drugs from Canada, similar to what neighboring states have done.
The proposals look to increase accountability for pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy benefit managers. The bills, now in title only, would establish the Prescription Drug Affordability & Access Act of 2020.
Sen. Majority Leader Dan Feltes, D- Concord, who is also running for governor, is the prime sponsor. It looks to what Maine and Vermont have already done to bring the cost of prescription drugs down.
Sen. Tom Sherman, D-Rye, who is a physician looks to expand drug pricing transparency. Problems with price gouging are addressed in a one whose prime sponsor is Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth.
Finally, a fourth bill addresses rebates paid to pharmacy benefit managers, whose prime sponsor is Sen. Cindy Rosenwald, D-Nashua.