House GOP Leader Hinch: What’s Happening at Busy State House

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State House in Concord



House Republicans & Friends Across New Hampshire,

The House will meet next Wednesday, February 27th at 10:00 a.m., and Thursday, February 28th at 9:00 a.m., if necessary. There will be a Republican caucus for Republican House members on Wednesday, February 27th, at 9:00 a.m. in Rooms 301-303 LOB, and Thursday February 28th at 8:00 a.m. in Rooms 301-303 LOB, if necessary. 

Next week for House session there are 67 bills on the Regular Calendar and 95 bills on the consent calendar. This is our busiest House session yet, and be prepared for it to last both days. We will be voting on no shortage of terrible Democrat legislation. You can read more from the committee reports in this newsletter, below.

On Tuesday, the Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services committee will be holding a public hearing on SB 1-FN. This is the Senate Democrats’ family leave income tax program, that they are rushing into the House before we even vote on House Democrats’ version. It’s disturbing that Democrats are willing to disregard the legislative process in order to pass this ill-conceived legislation.

All the best,

Dick Hinch, House Republican Leader

Click here to view the latest House Calendar

House Republican Leader Concerned by Democrats’ Rushed Bills, Total Disregard for Process

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement on House Democrats’ efforts to fast-track select Senate bills when the House still has over 400 House bills to process before the official crossover date of April 4th.

“First, they tried to slip SB16 in under the radar, so they could attach an ill-advised amendment to it dealing with authorizing unemployment benefits to federal employees affected by the recent government shutdown. Despite written communication from the federal government and repeated public comments advising against this provision from our own Department of Employment Security*, House Democrats moved forward with a bad idea. They are doing a great job finding avenues to exploit the shutdown for political gain, and they seem to be willing to disregard customary processes and common sense as they charge down this road. Yesterday, their lack of forethought on this issue resulted in the committee needing to recess the executive session and delay action on this bill due to the volume of problems uncovered in the amendment. Haste makes waste.”

“We’ve now learned that SB1 has been introduced in the House, and I can’t believe that with all of the other business we have to complete, that they would want or need to schedule a public hearing and begin work on this very complex legislation. Sure, it’s a Democrat legislative initiative to institute this family leave income tax program, but I can’t believe we’re diverting resources and time to this legislation during such a busy week dealing with House bills. The House has yet to act on the House version of this legislation, and they’re already scheduling a public hearing on the Senate version. I just can’t see the reasoning. Where has process and common sense gone?”

Background: SB16 was introduced into the House on January 31st, the same day it was passed by the Senate. The bill originally dealt with the date for certain federal systems of data exchange. The amendment, which was distributed to the House Labor committee last week and discussed at executive session on the bill yesterday, sought to modify eligibility requirements such that those federal workers who were required to work without pay could receive state unemployment benefits. If the worker receives back pay, the worker would be required to pay back the benefits they received in a “reasonable time,” a parameter which was undefined.

SB1 will have a public hearing on Tuesday, February 26 in the House Labor committee. HB712, which received an Ought to Pass With Amendment recommendation by a party line committee vote on Wednesday, February 20, will be acted on by the full House during the House session of February 27-28, next week.

According to statistics available from the General Court website advanced bill search:

166 House bills have received have reports filed and are ready to be acted on by the full House, some of which will be referred to a second committee. 291 are still in committee, and have not been reported out by committees.

*N.H Employment Chief Warns Against Paying Benefits To Federal Workers on Furlough
N.H. aid to furloughed federal workers may run afoul of the law 
Officials say N.H. shutdown fix could irk federal government

House Republican leader Reacts to Job-Killing Minimum Wage Bills

Concord, NH- House Republican Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack) released the following statement in advance of the public hearings on HB178, HB186, and HB731-FN all relative to the minimum wage in New Hampshire. These bills are being heard in the Labor, Industrial Services and Rehabilitation committee starting at 1:00pm on February 20th.

“At a time when New Hampshire’s economy is humming and we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the Nation, why House Democrats are so eager to increase the cost of doing business in New Hampshire is beyond me,” Hinch said. “A government mandated wage increase of up to 65% would have a profound negative impact on New Hampshire’s small and medium sized business community. It only encourages employers to cut jobs, cut hours, and pass the increase cost onto the consumer. New Hampshire business owners deserve better.”

“Republicans have spent the last few years focused on creating the economic conditions for businesses to thrive to ensure everyone has the opportunity to earn a decent wage. Our small business owners know what it takes to attract, retain, and reward employees, and government should stop interfering,” said Hinch. “I hope my Democratic colleagues see the light and put a stake in these job-killing bills.”

House Republican Leader Reacts to House Committee Vote to Retain Carbon Tax Bill

Concord, NH – House Republican Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement relative to the vote by the House Science, Technology & Energy Committee on Tuesday to retain HB735, relative to carbon pricing.

“It’s disturbing to me that Democrats openly said that they want to do additional work on this $800 million per year tax bill. Whether it’s $100 million or $1 billion, they just can’t see the light, and want to move forward with this bill in some fashion, it appears. HB735 is a massive redistribution of wealth, it would dramatically raise energy and fuel prices in New Hampshire, and have a significant negative impact on our state economy. If Democrats want to continue this debate into 2020 by retaining this bill, I’m fine with that, and so were the Republicans on the committee. They can try and hide it but they can’t run away from it.”


Bill text available here:

If the plan were enacted, the Department of Environmental Services estimates revenue as follows:

Calendar Year             Tons of CO2               Equiv. Fee                   Revenue

2020                            15,000,000                  $20.00                         $300,000,000

2021                            15,000,000                  $30.75                         $461,250,000

2022                            15,000,000                  $41.77                         $626,550,000

2023                            15,000,000                  $53.05                         $795,900,000

Bills retained by committees will likely be worked on by committees in the fall, and acted on by the House in January.Testimony provided to the committee at the time of the public hearing suggested that the proposal would increase gas prices by 15-20 cents per gallon in year one, and 5-10 cents per year as the fee increases. In addition, home heating oil prices could rise as much as $1.22 per gallon. The fee/tax would also apply to other carbon based fuels including natural gas and propane. The bill seeks to rebate some of the revenue back to residents on a per capita basis, and some large industrial entities, but neglects to rebate anything back to small businesses, municipalities or school districts. If energy costs increased by 30-50%, it could have a severe impact on property taxes.

Bill Hearings to Watch Next Week

Tuesday, February 26

10:30 a.m. SB 1-FN, relative to family and medical leave

House Session Bills Preview

Title: relative to the definition of tobacco product for purposes of the tobacco tax and retail tobacco licensing?
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 Hunt for the Minority of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. The focus by the Commerce Committee was on the policy issue regarding the current law related to the Liquor Commission’s enforcement of the age requirement for access to vaping. The solution to the problem was simple, add the phrase “may contain nicotine” to the definition of e-cigarette in the law regulating youth access to tobacco, as the minority amendment would do. Instead the majority insisted on adding vaping to the law that defines tobacco for the purpose of taxing cigarettes. While it is true that this is a two-committee bill and will go to Ways & Means to consider the issue of taxation, currently the tax rate for tobacco products other than cigarettes is over 60% of the wholesale price. The minority is not only opposed to the outrageous tax rate but also the new definition of ‘tobacco products’ that the committee settled on that appears to also tax vaping equipment. Clearly this bill goes beyond the needed fix in our current liquor enforcement law.
Title: relative to possession of firearms in safe school zones
Bill Text:
Committee Recommendation: OTP/A
Committee vote: 11-8
Republican Vote: Republicans on the committee unanimously opposed OTP/A, with 1 member absent.
Minority Committee Report:
Rep. Rick Ladd for the Minority of Education. With several exceptions, this bill prevents a person from knowingly carrying a firearm as defined by RSA 173-B:1, XI in a safe school zone as currently defined in NH law. The definition of safe school zone states that school property includes any real property, public or private, that is used for school purposes including educational and extra-curricular activity sponsored programs. This might include a school-sponsored activity conducted at a community field or town common area elsewhere from the school or regularly used school sites. Will these locations be identified as safe school zones? How will a person with a firearm who is passing by or stopping to observe the activity know the location is now a safe school zone as defined by RSA 193-D:1? Aside from constitutional questions, the bill is not clear as to what is or isn’t a safe school zone. Does a school-sponsored field trip to a local museum, historical site, or to the capitol building now require these locations to be posted as safe school zones even though the site is apart from the school, playground, or bus? Lastly, the minority believes that this bill will make schools less safe and result in interpretation confusion. The New Hampshire School Boards Association testified against the passage of this bill.
Title: relative to a family and medical leave insurance program
Bill Text:
Committee Recommendation: OTP/A
Committee vote: 12-6
Republican Vote: Republicans on the committee voted unanimously against OTP/A, with 2 members absent.
Minority Committee Report:
Rep. Lino Avellani for the Minority of Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services. This incarnation of FML insurance plan is a mandatory participation plan of every public and private employee currently employed in the State of NH. This bill also mandates all employees participate in this 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. While employers may offer better coverage for FMLA, this legislation sets a minimum standard for such coverages for 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 businesses do not need another layer of state intrusion in the employer/employee relationship. The minority feels this bill does just that. The amendment might pose a constitutional issue by forcing one group of employees to participate while others may not.
Title: relative to enforcement of immigration laws and the prohibition of sanctuary policies
Bill Text:
Committee Recommendation: ITL
Committee vote: 11-9
Republican Vote: Republicans on the committee unanimously opposed ITL
Minority Committee Report:
Rep. James Belanger for the Minority of Municipal and County Government. Sanctuary towns and cities are not currently permitted in New Hampshire. If a person is detained or charged with any crime and it is discovered that there are immigration charges against this individual, the law enforcement person should not ignore those pending charges. Law enforcement should enforce the laws, no matter whose laws they are. Imagine a community deciding not to enforce speed limits on state highways within their jurisdiction and how this could get out of hand. Our country is based on laws that are passed by the people, and law enforcement should consider any violation that comes to their attention. This bill does not, as some have suggested, provide that anyone suspected of being an immigrant should be detained and their status checked. It simply supports dictates on a particular person that have been issued by other law enforcement units whether they be local, state or federal. The amended version of the bill addressed concerns.
Title: establishing a water resources fund in the department of environmental services and charging certain application and permit fees.
Bill Text:
Committee Recommendation: OTP
Committee vote: 10-9
Republican Vote: Republicans on the committee unanimously opposed OTP
Minority Committee Report:
Rep. Andrew Renzullo for the Minority of Resources, Recreation and Development. This bill has at least 20 new or increased fees. The Department of Environmental Services (DES) asserts that fees need to be adjusted because they have not changed in over a decade. According to the fiscal note, the DES compared the revenue from the existing fee structure ($1,865,677) to the revenue from the proposed structure in the bill ($4,852,256). That is an increase of $2,986,679. So fees did not just double, they are close to triple what they are now. That large a fee increase cannot be justified. Let us look at a few of these new fees or increased fees. Right now a temporary seasonal dock is exempt from permitting requirements. It is a permit by notification. The fee is $0. Under this bill the fee will be $300. The application fee for an excavating and dredging permit goes from $200 to $400, plus an increase from $2 to $6 per square foot of permanent dock surface area, an increase from $1 to $3 per square foot of seasonal dock surface, and an increase from $0.20 to $0.60 per square foot for dredge and fill surface area. Also, the Department of Transportation calculated, based on the previous three years, that the average increase in fees paid to DES by DOT would have been $148,512.73 (220.6%) more each year for FY 2016 – FY 2018 had the proposed fees been in place. However, if these inordinately large fee increases bother us, the DES has proposed a solution. The bill proposes that the Commissioner of DES shall henceforth adjust the fees by rule. So we as legislators will never have to see them again. That is a serious thing to contemplate and a betrayal of our duty to our constituents who expect us to monitor and control the agencies of the government in their behalf. In closing, this bill is a very complicated, far reaching, multi-faceted, and excessively expensive to New Hampshire citizens and businesses.
Title: relative to the rates of the business profits tax and business enterprise tax.
Bill Text:
Committee Recommendation: OTP/A
Committee vote: 12-7
Republican Vote: Republicans on the committee unanimously opposed OTP/A
Minority Committee Report:
Rep. Alan Bershtein for the Minority of Ways and Means. This bill repeals scheduled reductions to the business tax rate. Passage of this bill will inhibit job creation and reduce competitiveness of NH businesses. Capricious reversal of tax policy increases tax regime uncertainty and dissuades future investment. The tax which each business is bound to pay ought to be certain, and not arbitrary. This bill increases unpredictability of legislative action and undermines the ability of enterprises to plan for the future.
HB 686
Title: relative to calculating and funding the interim cost of an opportunity for an adequate education and extending the interest and dividends tax to capital gains
Bill Text:
Committee Recommendation: OTP/A
Committee vote: 12-7
Republican Vote: Republicans on the committee unanimously opposed OTP/A
Minority Committee Report:
Rep. Patrick Abrami for the Minority of Ways and Means. This bill calls for capital gains to be taxed at the same rate as the current interest and dividends tax, which is 5 percent. Yes, the exemptions for all three categories of income-combined would go up, but not enough to offset the negative effects of this tax. A capital gain is a profit realized on the sale of a non-inventory asset that was purchased at a cost amount that was lower than the amount realized on the sale of the asset. The minority believes this would be an attack on business creation. This is a tax on risk taking. There are no guarantees when you invest your money in a business. If the business fails the investors loss their money. With this tax as proposed, New Hampshire will not join the investor in sharing in their loss but will seek 5 percent on the gain realized by the sale of a successful business. This goes for ownership of stocks, bonds, precious metals, property, and other noninventory assets. There are nine states, including NH, that do not have a capital gains tax and eight others that have capital gain tax rates below those being recommended in this bill. The minority feels imposing a capital gains tax will slow our economic growth which has resulted in huge increases in revenues to the state. In the short run, this may seem like a means to increase state revenue, but in the long-run, it will result in a decline in overall revenue as a result of the economic slowdown that would result from this tax. The job of the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs, to attract entrepreneurs to NH, will be made harder if this bill passes, since they will now have to explain this 5 percent tax on risk taking and success.


Thursday, February 28, 2019 Last day to act on HBs going to a second committee
Thursday, March 14, 2019, noon Last day to report all HBs not in a second committee, except budget bills
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

Budget Process Flow Chart

Now that the Governor’s budget is out there, we understand you may have questions regarding the process. We designed a handy flow chart many years ago to illustrate the budget process as it usually plays out from October through June. Click the image to download the full page PDF.


Republicans: 167
Democrats: 233

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