Education, Guns and Child Abuse Focus of House Session

Print More


Rep. David Luneau, D-Hopkinton, speaks in favor of House Bill 1128, which would require the administrator of the Education Tax Credit Scholarship program to open a nonprofit affiliate in the state. The bill was killed Thursday by the House.


CONCORD — Two days after a Superior Court judge rejected the state’s attempt to stay his decision that the Statewide Education Property Tax is unconstitutional, the House killed a bill that would have remedied the court order.

The House killed House Bill 1686, which was tabled on a 193-181 vote and died when the House adjourned because Thursday was the deadline for passing bills that need to go before a second committee.

However, the House did give initial approval to two bills that would increase education funding by about $130 million over two years by increasing targeted aid to property poor communities, to districts with low poverty rates, fiscal capacity disparities, and additional money for special education costs.

In the 2026 fiscal year, base adequacy would increase from $4,100 to $4,404 per pupil. 

The recent ConVal School District ruling set the minimum base adequacy at $7,356.01 per pupil.

The two bills, House Bill 1583 and House Bill 1656, will go to House Finance for more public hearings and review by budget writers.

“These funding increases are a step in the right direction for the House to be taking,” said Zack Sheehan, NH School Fair Funding Project Executive Director. “As these bills head to the House Finance Committee, we will continue supporting these funds for students and communities with greater needs and keep pushing the legislature to do more to ensure adequate state funding for every student.”

HB 1583 passed on a 228-150 vote, while HB 1656 passed on a voice vote.

HB1696 would have required communities that raise more money under the statewide property tax than they need to cover adequacy costs to send the excess money to the state and not keep it to lower their local education tax rates as occurs now.

And the bill would stop the Department of Revenue Administration from setting negative tax rates for unincorporated places or extremely small communities with no or few children as they do now to avoid paying the statewide property tax.

The plaintiffs in Rand versus the state claimed the current system has different effective property tax rates because of the excess funds and negative tax rates, which is unconstitutional because they are not proportional and reasonable as the state constitution requires.

“The legislature cannot continue to ignore that some taxpayers are given special treatment, and that they are enabling an unconstitutional school funding system to persist,” Sheehan said.

The House did approve House Bill 1517 which would have any excess money from games of chance in charity gambling above $6.6 million a year to partially offset the $363 million the Statewide Education Property Tax raises. The bill passed on a 196-184 vote and now goes to the House Ways and Means Committee for review before a final vote.

The day before the Senate voted to use the money for the Governor’s Scholarship Fund.

The House also passed House Bill 1288 which establishes due process rights for students, student organizations, and faculty members facing disciplinary actions by the state’s institutions of higher learning. 

Supporters of the bill said a formal process with clear guidelines and processes is needed so the rights of the accused are not trampled in disciplinary hearings, noting there is particular concern about charges of sex assault.

But opponents said the bill is in search of a solution to a problem that does not exist.

They said the long-standing processes the institutions have in place have worked well and there was no one complaining about unfair treatment at the public hearing.

The said the change required in the bill would be costly and require extensive negotiations with unions before it could be implemented.

The bill passed on a 192-185 vote and goes to House Finance for review before a final vote.

And the House killed House Bill 1128, which would have required the administrator of both the Education Freedom Account program and the Education Tax Credit Scholarship program to have a nonprofit affiliate incorporated in the state.

The New York based Children’s Scholarship Fund has nonprofit affiliates in the other 19 states where it administers similar programs, but not in New Hampshire.

Supporters of the bill said a New Hampshire nonprofit would provide more transparency, greater detail of finances, and better tracking of taxpayers’ money.

But opponents said the current arrangement allows for more money to flow to scholarships for eligible students and would require the organization to do what the Red Cross, the American Cancer Society and Planned Parenthood are not required to do.

The bill was killed on a 191-187 vote.


The House killed a bill that would allow a person to voluntarily waive his constitutional right to purchase a firearm.

The House approved a bill that would prohibit credit card companies from coding gun or ammunition purchases that could be accessed by federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms officials to try to prevent a mass shooting or violent armed attacks.

House Bill 1050 would allow someone in crisis and prone to hurting him or herself, to voluntarily give up the right to own firearms and be added to a list established under the bill.

Supporters said it would save the lives of those who may consider suicide by gun which is usually 90 percent effective and protect their families from tragedy as well as the general public.

The bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. David Meuse, D-Portsmouth, said the bill does not take anyone’s guns but would remove the most common method for committing suicide.

“The simple fact is people who experience suicidal ideation or other mental health challenges know themselves and their vulnerabilities far better than we do,” Meuse said, “and they should be equipped with the tools to prevent a rash action of self-harm at a time when they may not have total control of their emotions.”

He said if a person changes his or her mind, they can simply sign a form to remove themselves from the list.

But opponents argued people could be unduly influenced by someone like a doctor to give up their rights and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which maintains the federal list of those not to own guns, has no obligation to remove your name from their list.

House Criminal Law and Public Safety Committee chair, Rep. Terry Roy, R-Deerfield, said he believes someone like a doctor could coerce a person into giving up his rights to own a gun, their “second amendment, God-given rights.”
And Rep. Jennifer Rhodes, R-Winchester, said if a person changes his mind, there is no obligation to take the person off the list.

“There’s always free cheese in a mousetrap,” she said.

The bill was killed on a 205-175 vote.

House Bill 1186 would prohibit credit card companies from coding gun, ammunition or accessory purchases when using a credit card to pay for those products.

That information is given up voluntarily without a warrant to the US Commerce Department, Roy said.

Just this week, Iowa passed a similar law and several other states have in the past few years, he said.

“You’re darn right we are pushing back,” Roy said. “Stay out of our business, stay out of my credit card bills, stay out of my life.”

But Rep. Ray Newman, D-Nashua, said the information goes to the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agency when a person buys a certain number of firearms in a given time which helps to prevent gun violence or a mass casualty event.

“This is not a threat to individual privacy,” he said, and there aren’t any details about the customer, just the merchandise.

The bill was initially approved on a 203-174 vote and now goes to House Finance for review before a final vote on the bill.

False Reporting

The House approved House Bill 1111 which would make it a misdemeanor to knowingly make a false report of child abuse or neglect.

The bill would end the weaponization of children by parents or others to cause harm to a parent, supporters said.

Opponents said it would chill reports of child abuse or neglect if someone has to worry about being charged with false reporting.

The bill passed on a 199-179 vote and was referred to the House Criminal Justice and Public Protection Committee for review before a final vote.

The House is on vacation next week.

Garry Rayno may be reached at Garry has been a reporter in New Hampshire for 40 years.

Comments are closed.