June 6, 2014 

     Thank you for your interest in one of our most proud efforts- business advocacy during the legislative session.Our Chamber is very proud of its efforts to represent you and all of our members in Concord. Our work would not be possible without the strong support of our friends at Devine, Millimet & Branch, whose lobbying team serves as our "boots on the ground" in Concord on a daily basis. We thank them for their unyielding support of our advocacy efforts, particularly through the sponsorship of this newsletter.

This weekly newsletter is intended to give you an overview of what has happened at the State House over the past week. Read this every Friday to learn about our Chamber's lobbying efforts relating to those activities, and to preview what we are doing on behalf of our Chamber members. 

House and Senate Approve Medicaid Enhancement Tax Deal
The 2014 legislative session came to an end on Wednesday with votes by the House and Senate on reports from the various committees of conference that have been meeting over the last week or so to hammer out agreements on final versions of bills.  The most notable of all the bills was SB 369, the legislation concerning the hospital Medicaid Enhancement Tax.


As we reported last week, the Governor announced on Friday that representatives from the Attorney General's Office and from 25 of the 26 hospitals (St. Joseph's not included) had reached an agreement on the parameters of a deal that would settle the outstanding litigation between hospitals and the State over the constitutionality and validity of the MET.  Late in the afternoon last Friday, the committee of conference on SB 369 met to vote on the final committee of conference report, but committee members David Hess and Neal Kurk on the House side and Jeanie Forrester on the Senate side declined to sign the final report.  Consistent with usual practice, the Speaker of the House and the Senate President then appointed new members who would sign the agreement.  Given the fact that the Senate President issued a statement on Friday afternoon laying out concerns about the agreement, it was undoubtedly a relief for the proponents of the deal that the Senate President appointed a new member to sign off (the bill dies if even one member of a committee of conference does not sign off on the committee's agreement, and so the fact that Senator Morse was willing to allow the bill to come out of the committee of conference meant that he was willing to let the bill have an up or down vote on the floor).  In the end, the agreement was easily approved with bipartisan votes in both the House and the Senate.  Even Representative Hess, who had declined to sign the committee of conference report, took the floor on Wednesday to urge his colleagues to approve the agreement because, having had the chance to review the details of the agreement, he considered it to be the best deal available to the State under the circumstances.


This is a significant step for the hospitals, because the agreement means that they will pay slightly lower MET rates and at the same time see increased payments for providing uncompensated care.  This agreement also may provide some stability on an issue that has already led to a reduction in the State's bond rating following the most recent court decision on the validity of the MET.

Four Senators Bid Farewell

Wednesday's Senate Session was notable also for the farewells of four veteran members of the Senate.  Three of the Senators (Bob Odell, Peter Bragdon and Jim Rausch) announced their departures several weeks ago.  The fourth, however, came as a major surprise to the people sitting in the Senate Chamber and gallery on Wednesday:  Senator Sylvia Larsen of Concord, the current Democratic Leader in the Senate, and a former Senate President.  The Senate will certainly miss her and her three departing colleagues, all four of whom have been wonderful to work with over the years.  

Coming Up ...

This is the final regular issue of The Advocate for the 2014 Session.  In the next couple of weeks, we will be sending out our 2014 legislative wrap-up, and you will also see The Advocate pop up around election time next fall. 


We close with a remembrance and a salute to those who fought and died in Normandy 70 years ago today. May we all strive to serve the people of our city, state and country with as much courage and dedication as these men did on The Longest Day.

Sponsored by
Devine Millimet

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