NASHUA BULLETIN                                 May 26, 2015


Welcome to the Chamber's weekly legislative newsletter, The Advocate!  With the start of the new year comes the start of NH's state legislative session.  For those of you who have been active with our Chamber for a while, you already know to expect this legislative newsletter in your inbox each week. It provides a recap of what happened in Concord each week, and previews what is coming up in the following week that pertains to various business interests. We hope you find this weekly publication informative, and a great way to stay attuned to what is happening in Concord that impacts southern NH's business community!


Senate Capital Budget Committee Derails Rail Provision

Yesterday, the Senate Capital Budget Committee voted on Manchester Senator Lou D'Allesandro's amendment that would have restored $4 million for completion of preliminary work on the Capital Corridor Project through Nashua to Manchester. We're sorry to tell you that the Committee voted to reject that proposal. Aside from the opposition that some legislators have to the rail concept to begin with, we think that the real death knell for this proposal was the fact that State has been having so much trouble trying to figure out how to fund the Department of Transportation as a whole. Remember that at the end of the House phase of the budget process there was a brief period when it looked like DOT was going have to lay off half of its employees, and that result was headed off by the use of money in several areas, including a $50 million raid on the renewable energy fund. They say that politics is all about relationships, but it is also about timing, and unfortunately the timing did not work on this one.


So it is back to the roundhouse, and some work on the next steps. This is just a temporary setback - the Chamber will continue its efforts on the important subject of commuter rail in Nashua.


No Vote on Electric Rate Bill (SB 221)

There was supposed to be a vote this week by the House Science and Tech Committee on SB 221, the electric rate reduction financing bill. There was a little bit of alarm among the ranks of supporters of the bill when the Committee did not vote last week, even though immediately after the public hearing there had been a straw poll that indicated that the members of the Committee were supportive of the legislation.  From what we are hearing, though, it looks like the reason for the delay was just in order to gain time to tighten up some of the language concerning the Public Utilities Commission's review of the overall EverSource settlement (as you know from our prior reports on SB 221, the bill does not approve the proposed settlement between Eversource and the other stakeholders; it simply establishes the necessary provisions for the securitization portion of the settlement). Whether or not the settlement is in the public interest is something that will be determined by the Public Utilities Commission after a full review; the Legislature does not intend by enacting SB 221 to pass upon the merits of the settlement itself. We expect that by this time next Friday we will have final word for you from the House Science and Tech Committee on SB 221.


The thing to remember: the bill would result in lower electric rates than would be the case if the bill does not pass. Enough said.

Senate Finance Committee Almost Finished With Budget 

The place where the most energy was expended during the past week at the State House was in Room 103, where the Senate Finance Committee is located. Senate Finance has been going through the budget as sent over from the House, and we were pleased that the Senate Committee was able to fill some of the significant holes which existed. (Before casting too many stones at the House, remember that the Senate typically has higher revenue numbers to work with because the Senators get the budget closer to the end of the State fiscal year.) One of the things that we noted our concern with earlier in the spring was the fact that many of the areas which the House chose not to fund in the Department of Health and Human Services part of the budget were likely to be costs that would be passed on to municipalities. For instance, the House version of the budget eliminated several nurse supervisor positions at New Hampshire Hospital (this was one of the things that the House used to fill that DOT hole at the very end of the House phase).   Those positions are critical in providing care at NHH, and the elimination of those jobs would have resulted in the closure of some of the beds at NHH, which would have exacerbated an already significant mental health problem in the state. The people who would not be able to be admitted to New Hampshire Hospital would be stranded in regular acute care hospital emergency rooms and pose issues for local law enforcement. That's just one example; many similar items can be found throughout the budget. The problems and the costs associated with a particular area do not go away simply because the State is not paying for them, so we were glad that the Senate Finance Committee was able to see fit to address some of these things.


The Finance Committee takes its final vote on the budget and the budget trailer bill on Wednesday, and then the full Senate will vote during the first week in June. From there, the action will take place in a committee of conference that will meet in mid- June in order to work out differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget.


A quick personal note

Last Friday marked my last day at the Chamber.  It's been a pleasure helping provide this weekly legislative piece to you for the past nine years, and representing your interests and concerns up in Concord.  I can tell you with high confidence that our Chamber has the best lobbying team of anyone up in Concord.  Working with Devine Millimet & Branch to manage our Chamber's legislative activities made it easy for me as your Chamber president to represent the issues that are important to companies in greater Nashua and to the rest of the southern NH region. I wish each of you only the very best.  If you would like to stay in touch with me beyond today, you can reach me at


Memorial Day

Each year on the Friday before Memorial Day, we pause here in The Advocate to honor all those who have given life, limb or well-being in the service of our country. This Memorial Day has a special significance, falling as it does in the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, and the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. We also honor those who are serving around the world today in defense of our nation, and we salute the families who endure the absence of their loved ones.


We close, as we always do on this weekend each year, with the words of Theodore O'Hara that are inscribed on the McClellan Gate at Arlington National Cemetery: 


The muffled drum's sad roll has beat 

The soldier's last tattoo; 
No more on Life's parade shall meet 
That brave and fallen few. 
On fame's eternal camping ground 
Their silent tents to spread, 
And glory guards, with solemn round 
The bivouac of the dead.


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Devine Millimet

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Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce | (603) 881-8333 |
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