Even though the legislature adjourned for 2015 all the way back in June, there was still plenty of activity during the summer and fall. For instance:
* Opioid Task Force. Governor Hassan called a special session of the legislature to address the opioid crisis that by consensus is one of the most pressing public health crises facing the state. In fact, last year Governor Hassan's drug czar told the Chamber's State Advocacy Committee that this crisis is having a major impact on businesses because of the large number of prospective job applicants who cannot pass drug tests. The House and Senate formed a task force that met during the fall and produced a number of pieces of legislation that will be the subjects of hearings over the coming weeks.
* Governor Hassan announces her run for US Senate. When the Governor announced that she would run against Senator Kelly Ayotte, it not only raised the stakes for the US Senate seat, but it opened up a number of slots down the ticket as various office holders announced that they will be running for Governor and the ripple effect started. For example, Executive Councilors Chris Sununu and Colin Van Ostern will be running for Governor, and that means that there will be several folks seeking their seats, and so on. It adds up to a vigorous campaign season across the board in 2016.
* DHHS Commissioner Nick Toumpas retires. Commissioner Toumpas, the head of the largest state agency, announced this fall that he would not remain in holdover status when his term expires today. This presented a challenge for the Governor and the Executive Councilor, because the new Commissioner will have a four year term (a good reminder that New Hampshire uniquely gives terms to department heads that are potentially longer than the terms of the Governor that made the appointment), and in one year we will have a new Governor who might have his or her own preference in a Commissioner. To make this situation even more challenging, the appointment requires the approval of the 5-member Executive Council, two of whom (as we noted above) have hopes of being the one sitting in the corner office next January. With watershed initiatives being debated and implemented this year, like the implementation of Medicaid managed care, the stakes on this one are especially high.
The 2016 Chamber Legislative Symposium:
This year's symposium will take place on Monday, January 11. Our theme this year will be the interaction between the legislature, executive branch agencies, and businesses. We are honored that we will be welcoming as panelists the Commissioners of DRED (Jeff Rose), DRA (John Beardmore) and DOL (Deputy Commissioner Kathryn Barger. Next week, we will report to you what happened in these discussions.
If you'd like to get more involved in the Chamber's Advocacy work - offering testimony on key legislation, providing opportunities for our legislators to visit your business, joining our State Advocacy Committee, or other ways you'd like to explore - please let me know (email@example.com
or (603) 881-8333.
Have a great week!
President & CEO
Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce