NASHUA BULLETIN                
February 12, 2016
Bulletin No. 6
Welcome to the Chamber's weekly legislative newsletter, The Advocate!  This newsletter is our recap of what happened in Concord each week during the legislative session, and a preview of what is coming up in the following week. Although we will be letting you know about legislation that we think is of note, don't hesitate to tell us about bills that you may be familiar with and which you think are worth our review. We exist to serve you, our members.

House Gives Initial Nod To New Hampshire Health Protection Program Reauthorization  (HB 1696)
Last week, we reported that the House Health and Human Services Committee voted 17 - 1 to recommend the passage of HB 1696, the bill supported by the Chamber which reauthorizes the New Hampshire Health Protection Program.  On Wednesday, the full House voted by a margin of 186-116 to pass the bill.

Interestingly, the vote came on a day when the electronic voting system in the House was broken, and so the count was made by means of an old-fashioned standing vote. On some of the amendments that were subsequently proposed for HB 1696, the votes were done through real life roll calls, which required the Clerk of the House to call out the names of each of the 400 members of the House, who had to announce their votes out loud (perhaps an appropriate throw-back on the day after the 100th anniversary of the First In The Nation Primary).

This does not mean that the bill is done in the House.  HB 1696 now goes to the House Finance Committee, which will conduct its own review and issue a recommendation to the full House. This next House vote will be decisive, as that will be the vote which determines whether the bill is going to be sent along to the Senate.

House Votes to Kill Pipeline Royalty Bill (HB 1149)
The House did some more good work on Wednesday when it voted in accordance with the recommendation made by the House Science and Tech Committee to kill HB 1149, legislation that would have required the payment of royalties on certain revenues from the gas pipeline.  As the Committee correctly pointed out to the House, the funds to pay those royalties ultimately would come out of the pockets of consumers.

The Chamber opposed this bill because the bill failed to pass muster under the principles that the Chamber has developed to serve as a framework for review of these project-specific energy bills.

Because of how important these issues are, we thought that it would be worth restating the principles so that you are fully aware of our thinking here:
  1. The bill should tend to reduce rather than increase energy costs. Energy costs are issue #1 for our members. We will continue to oppose legislation which will increase energy costs in New Hampshire.
  2. There should be a presumption against passing legislation that is intended to affect or stop a specific project. The reason for this presumption is that when legislation is designed with a single project in mind, there is a danger that, although directed at the one project, the bill might unwittingly have a negative impact on projects down the road that the legislature is not contemplating right now. This does not mean that the Chamber would never back this type of bill, but simply that there will need to be strong reasons advanced as to why project-specific legislation is necessary.
  3. There should be no state legislation in areas where there is federal preemption. If federal law overrides state law in a particular area, then new state laws enacted in that area will at best be irrelevant,  and at worst will produce unintended consequences for other projects.
  4. The bill should tend to increase jobs and strengthen the work force (especially skilled jobs and skilled workers). The bill should not tend to serve as a disincentive or obstacle to the creation of those types of jobs. Obviously, bills that are harmful to job-creation are to be disfavored. Energy jobs in particular tend to be high-paying, valuable position which we should be encouraging.
  5. There should be no laws passed that create new requirements for review, approval or regulation of energy projects when there are existing state and federal processes in place to receive and, where appropriate, to act on the concerns of New Hampshire citizens. Creating new requirements for energy projects as they are proposed sends the wrong signal to businesses that are seeking to relocate to New Hampshire. Businesses should be able to rely on the stability of the laws that are in place.
We think that these principles give us a useful framework to follow, while still allowing us room for flexibility (for instance, we do not intend to look at bills simply by checking off each of the principles; a particularly strong showing in several of these areas might overcome deficiencies in others).  As always, our goal is to represent the interests of our members.

Governor Hassan Nominates Senator Jerry Little As New Banking Commissioner
On Tuesday, Governor Hassan announced that she is nominating Senator Jerry Little of New London to be the new Commissioner of the Banking Department. This is no ordinary appointment, for two reasons.

First, Senator Little is the former head of the NH Bankers Association, so he is extremely well-qualified for this post. His background at NHBA, as well as his time as a Senator, gives him long experience with the NH state government, experience that makes him uniquely suited for this appointment.

Happy Weekend!

Tracy Hatch
President & CEO
Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce 
Sponsored by
Devine Millimet

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February 5th, 2016
January 29th, 2016 
January 22nd, 2016 
January 15th, 2016
January 11th, 2016
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Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce | (603) 881-8333 |
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Nashua, NH 03060