NASHUA BULLETIN                 April 1, 2016
Bulletin No. 11
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 that pertains to various business interests. 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.

Chamber Testifies in Support of Intermodal Transportation Bill (SB 549)
Chamber President and CEO Tracy Hatch testified in front of the House Public Works Committee on Wednesday to register the Chamber's support for Senator Bette Lasky's bill which would enable the state to enter into public/private partnerships for the development of intermodal transportation projects (SB 549). This public/private partnership bill is not just a chance to utilize some alliteration, nor is the bill related only to rail. Instead, the bill would allow for the creation of public/private partnerships that will make private money available to fund all types of transportation projects (for example, co-sponsor Rep. John Cloutier of Claremont envisions the use of a public/private partnership to create a bus service in the Upper Valley). These sorts of projects otherwise would end up not getting built due to the lack of availability of sufficient government funding. As Nashua's own Representative Mike O'Brien (a co-sponsor of the bill) told the Committee, transportation infrastructure is the key to economic success everywhere in the state, and this is especially true with respect to Nashua, which is the economic engine of New Hampshire.

One of the important things about this bill is that it sets out a clear process for how these partnerships are to be entered into and approved. The clarity of the process makes it more likely that these projects will be able to obtain financing, and so this is a critical aspect of why SB 549 is necessary.

About 35 states have laws like this in effect, so let's hope that the State of New Hampshire can get on that same train, so to speak. The Committee continues its work on the bill on Tuesday, with a work session at 1 PM.
Senate Passes HB 1696 (New Hampshire Health Protection Reauthorization)
One of the major events this week was the passage by the full Senate of HB 1696, the legislation to reauthorize the New Hampshire Health Protection Program. The vote of the full Senate was 16-8 (this vote came on the heels of Monday's 6-3 Senate Finance Committee vote recommending passage). Because the bill was not amended by the Senate and was passed just as it had come over from the House, there is no committee of conference needed and the bill heads straight to the Governor's desk for signature.

The big issue in the debate on the Senate floor involved the so-called severability clause with regard to the work requirement in the bill. The work requirement parallels the work requirement currently found in the state's Temporary Aid to Needy Families program (essentially, recipients that are able-bodied need to work at least 30 hours per week). Because the federal Center for Medicaid Services needs to approve the New Hampshire plan, and because CMS has not yet approved a work requirement in this context, the severability clause was inserted by the House so that the reauthorization will take effect even if CMS rejects the work provision.

As you know, the Chamber has been a big proponent of HB 1696, and so we want to thank all of the Greater Nashua Area legislators who cast a vote in favor of HB 1696 along the way. The passage of the bill is a victory not just for people who are served by the Health Protection Program, but also for the New Hampshire business community, which will benefit from a healthier work force, more widespread availability of substance abuse treatment programs, and especially relief with respect to the speed at which health insurance costs are rising (eliminating a big chunk of uncompensated care will eliminate the need to shift those costs to purchasers of private health insurance).

Chamber Holds Annual Legislative Crossover Reception
On Monday night, nearly two dozen legislators joined with us at the Crowne Plaza Hotel for our annual Legislative Crossover Reception. We greatly appreciate the fact that Speaker of the House Shawn Jasper and Senator Bette Lasky joined us.

One of the things that we frequently hear from other chambers around the country is how contentious a relationship they have with their legislative delegations. The situation here in Nashua could not be more of a contrast. The members of our delegation are always great to work with, even in the rare circumstances when they may not be on the same side of a policy issue as the Chamber is. The folks who are part of the Nashua delegation always take phone calls and are willing to hear us out when we contact them about bills. We really appreciate the close relationship we have with the members of the delegation, and we thank all of our legislators for their service.

In Other News...
On Wednesday, Republican Senator Jeanie Forrester of Meredith became the latest entrant in the race to succeed Maggie Hassan as Governor. Senator Forrester, the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, joins the Republican race with Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas; Executive Councilor Chris Sununu of Newfields; and Rep. Frank Edelblut of Wilton. On the Democratic side the announced candidates are Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern of Concord; former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand; and Mark Connolly, former Director of the NH Bureau of Securities Regulation.

Take a look at the State House dominoes on that list. There will be open seats in Senate District 2 and in Executive Council Districts 2 and 3, which means that others will be looking to win those seats. This week, Senator Russell Prescott announced that he is throwing his hat in the ring to succeed Councilor Sununu, and so Senator Prescott's Senate seat will also open up. It is the circle of life in New Hampshire.

On Tuesday at 2 PM, the House Transportation Committee takes up SB 519, the bill that would allow highway signs regarding things like food, fuel and lodging to be placed on limited access highways. The Chamber strongly supports this one.

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

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March 18th, 2016 
March 11th, 2016
March 4th, 2016 
February 12th, 2016
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 |
142 Main St., 5th Floor
Nashua, NH 03060

Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce | 142 Main St. | 5th Floor | Nashua | NH | 03060