NASHUA BULLETIN                 April 15, 2016
Bulletin No. 13
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.

Governor Signs HB 1696 (Reauthorization of New Hampshire Health Protection Program) 
Last week, Governor Hassan signed into law HB 1696, the legislation supported by the Chamber to reauthorize the New Hampshire Health Protection Program. Now that the legislation has become law, we thought we would take one final look at what the new law does.
  • Most basically, the law reauthorizes the New Hampshire Health Protection Program for another two years. This means that the law goes away if it is not once again reauthorized prior to December 31st, 2018.
  • No state general funds are being expended in this reauthorization. The vast majority of funding for this program comes from Washington. The state is responsible for 5% of the coverage costs in 2017 and 6% in 2018, but the state costs are going to be covered by health insurance carriers and hospitals, which will make "voluntary contributions". This solution, which was agreed to by the insurers and the hospitals, is one of the most interesting and creative aspects of the new law. While the contribution is indeed voluntary, it is in the best interest of the insurers and the hospitals to make those contributions, because if the funding falls short the law goes away and the insurers and hospitals would need to deal with the significant increase in uncompensated care costs that would result.
  • The bill includes a work activities mandate of 30 hours per week for childless, able- bodied adults. This work provision is modeled on the work provision that is contained in the state's Temporary Aid to Needy Families Program. Since this work provision requires approval by the federal Centers for Medicaid Services, and since CMS has been rejecting these types of work provisions to date, the bill that has been signed into law includes a severability provision that permits the rest of the law to take effect even if the work provision is rejected.
  • The new law includes termination provisions if federal funding for the NHHPP falls below the established 95% in calendar year 2017 and 94% in 2018. (This is not likely to be the end result, because the federal law would need to be repealed or amended by Congress if this contingency were to be triggered).
Senate Energy Committee Looks at Transmission Corridors Bill (SB 626) 
On Wednesday, the Senate Energy Committee held a hearing on SB 626. You will recall that this is the legislation that would designate corridors along major New Hampshire highways for the purpose of burying electric transmission lines.
Our major concern at this point in the process is to ensure that there is no return to an earlier House version of the bill that would have essentially mandated that transmission lines must be buried in these corridors. (This effective mandate was fixed by the House in the final version that the House passed.) From the testimony that was presented at the hearing on Wednesday, we feel confident that a backslide on this bill is not likely to be in the cards. 

Intermodal Projects and Highway Signs (SB 549 and SB 519) 
On Tuesday, in adjoining rooms, the House Public Works Committee and the House Transportation Committee worked respectively on SB 519 (the bill to allow for highways signs advertising food, fuel, and lodging located in advance of exit ramps), and SB 549 (allowing the creation of public/ private partnerships for intermodal transportation projects). Both of these bills are supported by the Chamber.
We are happy to report that the Transportation Committee voted 17-0 this week to pass SB 519. That bill will be voted on by the full House on April 20. The Public Works Committee is continuing its work on SB 549, and a committee vote on that bill is slated for April 26.

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

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April 8th, 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