Legislative Update - week of 4/2/2018

This week is an extremely busy week in both chambers of the legislature. Both the House and the Senate will be in session on Thursday to vote on bills. Committee hearings are also scheduled throughout the week.

The upcoming week also marks the first full week that myself, Rep. Renny Cushing, Rep. Phil Bean, Rep. Mike Edgar, Attorney Paul Twomey, and former Portsmouth Assistant Mayor Jim Splaine will have access to the City of Portsmouth’s records concerning the Coakley Landfill Group as part of our Right to Know request. As the Portsmouth Herald reported on Sunday, an initial search on Friday has already revealed that $3.1 million of the $5.75 million provided by the federal government to pay for installation of a pump-and-treat system at the site was used instead spent to pay for a legal settlement with a contractor. This is outrageous and may be just the tip of the iceberg.

Monday night, the Portsmouth City Council is meeting and Coakley is likely to come up. That’s because on Tuesday, Portsmouth Mayor Jack Blalock is scheduled to travel to Concord to testify against a bill I’m cosponsoring that would force the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to order the Coakley Landfill Group to clean up the site. Last month, the Council in a 9-0 vote directed the mayor to oppose HB 1766 on legal grounds based on “guidance” from Coakley Landfill Group Executive Board member (and Portsmouth City Attorney) Robert Sullivan. Given recent revelations and more time to come up to speed on the importance of immediate action to families living near the site, I’m hopeful that the Mayor and the Council will reconsider their decision.

Coming up at the State House this week.

  • HB 1766 will receive a public hearing by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday, April 3 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 103 of the State House. This bill has already been approved in the House. If you think the families living near Coakley deserve to be able to stop living in fear of the water coming out of their taps, please come, sign in to support the bill, and consider testifying if you or a family member has been affected.
  • Earlier the same morning in front of the same committee, HB 485 will also receive a hearing. This bill contains several new measures to regulate and monitor contamination and establishes a state toxicologist position in the Department of Environmental Services.

  • Three bills I’m sponsoring will come up for votes in the Senate on Thursday, including a bill to establish September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Also Coming Up This Week

  • SB 313: After being approved 21-0 by the House Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee, the bill to renew Medicaid Expansion heads for a vote in the full House on Thursday. I will support it. It’s critical that nothing get in the way of renewing a program that 50,000 Granite Staters depend on for their healthcare.

  • HB 628: After being passed in the House, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a public hearing on Thursdayafternoon on the Family Medical Leave Insurance bill. This bill is very important to the security of working families.

  • SB 593: A bill to repeal the death penalty repeal bill that passed the Senate will be heard by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday.

Best,
- Mindi

P.S. Did You Know? You can view the House when in session, by selecting "LIVE" in the "General Court News and Hot Links" box at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us. Recordings are posted soon after each session on the Streaming Media page http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/media/default.htm.

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Kimberly Sychterz