Legislative Update - week of April 25th
This week, both the House and the Senate will be in session on Thursday to vote on bills. Committee hearings are also scheduled throughout the week.
Coakley Landfill Update
This week the New Hampshire Senate should have been in a position to vote on a bill requiring an immediate cleanup ofperfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) at Coakley Landfill. Instead, it will vote on a neutered version of HB 1766 that requires monitoring results to be reported to the legislature--but no longer requires a clean-up. Put simply, this is a betrayal of families living near the site who were depending on the legislature to act in the wake of the discovery of elevated levels of PFCs in Berry’s Brook and a double pediatric cancer cluster in the area surrounding the site. But stay tuned. This one isn’t over until it’s over. Please contact Senators Innis and Clark at (603) 271-3092 and urge them to put the health of Seacoast families first and vote for a floor amendment to restore it.
Last Week at the State House
TO BE CLEAR AND CORRECTION - We do not want SB-193 to pass. Our statement in our email this morning was not clear. Senate Bill (SB 193) that would use public money to find private and religious educational institutions needs to be put to death. It will undermine public education in our state. Contact your state rep and urge him or her to vote against ANY and ALL attempts to pass this bill!
On the other side of the ledger, a bill that would create a state family and medical leave program (HB 628) received“interim study” recommendation from the Senate Finance Committee. This bill has been approved three times in the House and, put simply, needs to be passed.
HB 1315--a bill I co-sponsored that would have prohibited state university system funds from being spent to oppose the formation of unions and collective bargaining units--was defeated in the Senate and is dead for this year.
But there was better news on several other bills I’m co-sponsoring which received Ought to Pass committee recommendations and will be up for votes this week. Meanwhile, HB 1592--which requires the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to set new legal limits for arsenic levels--was approved by voice vote and moves to the Senate Finance Committee. HB 1356 was also approved in the Senate and now moves on to the Senate Finance committee. It requires the Department of Environmental Services and the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a data sharing protocol regarding health and environmental information collected by each agency.
This Week at the State House
On Thursday, in addition to HB 1766, several bills I’m sponsoring or co-sponsoring are up for votes in the state Senate:
HB 1807 would make it easier for outside parties to obtain protective orders to safeguard the health and financial well-being of elderly, disabled, or impaired adults.
HB 485 requires standards to be set for a variety of water and air pollutants. It also establishes a toxicologist position and a human health risk assessor position in the Department of Environmental Services.
- HB 1565 would require the secure psychiatric unit at the NH State Prison to be accredited as a psychiatric hospital. It houses mentally ill inmates and patients who haven't been convicted of a crime but are considered too dangerous to be housed at the state’s psychiatric hospital. The vote comes on the heels of accusations of staffing inadequacy, abuse, and neglect in the recent death of an inmate.
- SB-593, the bill to repeal the Death Penalty in New Hampshire, comes to the House floor this week after receiving an ought to pass vote of 14 to 10 vote on the Senate floor and a 12 to 6 ought to pass vote in the House Criminal Justice Committee. After many years of hard work by my friend and colleague, Rep. Renny Cushing and the New Hampshire Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, both the Senate and House appears to be ready to stop state-sponsored executions.
Also on Thursday, the House votes on SB 309. This bill requires the state to establish ambient groundwater and surface water quality standards relative to perfluorochemical contamination.
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.