Legislative Update - week of 3/18/18

Both the House and the Senate will be in session on WednesdayMarch 21 and Thursday March 22.  Votes that were delayed last week on three of my bills will take place in the House. Another bill I’m cosponsoring which has already passed in the House will be up for a vote in the Senate.

  • HB 1632: My bottled water labeling bill requires manufacturers of bottled water to have it analyzed at least annually for perfluorinated chemicals, MBTE, and arsenic to ensure it is safe for drinking. Test results would also need to be posted on the label.
  • HB 1701: Taxpayers have a right to know how the Coakley Landfill Groups spent $27 million over three decades while never spending a dime to remove PFCs from the water despite being given over $5 million from the Department of Defense for that purpose. This bill requires the Coakley Landfill Group to open its records under the state Right-To-Know Law. This request would not only cover public entities, such as the City of Portsmouth but also private companies that hauled or dumped ash, waste, and trash at Coakley.
  • HB 1610: This bill requires property sellers to provide notice to buyers of environmentally hazardous sites within one mile of the property. It also makes them disclose water test results if a source of MTBE or perfluorinated chemicals is identified within one mile of the property.
  • SB 1592: This one is back for a second vote in the full House after some tweaking by the Executive Department and Administration Committee. It would require the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to update standards for acceptable levels of arsenic in drinking water. Arsenic contamination can occur naturally, but it also can be the result of pollution. It is one of the primary causes of bladder cancer.

Also Coming Up This Week
Several bills that I am sponsoring or co-sponsoring will be heard in the House and Senate Committees this week:

  • HB1446, Relative to Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This bill would automatically make September Childhood Cancer awareness month in New Hampshire. This bill will be heard at9:30 am in the Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee in room 102 of the Legislative Office Building.
  • SB240, relative to the monitoring and treatment of contaminated wells. This bill would set some criteria for continued monitoring for chemicals. The bill will be heard on 03/20/2018 at 10 AM in the Legislative Office Building, room 303.
  • SB574, this bill clarifies the reimbursement period for which a parent or guardian may be required to reimburse the state for services provided in a juvenile court proceeding. This bill will be heard on 03/27/2018 at 2 PM in room 206 of the Legislative Office Building.

Thursday is the last day any new bills can be considered in the House, so hundreds of bills will be up for votes.

  • On Wednesday, the House will be voting again on a family and medical leave insurance program. HB 628. was approved in February but was sent to the Finance Committee to work out the funding mechanism. But unfortunately, the bill comes back with an amendment recommendation from the Majority that radically changes the bill by turning it into a pricey private insurance program. I will oppose this amendment. But I plan to support a second amendment offered by the minority which clarifies funding without changing the intent of the original bill.
  • Three anti-choice bills originally scheduled to be voted on in the House last week were moved to Thursday of this week because of the jammed calendar. These bills would sharply curtail reproductive freedom in New Hampshire.
    • The good news is that a bill that would criminalize communication between a woman seeking an abortion and doctor if the doctor is deemed to encourage the woman to obtain an abortion (HB 1721) came out of committee with strong recommendations for the full legislature to kill it.
    • Another (HB 1707) establishing a mandatory 24 hour waiting period before a woman can obtain an abortion has been recommended for Interim Study.
    • One of the most restrictive--HB 1680--would outlaw abortions any time after the moment when a fetus could be considered “viable” outside the womb. There is no exception even in situations where the health of the mother is in jeopardy.
  • Also this week, my committee will hear the Senate Medicaid Expansion bill (SB 313) will receive a public hearing in Representatives Hall of Tuesday, March 20 at 10:00 a.m. in Representatives Hall. It’s critical the House and Senate reach agreement on the passage of a final bill because over 50,000 Granite staters depend on it for their healthcare.
Kimberly Sychterz