On a vote of 196-181, the New Hampshire House on June 24th adopted a version of HB 2, the policy bill that accompanies the appropriations contained in HB 1, thus the state has a new budget as of July 1.
It was the policy more than the actual appropriations caused the most controversy and caused its fate to be questioned. A paid family and medical leave insurance program for state employees is part of the bill; included is an option for private-sector employers to opt-in. This met with opposition from a certain group within the Republican caucus. This group was also at odds with a compromise on language that limits a governor’s powers in future states of emergency. Governor Sununu spent the week leading up to the vote seeking support from within the Republican caucus, including attending a meeting of the Republican caucus last Friday.
The House had stripped the FMLI provisions from its version of the budget in March, but the Senate put it back in. In the compromise, the effective dates were pushed out; it is anticipated that private-sector employers could opt-in as of January 1, 2023, 18 months from now. This does leave the 2022 session for any adjustments to the program that may be necessary as the process is initiated.
Also of interest to NHRLA members are reductions in the state’s Business Profits Tax and Business Enterprise Tax, effective with the current tax year.
Last month SB 155, related to codifying temporary emergency orders, was the subject of two attempts to limits employers’ ability to ask about or make employment decisions based upon an employee’s vaccine status. An attempt at those limitations again when the full House was considering the bill also failed.
However, closer to traditional New Hampshire fashion, on its way to the governor is HB 220, relative to medical freedom in immunizations. The bill states “Every person has the natural, essential, and inherent right to bodily integrity, free from any threat or compulsion by government to accept an immunization. Accordingly, no person may be compelled to receive an immunization for COVID-19 in order to secure, receive, or access any public facility, any public benefit, or any public service from the state of New Hampshire, or any political subdivision thereof, including but not limited to counties, cities, towns, precincts, water districts, school districts, school administrative units, or quasi-public entities.”
Thus the New Hampshire legislature wraps its 2021 session. Ahead are the many bills put off for consideration because the legislature did not have bandwidth (literally) this past winter and spring.
Any bill “Retained” by the House must come out of committee by mid-November; we expect most work to be done in September and October. During that time typically sub-committees would meet for public work sessions, culminating with a full-committee executive (voting) session near the deadline. Bills “Re-referred” in the Senate don’t face such tight deadline, thus committees have longer to work, but the Senate typically does their work much less formally.
We will reach out soon regarding yard tours with your elected state officials. There’s no better way for them to get to know you, your business, and the impact you have on the communities you