In an overnight effort to reach a deal that could pass, N.H. House Republican and Democratic leadership came to a compromise on budget package that, on Thursday, April 6th, passed the House on a voice vote. Of note, one of the key concessions made by Republicans was increased funding for New Hampshire workforce housing.
The governor previously had created the InvestNH Housing Program with an initial $100 million grant. This program supplies grants to municipalities intended to speed up approval and construction of affordable workforce housing. His budget proposal included an additional $30 million to help meet demand, but the House knocked that down to $15 million.
His budget proposal also included increasing investments into our Affordable Housing Fund by $25 million, “ensuring we can construct or rehabilitate more affordable housing for low and moderate-income families”. The budget adopted by the House on April 6th funds the Affordable Housing Fund at $30 million.
Less than 24 hours before the vote it looked as if the House could not find enough votes to pass the bill, with Democrats united in opposition and Republicans losing the immoderate fiscal conservatives/libertarians who thought the committee proposal still spent too much. The final vote on the policy portion of the budget package was 326-63, with all of the 63 “no” votes coming from the Republican caucus.
One of NHRLA’s “bills to watch”, HB 74 Relative to An Employee’s Unused Earned Time, has passed the House a second time 205-181, this time after a favorable recommendation from the House Finance Committee. The bill now heads to the Senate where we expect a public hearing by the end of April.
This bill would establish that the terms “earned time,” “vacation” or “vacation time, ”and “paid time off” shall be considered compensation and therefore constitute wages due, and further establishes that “sick time” or “sick days” shall not be considered as wages due.
The bill further would 1. require employers of 15 or more to inform employees of any policy regarding accrual or use of unused earned time and any limits on accrual or use and stipulates “In the absence of an accrual system, earned time shall be paid on a prorated basis”, 2. Provide a means through which earned
time requests and approvals are processed, and 3. Provide employees with an accounting of earned time used and unused earned time remaining.
Lastly the bill would provide that “An employee who leaves in good standing, or whose termination is
the result of a layoff, shall be paid for unused earned time no later than the next regular pay period.
Though the bill’s sponsors have made concessions over the several years they’ve promoted the concept, it still faces opposition, particularly from industries that employ seasonal workers who lay off employees when the busy season is over and retain the accrued hours as incentive for the employee to return for the following work season.
- The budget as passed by the House also includes the final steps to eliminate the state’s “Interest &
Dividends Tax”, which currently taxes “gross interest and dividend income from all sources” of over
- After a resignation of a House Democrat due to work injury, the membership stands at 201 R and 196 D with 3 vacancies.