The House will be in session on Thursday at 10 a.m. – this is budget crossover day, the last day the House can vote on budget bills. The Senate will also be in session on Thursday at 10 a.m. as they vote on a full slate of House-passed bills.
Outside of the budget vote this week, we are closely watching SB 6, our bill to add more staff for child protection at the Division for Children, Youth and Families – the hearing for that bill has been pushed back later in the day on Tuesday. You can read more on that below.
House approves our pension COLA bill
HB 616 now moves over to the Senate for consideration
Our pension bill is moving on! On Thursday, the House voted 219-150 in favor of HB 616, our pension cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) bill. The bill will now cross over to the Senate for consideration.
This strong vote by the House is a huge win for the retired public employees who have gone nine years since their last COLA. Make no mistake, this win couldn’t have happened without your efforts – every call and email to legislators and testimony at hearings mattered. We thank you and the representatives who supported this bill. We’re not done yet, though.
As the bill moves over to the Senate, there will be another public hearing (yet to be scheduled) and we’ll ask you to be there, as well as to contact the members of the hearing committee. We’ll continue to bring you weekly updates – let’s get this done.
Time change: Hearing now at 2:30 Tuesday
SB 6 would add 77 direly needed positions at DCYF
The House Children and Family Law Committee will hold a hearing at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) on our child protection bill, SB 6, in LOB Room 306. That time is a change from what we announced in last week’s update. We’re looking for members to attend this upcoming hearing in support of the bill.
Background: Child protection staffing in the Division for Children, Youth and Families falls far below what is needed to meet nationally recommended caseload standards. Our child protection staff give all they can every day, but they need our help. This bill is a signal that help is on the way. It would add 77 new positions in the next two years.
What you can do: Come to the hearing and testify. If you’re interested, you’re asked to contact Andy Capen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
House to vote Thursday on the budget bills
Last week, the House Finance Committee approved its version of the next state budget, sending it along to the full House for a vote on Thursday. Lawmakers will get a briefing on the budget – all 900 pages of it – on Tuesday. You can see the amended version of HB 1 here. You can find a good compilation of other budget documents on the website of the Legislative Budget Assistant.
Once approved, the budget would cross over to the Senate, which will draft its own version. In all likelihood, the process will end with a budget committee of conference toward the end of the session. We’ll bring you weekly updates on the process, including when the Senate Finance Committee will hold its public hearing on the budget.
Updates on other bills we’re following
In addition to the bill listed above, here are progress reports on a few other key issues:
Clinicians bill: The House Commerce Committee will hold a work session Wednesday at 10 a.m. on SB 115, a bill requested by our Clinicians United group to establish a commission to study the business environment for mental health providers in New Hampshire.
Workplace violence: The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee will vote Wednesday at 11 a.m. on SB 29, a bill requested by our Conservative Members Caucus that would create a commission to study incidents of workplace violence against state employees.
Independent investment committee: The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee will vote Wednesday at 10 a.m. in LOB 306 on SB 28, which would add an active employee pension system member to the NH Retirement System’s independent investment committee.
Notice to join unions: The House Labor Committee has scheduled a public hearing for Wednesday at 10 a.m. in LOB Room 307 on SB 148, which, as amended, includes important provisions that spell out the rights of unions to meet with new employees promptly after hiring. The bill will now cross over to the House for consideration.