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2020 Legislative Session Underway

The NH House opened the 2020 Legislative year with sessions held on Wednesday and Thursday, January 8th and 9th to consider two vetoes by the Governor on bills pertaining to teacher tenure (HB226) and the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck program (HB315), and to take action on 156 bills that had been retained by the House from the 2019 session.

HB226 would have ensured that a teacher who had two years of experience would be entitled to a hearing before a school board to ask for reasons why he/she was not being rehired or reelected to that position for the coming school year.  In his veto message the Governor wrote: “…just two years on the job…is simply not enough time for local officials to know if new teachers are the right fit for their schools.”  Current law only gives teachers with five years of experience the right to a hearing.

HB315 would have repealed a statute that granted the Secretary of State authority to participate in the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, a program that was suspended indefinitely in 2019 and which a dozen states had withdrawn from due to the program’s inaccurate data and risk to voter privacy rights.  In his veto message, the Governor stated that HB 315 “would impose unreasonable restrictions on the Secretary of State’s ability to determine the best voter registration information sharing arrangement for our state.”  In fact, HB315 stated that “the secretary of state may enter into a program..to share and exchange information to improve the accuracy and efficiency of voter registration systems…”  The bill also required that the secretary of state “shall ensure that any information or data shared between the agencies is protected by security processes and protocols and that any information or data that is of a confidential nature remains confidential.” However, if the secretary of state chose not to participate in such a program, he would be required to report to the General Court why he chose not to participate.  These are hardly “unreasonable restrictions.”

The Governor’s vetoes were sustained.

Following are some of the bills carried over from 2019 that were approved by the House (some may have been referred to a second House committee for further review):

  • SB45, relative to electioneering at polling places
  • SB283, relative to post-election audits of electronic ballot counting devices
  • HB667, relative to testing wells before issuing a certificate of occupancy
  • HB640, establishing a registration fee for canoes and kayaks
  • SB255, relative to dementia training for direct care staff in residential facilities and community-based settings
  • HB626, relative to penalties for overtaking and passing a school bus
  • HB308, establishing a condominium dispute resolution board
  • HB677, relative to discipline of students, addressing students’ behavioral needs, and making an appropriation therefor
  • SB8, establishing an independent redistricting commission
  • HB327, making an appropriation to the community college system to continue the math learning communities program in partnership with NH high schools
  • HB731, relative to the minimum hourly rate
  • SB19, relative to the privacy of certain information concerning public employees
  • HB102, relative to municipal ordinances regarding the use of plastics (single use plastic bags)
  • HB559, enabling municipalities to ban single-use sources of plastic pollution
  • SB159, relative to net energy metering limits for customer-generators
  • SB166, relative to competitive electricity supplier requirements under net energy metering

For the full text of these bills, go to the NH General Court’s “Bill Search” page and enter the bill number to view the history and text of the bill.  Be sure to change the default “Session Year” (2020) to 2019, since the above bills were carried over from last year.

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