It was a busy day in the New Hampshire Senate yesterday, which passed S B 3 3 6, a bill that alters the definition of who is eligible for a concealed carry permit. The bill changes the term “suitable person” for permit applicants to “proper person” in giving guidance to issuing agencies. Senator Sam Cataldo, Republican from Farmington, hailed the vote saying, quote
Existing New Hampshire law is based on an outdated phrase that was originally intended to prevent gun ownership by people of a certain national origin. This bill strengthens protections for all citizens’ personal rights to carry a firearm, and limits the ability for an issuant to unjustly discriminate against an applicant by arbitrarily denying the ability to exercise their rights under the Second Amendment.
The bill makes no changes to whom is eligible to possess a firearm.
Senate bills 3 4 2 and 5 5 2 were also passed. S B 3 4 2 removes tax penalties for businesses selling or exchanging ownership and S B 5 5 2 allows small businesses to take a greater deduction from their business profits for capital expenditures. Senator David Boutin, Republican from Hooksett, said the two bills were good for businesses, stating they removed an income tax on small businesses and enabled startups to expand their operations and grow jobs in the state quote “without being penalized for their success.”
Two more bills relating to the opioid crisis also gained favorable votes. S B 5 3 2, forces changes to medical insurers’ prior authorization requirements for inpatient substance abuse treatment services and standardizes the reauthorization process to follow the American Society of Addiction Services (ASAM) guidelines. Senator Nancy Stiles, Republican from Hampton, said the legislation was important because it quote “expedites the process when an individual chooses to accept inpatient treatment and actually being admitted for that treatment immediately.” She complained that the process of seeking prior authorization and waiting for approval can discourage individuals from seeking treatment.
S B 5 3 3 adds another five million dollars to the eighty million already being spent to combat the heroin and opioid crisis. We’ve uploaded the Projected Substance Use-Related Spending report with this news read so you can see where all that dough is going. In a statement issued after the bill’s passage, Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, Republican from Wolfeboro, said the state had already increased substance abuse funding by seventy five percent over the previous budget, but that quote “this additional funding is necessary to enhance treatment and recovery resources available to our friends and neighbors suffering from addiction.”
About the bill’s passage, Senate Finance Committee Chair, and soon to be candidate for governor, Jeanie Forrester, Republican from Meredith said, quote:
Since we all agree that combating this crisis is a shared priority, and we know there are unspent funds available because of the Governor’s failure to staff emergency recovery services, she should support putting these dollars to back to work to curb this crisis.
S B 4 1 7 also got the nod from senators. The bill prevents hospitals from requiring doctors to sign non-compete contracts that prohibit them from practicing elsewhere in New Hampshire. Bill sponsor Senator Andy Sanborn, Republican from Bedford, call the legislation a simple common sense measure, quote:
designed to help reduce the cost of health insurance in New Hampshire and provide greater choice for healthcare consumers while also preventing hospitals from getting between doctors and their patients.
Sanborn said eliminating non-compete contracts would encourage greater flexibility and competition among providers with the intention of driving down medical costs by allowing doctors to freely move among practices.
Sanborn also lauded the passage of C A C R 2 7 in the Senate yesterday. The bill would amend the state’s constitution to prohibit spending more than what is collected in tax revenue in any given year. Said Sanborn, quote: “
Our taxpayers expect us to live within our means and develop a budget that doesn’t spend more than the revenue our state is able to bring in. This requirement will force legislators to meet our constituents’ expectations by limiting spending and operating within a balanced budget each biennium.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Manchester School Superintendent Debra Livingston has released her budget request in advance of Monday’s meeting of the Board of School Committee, where it will be officially presented. Livingston is looking for a four point one million dollar increase in spending over the current one hundred sixty one million dollar budget, an amount that exceeds the city’s cap on spending and tax increases by at least two and half million dollars. Driving the increase are jumps in salary and benefit line items totaling more than two point six million dollars (…ooops…), a more than eight hundred forty thousand dollar increase in tuition for special education outplacement and an increase in the district’s debt service by nearly half a million dollars.
In her presentation, Livingston simply shows the board that to meet the tax cap budget number required by the charter, more than two and a half million dollars will have to be removed from her almost one hundred sixty five point two million dollar request. The presentation also contained budgets for individual schools, showing both how much it costs the district to operate each school and also how much money she says would have to be removed from each school’s budget to meet the tax cap.
Hate to say I told you so, but…
That’s news from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!