CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

April 5, 2012

My Opinion: April 5, 2012

By NH State Rep. L. Mike Kappler

RAYMOND — The March 14-15 legislative sessions passed the bills listed below.

HB-1216 - relative to the authority for withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. Under current law, life-sustaining treatment can be withheld or withdrawn from a legally incapacitated person if: (1) that person has a validly executed advanced directive, (2) such action is authorized by an existing guardian or other court, or (3) such action is taken according to a facility's standard protocol as applicable to its general patient population. The bill eliminates the third option because of the possibility of subjective decisions contrary to the interests of vulnerable senior citizens. A-0952h YES VV (A amendment - h House). Passed OTP-A D 206-118 (OTP-A Ought to Pass - as A) (D division vote, recorded by count, but not by name).

HB-1217 - relative to the form for executing advance directives for health care decisions. This bill expands the rights of New Hampshire citizens to be treated in accordance with their wishes at the end of their life. Passed OTP D 214-110

HB-1263 - relative to the termination of tenancy and repealing the requirement that landlords of restricted residential property provide service of process information. This bill permits a lessor or owner of restricted property to terminate a tenancy upon the expiration, rightful termination, or rescission of the term of a lease or other agreement of tenancy. It repeals the requirement that landlords provide service of process information to the municipality in which the property is located. A-0189h YES VV. Passed OTP-A D 226-85.

HB-1300 - relative to removing public officials for cause. This bill adds a "standing committee of the House or Senate" to the list of people who can petition for discharge or removal of a public official. Passed OTP D 197-96.

HB-1308 - relative to the definition of "public body" under the right-to- know law. Bill allows for semi-governmental bodies to fall under the right-to-know law. OTP D 254-69.

HB-1659-FN - relative to the women's right to know act regarding abortion information. A number of non-profits have been set up by government agencies so that public money can be hidden from public view and spent without oversight. Money taken in taxes still rightfully belongs to the taxpayers and they have a right to know where it is spent. A-0089h YES VV. Passed OTP-A RC 189-151. Bill sent to Criminal Justice & Public Safety.

HB-1679-FN - relative to partial-birth abortion. In 2007, the Supreme Court upheld the federal ban on partial birth abortions. With this bill, establishing the New Hampshire Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act, NH will join a list of states that likewise prohibit this procedure. A-0985h YES VV. Passed OTP-A RC 224-110.

HB-1723 - making technical corrections regarding parental notification prior to abortion. This bill makes two technical changes: (1) Expands the minor's access to courts by allowing them to petition a court in a community outside of their natural jurisdiction.(2) It modifies the time period for a judge to rule from 48-hours to "two court business days". Floor A-0988h YES VV. Passed OTP-A D 204-133.

HB-1206 - prohibiting the state from withholding union dues from the wages of state employees. As amended, the bill requires both a public employer and employees to pay for insurance increases if a contract expires or is at impasse. Any costs increases necessary to fulfill continuing obligations for employees shall be shared equally by both parties. A-0823h D 197-122. Passed OTP-A RC 198-137.

HB-1574 - relative to an employee's lunch or eating period. As amended, bill changes the law that an employer may not require an employee to work more than 5 hours, to more than 6 hours, without granting a 1/2 hour lunch period. A-0842h YES VV. OTP-A RC 168-161.

HB-1645-FN - relative to decertification of a bargaining unit. As amended, bill allows the board of the public employer to request a secret ballot election to determine whether or not certification will continue when the number of dues-paying members falls below 10 or is less than half of the positions in the bargaining unit. A-0969h YES VV. Passed OTP-A RC 194-141.

HB-1282-FN-L - relative to workforce housing and the definition of community. This bill helps to improve and advance local control by requiring municipalities to "opt in" to the workforce housing law, making it a voluntary effort.. Passed OTP RC 180-133.

HB-1329 - relative to the default budget. This bill will make sure that municipal default budgets can not be higher than the operating budget. RC 118-177. Pass OTP YES VV.

HB-1416-L - relative to the introduction of substances into the NH public water supply. Bill will require those communities that fluoridate their public water supply to post a notice on their residential water system billing statements. A-0961h YES VV. Passed OTP-A D 253-23.

HB-1636 - relative to the extension of fill and dredge in wetlands permits. Bill does two things: (1) eliminates red tape individuals have to go through to get a permit to repair or shore up property that is regularly affected by storms and ice. (2) provides that certain permits for repair would no longer expire after 5 years as is currently. Passed OTP YES VV.

HB-1346 - relative to the construction of power line extensions. Bill allows customers to contract directly with a power-line utility sub-contractor approved by Public Service Co. of New Hampshire (PSNH) for the construction of power line extensions. Passed OTP YES VV.

HB-1629-FN - relative to state photographic identification indicating veteran's status. Bill designates a veteran's status, when appropriate, on driver's licenses and state identification cards. A-1028h YES VV. A-1175h YES VV. Passed OTP-A YES VV.

HCR-40 - for the purpose of petitioning the Congress of the United States to adopt an amendment to the US Constitution, for submission to the states, to require, with certain exceptions, that the federal budget be balanced; or, in the alternative, to call a convention for the sole and exclusive purpose of proposing a federal balanced budget amendment for submission to the states for ratification. Resolution seeks to petition Congress for a federal balanced budget amendment. Passed OTP YES VV.

HCR-42 - supporting the preservation of the Electoral College. This resolution sends Congress a message resolved by the NH House of Representatives, the Senate concurring, to reject the "National Popular Vote Interstate Compact", and retain the Electoral College process. OTP RC 247-63.

I must stop here, and will finish this March 14-15 session next week. Have a nice week, and a Happy Easter with your family and friends.

(Editor's Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at l.mikekappler@comcast.net.)