CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

April 19, 2012

My Opinion: April 19, 2012

By NH State Rep. L. Mike Kappler

RAYMOND — The House Session for March 28-29 was the last time to pass bills before the cross-over deadline; there were many debates, some even heated. Two bills that in previous sessions were found "Inexpedient to Legislate" (ITL) came up for reconsideration. HB-1267 - relative to adjustments to the child support guidelines based on child support expenses documented by the parties, failed for reconsideration.

But the vote to reconsider HB-1438 - relative to confidentiality of police personnel files - passed This bill, as amended, clarifies the confidentiality provisions regarding use of police personnel files as evidence in criminal cases. Bill passed OTP-A RC 284-23.

HB-1560 - relative to the interstate Health Care Compact. An amendment to change bill to make it a study committee failed RC 163-182. Bill sets forth a pro forma Health Care Compact and asks Congress to approve it. Bill passed OTP RC 221-131.

HB-1350 - relative to the style and form of new articles and amendments to articles proposed by constitutional amendment concurrent resolutions. This bill helps preserve the integrity of the June 5,1793 document. Bill passed OTP-A YES VV.

HB-1395 - revoking amendments to Supreme Court rules 50 and 50-A. This bill reverses the changes to NH Supreme Court rules 50 and 50-A made in 2010. It reverses an unconstitutional mandate that taxes clients of attorneys for the interest earned on escrow accounts. Bill Passed OTP RC 235-99.

HB-1659 - relative to the women's right to know act regarding abortion information. Bill puts NH in line with 31 states that have women's right-to-know laws. This amendment removes the criminal penalty contained in the original version of the bill, which had been a Class A Felony, changing it to a "civil infraction". Bill passed OTP-A RC 185-138.

HB-1403 - relative to providing pupils with curriculum and instruction regarding state and national sovereignty, and establishing a committee to study the implementations of the International Baccalaureate Program (IB Program) in New Hampshire. As amended, bill requires that school curriculum and instruction shall only meet school approval standards if such curriculum and instruction promotes state and national sovereignty and is not subject to the governance of a foreign body or organization. Bill also establishes a committee to determine whether or not the IB Program, which is headquartered in Switzerland, is in the best interest of our state's youth. Committee will also look into: (1) security concerning student information being sent out of state or country. (2) whether or not sending money to IB is against federal law, as the IB appears to be funded by UNESCO. and (3) what to do with existing IB school districts in the state. A-1286h YES VV. Passed OTP-A RC 209-102, down party lines.

HB-533 -FN-L - establishing a cap on the amount of school building aid grants distributed in each fiscal year. Bill as amended: (1) changes the methodology for funding school building aid. (2) it has a fiscally responsible cap and a new process for starting school construction aid next biennium. (3) school districts will get their funding upfront rather than over years so the "construction tale" will not build up as it did under the old system. (4) school districts must provide a maintenance plan and show that they have been maintaining their existing buildings in order to quality.. A-1064h YES VV. OTP-A D 277-19.

HB-1274-FN - transferring the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center to a private non-profit corporation and making supplemental appropriations. A-1324h

D 253-40. Passed OTP-A YES VV.

HB-1552-FN - relative to the reporting of funds. Bill: (1) expands the number of

dedicated funds to be reported by state agencies and calls for frequent publications

of those reports in a consolidated biennial report. and (2) will have little to no cost associated to it. A-1179h YES VV. Passed OTP-A YES VV.

HB-1692-FN - making changes to the administration of the university system of

New Hampshire. This bill: (1) Does not eliminate the Chancellor's Office, but rather

pares it down to 12 staff members. (2) Restructures the office and transfers all powers and duties of the Chancellor to the Board of Trustees. (3) Would save the system millions of dollars, and all savings goes back to the schools in order to lower tuition for NH resident students. Bill passed OTP RC 199-95. (total RC 294; many reps were absent -was your representative there?).

HB-1727-FN - to return certain insurance exchange moneys to the federal government. Bill: (1) requires the Insurance Commissioner to return, by not drawing down, the remaining $333K of a $1M federal award to the state for planning a State Health Insurance Exchange under the Federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). (2) The other $667K of the grant has already been refused by the state. (3) The acceptance of any part of the ACA grant may bring with it obligations to participate in a program that would greatly increase the state General Fund expenditures. Bill passed OTP RC 218-79 along party lines.

HB-1680-FN - relative to the duties of the Oversight Committee on Health and Human

Services. Bill requires the Oversight Committee of Health and Human Services to

establish a sub-committee to advise the General Court on the collection of data

regarding induced termination of pregnancy statistics. A-1025h YES VV. Bill passed

OTP-A D 271-19.

HB-1660-FN - relative to abortions after 20 weeks. Bill: (1) Prohibits abortions if the post-fertilization age of the unborn child is 20 or more weeks, the time an unborn can feel pain, with certain exceptions. (2) Creates a reporting system to ensure statistics regarding abortions are compiled. OTP RC 190-109.

HB-1725-FN - prohibiting health care practitioner self-referrals for medical devices.

Bill would prohibit physicians and other health-care practitioners (HCP) from referring, ordering, or arranging medical devices to patients under their care if such device is supplied by an entity in which the physician or HCP has a substantial financial interest. A-1329h YES VV. OTP-A YES VV.

HB-1623 - relative to records of the Legislative Ethics Committee. Bill requires the

Legislative Ethics Committee to make records, rules, and guidelines available on the

website maintained by the committee. A-1273h YES VV. OTP-A YES VV.

HB-1607-FN-LOCAL - establishing an education tax credit. Bill establishes an education tax credit against the Business Profits Tax (BPT) and/or Business Enterprise Tax (BET) for business organizations and business enterprises that contribute to scholarship organizations which award scholarships to be used by students to defray the educational expenses of attending a non-public school. A-1607h YES VV. OTP-A RC 173-127.

HB-1701-FN - prohibiting New Hampshire from entering into or enforcing reciprocal

agreements with other states to deny rights and privileges for non-payment of taxes owed

to another state. Bill would protect New Hampshire citizens and businesses from taxes

levied in other states from being collected in New Hampshire, and state would not collect

taxes for other states when such taxes do not exist here. Passed OTP YES VV.

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