By Denis Parker, NEA-New Hampshire
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
It only took 223 years, but the NH House voted to posthumously pass legislation that emancipates 14 slaves that died in bondage. Two centuries ago, New Hampshire legislators decided the time wasn’t right to grant the request of the African-American slaves who had petitioned for their freedom. The Revolutionary War was still being fought when the issue came before the New Hampshire General Court.
BED BUG ACTION
The NH Senate agreed with the House and passed HB 482, which establishes the criteria for dealing with bed-bug infestations and the responsibilities of landlords and tenants in dealing with the problem. The bill is the result of work by all affected parties. Supporters of the measure say the bill will allow for a rapid response and clarifies both the responsibilities of the parties and the steps necessary for remedial action.
The State Senate passed HB 146 that would raise the speed limit from 65 to 70 miles per hour on Interstate 93 from Canterbury to the Vermont border. An exception would be through the Franconia Notch area, where the speed limit would remain as currently posted. Supporters argue that the rural aspect of the highway where the speed would increase would not impose any major impact on the flow of traffic in the area.
HOUSE OF THEIR OWN
The State Senate Capital Budget Committee appears to be following along the same road as its peers in the House in support of a new state women’s prison adjacent to the men’s prison in Concord. The Department of Corrections plans to have the new 112,000 square foot prison completed by October 1, 2016. Corrections estimate it will cost $38 million to build the new 224-bed women’s prison and transitional facility. The state is being sued over the conditions and programming at the current women’s prison in Goffstown, New Hampshire.
PLAY IT AGAIN SAM
The State Senate Finance Committee will conduct its own public hearing on the state operating budget. Public hearings on the $11 billion biennial operating budget that would go into effect July 1 will be held on May 9 in the State House Representatives Hall. The committee will hear from members of the public from 3 to 5 pm and from 6 to 8 pm. The committee has already been hearing testimony from state department officials about their individual operating budgets. If history is a good indicator of what will happen, expect to see a different version of a state operating plan emerge from the Senate Finance Committee.