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Legislative Update on Key Pieces of Legislation

Posted: April 26, 2018

It has been a busy week in the New Hampshire Legislature!! Here is a brief overview of where some of the key bills stand that CSNI is following at this time:

HB1816: Relative to Medicaid managed care.

This bill has passed the full House and has had its public hearing in the Senate. There was an overwhelming amount of support to pass this bill, specifically to portion of the bill that stops the implementation of the step 2 of managed care, which includes the waivered services provided by the area agencies (In Home Supports Waiver, Developmental Disability Waiver, Acquired Brain Disorder Waiver). In the new amendment it would allow the nursing facilities and individuals that are on the Choices for Independence Waiver to participate in other types of programs, on a voluntary basis only, that include the Programs for the All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) or similar accountable care organization (ACO) models.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee has voted that the bill Ought To Pass with Amendment. The bill will go to the full Senate to be voted on next week. If it passes the full Senate it will need to get the approval of the House for the changes. The House can concur with the new changes and the bill will be sent to the Governor, or they could ask for a committee of conference where a couple House members and a couple Senate members will get together to work through any details on the bill that is different.

 

SB590: This bill adds some funding to the developmental disabilities wait list, along with more appropriations to other areas, including mental health and the state loan repayment program.

This bill has passed the Senate and has been worked on through the House Finance committee. The committee made a recommendation this week to the full House that the bill Ought To Pass with Amendment. Part of this amendment includes more money than the Senate had originally added. The amount at this time is totals $5.4 million in total funds for the DD Waitlist for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2019.

The bill will be voted on by the full House next week. If it passes the full House, it will be sent back to the Senate. The Senate can choose to concur with the changes in the bill and it will be sent to the Governor or they can ask for a committee of conference. Again, this is where some House members and Senate members will meet together to discuss the changes to the bill and come up with an agreed upon plan for both bodies.

If either bill goes to a committee of conference the reports and final recommendations and votes need to be completed by May 24th.

 

HB628: Relative to a family and medical leave insurance program. 

This bill was started in the 2017 session and the House worked on it throughout the beginning of this session. It passed the House on three separate occasions going to different committees to be worked on. The bill was crossed over to the Senate where they had their public hearing and heard hours of testimony in support of this bill. The committee voted 3-2 of a recommendation to the full Senate to send this bill to interim study. Despite a large advocacy effort from many different ranges of coalitions and organizations, the full Senate voted to send this bill to Interim Study. While mostly all of the Senators agreed on the policy side of the bill, more than half of them had concerns of how this program was going to be able to sustain itself. The final vote was 14-10 to support the committee report of interim study.

 

SB193: Establishing education freedom saving accounts for students.

This bill is also a bill from the 2017 legislative session. The bill would create a voucher program and allow parents to privately place their children in private or religious schools of their choice and collect funding that would otherwise be allocated towards public schools. A large concern is that it diverts public school dollars to private schools that do not need to comply with the federal laws around the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA.) This is the federal law that protects individuals with disabilities and their families.

Despite much support at the beginning of the 2018 legislative session, including Governor Sununu, the Finance committee voted this week with a margin of 14-12 to send this bill to interim study. It diverts nearly $100 million from local school districts over the next 11 years. The bill will be voted on by the full House next week.

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