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Update on 2014 Bills and Other Information

Posted: January 15, 2014

January 2014

See 2014 bills  for an updated tracking sheet on all legislation CSNI is watching in 2014.

State Senate: No Dental Reform

The Senate voted Thursday not to allow dental hygienists to provide some care now reserved to dentists under a dentist’s oversight. The Senate instead voted to create a commission to study oral health. Senator Gilmour, sponsored the bill to create a new type of dental provider called a dental hygiene practitioner. The bill’s supporters (including many in the DD community) said the idea was similar to the role a nurse practitioner plays in doctor’s offices. The bill could have allowed more dental care to be provided at a lower cost.

Update on Bills Affecting Nonprofits:

House Ways and Means Committee: End the Conversation on BET

Rep. David Hess of Hooksett, who sponsored legislation to subject 501(c)(3) organizations to the Business Enterprise Tax (BET) said he wanted to have a “conversation” about the issue of nonprofits and taxes. On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means committee voted 12-8 to kill HB 1509, which effectively ended this conversation. The 8 dissenting votes are actually not votes to pass the legislation, they are votes to “study” the issue. The full House will decide which path to take: kill or study on February 5th. Either way, there will be no changes to BET tax law in 2014.

SB 186 relative to training of certain board officers of nonprofit corporations.

This legislation would impact: transportation providers, domestic violence prevention, meals on wheels, mental health, community health centers, area agencies, hospitals, private colleges, public health agencies, substance abuse prevention agencies, nursing homes, CAP agencies, home health agencies, soup kitchens, case management agencies & many other non-profits.

The state government mandated “training” for non-profit organizations came back from the dead. After being recommended to be killed by the Public & Municipal Affairs committee, Sen. Odell (who sponsored a similar bill last biennium) offered a floor amendment (attached) that would require 4 hours of training for one Board member every other year. The bill applies to any non-profit that receives $250,000 or more in local, state or federal funding on an annual basis. This funding can come to the nonprofit by any means.

In addition, the bill requires all non-profits to report on an annual basis to the Attorney General’s office. The AG’s office is also given the power to levy fines for non-compliance of the annual reporting requirement or the actual training.

The training must to be conducted by an entity that is not connected to the non-profit so this means additional costs to not-for-profits in NH.

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Back of the Budget Cuts in Front of House Finance Committee

HB 1411 -FN-A relative to restoring moneys to the department of health and human services.

The House Finance committee didn’t waste any time reexamining the state budget this week. The panel conducted a public hearing on HB 1411, opening up a disagreement from the budget committee of conference in June- removing the back-of the-budget cuts to DHHS. The bill is sponsored by House Finance Chair, Rep. Wallner . The legislation which was supported by CSNI though verbal testimony hopes to restore about $7 million in reductions to Health and Human Services contained in the back-of-the budget. The bill proposes that the $17 million surplus from the previous budget (FYE June 30, 2013) be used to eliminate the $7 million back-of the-budget cut while sending the remainder of the surplus to the state’s rainy day account.

Toumpas: Cuts Coming without Legislative Action

In what has become an annual event, the Commissioner presented to the House Finance committee division III on Thursday afternoon. The message presented was that the department continues to face a $37 million shortfall. This is due to a variety of reasons that have been well documented since July. On the flip side, caseloads including Medicaid caseloads continue to not only level off, but in most cases are being reduced. The Commissioner said he will be forced to make “program cuts” unless the legislature appropriates additional funds to the department.

HB 1509 -FN-A relative to including nonprofit charitable enterprises in the business enterprise tax and lowering the rate of the tax.

This week the public hearing on HB 1509 took place in the Ways & Means committee with Rep. Hess introducing his bill and obviously speaking in support. He presented a new amendment to the legislation. The amendment does slightly “improve” the bill. However, many not for profits would still be negatively affected. As has been well chronicled in the media, Rep. Hess attacked nonprofits for high salaries and high capital expenditures. He said the bill is about starting a conversation on these issues in the state of NH.

The new amendment (which replaces the entire original bill) states that if a nonprofit’s IRS form 990 – line 9 “program service revenues” exceeds $2 million then the BET does apply. The only additional exclusion was for educational institutions run by govt. (I.e. USNH/community colleges). The amendment also has a provision that would allow nonprofits to deduct certain charitable expenses from their new BET payments.

Following the sponsor a total of 11 groups testified against the legislation, an additional 20 or so registered written opposition (including CSNI).

No one spoke in favor of the bill beyond Rep. Hess.

Most Opposing Speakers:

Upcoming Floor Vote:

SB 193, relative to dental therapists and access to oral health care will be voted on January 30, this bill authorizes licensure of dental therapists who may perform dental services under the supervision of a currently licensed dentist.

Other bills that have caught our eye include:

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