NH Week in Review for July 2: Bills become laws as Sununu signs legislation

Jul 02, 2017

Gov. Christopher Sununu signed dozens of bills this week, including the new state budget that starts on July 1 and a new school choice option.

The $11.7 billion operating budgetcontained in HB 144 and HB 517 signed by the governor on Wednesdayruns for two fiscal years: July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. “Granite Staters deserve results, and I am proud to say that we have delivered a fiscally responsible budget filled with bold, innovative ideas that meets the needs of New Hampshire’s citizens,” he said in a statement.

The governor on Thursday signed the school choice bill into law. SB 8 was known as the Croydon Bill because it was the town of Croydon that began offering a choice to parents who wanted to send their children to a different public school or a private school. The school district paid the tuition to the other school, a move that was challenged in court as an illegal use of taxpayer money. See a Union Leader story here.

The law now makes the court challenge moot by allowing districts that do not have a public school for a particular grade level to use their tax dollars to send children to another public or private school. 

“SB 8 fulfills a commitment I made to the people of New Hampshire. Parents, children, and school districts must have the ability to choose the education path that is best suited for them and this legislation will ensure that small school districts have the flexibility in choosing that path,” said Sununu.

Among the other bills signed by the governor was a measure—HB 160—that adds post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying conditions a person can have to get a prescription for medical marijuana. See an NHPR story here.

He also signed the fetal homicide bill—SB 66—regarding the purposeful or incidental killing of a fetus due to a criminal act.

For a rundown on some of the 80 bills the governor signed into law this week, see a Union Leader story here.

Health care bill reaction

Sununu, the Republican governor, and the state's Democratic delegation to the U.S. Congress agree on one thing—their opposition to the U.S. Senate’s current proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act.

That the Republican-crafted health care measure to replace Obamacare is opposed by U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and U.S. Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster doesn’t come as too much of surprise. But Sununu has joined other Republican governors—Ohio’s John Kasich among them—in criticizing the Senate measure for the way it shifts too much cost to states.

Sununu, in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said “there has been far too much partisan hyperbole engulfing the health care reform discussion and not nearly enough constructive ideas.”  Copies of his letter also went to the delegation members. Of particular concern is the shifting of Medicaid coverage costs from the federal government to state governments.

“New Hampshire is proud of its tradition of not having an income tax or sales tax and remains vigilant against down-shifting of costs onto states that become general fund liabilities,” said Sununu, who encouraged the Senate leaders to engage governors in the discussion of crafting health care reform.

See a Concord Monitor story here.

The New Hampshire Hospital Association said the Granite State would lose $1.5 billion in Medicaid reimbursements over the next decade if the Senate measure were to become law. See a WMUR report here.

Granite Staters got a preview of what the health insurance marketplace will look like in 2018 with the release this week of the New Hampshire Insurance Department’s annual report. See a review here.

Opioid crisis continues to have an effect

New Hampshire becomes the first state in the country to give preference to grandparents in guardianship cases related to substance abuse with Sununu’s signing this week of HB 629. The state’s child protection division has recently seen a spike in abuse and neglect reports related to substance abuse. The law puts grandparents first in line to become legal guardians of their grandchildren. See a Union Leader story here.

A new study shows that people suffering from mental health disorders are consuming more than 50 percent of the country's prescribed opioids. Dartmouth-Hitchcock, which did the study, said physicians need to be able to offer alternatives to opioid therapy for some patients to prevent chronic use. See a WMUR story here.

Meanwhile, arrests of the deadly opioid carfentanil are up. The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office said it’s investigating more than three dozen cases involving the deadly synthetic drug carfentanil. See a Concord Monitor story here.

New Hampshire authorities say they've responded to more overdoses in June than any other month in 2017 so far, with a total of 117 suspected overdoses reported. See an NHPR report here.

The Attorney General’s Office announced Wednesday that no criminal activity was found during its investigation of the non-profit addiction recovery organization HOPE for New Hampshire Recovery. See an NHPR story here.


Gov. Sununu and Secretary of State William Gardner say they will turn over publicly available voter data to the Election Integrity Commission that was empanelled by President Donald Trump. Gardner is a member of the panel that was created to investigate voter fraud nationwide. All 50 states have been asked to provide voters’ names, addresses, dates of birth, party affiliation, last four social security number digits and voting histories since 2006. Some in the state don’t want to comply with the request. See a Union Leader story here.

Ban sobriety checkpoints? Eliminate mandatory retirement age for judges? Culling deer to reduce Lyme Disease? These are some of the issues we’re discussing this week on our Facebook page. You are invited to join the conservation.


Site-wide Search

Related Bill


Join our constantly growing community. Membership is free and supports our efforts to help NH citizens become informed and engaged. 


©2017 Live Free or Die Alliance | The Live Free or Die Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.