N.H. Roll Call: Week of Jan. 20

Allowing employees time off to vote

House Bill 506, “relative to allowing employees time to vote in biennial general elections,” is sponsored by Reps. Ellen Read, D-Newmarket, and Timothy Horrigan, D-Durham. The bill, as amended, allows employers to let employees take time away from work to vote in biennial general elections.

The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee voted 10 to 4 recommending passage, with an amendment. Reporting for the committee, Rep. Jaci Grote, D-Rye, wrote, “This bill requires employers, if practical, to allow an employee up to three hours to vote. This bill applies only for biennial general elections and does not mandate pay to the employee during this time. Some workers do not know their schedule with enough notice to arrange for absentee balloting. This bill gives additional access to voting rights.”

The original bill would have made the state primary election and the general election legal New Hampshire holidays. The committee offered an amendment that calls for the time off for employees. The first vote was on the amendment offered by the committee, which passed 186 to 173. “Yes” supported the amendment, “no” opposed:

Portsmouth Herald area legislators

Yes: Max Abramson, Libertarian-Seabrook; Patricia Bushway, D-Hampton; Michael Cahill, D-Newmarket; Jacqueline Cali-Pitts, D-Portsmouth; Dan Davis, R-Kensington; Michael Edgar, D-Hampton; Julie Gilman, D-Exeter; Gaby Grossman, D-Exeter; Jaci Grote, D-Rye; Jason Janvrin, R-Seabrook; Tamara Le, D-North Hampton; Patricia Lovejoy, D-Stratham; Jim Maggiore, D-North Hampton; Dennis Malloy, D-Greenland; Rebecca McBeath, D-Portsmouth; Kate Murray, D-New Castle; Laura Pantelakos, D-Portsmouth; Mark Vallone, D-Epping; Michael Vose, R-Epping; Gerald Ward, D-Portsmouth

No: Patrick Abrami, R-Stratham; Debra Altschiller, D-Stratham; Lisa Bunker, D-Exeter; Renny Cushing, D-Hampton; Charlotte DiLorenzo, D-Newmarket; Deborah Hobson, R-East Kingston; Aboul Khan, R-Seabrook; Liz McConnell, D-Brentwood; David Meuse, D-Portsmouth; Ellen Read, D-Newmarket; Peter Somssich, D-Portsmouth

Not voting: Skip Berrien, D-Exeter; William Fowler, R-Seabrook; Tom Loughman, D-Hampton, excused

Foster’s Daily Democrat area legislators

Yes: Lino Avellani, R-Sanbornville; Gerri Cannon, D-Somersworth; Ed Comeau, R-Brookfield; Donna Ellis, D-Rochester; Kristina Fargo, D-Dover; Timothy Fontneau, D-Rochester; Peter Hayward, R-Milton; Sandra Keans, D-Rochester; Linn Opderbecke, D-Dover; Peter Schmidt, D-Dover; Marjorie Smith, D-Durham; Judith Spang, D-Durham; Matthew Towne, D-Barrington; Kenneth Vincent, D-Somersworth; Janet Wall, D-Madbury; Kurt Wuelper, R-Strafford

No: Peter Bixby, D-Dover; Barbara Comtois, R-Center Barnstead; Casey Conley, D-Dover; George Feeney, R-Alton; Amanda Gourgue, D-Lee; Chuck Grassie, D-Rochester; Peg Higgins, D-Rochester; James Horgan, R-Farmington; Timothy Horrigan, D-Durham; Raymond Howard, R-Alton; Cam Kenney, D-Durham; Mac Kittredge, R-Rochester; Cassandra Levesque, D-Barrington; William Marsh, R-Wolfeboro; Bill Nelson, R-Brookfield; Mona Perreault, R-Rochester; Joseph Pitre, R-Farmington; Cecelia Rich, D-Somersworth; Abigail Rooney, R-Milton; Jeffrey Salloway, D-Lee; Catt Sandler, D-Somersworth; Susan Treleaven, D-Dover

Not voting: Steven Beaudoin, R-Rochester; Sherry Frost, D-Dover; Michael Harrington, R-Strafford; Thomas Southworth, D-Dover; Peter Varney, R-Alton, excused; Wendy Chase, D-Rollinsford, not excused

After the amendment passed, the bill was approved as amended on a non-roll call vote of 211 to 148. It will go to the Senate for public hearing and action.

Protection of children

HB 377, “relative to the best interest of the child under RSA 169-C and the duties of the oversight commission on children’s services,” amends the purpose statement of the Child Protection Act, and directs an oversight commission to consider laws that will promote the best interest of a child.

The House Children and Family Law Committee voted 14 to 1 recommending passage. Reporting for the committee, Rep. Skip Berrien, D-Exeter, wrote, “This legislation elevated the best interests of the child to be the primary consideration in child protection proceedings.”

The minority member of the committee who recommended killing the legislation reported, “The bill is trying to place the state�s determination of the best interest of the child above preservation of the family unit.”

The House voted 255 to 115 to pass the bill. “Yes” favored passage, “no” opposed:

Herald area legislators

Yes: Altschiller, Berrien, Bunker, Bushway, Cahill, Cali-Pitts, Cushing, DiLorenzo, Edgar, Gilman, Grossman, Grote, Janvrin, Khan, Le, Lovejoy, Maggiore, Malloy, McBeath, McConnell, Meuse, Murray, Pantelakos, Read, Somssich, Vallone, Ward

No: Abrami, Abramson, Davis, Hobson, Vose

Not voting: Loughman, excused; Fowler, not excused

Foster’s area legislators

Yes: Bixby, Cannon, Chase, Conley, Ellis, Fargo, Fontneau, Frost, Gourgue, Grassie, Higgins, Horrigan, Keans, Kenney, Levesque, Marsh, Opderbecke, Rich, Rooney, Salloway, Sandler, Schmidt, Smith, Spang, Towne, Treleaven, Vincent, Wall

No: Avellani, Comeau, Comtois, Feeney, Hayward, Horgan, Howard, Kittredge, Nelson, Perreault, Pitre, Wuelper

Not voting: Beaudoin, Harrington, Southworth, Varney, excused

The bill will be referred to the Senate for public hearing and recommendation.

Student discipline and behavioral needs

HB 677, “relative to discipline of students, addressing students’ behavioral needs, and making an appropriation therefor,” is sponsored by Rep. Tamara Le, D-North Hampton. It changes the policy for discipline and expulsions from school, and requires the N.H. Department of Education to aid school districts in addressing students’ behavioral health needs.”

The House Education Committee voted 9 to 6 recommending passage, with an amendment. The committee reported, “This bill establishes guidelines and policies for school districts regarding school discipline, consequences, and supports without penalizing the student academically. Funds are appropriated to support student behavioral health and wellness and address students� social, emotional, and behavioral needs.”

Recommending the bill be killed, the minority wrote, “The minority appreciates all of the work put into this amendment. We are in complete agreement with section 1 (which details the objectives of the bill). We support the policy in section 2, but we believe that this can be implemented without the state spending $5 million.”

The House voted 210 to 149 supporting passage. “Yes” is a vote for the bill, “no” opposed:

Herald area legislators

Yes: Altschiller, Bunker, Bushway, Cahill, Cali-Pitts, Cushing, DiLorenzo, Edgar, Gilman, Grossman, Grote, Lovejoy, Maggiore, Malloy, McConnell, Meuse, Murray, Pantelakos, Read, Somssich, Vallone, Ward

No: Abrami, Abramson, Davis, Fowler, Hobson, Janvrin, Khan, Vose

Not voting: Berrien, Loughman, excused; Le, McBeath, not excused

Foster’s area legislators

Yes: Bixby, Cannon, Chase, Conley, Ellis, Fargo, Fontneau, Gourgue, Grassie, Higgins, Horrigan, Kenney, Levesque, Opderbecke, Rich, Salloway, Sandler, Schmidt, Smith, Towne, Treleaven, Vincent, Wall, Wuelper

No: Avellani, Comeau, Comtois, Feeney, Hayward, Horgan, Howard, Keans, Kittredge Marsh, Nelson, Perrault, Pitre, Rooney

Not voting: Beaudoin, Frost, Harrington, Southworth, Varney, excused; Spang, not excused

The bill was sent to the House Finance Committee for review and further recommendation. A meeting has been set for this coming Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. in room 209 of the Legislative Office, and on Feb. 5 at 10:00 a.m. in room 210 of the LOB.

Opioid addiction therapy

HB 366, “adding opioid addiction, misuse, and abuse to qualifying medical conditions under therapeutic use of cannabis,” is sponsored by Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, and Sen. John Reagan, R-Deerfield. The bill adds opioid use disorder to the qualifying medical conditions under the state’s therapeutic law.

The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee voted 14 to 7 recommending passage, with an amendment. The committee reported, “As amended, this bill adds opioid use disorder (OUD) to the list of qualifying conditions for certification for the use of therapeutic cannabis, with significant restrictions. Due to the complexity of OUD treatment with cannabis products, the majority of the committee feels that certification should be restricted to specific practitioners with a specialized knowledge of addiction treatment.”

Recommending the bill be killed, committee member Rep. William Marsh, R-Wolfeboro, reported, “It was reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 2017 in an article titled ‘Cannabis use and risk of prescription opioid use disorder in the U.S.’ that cannabis users had a 3.5 times greater odds of any opioid use and 2.6 times greater odds of new-onset opioid use 3 years later. It is therefore not rational to approve cannabis for the treatment of opioid addiction.”

The House passed the bill 289 to 65. “Yes” supported it, “no” opposed:

Herald area legislators

Yes: Abramson, Altschiller, Bunker, Bushway, Cahill, Cali-Pitts, Cushing, Davis, DiLorenzo, Edgar, Gilman, Grossman, Grote, Janvrin, Khan, Le, Lovejoy, Maggiore, Malloy, McBeath, McConnell, Meuse, Murray, Pantelakos, Read, Somssich, Vallone, Ward

No: Abrami, Hobson, Vose

Not voting: Berrien, Fowler, Loughman, excused

Foster’s area legislators

Yes: Avellani, Bixby, Cannon, Chase, Comeau, Comtois, Conley, Ellis, Fargo, Gourgue, Grassie, Hayward, Higgins, Horgan, Horrigan, Howard, Keans, Kenney, Kittredge, Levesque, Opderbecke, Pitre, Rich, Rooney, Salloway, Schmidt, Smith, Spang, Towne, Treleaven, Vincent, Wall

No: Feeney, Marsh, Nelson, Perreault, Wuelper

Not voting: Beaudoin, Fontneau, Frost, Harrington, Southworth, Varney, excused; Sandler, not excused

The legislation goes to the Senate for public hearing and action.

For information on contacting legislators, to request introduction of a bill or offer a viewpoint, and to review specific legislation and roll calls, visit NH.gov.

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