Kevin Landrigan: NH lawmakers to plow through bills before week off
CONCORD - The N.H. Legislature is in high octane mode as lawmakers try to plow through dozens of bills before an annual, one-year break next week.
We're by no means at crunch time which is next month at the crossover time when the House of Representatives and State Senate must separately finish with their own bills.
But to get there, the nearly two dozen policy committees have to make a lot of progress in February.
A highlight is Tuesday morning in Representatives Hall when supporters and opponents of casino gambling testify on Manchester Democratic State Sen. Lou D'Allesandro's bill to legalize betting on two casinos.
Meanwhile, a House committee takes testimony on Gov. Maggie Hassan's new way to help balance the next two-year state budget, allowing gambling on Keno games at bars and restaurants.
Those who want to decriminalize marijuana use will make their pitch tomorrow afternoon before a House committee.
The pitch to give new mothers access to breastfeeding in the workplace also comes to a Senate committee Tuesday afternoon.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives has its third business session of the 2015 year. The House is expected to endorse legislation to commemorate the 2016 presidential primary ballot with a special label that it will be the 100th anniversary.
The House will also decide whether to kill bills that prevent the use of taxpayer dollars to support abortion and to create a single-payer, government-run health care sstem.
A Senate committee will hear supporters of setting up a recovery fund for the victims of the Financial Resources Mortgage scandal, the Lakes Region Ponzi scheme.
On Thursday, House committees will take up bills to create a four-year term for governor, create a tax amnesty that Hassan has endorsed and give a tax credit for the motion picture industry.
The Senate will debate a bill to ban the discrimination against any employees who are victims of domestic violence or stalking.
A move to repeal an education tax credit that supports private, parochial or home schooling is likely to die in the Senate.
The week concludes with an expanded gambling alternative of a different sort. Epsom Republican State Rep. Dan McGuire wants to let all those bars and restaurants with a liquor license to have up to six slot machines apiece.
Here's the biggest contrast between D'Allesandro's casino bill and this one; the casino license fees would be $80 million for the larger casino, $40 million for the other.
McGuire would charge the liquor license holder a $900 license fee.