Legislative Update Sept. 27, 2019

New Hampshire state capitol buildingFall is here and the Legislature is back at work on retained and re-referred bills after a nice break. The Governor, House, and Senate Leadership have finally come to a resolution for a final budget and it has passed. As you know in June, the House and the Senate passed a  budget that they both agreed upon. The Governor, as predicted, vetoed the budget. The House and Senate then passed a continuing resolution that would allow the State to operate for 3 months under the FY 19 budget dollars. That continuing resolution was expiring at the end of September so the pressure was on to find a compromise; otherwise, the NH State Government would shut down. Are we really becoming Washington? The House and Senate both met on September 19th for veto day and were assuming they would also have a new budget bill. The Democrats tried to bring in a new budget bill on veto day, however, since neither the Governor nor the Republican leadership was part of the drafting of the new Democratic budget, they refused to vote to let the new budget bill be introduced. The clock was ticking. The House and Senate decided to come back in session on September 25th hoping to avert a crisis and hoping the Governor, House, and Senate leadership could find a workable budget compromise. The rumors were flying as there still seemed to be no resolution. It was almost the 13th hour on Tuesday night, the 24th when the Governor, House, and Senate negotiators finally reached an agreement. Now the chore was to convince the House and Senate to allow a new budget bill to be introduced which means a 2/3rds vote of all present. Then they only needed a majority vote of the House and Senate to pass the compromise budget. With a little theatre from the ultra-conservatives who did not like the compromise budget, the new budget and trailer bill, HB 3 and HB 4, passed both the House and Senate with only a few "no" votes. We have a budget. It is not retroactive, however.  

What is in the new budget of interest to Nurse Practitioners?:

  • Medicaid Provider Rates – Provides a 3.1% rate increase to Medicaid providers on January 1 of each Fiscal Year.
  • Secure Psychiatric Unit - Decreases appropriations for the new Secure Psychiatric Unit by $8.75M.
  • UNH Nursing – Appropriates $9M to UNH Nursing programs.
  • Smoking Age – Increases the smoking age from 18 to 19 years, not 21.
  • Reproductive Health Care Facilities - Maintains prohibition on using state funds for providing abortion services unless specifically appropriated.  This budget does not appropriate any such funds.
  • Deletions – Deletes appropriations for the Family Medical Leave Insurance start-up and the Sunny Day Fund.
  • Board of Nursing - may not have more than 2 board members associated with a particular agency, corporation, or other enterprise or subsidiary at one time.

The House filing period has ended for titles for legislation for 2020. To date, 715 titles have been filed. The actual language of the bills should be coming out in the next month. The Senate filing period for 2020 bills opens October 16th and closes October 30th

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