AFSC NH State House Watch, December 29, 2017
December 29, 2017
Happy New Year, State House Watchers. Think of this as the first weekly newsletter of 2018, and rest up, because once the legislators come back, it will be a race to May 24, their intended day to complete business for the two-year session.
“Retained” and “Re-Referred” Bills on the Agenda Wednesday, Thursday
The House and Senate will both be in session Wednesday and Thursday, January 3 and 4, 2018. House members will meet in party caucuses at 9 AM on Wednesday, with the session starting up at 10 AM. They’ll be back at 9 AM on Thursday. Speaker Chandler has also advised them they’ll be coming back at 9 AM on Tuesday, January 9, if they don’t finish their work on the 4th.
Senators will meet at 10 AM on Wednesday, January 3 and at an unspecified time on Thursday, January 4.
In both chambers, the business at hand will be action on bills held over from 2017, “retained bills” for House members and “re-referred bills” for Senators. These will return for consideration with recommendations of “ought to pass” (OTP), “ought to pass with amendment” (OTPA), “inexpedient to legislate” (ITL), or “interim study” (IS). As noted in a recent newsletter, IS is generally seen as a polite way to kill a bill, but can indicate a sincere interest in giving additional attention to the issues it raised.
In most cases, retained and re-referred bills that pass will need additional scrutiny before getting to the governor. For example, most of the retained bills in the House have never been seen by the Senate.
NH Voices of Faith, Rights and Democracy, and other groups plan to be outside House and Senate chambers calling attention to bills they care about. We’ll describe the main ones we are watching, starting with the Senate.
The Senate is scheduled to begin public hearings on 2018 bills on Tuesday, January 9. The House will not release public hearing schedules until bills are formally introduced in the new year. We’ll provide more information about the year ahead in next week’s newsletter.