This is the 27 th legislative/policy update for the 2023 New Hampshire Legislative session. After
the N.H. House and Senate conclude the legislative session, I provide this update periodically to
keep NHTOA members informed of what is happening in Concord. Although the Legislature is
in recess, bills of interest to the NHTOA continue to move out of the Legislature and through the
Governor’s office. During the summer and autumn, I will provide these updates as news becomes
available. (If you do not wish to receive this update, please let me know and I will remove you
from the distribution list.)
A handful of bills of interest to the NHTOA’s membership are heading to the Governor’s desk for
his consideration. When a bill arrives at the Governor’s desk, he has three options: sign the bill
into law, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.
If a bill is vetoed, the House and Senate will hold a special session in the fall to vote on each veto.
A two-thirds majority in both chambers is required to override a veto.
Last week the House and Senate announced the date for voting on vetoes “veto day.” Veto day
for the 2023 legislative session will be January 3, 2024. This is significantly later than most years
and in the case of a time sensitive veto could be problematic. Other important dates coming up
are the bill-filing deadlines for the 2024 Legislative Session: House of Representatives (September
11 – 15) and N.H. Senate (September 28 – October 12). Also, all bills “retained” in a House
committee must be voted on by the full committee by November 17.
I am attaching the updated NHTOA bill tracking spreadsheet (attached).
Four notes on this spreadsheet:
- The link to the bill text (in the spreadsheet) should take you directly to the N.H. General Court
website’s link to the bill. Note that during the heat of committee meetings and debate over
amendments, this link will sometimes not take you to the most current amendments.
- The Priority/Action looks at the entire bill and weighs many factors. The NHTOA Executive
Director analyzes each bill and makes a recommendation to the NHTOA Policy Committee.
Where a question mark is present or it is blank, we are still gathering information or assessing
our position on the bill.
- Bills that are either “Retained” or “Rereferred” are tabled within the committee and will be
voted on by the full committee later this autumn.
House Bill 221 (line 25 on spreadsheet) As introduced; this bill specified that the N.H.
Department of Agriculture will hold the easement on agricultural easements purchased by the
department. While in committee it was modified to include favorable procedural language that
addressed the transfer of easements and that there be no presumption of public access for these
agricultural easements. This bill was requested by the N.H. Department of Agriculture and was
one the NHTOA monitored. It passed the full House and while in the Senate it was amended to
include the language of Senate Bill 14 regarding game camera labeling and landowner
Action: Last week the Governor signed this bill into law. The game camera portion of it goes into
effect January 1, 2024. The N.H. Fish and Game Department will educate the hunting
community before the end of the year.
House Bill 142 (line 34 on spreadsheet) This bill will establish a mechanism at the N.H. Public
Utilities Commission to modify the power sales contract between Eversource and the Burgess
BioPower facility. As the single largest market for low-grade timber (biomass), the continued
operation of this facility is important to timberland owners and managers conducting sustainable
forestry. This market is also critical to sawmills needing to manage mill waste (chipped slabs and
bark). Because this contract has a critical milestone on December 31, 2023, the late veto day
(January 3) that falls after this milestone complicates the path forward if the bill receives a veto
Action: The full House and Senate approved this bill earlier this session. It is still in the
enrollment process and has not arrived at the Governor’s desk.
Senate Bill 15 (line 48 on spreadsheet) This is the “tree stand bill.” It requires tree stands and
portable blinds to be labeled with the owner’s name and contact information and establishes
dates for their removal. If a tree stand or ground blind is to remain in place beyond April 1,
landowner permission is required. It was also modified to adjust the dates for tree stand and blind
removal to accommodate spring turkey season (May 1 to May 31). The labeling requirement was
Action: Last week the Governor signed this bill into law. It goes into effect January 1, 2024.
Through the late summer and fall the N.H. Fish and Game Department will educate the hunting
House Bill 467 (line 53 on the spreadsheet) – This is the playground wood fiber bill. As proposed,
it will require all public playgrounds in operation or built after Jan. 1, 2024, to have a surface
area made from resilient rubber or a urethane rubber composite. The intention of this bill is to
insure handicapped accessibility. It is supported by handicapped-access groups and the N.H.
Municipal Association. Many playgrounds in New Hampshire use engineered wood fiber (EWF)
for these surfaces—wood fiber that has been ground, screened, and compacted into place at the
playground—and this bill would eliminate its use. EWF does provide accessibility (American with
Disabilities Act approved) and is a safe surface (provides a cushion). EWF is also biodegradable,
will not require landfilling after its useful life, and is an important market for low-grade softwood
fiber. Working with the Senate Commerce Committee leadership and the N.H. Municipal
Association, the NHTOA helped draft an amendment that does not impact EWF use in existing
playgrounds. EWF can be used on new playgrounds provided there is a “solid, resilient” path in
and out of the playground and to the equipment.
Action: Last week the Governor signed the Senate version of this bill into law.
|LSR#||Bill # |
(link to bill)
|Description||Committee||Sponsors||House Status/ Action||Senate Status/ Action||Priority/ Action|
|HB1||State Budget||Finance||Governor||Signed into law, effective 7/1/2023|
|HB2||Budget trailer||Finance||Governor||Signed into law, effective 7/1/2023|
|118||HB15||relative to the rate of the business enterprise tax; reduces the BET rate from 0.55% to 0.50%||Ways and Means||Jeanine Notter, Sherman Packard, Steven Smith, Jason Osborne, James Spillane, Leonard Turcotte, Maureen Mooney, Judy Aron, Robert Healey, Erica Layon||The committee voted to retain "hold" it in committee||monitor -- part of budget debate|
|403||HB192||relative to the rate and exemptions of the interest and dividends tax; repeals the previously passed phase out of the interest and dividends tax and changes the rates and exemptions||Ways and Means||Susan Almy||Committee voted to hold it in committee; work session 9/19, 10a, rm 202 LOB||monitor|
|HB412||This bill re-establishes a study commission on revenue alternatives to the road toll for the funding of improvements to state highways and bridges||Transportation||Rep. McConkey, Ebel||Signed into law, effective 11/1/2023||support|
|SB191||establishes a $50 registration surcharge for electric vehicles and requires the division of motor vehicles and department of transportation to report annually on the surcharge revenue and use of funds. Senate Amend - $100/vehicle and <20% to fund charging stations||Ways and Means||Sen. Watters||Committee voted to hold it in committee; work session 9/19, 10a, rm 202 LOB||PASSED SENATE||monitor|
|477||HB202||This bill establishes a method to equalize market value for purposes of calculating property tax abatements.||Municipal and County Government||Rep. Janigian||The committee voted to retain "hold" it in committee||monitor|
|Business/Operations/Real Estate Issues|
|135||HB347||establishing a superior court land use review docket.||House Finance||Bob Lynn||Signed into law, effective 9/26/2023||monitor|
|959||SB67||This bill makes various changes to the weights and measures statutes||Commece and Consumer Affairs||Sen. Gannon||PASSED HOUSE and SENATE, Goes to Governor for consideration (vetos, sign, or allow to go into law without signature.||monitor|
|877||SB62||relative to landowner liability under RSA 147-B, the hazardous waste cleanup fund.||Environment and Agriculture||Sen. Avard||Signed into law, effective 6/20/2023||monitor|
|993||SB56||relative to payments for upland resource losses, establishes a method for the department of environmental services to determine the compensatory payments for upland resource losses||Resources, Recreation, and Development||Sen. Watters||Signed into law, effective 6/30/2023||monitor|
|271||HB564||This bill ratifies amendments to the state building code approved by the state building code review board. The bill also ratifies amendments to the state fire code approved by the fire marshal and fire control board.||Executive Departments and Administration||Rep. McGuire, Erf||Signed into law, effective 7/31/2023||monitor|
|358||HB252||exempting agricultural operations from certain municipal noise ordinances||Energy and Natural Resources||Barbara Comtois||Signed into law, effective 8/19/2023||support|
|510||HB296||relative to local ordinances governing driveway permits||Election Law and Municipal Affairs||Thomas Walsh||Signed into law, effective 10/3/2023||monitor|
|563||HB174||relative to the filing of notice of intent to cut timber||Energy and Natural Resources||Juliet Harvey-Bolia; Simon; Pauer; Wolf; Sen. Lang; Sen. Pearl||Signed into law, effective 8/29/2023||support|
|Land, Air, and Water Protection|
|322||HB214||relative to limitations on the designation of a portion of the Merrimack river.||Energy and Natural Resources||Rosemarie Rung; N. Murphy; Sen. Chandley||Signed into law, effective 8/29/2023||monitor|
|1042||SB164||This bill defines biodiversity and requires its inclusion in certain land use regulations. This bill also creates a form contract to preserve the rights of domestic animals and wild animals||Resources, Recreation, and Development||Sen. Watters, Perkins Kwoka, Avard, Altschiller, Fenton, Rep. Bixby, Rep. Read||TABLED||PASSED SENATE||oppose|
|SB229||AN ACTÂ relative to administration of certain wetlands permits by the department of environmental services (technical changes to alteration of terrain, wetlands, and shoreland permitting)||Resources, Recreation, and Development||Bradley||Signed into law, effective 7/1/2023||monitor|
|394||HB221||requires that agricultural land development rights purchased by the department of agriculture, markets and food shall be held in the name of the state of New Hampshire or the deed shall stipulate that the state has the right to enforce the terms of the deed -- SB 14 language added in Senate||Energy and Natural Resources||Peter Bixby||Signed into law, the game camera provision takes effect 1/1/2024||monitor|
|172||HB281||relative to least cost integrated resource plan of utilities||Energy and Natural Resources||Fred Plett||Signed into law, effective 10/7/2023||monitor - get more info|
|207||HB558||relative to electric microgrids.||Science, Technology and Energy||Keith Ammon||The committee voted to retain "hold" it in committee||monitor|
|219||HB616||eliminating the class structure within New Hampshire's renewable portfolio standard.||Science, Technology and Energy||Mark MacLean||The committee voted to retain "hold" it in committee||oppose|
|387||HB609||relative to energy facility siting||Science, Technology and Energy||Michael Vose||The committee voted to retain "hold" it in committee||monitor|
|396||HB233||relative to useful thermal energy under the renewable portfolio standards||Energy and Natural Resources||Michael Vose, Douglas Thomas, Kat McGhee, Bill Gannon, Fred Plett, Jose Cambrils, Timothy Lang, Howard Pearl||Signed into law, effective 10/3/2023||support|
|457||HB458||relative to net energy metering for small hydroelectric generators. (GSHPA bill)||Science, Technology and Energy||Michael Vose||The committee voted to retain "hold" it in committee||monitor|
|483||HB246||relative to uses of moneys in the renewable energy fund. House Amendment - keep administration functions of running the fund and divert the funds for 2 years.||Science, Technology and Energy||Jeanie Notter||TABLED||oppose|
|569||HB142||relative to the operation of the Burgess Biopower plant; allows the public utilities commission to amend its orders as necessary to protect the continued operation of the Burgess Biopower plant||Energy and Natural Resources||Michael Vose||Passed House and SENATE, Goes to Governor for consideration (vetos, sign, or allow to go into law without signature.||support|
|678||HB166||relative to the elimination of useful thermal energy from renewable energy classes; removes the inclusion of technologies producing useful thermal energy from the minimum electric renewable portfolio standards||Science, Technology and Energy||Michael Harrington||The committee voted to retain "hold" it in committee||oppose|
|689||HB509||relative to the phasing out of the renewable portfolio standard||Science, Technology and Energy||Michael Harrington||The committee voted to retain "hold" it in committee||oppose|
|702||HB139||relative to the definition of "municipal host" for purposes of limited electrical energy producers; Expands the definition of "municipal host" under the Limited Electrical Energy Producers Act and removes the requirement that a municipal host be located in the same municipality as all group members.||Energy and Natural Resources||Jacqueline Chretien||Signed into law, bill has various effective dates for different portions||monitor|
|710||HB159||relative to the default service rate for electricity||Science, Technology and Energy||Rebecca McWilliams; Sen. Watters; Sen. Perkins Kwoka||The committee voted to retain "hold" it in committee||monitor|
|754||SB40||relative to net energy metering for small hydroelectric generators (GSHPA bill)||Science, Technology and Energy||Sen. Avard||Signed into law, effective 6/30/2023||monitor|
|788||SB69||relative to allowing nonprofits to participate as a customer-generator group host under net energy metering (Clean Energy NH bill)||Science, Technology and Energy||Sen. Avard||TABLED||PASSED SENATE||monitor|
|881||SB54||relative to purchased power agreements for electric distribution utilities to provide fuel diversity. IN Senate committee it was amended to remove any inclusion of existing power generation.||Energy and Natural Resources||Sen. Avard||Signed into law, effective 10/3/2023||support - with biomass|
|Wildlife & Recreation|
|150||HB97||establishing an additional penalty for a violation of privacy||Finance||Jennifer Rhodes, Lou D'Allesandro, Sharon Carson, Nancy Murphy, Bill Boyd, Debra Altschiller, Daryl Abbas||Signed into law, effective 1/1/2024||monitor|
|352||HB434||relative to flying drones in state parks||Resources, Recreation, and Development||Lisa Post||The committee voted to retain "hold" it in committee||monitor|
|696||SB14||Adds a definition of "game camera" and permits the use of a game camera to take or attempt to take a game animal or fur-bearing animal. Requires labeling of the cameras with owner's name and contact information and landowner permission for installing a camera on the land of another.||Criminal Justice||Se. Watters, Sen. Gendreau, Rep. Goley||KILLED -- game camera language pass attached to House Bill 221.||support|
|761||SB17||establishing a gifts and donations account within the fish and game fund.||Ways and Means||Sen. Lang||Signed into law, effective 7/31/2023||monitor|
|792||SB160||prohibits the operation of OHRVs for recreational purposes on designated trails and at designated times||Resources, Recreation, and Development||Sen. Pearl, Watters, Innis, Lang, Carson, Rep. Gagne, Rep. Potucek||Signed into law, effective 10/3/2023||monitor|
|793||SB15||relative to the use of tree stands and observation blinds; Requires labeling with owner's name and contact information and landowner permission if to remain on the land of another past January 1.||Criminal Justice||Sen. Pearl, Sen. Watters, Sen. Gendreau, Sen. Lang||Signed into law, effective 1/1/2024||support|
|138||HB274||relative to the administrative rulemaking process||Executive Departments and Administration||Laurie Sanborn||The committee voted to retain "hold" it in committee. Work session 6/27, 10a, 302 LOB||support concept -language has flaws|
|226||HB358||relative to the filing and adoption of proposed administrative rules.||Executive Departments and Administration||Carol McGuire||Signed into law, bill has various effective dates for different portions||monitor|
|HB655||modifies licensing laws||Finance||McGuire||Signed into law, effective 7/1/2023||monitor|
|HB467||relative to public playground accessibility||Commerce||Rep. Kuttab, Rep. Grossman, Rep. McMahon, Sen. Abbas||Senate version was signed into law, effective 10/3/2023||oppose House version|