Keno. Poker. Tinted glass on cars. Support for motion pictures made in NH. Making the White Potato the state vegetable. A bid to eliminate voter ID requirements. And possible tougher license restrictions for first-time drivers. Get out your scorecards: It's a busy week at the Statehouse.
The New Hampshire House of Representatives is in session on Wednesday, Feb. 6, starting at 10 a.m. Governor and Executive Council also meet Wednesday, 10 a.m., in council chambers at the Statehouse.
Some of the many public hearings on tap:
Public campaign financing for candidates for governor, Executive Council and state senate. House Bill 250 proposes a “Clean Elections Fund” be established to provide campaign finances to eligible candidates. Candidates would qualify by collecting a requisite number of contributions. Sponsors include Sens. Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth) and Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester). A hearing on this bill is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 11 a.m. in Legislative Office Building (LOB) Room 308.
Nix Voter ID requirements? Five state representatives want to eliminate voter identification requirements – and related verification obligations. House Election Law has scheduled the bill for a hearing Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 1 p.m. in LOB 308. Sponsors include Rep. Timothy Horrigan (D-Durham) and Rep. Joel Winters (D-Nashua). And so the controversy continues.
Poker bill. Senate Ways and Means hears SB61 on Feb. 5 at 9:15 a.m. in Statehouse Room 103, which would allow poker to be played under “table stakes,” rules that “where the amount of blinds, antes, and any other type of forced bet shall not exceed $4 per player but the amount wagered by a player during the play of a hand shall not be limited except by the amount of chips the player has in his or her possession on the table. In any such “table stakes” game, the amount of chips a player may purchase at any one time for use in said game shall be no greater in value than $150.”
Keno! House Ways and Means hears a bill Feb. 7 that would allow, under Lottery Commission oversight, the operation and playing of keno games. It would direct revenues to the education trust fund. Sponsors include Rep. Keith Murphy (R-Bedford), Rep. Kelleigh Murphy (R-Bedford), and Rep. William Infantine (R-Manchester). The hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in LOB Room 202.
Beer taxes. The House, in its full session Wednesday, will take up the bill that proposes increasing the state beer tax. A committee voted 14-2 to recommend the full House kill the bill, and Gov. Maggie Hassan has said she'd veto it, if it were to reach her desk. The bill would increase the tax from 30 cents to 40 cents a gallon and designate that extra revenue to alcohol abuse prevention and treatment. The tax has not been increased since 1983, according to lawmakers, but the bill would make New Hampshire's the highest beer tax in New England.
Super majority to raise taxes. A proposed constitutional amendment to require a 3/5 vote to pass legislation imposing new or increased taxes or fees needs super powers to survive Wednesday. The House Ways and Means Committee recommends members kill it. But it's not bad fiscal policy, supporters insist, but a means to ensure transparency and consensus in the tax process. This is CACR 1.
Preservation Corner: Senate Bill 43 would enable towns and cities to appraise certain qualifying historic buildings at a percentage of market value in order to encourage the preservation of the historic buildings. Sponsors include Sen. Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry), Sen. Sylvia Larsen (D-Concord), Sen. Chuck Morse (R-Salem), Sen. Nancy Stiles (R-Hampton) and Sen. Bette Lasky (D-Nashua). A hearing on the bill is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 5, 9 a.m. in Statehouse Room 103.
Economic respite for first-time DWI offenders? House Majority Leader Stephen Shurtleff (D-Concord) is sponsoring a bill that would allow limited driving privileges for eligible first-time DWI offenders to “facilitate employment, rehabilitation, and medical treatment.” House Criminal Justice and Public Safety has a hearing on the bill on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 11 a.m., in LOB Room 204.
A County Income Tax? A House committee will hear a bill that would allow counties to adopt an income tax (administered by the state DRA). The bill would earmark revenues to fund local education, and the authorization would sunset in six years.
Tinted glass. Reps. Frank Sapareto (R-Derry) and Joel Winters (D-Nashua) are sponsoring a bill to repeal the prohibition on tinted glass in motor vehicles.
Young drivers could see more license restrictions. A bill would extend the hours a youth operator may not drive, among other restrictions. It would prohibit the holder of a youth operator’s license from driving between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. (law now reads between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.) House Transportation has scheduled a hearing for the bill on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 1:30 p.m. in LOB 203.
Motion pictures made in the Granite State. This bill would establish a credit against the business profits tax for motion picture production expenses.
Potatoes. Should the "white potato" be the state vegetable? A bill to make it so is before a House committee Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Have a news tip or an idea for a story? Email: Dan.Tuohy@patch.com