2011 House Session Accomplishments

Restoring New Hampshire Values:
A Session of Legislative Achievements

Restoring Fiscal Responsibility:

  • The legislature passed a budget 11% smaller that the prior budget, reducing spending by over $1.2 billion and general fund spending by $536 million, or 18%.
  • The state budget includes no new or increased taxes or fees.
  • This budget does not bond any operating costs or do any additional borrowing from our future generations while using responsible revenue estimates.
  • The state will return $666,000 in ObamaCare funds to the federal government with instructions to use these dollars for debt reduction.


Growing our Economy and Spurring Job Creation through Tax and Fee Relief:

  • This budget eliminates the auto registration surcharge, which was costing our residents and small businesses between $30 and $75 every year for each vehicle they registered, putting $90 million back in our citizens’ pockets.
  • To fulfill our commitment to reduce the highest business tax rate in the nation, new laws offer three forms of tax relief to employers to help them grow their business: reforming the burden of proof for reasonable compensation, doubling the carryforward period for the BET and expanding the net operating loss carryforward for the BPT by 900%.
  • Two new statutes help our retailers, particularly those in borders communities, become more competitive and grow: eliminating the gambling winnings tax and repealing the most recent of the four tobacco taxes in the past six years.
  • The legislature also cut a number of fees on restaurants, hotels, motel, pet stores, fishing enthusiasts, those selling condominiums, and people getting married.
  • Cities and towns that are impacted by fire or other major acts of nature are now eligible for community revitalization tax relief to allow for the repair or rebuilding of damaged structures.
  • A new law directs the Business Finance Authority to establish an innovation business job growth initiative to promote investment inNew Hampshireemployers and to coordinate venture capital with start ups statewide.


Reducing the Regulatory Burden on New Hampshire:

  • The legislature enacted 43 laws to reduce regulation in New Hampshire this year to allow employers more flexibility and opportunity to grow and create jobs.
  • Industries and groups that have benefited from reduced regulations include: haulers and shippers, boatmakers, homeowners, insurance carriers, banking and trust institutions, grocers, hunting and fishing guides, small electricity generators, rural hospitals, restaurants and taverns, retailers, electricians, landlords, forest and timber workers, child care, funeral directors, employee leasing companies, pharmaceutical distributors, those selling fireworks, pet stores and breeders, small brewers, home builders, real estate brokers and salespeople, developers, ski facility operators, wine makers, road contractors, automobile dealers and pharmacists.
  • This session, the legislature repealed a number of outdated and unnecessary laws.  The repealed laws included: restrictions on the sale of oleomargarine, artificial flowers and miniature flags, a ban on the sale of stove polish, a number of unenforced election laws and the state minimum wage, which is made unnecessary by the federal minimum wage law.
  • The legislature repealed New Hampshire’s “card check” law and restored the secret ballot to state workers for whether or not they want to form a labor union at their employer’s business.
  • The Department of Labor is now required to warn employers before assessing fines for violations, developing a consultative approach, rather than adversarial.
  • A new commission will review business regulations inNew Hampshireto identify further areas to reduce the burden and make compliance simpler and less costly to employers.


Fixing New Hampshire’s broken Retirement System

  • A major achievement for this legislature was moving forward to repair the state’s retirement system and its unfunded liability that exceeds $3.7 billion.
  • The reform effort included plans to ask public sector employees to support their pensions, just as private sector workers do today.
  • Another law reforms the abuses in “spiking” public pensions that can allow public employees to game the system and take home enormous pensions.
  • The legislature also took steps to stop abusive “double dipping” – where retired workers collect a pension while holding a similar job at a near full-time level.


Enhancing Public Safety

  • The Kimberly Cates law gives prosecutors the ability to seek the death penalty in the event that a criminal commits a murder during a home invasion.
  • The legislature tightened the law regarding the revoking of a driver’s license for those under 21 who are convicted of a drug or alcohol crime.
  • A new law allows communities and private entities to utilize a pharmaceutical drug take-back program to ensure that unused drugs are not used inappropriately.
  • A new legislative committee will review the state’s parole system to ensure that the public is safe before any parolee is released.
  • The legislature restored the authority of the Parole Board to keep violent criminals behind bars by remove mandatory nine-month parole for sexual and violent offenders and allow parole violators to spend more than 90 days back in prison.
  • The state must now notify rape victims if the perpetrator was found incompetent to stand trial and is going to be released.

Protecting Local and County Property Taxpayers

  • Local governments can now legally enforce municipal property tax and spending caps to limit growth in their communities, thanks to a new law
  • A new law eliminates the “evergreen” requirement that all communities continue public employee contracts after they expire.
  • The new education funding formula guarantees that all communities will have stability in education aid funding for the next two years by ensuring that they will maintain the same levels as last year.
  • The legislature lifted a number of restrictions on communities and counties, including: making it easier to transfer funds, strengthen collective bargaining rights for cities and towns, allowing counties more investment opportunities, removing permit application waiting periods for town road work if it meets best practice standards, limiting local liability for dog bites, providing more flexibility for communities to appoint members to volunteer boards and giving communities a chance to adjust their school and municipal budgets based on education funding changes at the state level.
  • Teachers will now wait five years, instead of three, before receiving tenure, giving schools more time to evaluate their performance to ensure that students get high quality instruction in classrooms.


Protecting Individual Liberty and Families

  • A new law removes the requirement that older drivers must take an additional test prove that they are “qualified” to drive when they turn 75.
  • The state can no longer have federally-funded checkpoints that exclusively target motorcycle drivers.
  • The legislature abolished the database that collected information on uninsured individuals acrossNew Hampshire.
  • A law protects the right of law abiding citizens from having their right to own or use knives from interference from local governments.
  • The state will prohibit using race, religion, sex or sexual preference in hiring, promoting, recruiting or admissions for state agencies or universities.
  • Two bills protect parents’ rights by requiring parental notification of a minor before having an abortion and parental consent for a court to refer a child to a juvenile diversion program.
  • The legislature affirmed property rights by protecting doctors and nurses’ funds from being taken by the state and by restoring the right to appeal for homeowners for the assessments of their homes if they do not show the property to local assessors.
  • State law now protects individuals from being forced to purchase health insurance or to face a fine if they have not purchased health insurance.


Increasing Transparency in State Government

  • The state will now post its checkbook online, to allow the public to see where their money is going, in an easy and simple format.
  • A new law authorizes relevant legislative policy committees to hold public hearings and review state agencies rules.
  • The legislature extended the review and public input process of the Financial Resources Mortgage scandal and examination of state agencies’ role to ensure that a similar situation does not happen again.
  • A law makes public details of accidents involving state, county and local employees and officials in vehicles paid for by taxpayers.
  • The media may now make public the fact that an individual has a criminal record, even if that record has since been annulled.


Improving the Efficiency of State Government

  • A new law requires state agencies to update their forms, so that the public does not have to waste time filling out unnecessary paperwork.
  • The court system has been overhauled to eliminate the probate, family and district courts, merging them into the circuit court, saving more than $38 million over 10 years, while also ensuring that furlough days are over, allowing speedy access to justice for our citizens.
  • The legislature directed the state’s Medicaid program to move to a managed care model, which will improve the health of Medicaid recipients, ensure better use of health care and save taxpayers millions of dollars.
  • State department heads can now transfer employees throughout their agencies to allow targeting of resources, better customer services and the ability to operate with fewer workers.
  • State tax collectors will now take credit and debit card, making it easier for taxpayers and employers to pay their bills, while reducing state paperwork.
  • The legislature returned the responsibility for weights and measures back to the private sector, while reducing fees in the process.
  • A new law requires the state to consolidate front office and back office functions through a shared services model combining all state agencies under one roof.
  • The Judiciary and Department of Safety can now use video teleconference for administrative hearings and motor vehicle cases, saving travel costs and time.
  • State agencies must now submit budget proposals that include a 10% reduction in state spending, in addition to budgets that grow government.
  • The State Board of Education is no longer restricted in the number of charter school that may operate inNew Hampshire, providing an alternative to and competition for traditional school statewide.


Vetoes Remaining for Legislative Action

  • Legislation to allow employees free choice to join or not join a union, or not to pay union fees as a condition of employment, awaits a veto override.
  • A bill to ensure the integrity of the election process by requiring that voters must show a photo ID to vote will receive an override vote.
  • Gun owners’ rights will be protected with a veto override to allow gun owners to stand their ground when threatened, to display a firearm and to prevent civil lawsuits from those who threaten gun owners.
  • The Rail Transit Authority will need legislative approval before using taxpayers’ funds when the Governor’s veto is overridden.
  • A bill to protect parents’ rights by allowing parents to remove their children from objectionable course material in public schools faces an override vote.
  • New Hampshire citizens will again be given the opportunity to access title loans on their cars if a veto override passes.

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