CONCORD – House Majority Leader Richard “Dick” Hinch (R-Merrimack) offered the following comments on the passage of three bills approved for expedited action by the Joint Task Force for the Response to the Heroin an Opioid Epidemic in New Hampshire:
“Before the Task Force came to fruition, members of both the House and Senate had already filed over 20 bills that addressed the crisis in a number of ways, but we understood the importance of creating a vehicle to move these ideas forward faster than our traditional legislative process might allow.”
“We are proud of the thorough and comprehensive work done by the Task Force, and the House and Senate committees who put the final bills together, and by passing these bills today, we are proud to have kept our commitment to the people of New Hampshire to get legislation to the governor several weeks before any other 2016 bill.”
“This is an evolving public health crisis and the Task Force was never intended to be a one-shot solution, just as the set of bills we acted on today won’t make the problem disappear. We will take action as appropriate and move forward on a broader set of initiatives as our legislative session continues in 2016.”
“This is an ongoing, comprehensive effort that we hope will prevent addiction, improve recovery, and save lives.”
The three senate bills acted on by the House today were vetted by the Task Force over November and December, and received unanimous support for expedited action. The House and Senate committees who handle the various policy areas touched by SB 369, SB 447, and SB 576 held joint public hearings last week. The Senate committees held executive sessions immediately thereafter. The Senate was able to get them before the full Senate for a vote last Thursday. Upon their passage, they were quickly processed so that House policy committees could hold their executive sessions on Friday, having already had a public hearing jointly with the Senate.
SB 369 passed the House by a voice vote.
SB 447 passed the House by a vote of 275-71.
SB 576 passed the House by a vote of 276-69.
The bills are expected to be delivered to the governor for signature this week.