Last week American’s for Prosperity New Hampshire published a list of legislative priorities for the Granite State in 2021. They’ve put a much-needed focus on ten pieces of legislation covering Education, Licensing, Free Speech, Asset Forfeiture, Health Care, and (believe it or not) Climate Change (sort of).
I’ve excerpted a quick look at each, directly from AFP-NH, linked the relevant bill to the text, and (in most cases) offered a thought or two.
Bringing Right to Work Protections to Workers
Sponsor: Sen. John Reagan
New Hampshire private-sector workers should be afforded the same rights that public sector workers received in the wake of the Janus ruling in 2018, that makes clear that no one should be forced to join or pay a union in order to keep their job.
The bill title “prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union” says it all. Worker freedom is important to us, and we hope to the Republican Majorities and most importantly the governor. (More on Right to Work Here.)
Expanding Employer Tax Relief
Sponsor: Speaker Sherm Packard
To get New Hampshire’s economy surging again, we need to stop raising taxes on job creators and give them relief to get their companies running at full strength again.
This strips all the provisions and triggers the Democrats added in the last budget compromise meant to end tax relief for NH job creators. This was needed without the destructive burdens placed on them by the political response to COVID19 and will make New Hampshire unique in all of New England. Every other state will – if true to form – raise taxes on businesses they’ve spent the last year beating to death with a heavy-handed pandemic response.
Phasing out the Interest & Dividends Tax
Sponsor: Rep. Norm Silber
The majority of I&D taxpayers are 65 and over, and this tax induces many of these seniors to move to states, like Florida, Tennessee and Texas, that do not tax this income. Phasing out this tax would allow many of these seniors to stay here and would make New Hampshire truly income tax free.
Creating Education Freedom Accounts
Sponsor: Speaker Sherm Packard
Education Freedom Accounts will allow the money to follow the child to whichever education pathway is best for their unique needs and talents.
This is one of many issues over which the institutional left will lose its mind. The problem for Democrats here is the heavy-handed COVID19-narrative-water carried by the teachers’ unions. They are militant about not returning to in-person learning before a ‘vaccine.’ That’s been their position for the duration. Parents overwhelmingly disagree. In some places, homeschooling numbers have doubled. Parents who stuck with the Ed Ind Complex are war-weary, disgruntled, and unimpressed by the remote experience.
The iron is hot. Will the Republicans screw it up or manage to advance a critical means for undermining the government school monopoly with a goal of improving education?
Universal Recognition of Occupational Licenses
Sponsor: Rep. Michael Harrington
Many states (including NH) suspended licensure requirements for health care workers from other states (for COVID19). This helped bring more workers to New Hampshire who were qualified/licensed in their home state without having to go through a burdensome process of getting a New Hampshire license. This same policy should apply to all licensed fields to make it easier to move to NH and work in a field in which the new resident is already qualified.
New Hampshire’s Occupational Licensing rules are burdensome and excessive. While we need to repeal more than a few – and I suspect there is legislation to try and do that – this is an excellent step in addressing the problems exposed by the initial chaotic response to the Coronavirus. (More on occupational licensing here.)
Protecting Online Privacy
Sponsor: Rep. Keith Erf
This bill would require that law enforcement get a warrant before accessing Granite Staters’ data stored in a cloud. This will protect individuals’ privacy from unnecessary government snooping.
Privacy, being a constitutional right in New Hampshire, except when it’s not, you’d think this unnecessary. But our readers will know that is not true. The AG likes to issue sealed secret warrants and then hide them in discovery and as a rule federal law does not require warrants for snooping your cloud data. This bill requires a warrant before a search can be conducted.
Strengthening Protections from Asset Forfeiture
Sponsor: Rep. Mike Sylvia
“…police agencies have circumvented[NH] law by utilizing the federal Equitable Sharing program – which allows federal authorities to seize and forfeit one’s property under federal law. This bill would rein in the use of that program.”
This is the next step in our journey to end the abuse of civil asset forfeiture in the Granite State. (More on Asset Forfeiture Here.)
Expanding Options for Direct Payment in Health Care
Sponsor: Rep. Mark McLean
“In 2019, the Legislature passed a bi- partisan bill to legalize direct primary care, where doctors and patients can contract for direct payments, without involving third party payers, such as Medicare, Medicaid or insurance com- panies. This bill would extend this model to health care facilities…”
Care providers would be able to tell you how much, you agree to let them do the work, you pay them, done. More open, more options.
Protecting Free Speech Rights on Public College Campuses
Sponsor: Rep. Joe Alexander
This bill would have USNH be a leader in protecting free speech by welcoming different points of view to campus.
Two key definitions:
Harassment” shall mean only that expression that is unwelcome, so severe, pervasive, and subjectively and objectively offensive, that a student is effectively denied equal access to educational opportunities or benefits provided by the public institution of higher education.
“Materially and substantially disrupts” means when a person, with the intent to or with knowledge of doing so, significantly hinders another person’s or group’s expressive activity, prevents the communication of the message, or prevents the transaction of the business of a lawful meeting, gathering or procession by
I’ve been asking for a bill like this for a while and these two definitions strike me as compelling. In each case, the university or a group or students, suppressing speech, could easily be found to have violated them.
Then there’s the teeth.
If a public institution of higher education is sued for an alleged violation of First Amendment rights, a supplementary report with a copy of the complaint, or any amended complaint, shall be submitted to the governor and state legislature within 30 days.
188-I:7 Remedies. Any person or student association aggrieved by a violation of this chapter may bring an action against the public institution of higher education and its employees acting in their official capacities, responsible for the violation and seek appropriate relief, including, but not limited to, injunctive relief, monetary damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and court costs. If a court should find a violation of this chapter, it shall issue an award of at least $5,000.
It’s unfortunate that we need legislation to do what the First Amendment does, but we do, and here it is. (More on Free Speech here.)
Removing the State from the Transportation and Climate Initiative
Sponsor: Rep. Jeanine Notter
The bill would remove New Hampshire entirely from TCI by eliminating the authorization for agencies to continue to work on the plan.
Prevents state resources from being expended in pursuit of a regressive gas tax scheme that harms lower and middle-income Granite Staters and drives up the cost of everything. (More on TCI here.)
Here’s the official Press Conference for the launch of the agenda. You can listen to the Bill’s sponsors or a proxy explain each bill and its benefits.