Gary Rayno's State House Dome: Lawmakers return Wednesday; House eyes 'good time' for inmates
The second year of a two-year session typically starts with a bang - at least in the House - unlike the first year, when new lawmakers have to become acclimated and brought up to speed.
The House retained more than 100 bills. The Senate kept about 30.
Among the bills scheduled for action Wednesday is HB 525, which would increase from 17 to 18 the age a person is considered an adult in the criminal justice system.
The House Children and Family Law Committee unanimously approved the return to 18.
INMATE "GOOD TIME": The House also will decide if inmates can earn "good time" by successfully completing education and rehabilitation programs, most at their own expense. The final prison release decision under HB 649 would still be made by the state Adult Parole Board.
The Fish and Game Department is largely funded by the fees collected for fishing and hunting licenses, but the money is used to rescue lost or injured hikers, which can be very expensive. The state can charge hikers for the cost of the rescue, but most do not pay the bill.
People holding fishing and hunting licenses or who register snowmobiles or other off-road vehicles would also be exempt from rescue charges.
New Hampshire is the only state that does not permit the general use of license plate scanners, although they are allowed on bridges and at toll gates here.
Another bill before the House on Wednesday would increase workers compensation payments by 6 percent, which brings it back to what it was 20 years ago.
LEGALIZE HOME POKER: Another bill would allow home poker games, although they could not be advertised, and the house could not take commissions or charge a fee.
Those older than 65 would be able to use state parks and recreation areas for free, but lawmakers, executive councilors and the governor and their staffs would no longer receive free or reduced admission to the park system under SB 190, which the House takes up Wednesday.
KILL BILLS: House committees are recommending most of its retain bills be killed, including ones to give the motion picture industry tax breaks for filming in the state, to eliminate the F. E. Everett Turnpike ramp tolls at Exit 12 in Merrimack and to better regulate heating oil guaranteed price or pre-paid contracts.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS: When lawmakers return, it will still be 2013 in legislative land. The House and Senate are in recess and will come out of recess to act on the three bills Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed, all House bills.
One veto has a chance to be overridden, HB 183, which allows elections workers to begin "processing" absentee ballots two hours after the polls open and during the day for those received while the polls are open. The absentee ballots would still have to be counted after the polls are closed.
Another vetoed bill, HB 403, would have established a committee to study end-of-life decisions.
Hassan said in her veto message that lawmakers had just approved and she signed another bill that clarified the state's advanced directives law.