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Garry Rayno's State House Dome: So many NH legislative bills get left at the roadside
For example, a bill increasing benefits for those on unemployment insurance, House Bill 1499, did not make it.
The increase would have been the first increase in benefits in 12 years, and now it will be at least 13 years.
The bill had broad bipartisan support in the House, passing on a voice vote, but ran into trouble in the Senate.
Businesses were expected to see a slight reduction in their rate because of the size of the trust fund, but senators were concerned the boost would cost companies money and instead stripped the increase out of the bill, leaving just a study committee to review rate reduction triggers.
House and Senate negotiators explored increasing the trust fund trigger to $300 million, up from $250 million, which would put off the benefit increase until 2016. However, that did not fly with Senate leadership and the bill died.
The Senate limited the prohibition to colleges and universities; the House exclusion went from kindergarten through college.
One very loud disagreement doomed House Bill 1409, which would have prohibited landlords from discriminating against potential tenants who are eligible for subsidized housing, or victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
A similar, but highly partisan battle, erupted over Senate Bill 307, which would have established a committee to study possible amendments to the federal constitution to address the Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. That opened the spigot to unregulated special interest money in political campaigns.
Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, accused the House of first agreeing to a more neutral committee and then backing away from that agreement.
A bill that would have changed how cities and towns adopt municipal charters, a policy initiative of the New Hampshire Municipal Association, died in committee when the two sides could not agree.
Opponents argued that in placessuch as Manchester that could be problematic, particularly after the city just completed a charter revision.
Every year, bills that appeared to be headed for law end up in the trash heap when either the House - or more often the Senate - decides to dig in its heels.
The small rural or critical access hospitals would recoup 75 percent of their uncompensated care, which includes charity care and the money they lose treating Medicaid patients. The state has the lowest Medicaid rates in the country, paying about 50 cents on the dollar for Medicaid services.
But when all is said and done, hospitals are expected to double the amount of money they receive for uncompensated care from today to the 2019 fiscal year. The state will have to find an additional $180 million or so over the next two bienniums to make up what it loses in general fund money.
The hospitals will pay more money to the state but receive more help with uncompensated care with a good amount of that money guaranteed.
Some may believe the deal is too rich and gives hospitals too much, but they need to remember that two superior courts said the MET is unconstitutional and trying to fill a $200 million budget gap every biennium would have been more difficult than the task the state has under the settlement.
The three will face primary challenges. The sign-up period opens Wednesday.email@example.com
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