Legislative Liaison Update: July 29, 2020

Legislative bills, which were passed by both the House and the Senate in June, are on the desk of Governor Sununu to sign, veto, or not sign and leave to become law without his signature.

HB1162, an omnibus child protection bill, includes a provision to eliminate copayments and deductibles for Early Supports and Services (ESS) reimbursed to providers by fully insured health plans administered by private health insurance carriers. Consistent with federal law, this bill will not impact self-funded plans or health saving accounts with a qualified high-deductible health plan. Governor Sununu signed that bill into law on July 20.

HB250, which would have provided dental insurance for adults on Medicaid, was vetoed by the Governor, for, as he says, fiscal reasons. Although he supports the concept of adding a dental benefit to adults on Medicaid insurance, he says “I cannot support the bill at this time as the State of New Hampshire is facing historical revenue shortfalls, there is a fiscal necessity to bring our budget into balance….” We are disappointed in the Governor’s decision to veto the bill. However, we are pleased that in his veto message the Governor said he supports an expanded dental benefit. We are also pleased to report that current NH law still mandates the dental benefit be implemented in 2021.

HB1660 was also vetoed. This bill addressed protections afforded to our most vulnerable populations from financial and physical abuses. Governor Sununu vetoed a similar bill last year because he had “concerns that protections available to domestic violence victims would be reduced.” The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Shannon Chandler, argued that the bill “was heavily vetted to ensure that it wouldn’t infringe on the rights and protections of others.”

The large Omnibus bill, which included 38 bills, was made up from a mix of around 200 bills, divided by categories. Governor Sununu vetoed this bill, as well, believing that too many of these bills did not have public hearings. Senate President, Donna Soucy, said that many of these bills were administrative bills, which will affect the continuation of the government; nearly half were sponsored by Republicans.

As everyone knows, this year is an unusual one, fraught with concerns about employment, financial issues, health – mostly due to Covid 19. This has changed the way we conduct our work, our homes, our social activities. I am so impressed by the way MDS staff and leadership have dealt with these changes and with their priority to keep everyone safe. Kudos to all of you for working under these difficult circumstances.

With hope,
Marylouise Alther, Legislative Liaison
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NH Family Voices Maneuvering Through the Maze Resource Guide (updated January 2019)
Statewide guide to resources for people with physical, developmental, mental health and chronic health conditions and their families.

Keene Rotary Family Resource Guide (Cheshire County)

The River Center’s FACT Book Online
Local community resource guide for those living in the eastern Monadnock Region.