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House approves voting restrictions, education changes and expanding rooms and meals tax

By Garry Rayno - InDepthNH | Jun 11, 2021

Photo by NANCY WEST

BEDFORD — The House approved bills to tighten voting restrictions, make it easier to sue public schools over bullying claims, and give gun owners greater leeway to display handguns.

By agreeing to changes the Senate made in House proposed legislation, the bills will now go to the governor for his action.

The House also killed five bills, three from the Senate and two of their own the Senate changed.

The three Senate bills died when the House refused to agree to form committees of conference to negotiate the differences between the House and Senate versions. They concerned an omnibus bill on election reform, continually funding the renewable energy program, and continuing to hold virtual governmental meetings.

The two House bills killed were one the Senate made a committee on campaign finance reform and one concerning local control related to affordable housing.

Election Laws

The House sent to the governor several bills dealing with elections, including one that would require a photo be taken of anyone registering to vote without a photo ID, giving political parties access to absentee ballot requests, ending the voluntary spending cap and increasing the threshold for reporting contributions, and requiring city and town clerks to daily notify the Secretary of State’s office of candidate registrations during the filing period.

Education

The House sent to the governor a bill that would require high school seniors to pass the naturalization test to graduate and a bill requiring school districts to file annual reports on gifted and talented students.

Parents would be able to sue school districts over their handling of student bullying incidents and schools would be encouraged to display the state and national mottos at their facilities in bills approved by the House.

Other Bills

The House approved a bill that extends the rooms and meals tax to online platforms that coordinate private auto and short term rentals. Bill supporters say it will level the playing field with “brick and motor” establishments that collect the levy and remit it to the state.

The displaying of a firearm would no longer be considered reckless conduct under a bill approved by the House.

A bill to prohibit municipalities from regulating a lemonade or soft drink stand by anyone under 14 years old on his or her property was approved by the House.

Out-of-state visitors who are approved for their state’s medical cannabis program may make up to three purchases from this state’s alternative treatment facilities under a bill approved by the House. To purchase additional cannabis, the person would need a letter from a physician in his or her home state or here.

Another bill would establish a freedom from vaccination program allowing people to opt out, but the Senate exempted state and private medical facilities and organizations from the program.

Cats would now have the same treatment as dogs under a bill the House sent to the governor Thursday. A motorist hitting a cat would have to report the incident just as required now for dogs.

The state would be prevented from joining a low-carbon emission program under a bill the House passed. The bill targets the regional program aimed at reducing auto emissions which state officials say New Hampshire will not join.

A bill that began as a requirement for parents to put their children under two years old in a rear-facing, vehicle-safety seat, but is now a study committee, was approved by the House.

And a bill establishing a solid waste study group and setting waste reduction goals for the state was approved by the House.

The House and Senate are scheduled to meet again June 24 to act on committee of conference reports on contested bills.

Garry Rayno may be reached at garry.rayno@yahool.com

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