There will be a lot of action in the NH Legislature this week on bills that would tell businesses what to do about vaccinations as well as other ways to treat their employees. Lawmakers will also consider whether they can cut corporate taxes. Here are the details.
Tuesday, January 25
Local control meets landlord rights in the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday morning, when Senate Bill 249, which would ban local ordinances banning short-term rentals, is heard.
Also on Tuesday morning, the House Science Technology and Energy Committee will hear HB 1459, which targets the solar power industry and would require them to implement a recycling program for their panels. Expect protests from energy advocates who will point out that most other industries have no such requirement.
After lunch, the committee will hear from HB 1250, which would require the Public Utilities Commission to consider climate change, not just ratepayer costs, in its energy decisions.
Wednesday January 26
On Wednesday morning, the House Judiciary Committee will hold the first of many hearings on restricting an employer’s ability to require vaccinations among its employees. HB 1260 would make vaccination status a protected class, which could lead to a lawsuit against a company for insisting that workers be protected, followed by HB 1490, which would prevent companies with public accommodations (everything from restaurants and hotels to doctors’ surgeries and nurseries) to demand vaccinations or wear a medical device. Whether this includes a mask is not specified in the bill.
The House Ways and Means Committee will hold working sessions on a number of bills affecting business taxes: HB 1097 seeks to protect New Hampshire residents who work remotely from home for employers out of the state are taxed; HB 1204 would reduce the room and meal tax rate but increase the amount payable to municipalities; HB 1221 would reduce the rates of corporate income tax and business enterprise tax; HB 1430 would repeal the car rental tax; HB 1500 would reduce and eventually eliminate the communications tax; and HB 1541, which had a hearing last week, would waive filing fees, defer BPT and eliminate BET for very small LLCs in their first five years.
The Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee will hold hearings on two broadband-related bills — Senate Bill 247 on bail and SB 395 on subsidies that are likely to come from the federal government.
Thursday January 26
The House Labor Committee will deal with other immunization bills. First, he will vote on HB 1351, which would prohibit requiring one as a condition of employment. Next, he will hold hearings on HB 1088, preventing discrimination against employees who get vaccinated; HB 1210, prohibiting an employer from requiring “experimental” vaccinations and granting exceptions to approved vaccinations based on conscience; HB 1351,
prohibit companies from receiving public funds if they require a Covid-19 vaccination in the workplace; HB 1352, which provides eligibility for workers’ compensation for an adverse reaction to a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination; HB 1358, requiring public and private employers to establish procedures and exceptions for the use of mandatory intrusive testing as a condition of new or continued employment; and HB1377, which would allow unemployment benefits to employees fired for refusing to comply with a vaccination mandate.
The labor committee will not focus solely on vaccination on Thursday. In the morning, he will vote on HB 1053, requiring employees to be paid overtime if they have to work hours not previously scheduled, and HB 1207, which would require employers to take paid time off to vote. Ultimately, he will also hold an HB 1538 hearing, requiring contractors on state-funded projects to pay prevailing wages.
Meanwhile, in the afternoon, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold hearings on two bills – SB 428, which would establish a stock exchange for socially and/or economically disadvantaged businesses to cover entry fees during from an NH Business Finance Authority loan application, and SB451, which would set up a $5 million fund to help tech startups.