Jan 11, 2016 5:30 PM
Landrigan: NH Legislature ready to move at breakneck speed during early part of 2016 session
CONCORD - In presidential politics, we’re at breakneck speed now as the first-in-the-nation primary is less than a month away.
At the State House the pace is the same as lawmakers are racing against a deadline, too.
Even though there’s no state budget to pass, the workload is pretty heavy with 827 bills with 692 brought by House members, and only 135 from senators.
What’s the rush for lawmakers? The calendar.
They’ve got less than a month when the House must vote on most bills, they take a week off later next month and then all bills have to be out of the House and Senate by St. Patrick’s Day.
The top priority by far is Medicaid expansion since no action by the end of the year throws more than 40,000 low-income adults off the rolls. The fight will be in the House where Republicans complain starting in 2017 the state has to spend millions each year for this coverage.
In any other year the heroin crisis would grab the most attention. The governor testifies tomorrow on a signature bill to make the crime of illegal fentanyl possession equal heroin.
This is an election year which means social issues dominate. Among those to grab headlines would loosen and further restrict gun laws, to defund Planned Parenthood, drug testing to get welfare and whether to raise the minimum wage.