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February 2021 NHPHA Legislative Policy Update

by Joan Ascheim, MSN, former NHPHA Executive Director

Virtual Testimony

The legislature is in full swing via Zoom, like everything else these days. Testifying is a bit different, but advocates can submit testimony via email and testify using Zoom links provided for each hearing. Should you want to testify on a bill, you need to submit notice in advance using the links on the general court website about halfway down on the right on the home page. New Futures is conducting trainings on remote advocacy on February 3 at 3 p.m. and the budget process on February 10 at 3 p.m. The link to their training page is here.

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New Futures January 2020 Legislative Update

With the 2020 Legislative Session in full swing, we have been very busy across the state and at the State House. This session we are continuing to work alongside advocates, partners, and lawmakers on important legislation to improve the health and wellness of the Granite State. While we are closely following many bills crucial to improving the health of NH, our three 2020 campaign-level initiatives this year are Tobacco 21, Rx Drug Price Relief, and Early Childhood Investments.

All three campaigns have seen progress in January, and we are beyond impressed by all the work put in by community stakeholders and advocates. To start the year, the State Senate voted 16-8 to pass SB 248, a bill that would raise the legal tobacco sales age to 21. This bill will now move to the NH House of Representatives for hearings and a vote. A change to federal law just before the holidays raised the minimum age to 21, however, this bill is necessary to provide the state the clarity and authority it needs to enforce the federal law. For the health and safety of Granite State youth, we must take this opportunity to increases the sales age to 21 to make NH law consistent with federal law and eliminate any public confusion.

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New Futures 2019 Legislative Session Wrap-Up

With the recent passage of the state budget, the 2019 legislative session is finally coming to a close. Thanks to the help and support of our hundreds of advocates, session was overwhelmingly successful for New Futures in advancing public health in the Granite State. Our collective efforts have led to the defeat and passage of many critical bills and the eventual agreement on a state budget that invests in many public health priorities.

This bipartisan budget compromise addresses several important areas of need facing the health and wellness of Granite Staters. This includes increased Medicaid reimbursement rates, which are essential to building a workforce better equipped to address the ongoing addiction and mental health crises, support for critical programs and services including substance use and mental treatment, a comprehensive children’s system of care, and Early Childhood supports like Medicaid home visiting. In addition to the state budget, lawmakers acted on a number of bills impacting the health of our state.

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