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.

The Senate has put forth a series of important bills that address the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs that are continuing to hurt the health and financial well-being of NH. This session we are following three bills in particular that would go far to address these rising prices, including: SB 685, which would improve affordability by developing a re-importation program of certain high cost drugs from Canada; SB 690, which would improve transparency by requiring more information about proposed price hikes to inform cost control strategies and SB 687, which would address accessibility and ensure stable and predictable drug prices during a plan year. These bills were heard by the Senate Commerce Committee and will be voted on in the coming weeks.

Lastly, ensuring proper investments in early childhood development is essential for the future of our state. Two bills we are prioritizing this year include SB 718, a bill that would leverage existing Medicaid funds to improve early childhood development services, and HB 1638, a bill that adds financial incentives to SNAP shoppers to purchase locally and healthy. Both bills have been heard in their committee and likely go to a vote in February.

We are looking forward to another great month of progress for the health and wellness of New Hampshire. If these campaigns are something you are interested in and you would like to get involved, please feel free to reach out.

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