Skip to content

BIA Business Perspective: Some bold prognostications for NH’s next legislative session

BIA Business Perspective: Some bold prognostications for NH’s next legislative session

Those of us who are a certain age will remember the legendary host of “The Tonight Show,” Johnny Carson. One of his greatest spoofs was to dress up in a jeweled turban and cape as “Carnac the Magnificent.” Holding a “hermetically sealed” envelope to his forehead, he would “miraculously” answer the question enclosed inside envelope.

Well, I’m not dressed in a cape or turban, nor will I need to hold an envelope to my head. Nonetheless, I do have a few bold prognostications of what New Hampshire’s business community will be seeing when the Legislature reconvenes in early January.

It’s Just Politics

2022 is an election year, which means both political parties will be doing everything they can to appeal and strengthen their base. I expect we’ll see legislation from both sides of the aisle that are submitted, not with any expectation they will pass, but solely to allow each party to establish where they stand on key issues for voters. Examples will be legislation to lower taxes (unlikely in a non-budget year) that Republicans will stand behind, and efforts on the part of Democrats to pass “living wage” legislation and roll back abortion prohibitions passed in the last session. Again, given the political makeup of the House and Senate, unlikely to pass.

One of the easiest “prognostications” relates to vaccine legislation. There will be numerous bills designed to prevent private sector employers from implementing vaccine mandates in the workplace. The Business & Industry Association will oppose these efforts. BIA believes private sector employers should have the ability to implement appropriate workplace measures to insure the health and safety of their employees, customers and vendors. Having the state step in, telling employers what they can and cannot do, creates an additional problem. It potentially conflicts with federal vaccine mandates. If such mandates survive court scrutiny employers could be in a position of having to decide which law, federal or state, they will comply with. At the very least, it creates an unnecessary, confusing landscape for employers.

Workforce Housing

New Hampshire’s lack of workers is tied to limited housing supply, particularly for lower-wage workers. There’s no quick solution, but the state Housing Appeals Board is an important step. In 2020, BIA led support for the creation of the board, which gives developers a quicker, less expensive way to appeal municipal land-use decisions that unconstitutionally obstruct workforce housing projects. Before this board, developers’ only recourse was to go to court, an expensive, time-consuming process that worked in the favor of those creating obstacles for appropriate housing development.

Even though the Housing Appeals Board has just begun its work, and seems to be working exactly as envisioned, it’s likely there will be legislation seeking to repeal the process. Employers throughout the state understand how affordable and available housing contributes to attracting and retaining employees. BIA will oppose efforts to repeal or weaken this important housing tool.

5G Communications

Expanding broadband in rural communities can ease some of the housing burden by making rural areas more attractive to new businesses and residents and produce much-needed tax revenue to property-poor towns. Even so, we’re expecting to see legislation designed to impede the roll out of the latest 5G technology. Not only would such legislation potentially run afoul of federal regulations, passing such laws sends a bad message about New Hampshire’s desire to compete with other states and countries racing ahead to implement the latest, fastest communication technologies. Delivering long-promised high-speed internet to all parts of the state should be a priority for policy makers, not something to be obstructed.


Energy issues have dominated recent legislative sessions and it’s no wonder with electricity prices 50% to 60% higher than the rest of the country. Added to that are pressures to transition to more sustainable energy sources to combat climate change, issues with aging energy infrastructure, even economic issues as North Country wood industries try to stay alive. A major issue to be decided upon next year is what to do with New Hampshire’s Site Evaluation Committee (SEC), and how should it be revamped to meet the needs of energy consumers.

The SEC was established by the Legislature for the review, approval, monitoring and enforcement of compliance in the planning, siting, construction and operation of energy facilities. Unfortunately, over the years it has become an inefficient and ineffective. So much so that some members of a special legislative commission that met over the summer recommended scrapping the SEC entirely. Clearly, some significant fixes are needed for this important process to do what it was originally intended to do, and not act as a graveyard for any utility infrastructure project proposed.

David Juvet is senior vice president of public policy and interim president of the Business & Industry Association, New Hampshire's statewide chamber of commerce and leading business advocate.

Additional Info

Media Contact : Rick Fabrizio,

Powered By GrowthZone