Skip to content

Business Perspective: Crucial work ahead as NH Legislature hits crossover

Business Perspective: Crucial work ahead as NH Legislature hits crossover

BIA's Coffee and Crossover, our halftime review of the legislative session, is Friday, April 12

The Business & Industry Association’s Coffee and Crossover, a fresh take on our popular halftime review of the legislative session, is Friday, April 12 in Concord. In a session that started with over 1,300 bills, there’s plenty of action ahead.

Crossover is when bills passed by the House and Senate move to the other body for further review. Our annual event provides critical information on many bills BIA is advocating for against as New Hampshire’s statewide chamber of commerce and leading nonpartisan business advocate. The following are our top priorities heading into Coffee and Crossover, which is open to BIA members and nonmembers. To attend, register at (click on the events tab).

One of the most contested bills is SB 462, a bill supported by trial attorneys that initially sought to eliminate long-standing caps on damages for wrongful death loss of consortium claims. BIA, chambers of commerce and business trade associations lined up in opposition. Removing caps established to prevent runaway jury awards would drastically increase awards and cause substantially higher insurance premiums. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to retain the caps, but significantly increase them from $150,000 to $500,000 for loss of spouse and $50,000 to $300,000 for loss of child or parent. The next step is a debate on the Senate floor.

Several workforce housing bills remain in play. Among the most important is HB 1359, which narrows the definition of abutters to reduce the likelihood of local decisions to support housing from being appealed, which can slow and kill projects. The bill, which BIA supports, passed the House on a 265-88 vote, and is moving to the Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee.

Most employment-related bills failed to advance, but HB 1178 is alive. This bill would require employers to pay for accrued but unused vacation time. The bill, which BIA opposes in its current form, has gone through several iterations, but most recently the House Finance Committee, on a partisan 13-11 vote, recommended the bill be sent to interim study, which would kill it for the session. The bill’s fate will be decided when the House next meets and supporters are gearing up to overturn the committee recommendation.

It's been a quiet session for business tax legislation, but BIA supports HB 1533, which would increase the “safe harbor” compensation amount under the business profits tax. This is especially helpful for New Hampshire’s smallest businesses and will reduce the likelihood of tax audits by the state Department of Revenue Administration. HB 1533 passed the House and moves to the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

BIA supports SB 553, which would require funds held by the public deposit investment pool to be invested in New Hampshire. A recent economic impact report shows investing in New Hampshire rather than other states or countries could result in over a half billion dollars in new economic activity in the state. The Senate unanimously passed SB 533 and it moves to the House Finance Committee.

New Hampshire’s high energy costs continue to threaten economic development, and BIA supports a bill that could provide a path to lower costs. HB 609 would reduce Site Evaluation Committee membership to the three Public Utilities Commission commissioners, the Department of Environmental Services commissioner or designee, and one member of the public. The bill doesn’t change the process, requirements or public input opportunities, but we believe HB 609 will streamline and expedite the siting process and attract more projects that will help lower our energy costs. HB 609 crossed over to Senate and has had hearing in the Energy & Natural Resources Committee.

BIA continues our work to defeat two environmental bills with serious unintended consequences.

HB 1649 would ban certain products with intentionally added PFAS. The problem is that would effectively ban critical products approved and used here and elsewhere. The bill would foster an unworkable patchwork of state regulations, isolating New Hampshire from the rest of the country and presenting major implications for Granite State consumers and businesses. The bill passed the House Finance Committee and now moves to the House floor.

SB 449 would extend the time the DES commissioner has to act on air pollution control permit applications. Tripling the time from the current 60 days to 180 days is unreasonable and will unduly slow the regulatory process, particularly harming smaller businesses. Current law provides safeguards for complex applications, allowing DES to request an extension if a permit does not receive a decision by the established deadline. It also allows a permit to be automatically approved if no action is taken by the deadline. The Senate passed SB 449 and it now moves to the House.

Michael Skelton is president and CEO of the Business & Industry Association. Visit

Additional Info

Media Contact : Rick Fabrizio,

Powered By GrowthZone