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Retained bills set stage for busy legislative session

Retained bills set stage for busy legislative session

BIA to continue to fight for energy facility siting reform, tax reductions, data privacy

The Legislature will be busy this fall and into next year as lawmakers move through an unusually high number of bills various committees retained during the first half of the 2023-2024 session. The Business & Industry Association will continue our work to advocate for or against the following bills.

HB 609-FN, relative to energy facility siting (retained in House Science, Technology & Energy)

HB 609, supported by BIA, would establish the regulation of energy facility siting within the Public Utilities Commission and new procedures to replace the Site Evaluation Committee. The bill streamlines and expedites the siting process, a BIA priority for years. While HB 609 makes the process more efficient and ensures continuity in the decision-making body, it does not change current review standards used by the SEC, nor curtail opportunities for public participation. The committee retained HB 609 after it could not agree on how to further amend the bill within the time constraints ahead of crossover.

HB 15, relative to the rate of the Business Enterprise Tax (retained in House Ways & Means) 

This bill would reduce the BET from the current rate of 0.55% to 0.5%, the lowest percentage in over 20 years. Doing so would be particularly helpful for New Hampshire’s smallest businesses, but it comes at a cost. The Department of Revenue Administration has calculated that reducing the BET rate could result in $25 million to $28 million less business tax revenue to the state each year. BIA is on record supporting the tax rate reduction.

SB 255-FN, relative to the expectation of privacy (retained in House Judiciary)

This bill, supported by BIA, would create industry-led guidelines for consumer expectations of privacy. The bill is model legislation passed in 11 other states in recent years as of this past July. BIA worked with Senate Judiciary to amend SB 255 to align it more closely with the model legislation, including adding exemptions for smaller businesses. The Senate passed the bill and moved it to the House, where the Judiciary Committee retained it. Top concerns were enforcement practices and a private right of action. BIA strongly opposes inclusion of a private right of action, something not included in the model legislation passed in other states.

HB 314-FN: relative to the expectation of privacy in the collection and use of personal information (retained in House Judiciary)

The bill, which BIA opposes, would regulate the collection, retention and use of personal information and establish a cause of action for violations of an individual’s expectation of privacy. In addition to opposing the private right of action, BIA is fighting the bill due to its vague and broad definition of personal information and language regarding constitutional and statutory expectations of privacy. Despite the bill focusing on the government’s collection and use of personal information, its language inappropriately extends liability to private entities, exposing them to liability risks.

HB 121, relative to worldwide combined reporting for unitary businesses under the Business Profits Tax (retained in House Ways & Means)

The sponsor of this bill believes large multi-national corporations with a New Hampshire presence could be masking profits in low, or no-tax jurisdictions around the world. A legislative commission has been meeting to further study this issue and BIA recommended the legislation be retained until that commission is able to complete its work and make recommendations for possible future legislation.

HB 362, relative to complaint procedures in cases before the commission for human rights (retained in House Judiciary)

This bill would take away the right of employers to remove a case discrimination case from the Human Rights Commission and have it sent instead to the courts. Complainants would still have the right to remove cases to the court if desired. Although very few cases are removed from the commission, giving the ability to do so to only one party, in this case the complainant, is unfair and potentially unconstitutional, which is why BIA opposes the bill.

HB 82, relative to employment protection for participants in the therapeutic cannabis program (retained in House Labor)

Although BIA took no position on this legislation, some employers have expressed concerns that the bill could impact their ability to use drug screening of potential new employees. BIA, employment attorneys and other HR professionals plan to work with the committee to see if draft language protecting employers and employees can be written.

David Juvet is senior vice president of public policy for the Business & Industry Association, New Hampshire’s statewide chamber of commerce and leading nonpartisan business advocate. For more about the BIA, visit

 NOTE: This column was published in the October edition of Business NH magazine.

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