ALLOWING TOWNS TO ADOPT A LOCAL ROOMS TAX: on a vote of 174-113 the House passed HB 1160. The bill would allow cities and towns to collect a daily charge of up to $2 per room containing occupied beds, or as a percentage of the price of the room, provided that the rate doesn’t exceed $2 per occupancy per 24-hour period. A similar bill passed the House last year and was tabled in the Senate. NHLRA opposes this bill. We will have to reach out to the entire Senate again to stop this there.
REQUIRING EMPLOYERS TO PROVIDE NURSING MOTHERS WITH ACCESS TO SUFFICIENT SPACE AND BREAK TIME: The Senate Finance Committee has voted 4-1 to recommend that SB 618 be sent to interim study. As amended the bill would require employers with 6 or more employees to provide nursing employees with an unpaid break of at least 30 minutes for every three hours of worked performed, and access to sufficient space for expression of milk during work hours. This would have to be allowed for a period of one year from the date of birth of the child. The bill also would provide a tax credit of up to $5,000 against the NH Business Enterprise Tax for costs an employer would incur to make sufficient space available. The full Senate will vote on the bill next Thursday, March 19.
REQUIRING EMPLOYERS TO PROVIDE REASONABLE ACCOMODATIONS FOR PREGNANT EMPLOYEES: The Senate passed SB 759 with amendment. As amended, the bill would require an employer to provide a pregnant employee with reasonable accommodations and/or permit the employee to take a leave of absence for the period of temporary physical disability resulting from pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, unless such employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business of the employer. The bill now goes to the House.
PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE: The Senate voted on two competing bills establishing paid family and medical leave. SB 730 is the Governor’s bill and would enable private employers to voluntarily participate in a state-run program. The Senate sent this bill to interim study. Meanwhile, the Senate voted along party lines to pass HB 712, which is the Democratic-lead legislative version that would establish a mandatory program for employers. The legislature is not passing the Governor’s bill, and the Governor will veto the legislature’s bill, so this issue isn’t likely to go anywhere this year.
LIMITING THE USE OF PAPER RECEIPTS: The House sent HB 1508 to interim study. The bill would have required a business to provide a customer with proof of purchase only at the customers’ option. No business could have printed a paper receipt unless the customer asked for one. No paper receipt printed by a business could contain bisphenol A or bisphenol S.
BEDBUGS: The House killed HB 1428. The bill would have required Town Health Officers, upon a complaint of a guest of an inn, hotel, motel or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, to enter the premises to evaluate whether bedbugs are present.
FOOD RECOVERY: The House passed HB 1703. The bill would establish a 17-member food recovery working group to reduce food waste and increase food recovery. NHLRA is named as one of the stakeholders on the working group. The working group would be directed to look at current regulations and policies that may be hindering food recovery and to make suggestions for changes. The bill now goes to the Senate.
FOOD ALLERGIES: The House passed HB 1102 with amendment. As amended the bill would require food service establishments to include on all menus and menu boards a notice to customers of the customers obligation to inform their server of his or her food allergies. It would also require food service establishments to have a person in charge at all times of operation trained and certified as a food protection manager. This last provision is already a requirement of the new food code. The bill now goes to the Senate.
SINGLE USE PLASTIC STRAWS: On a vote of 197-135 the House passed HB 1472 with amendment. As amended, will prohibit food service establishments from providing a single use plastic straw to a customer unless specifically requested. The bill now goes to the Senate.
ALLOWING DOGS ON RESTAURANT PATIOS: The House passed HB 1483. As amended the bill would allow dogs on open air restaurant patios. Access to the patio would have to be from the exterior of the restaurant. The bill now goes to the Senate.
PROHIBITING THE USE OF POLYSTYRENE FOAM: The House passed HB 1564 with amendment. As amended, the bill would ban the use of polystyrene foam containers designed for one-time use in food service businesses such as restaurants and grocery stores. The bill now goes to the Senate.
Contact the NHLRA with your legislative questions or concerns at 603-228-9585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.