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N.H. Senate resurrects four bills killed or stalled by the House

The Republican-led Senate yesterday resurrected three bills killed in recent weeks by the Democratic-led House, attaching them to unrelated pieces of legislation to give them a second shot at becoming law this year.

Republicans said the bills were worthy pieces of legislation that deserve another chance. Democrats criticized the maneuver, saying attaching bills the House has already rejected to other pieces of legislation likely dooms those bills as well.

“I think all of us know, whether you’ve served in the House or not, that if you take a bill that’s been killed in the House and you attach it, the chances of it going anywhere in the House are now slim to none,” said Sen. Donna Soucy, a Manchester Democrat. “So instead of allowing one bill to be killed, putting these two together would, in fact, kill both.”

The Senate attached, on a series of 13-11 party-line votes:

∎ A bill allowing businesses to do away with paper paychecks in favor of debit-style pay cards, which was killed by the House last week on a 235-93 vote, to a House bill barring employers from using credit histories in hiring decisions.

∎ A bill requiring state union contracts to be approved by the Legislature’s Fiscal Committee, which was killed by the House last week on a 191-135 vote, to a House bill barring businesses from demanding employees’ social media account passwords.

∎ A bill dealing with voter-registration forms, which the House killed Wednesday on a 238-104 vote, to a House bill changing the financing of the New Hampshire Vaccine Association.

The Senate also, on a voice vote, attached a bill requiring the display of the “Honor and Remember” veterans flag to a House bill dealing with care of the war memorial in Franconia Notch State Park. The flag bill passed the Senate but last month was retained by the House State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee for more work.

The four amended bills then passed the Senate and now likely head to committees of conference, since the House isn’t scheduled to meet again until June 26.

It’s not a new tactic, and it’s been used by the House this year, as well.

A resolution ordering a portrait of suffragist Marilla Marks Ricker to be displayed at the State House passed the House, but the Senate refused to consider it under a new rule barring most resolutions. The House subsequently attached the resolution to an unrelated Senate bill.

And on Wednesday, the House attached the text of a bill dealing with health care reform implementation to a Senate bill dealing with renewable energy. As expected, the Senate yesterday killed the original health insurance bill, but the issue is still alive in the other bill, which is likely headed to a committee of conference.

The Senate will meet again Wednesday.

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or
bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

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