New co-chair of the NH Advocacy/Legislative Committee
Randy Brough, Director of Laconia Public LIbrary and our NHLA legislative liaison for many years, retired in June 2022. We truly appreciate his years of service to NHLA, and wish him the best in this new chapter!
Christine Friese, Director of the Portmouth Public Library, has agreed to serve as the new committee co-chair with Lori Fisher, Assistant State Librarian at the NH State Library. We welcome Christine's many years of experience and her passion for advocacy and legislative issues!
August 2, 2022
NHLA Lobbyist FY22 Legislative Wrap-up
From Teresa Rosenberger via email, 6/6/2022
Thank goodness it is now June, and the biennium is nearly over. This has been a historic two years. The first year, 2021, was virtual and that was hard. If we needed to lobby a bill, we had lobby by email or call the member. Many of the Representatives and Senators were new and had no idea who we were or our issues. Many times old or new would not answer the phone or return an email. And to make matters worse, it was a budget year. The second year, 2022, was a bit better as the committees eventually began to meet at the State House. So one could go and actually talk to the Reps and Senators. The second year had a lot of really controversial bills, mainly dealing with education and health and human services. There were factions in the House and Senate in both parties that made it very hard to figure out where things were going or to create any natural alliances.
For us, the session turned out OK. The big bill we were really opposed to, HB 1529, requiring perspective employees or volunteers of public libraries to obtain a background check before working or volunteering, fortunately was killed by the House Labor Committee and eventually by the full House. The Association did a terrific job and having its members call the members of the Committee and explain the issues with the bill. Once the hearing was held, the membership turned out in force and testified fabulously. It was terrific to see many librarians after the hearing engaging Rep. Love, the sponsor, and explain to him the issues with his bill. Their engagement worked. The day the bill was being voted on in Committee, Rep. Love spoke first and asked that his bill be killed. He said he was wrong to have sponsored it and would like to see it die. And it did. Great job by the librarians.
There were many other onerous bills we monitored this session and last and fortunately none became law. The only bill we were monitoring this year that has passed but not been signed by the Governor yet was SB 302 which establishes the personal privacy protection act. The underlying bill prohibits public agencies from disclosing or releasing the names of members, supporters, volunteers, or donors of tax-exempt charitable organizations. The amendment excepts disclosure when an individual or charitable entity voluntarily discloses its status to the Attorney General or to the public. The amendment also clarifies the authority of the Attorney General to request information from charitable organizations for audits, examinations and reviews as provided in RSA 7:24. The amendment defines the terms volunteer and supporter to exclude individuals who are part of the organizational governance. Finally, the amendment exempts from the prohibition from public disclosure the names of supports, volunteers, members, or donors who are the subject of criminal or civil court proceedings brought by a government agency. Below is the link to the bill. I’ll let you know if and when the Governor signs the bill. [NOTE FROM LORI – Governor Sununu signed 55 bills into law on 5/20, and SB302 was NOT on the list] http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/pdf.aspx?id=36762&q=billVersion
Although the next legislature will tackle the Fiscal Year 2024-2025 State Budget in February 2023, the Senate has scheduled hearings on the Governor’s Capital Budget this month. Each agency is given 15 minutes to present their capital budget. The presentations begin on Tuesday, June 21st.
Wishing you a wonderful NH summer. As always, it is a true pleasure to be able to represent the NH Library Association.
Advocacy/Legislative Quick Links
NH RSA 202-A (NH Library Laws)
NH RSA 201-D:11 (Confidentiality of NH Library Records)
A Guide to Legislative Advocacy for Local Officials (NH Municipal Assn, 2019)
Find/Contact A NH Legislator (Reps & Senators, by town)
NH District 1 Representative - Chris Pappas (D)
NH District 2 Representative - Annie Kuster (D)
2021 NHLA Legislative/Advocacy Committee priorities