2020 Legislative Session Overview
The December prior to the start of a new session in the New Hampshire Legislature is a surprisingly busy time of year. It is during this period when State Senators and State Representatives file what are known as “Legislative Service Requests” or “LSRs” for short. An LSR is an initial proposal for a bill submitted by a member of the incoming Legislature.
As you will see from the list of LSRs proposed for the 2020 session, they are simply a bare-bones description of the sponsor’s intent for the bill. It does not provide the detailed bill language or even the committee to which the bill will be referred. All LSRs are finalized with the bill language by early to mid-January. Read the actual bill language for those bills once they are available in January.
Studying the LSRs gives the reader a good sense of which topics will be priorities for the Legislature in the coming session. Listed below are the issue areas we believe are of most concern and interest to the environmental protection and forestry communities in New Hampshire.
Forestry and the Forest Products Industry. Given the uncertainty facing the state’s biomass power plants, the Legislature will consider a bill to provide assistance to workers impacted by the shutdown of those facilities (LSR 2020-2778) and one to study how to implement the recommendations of the 2020 forest resources plan (2020-2563).
- Fish and Game Department. The question of how the Fish and Game Department carries out its responsibilities and its capacity to do that will be the focus of several bills including one on the duties of the fish and game commission (LSR 2020-2240) and on funding its search and rescue operations (LSR 2020-2432).
- OHRVs. Like last session, the Legislature will consider several bills which address the State’s OHRV system including one (LSR 2020-2191) that would establish a committee to study minimizing the use of public roads in the ATV system known as Ride the Wilds in Coos County.
- Energy and Renewable Energy. Energy-related bills will take up a significant part of the overall Legislative agenda in 2020. Notable proposals include two that concern the net metering cap (LSR 2020-2626 and 2020-2153), one establish a study on how the State can attain a clean-energy electric grid by 2030 (2020-2309) and another to establish an energy conservation program and an energy conservation project fund (LSR 2020-2481).
- Environmental Protection. Environmental protection will also be a large part of the 2020 calendar. The Legislature will consider bills to address PFAS contamination (LSR 2020-2224 and 2020-2595), the use of plastic products (LSR 2020-2697 and 2020-2511), wetlands protection (LSR 2020-2088) and one to establish a moratorium on the issuance of permits for new landfills or the expansion of existing landfills (LSR 2020-2284).