The New Hampshire Legislature will convene on January 6, for the 167th Session of the General Court with a new Speaker of the House and a new President of the Senate along with new chairs for each legislative committee. However, the work to prepare for the next session is already underway.
The November and December period prior to the start of a new sesson 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 2021 session, these 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. You will be able to read the actual bill language for those bills on the General Court’s website when 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 will be of interest to environmental protection and conservation stakeholders in New Hampshire.
- Climate Change: The Legislature will consider several bills related to climate change. Among these are LSR 2021-0134, which proposes to establish greenhouse gas emission reduction goals for the state and a climate action plan, and 2021-0138 which would establish the New Hampshire Office of Climate Policy in the Department of Environmental Services.
- Fish and Game Department: As they have done in prior sessions, the legislature will take up a bill (LSR 2021-0172) regarding qualifications to serve on the Fish and Game Commission.
- OHRVs: The Legislature will consider two bills related to the use of recreational vehicles on public roads LSR 2021-0502 and LSR 2021-0682.
- Energy and Renewable Energy: Energy-related bills will take up a significant part of the overall Legislative agenda in 2020. Notable proposals include several related to net metering such as LSR 2021-0344, LSR 2021-0046 and LSR 2021-0153.
- Environmental Protection: Environmental protection-related bills will also be on the 2021 calendar. Among these are several that will address the management of solid waste disposal including LSR 2021-0256, LSR 2021-0258 and LSR 2021-0605.
- Drinking Water and Water Resources: The negative effects from per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals on drinking water supplies will continue to be a focus of the Legislature’s agenda. LSRs 2021-0011, 2021-0068, 2021-0087 and 2021-0171 all deal with this issue.