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What to expect from the NH State Senate’s 2024 session

What to expect from the NH State Senate’s 2024 session

Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy, standing left, D-Manchester, speaks in favor of her bill to set New Hampshire's minimum wage, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, in the Senate chamber of the Statehouse in Concord, N.H. The Senate voted 14-10 along party lines to override Republican Gov. Chris Sununu's veto of the bill, falling short of the necessary two-thirds majority needed to override. (AP Photo/Holly Ramer)

By Colin Booth

December 20, 2023

Once the cool headed older sibling of the House, New Hampshire’s Republican Senate majority in the 24-member body has taken a sharp ideological right turn in recent years, and their legislative agenda reflects that.

Here are five areas of legislation filed in the State Senate so far likely to be hot topics in the New Hampshire political scene in 2024:

Abortion Rights Bills — CACR 24, SB 461 SB 567

Since the fall of Roe, Democrats in the Senate have been eager to create proactive protections for abortion rights in the state — while Republicans have looked either to maintain the status quo or roll those protections back.

CACR 24, SB 461, SB 567 are all Democrat-led bills seeking to protect abortion access in the state and/or roll back Republicans’ abortion ban. Expect these to be among the most hotly contested bills in the Senate in 2024, and for these fights to follow both supporters and opponents into November’s election.

Anti-Trans Bills — SB 304 SB 375 SB 341

Last session, it was House Republicans who were driving anti-transgender legislation to the top of their agenda. In 2024, it looks to be the Senate Republicans’ turn. Due to a number of high-profile defections on anti-trans legislation in the House, many of the GOP’s bills failed, so Senate Republicans could be banking on a more cohesive ideological approach to passing similar anti-trans bills in their chamber.

SB 304, SB 375, SB 341, SB 524, SB 562 take a large number of approaches to targeting trans individuals, and specifically trans identifying students in the state. Expect these fights to gather a significant level of attention on both sides of the aisle.

Raising the Minimum Wage — SB 308

New Hampshire has the lowest minimum wage in the nation, holding to the federal standard of $7.25 an hour. SB 308 bill seeks to raise that wage to $12 per hour between September 1, 2024 and June 30, 2025, and then $15 an hour beginning July 1, 2025 and thereafter.

This bill’s main sponsor is Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy, and despite the bill being proposed at a time of historic cost of living increases, expect Republicans to fight its passage tooth and nail, and expect Democrats to try and capitalize on that opposition.

Gun Violence Prevention — SB 571 and SB 360

After the recent shooting at Concord hospital, which brought the epidemic of American gun violence closer to the state capitol than it’s been in a long time, common-sense gun legislation seems like it might have a chance of passage this session. SB 571 and SB 360 are bills focused on background checks and extreme risk protection orders, and represent perhaps the only viable path for gun reform in the Republican majority legislature.

The HOMEnibus Housing Reform Package — SB 538

New Hampshire has been in the midst of a housing crisis that has gone unaddressed by Republicans in the House and Senate. Democrats in the State Senate seem to think they have the beginning of a solution with Sen. Rebecca Perkins Kwoka’s HOMEnibus bill, which organizes a number of zoning reform measures under one umbrella bill with the goal of making it easier to build housing.

This bill uses the same model that Senate Democrats found success in passing last session with their MOMnibus legislation aimed expanding Medicaid coverage for new mothers to a full year, among other reforms, including a requirement for Medicaid to cover doulas, lactation services and donor breast milk, funding for family resource centers, and expanding mental health services for young kids.

Author

  • Colin Booth

    Based in Epsom, Colin Booth is Granite Post's political correspondent. A Granite State native and veteran political professional with a deep background in journalism, he's worked on campaigns and programs in battleground states across the country, ranging from New Hampshire, Texas, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.

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