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May 14. 2014 9:30PM

Legislative Roundup: House approves paycheck equity bill; governor to sign off

CONCORD — The House Wednesday voted 233-103 to approve the “Paycheck Equity Act” to prevent wage discrimination based on a person’s gender and sent the bill to Gov. Maggie Hassan, who said she would sign it.

Senate Bill 207 is a priority of Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord, and House Speaker Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth.Hassan called the bill the most significant legislation for women workers in a decade.The bill allows for the possibility of differences in pay based on the specific duties of a job as well as workers’ experience and education.

Political advocacy

The House voted 186-119 to require political and advocacy groups that promote the election or defeat of candidates in state elections to publicly report their receipts and expenditures.

SB 120 was introduced as a response to spending in 2012 by Americans for Prosperity and other groups targeting Democrats and several Republican incumbents who had conservative primary opposition.

The bill would require all independent special interest groups to report to the Secretary of State once they spend $5,000.

Regulating drones

Regulating drones will be back before the Senate.

After two years of legislative work, a bill that would restrict the use of commercial drones was effectively killed by the Senate last month.Wednesday, the prime sponsor of the bill, Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, succeeded in attaching his bill to Senate Bill 264.

 

Kurk’s bill would regulate the use of aerial drone photography and broadcasts by government agencies and private individuals and businesses.

Rainy day fund

 

 

The House voted 151-127 to send a bill sending $15 million in surplus funds from the 2013 fiscal year budget to rainy day fund to interim study.

 

 

The House and Senate have sparred over what to do with the money in HB 415. The House wants to use the money to eliminate some across-the-board cuts to Health and Human Services, while the Senate wants the money to go to the state rainy day fund.

Social media

The House voted to prohibit education institutions form kindergarten to colleges and universities from requiring or requesting their students to disclose or provide access to a personal social media account.

 

Senate Bill 355 also restricts post education institutions from requiring students to be added to contact lists or other access their social media accounts.

The bill does not restrict an institution’s right to investigate a complaint, or restrict access to its computers or networks, or monitor use of its network.

The Senate has passed a similar bill but it limits the prohibition to post-secondary institutions.

The bill goes back to the Senate because of changes the House made.

Domestic violence

Employers would no longer be able to terminate a worker or refuse to hire someone because he or she is a victim of domestic violence. The House Wednesday approved Senate Bill 390 on a 190-137 vote.

The bill prohibits an employer from failing to hire a job applicant, or from discharging, demoting or otherwise retaliating against an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, stalking, harassment or sexual assault.

Under the bill, the Department of Labor could impose a civil fine against a company found to discriminate.

Supporters said the bill would prevent a victim of domestic violence from being victimized twice.

But opponents argued employers would be forced to provide additional protections for other employees because the workplace is a prime target for disgruntled spouses or boyfriends or girlfriends.

grayno@unionleader.com


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