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Sununu's deregulation push gets support

State House Bureau

March 07. 2018 8:16PM

CONCORD — Gov. Chris Sununu’s deregulation initiative got another shot in the arm Wednesday as the House voted to set up a 10-member commission to review the existing system of occupational licensing in the state.

Proponents of the bill, HB 1685, argued that the existing system of boards and commissions to license everything from nail salons to massage is overly restrictive, especially when it comes to people who move here with occupational licenses from other states.

Opponents said New Hampshire has a well-established and well-designed structure of occupational regulation dating back decades that is strongly supported by the regulated professions and occupations.

The Committee on Executive Departments had voted 9-8 against the bill, but that recommendation was overturned by the full House, which passed the bill, 177-148.

After the vote, Sununu said the state needs to remove unnecessary barriers to employment like the overuse of occupational licenses.

“This practice takes opportunity away from workers who want to start a career and employers who need to fill open positions. Requiring one-sixth of our workforce to have a license in order to get a job is excessive and it robs our citizens of the chance to pursue their dreams while leaving our employers without the qualified employees they need to be able to grow,” he said.

Coakley landfill

The House also passed a bill requiring the Department of Environmental Services to take action to clean up the Coakley Landfill in Greenland, overturning a committee recommendation to send the bill to interim study. (See related story, Page A2)

State environmental officials now have the authority to compel the owners of the hazardous waste site to install equipment to keep toxins from continuing to migrate into nearby groundwater and soils.

“The cost, if installed in 1999, would have been about $3.2 million, but now is about $7 million,” said Seacoast area Rep. Mindi Messmer, a chief proponent of the bill. “Only a cap was put on top and nothing was done to prevent toxins from migrating.”

The House also:

• Killed a bill that would have required collective bargaining by government employees to take place in open sessions under the Right-to-Know law. HB 1344 was defeated 189-125.

• Passed HB 1756, which grants a one-time additional allowance to retirees in the state retirement system and grants a cost of living adjustment.

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