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Gone but not forgotten: these bills will probably come back in 2025

Images of a wakesurfer, a teacher, a landfill, and school dollars
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Summer vacation isn’t just for kids and teachers; the New Hampshire Legislature is also nearing its summer break. Most of the legislative action is over until the fall, when lawmakers will begin proposing a new round of bills. That makes now a good time to look back on some proposals that had a lot of buzz this year but didn’t make it to the finish line (Gov. Sununu’s desk). If the past is any sign of the future, this article won’t just be a retrospective, but a preview of coming attractions.

Wake surfing restrictions

If you’re not from the lakes region, it may surprise you that this was a contentious bill, but the public came out in a big way for the hearings on SB 431. The bill looked to restrict wake surfing, a sport where participants are pulled behind a motorboat and, well, surf on the wake. The bill was a response to both safety and environmental concerns—the strong waves created by fast boats can disturb lake sediment and encourage the growth of harmful bacteria. The original bill would have banned the sport on bodies of water less than 50 acres and prohibited wake surfing within 200 feet of a shoreline, dock, pier, boathouse, other boats, or narrow sections of water. The debate centered around how far out from shore wake surfers should have to stay, with the House extending it to 300 feet from shore. The Senate didn’t agree on this, so the bill is stalled for now, but we expect debate to resume next year.

Part-time teachers

HB 1298 would have allowed municipalities to hire part-time teachers even if they hadn’t undergone the traditional teacher certification process. Initially, such part-time teachers would be limited to teaching 20 hours per week and would need experience or education related to the subject they taught. The Senate wanted to extend the limit to 30 hours per week and didn’t want to set specific qualifications. These teachers would have still needed to clear a background check and adhere to the Board of Education’s professional code of ethics and professional code of conduct. The House and Senate couldn’t reach an agreement on part-time teachers this year, but given the state’s shortage of teachers, expect to see this debate come back in 2025.

Landfill limitations

The Legislature considered a host of bills limiting out-of-state trash in New Hampshire landfills this year. According to some estimates, about half of the waste dumped into the state’s six active landfills comes from other New England states. However, courts have ruled that the state can’t force private landfills to only accept in-state trash. Meanwhile existing landfills are running out of room. HB 1632 would have prohibited new solid waste facilities from accepting more than 15% of their waste from outside the state, while HB 1145 would have required any new landfills to be owned by the state. The Senate killed both of those bills. HB 1620, a moratorium on new landfill permits until 2028, was added to a different Senate bill in an effort to get it across the finish line, but was ultimately voted down, as well.

Public school funding changes

This year the New Hampshire House passed two notable school funding bills. HB 1583 was a modest increase in state per-pupil funding. HB 1656 would have established three weighted categories for special education differentiated aid, with more funding going to students who need more services. While both bills initially passed with bipartisan support, the Senate sent both to “interim study.” This is essentially a polite way to kill bills in an election year. Senators commented that state revenues are slowing down, and it would be more prudent to adjust school funding as part of next year’s budget process.

Other issues to keep an eye on

These are just a few of the hot 2024 bills that fell apart before reaching Gov. Sununu’s desk. Other important debates that are sure to make a return in 2025 relate to regulations on pharmacy benefit managers, marijuana regulations, and zoning changes. What bills do you want to see in 2025? Let your legislators know by contacting them via our Elected Officials pages.


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