NEW FUTURES' 2013 LEGISLATIVE AND POLICY PRIORITIES
January 15, 2013
New Futures’ Legislative and Policy Priorities for 2013 are developed in consultation with our state and local partners and stakeholders and approved by the New Futures Board of Directors.
- Full Funding for the Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Treatment Fund (the “Alcohol Fund”) to support critically needed substance use disorder prevention and treatment services. The major work of the 2013 legislative session will be passage of the State Biennial Budget for State Fiscal Year 2014/2015 (July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2015). Our budget advocacy will focus on the Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Treatment Fund – which, as established in RSA 176 – A, dedicates a portion of the profits from the state sale of alcohol to alcohol and other drug prevention and treatment services, as directed by the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Intervention and Treatment. In past budget years, the statute creating the fund has been suspended as part of the budget process, and state funds for prevention and treatment reduced by more than 50% - resulting in the elimination of all funding for community-based prevention programs and a significant reduction in public funding for treatment.
- Improve Access to Substance Use Disorder Treatment Through the Implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the Expansion of Medicaid.
- New Futures is working to ensure that the essential health benefits that are included in the benchmark plan to be offered by the Health Insurance Exchange pursuant to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act will comply with the federal requirement of substance use disorder and mental health benefits at parity.
- New Futures is working with many others groups to advocate for Medicaid Expansion, which will expand Medicaid coverage to all individuals at or below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level and will include coverage for substance use disorders and mental health at parity.
- New Futures is advocating for the inclusion of coverage for substance use disorders and providers for existing Medicaid beneficiaries.
- Defeat Legislation to Legalize or Decriminalize Possession and Use of Marijuana.
- New Futures opposes all legislation to legalize or decriminalize the manufacture, distribution, sale, possession or use of marijuana because research has clearly established the risk posed by the substance, particularly as it relates to youth.
- Three LSRs have been introduced – but the bill text is not yet available:
- HB 492 relative to the legalization and regulation of marijuana (Sponsors are Representatives Vaillancourt, Warden, Lambert and Robertson);
- HB 621 decriminalizing possession of less than one ounce of marijuana (Sponsor is Representative Tasker); and
- HB 337 legalizing marijuana and cannabis (Sponsors are Representatives Warden, Weed, Sylvia, O’Flaherty, Pratt, Tasker, Dan McGuire, and Senator Reagan).
- Support the Implementation of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
- New Futures is working with other members of the Advisory Council created by SB 286 to support the Pharmacy Board as it moves forward to create the PMP program.
- New Futures will actively support a technical correction bill sponsored by Senator Bradley to make several minor corrections to the legislation that passed last session.
- Alcohol Sales and Distribution. There are more than thirty (30) LSR titles related to alcohol sales and Liquor Commission operations. We have not seen the text of any of these bills. We will carefully analyze each bill and consult with the Liquor Commission, our community partners and the New Futures Policy Committee to determine whether to take a position on specific bills. Our concerns include:
- Expanded access to alcohol (hours of operation, expanded distribution, other);
- Actions that directly affect underage youth (advertising, product labeling, minimum legal drinking age, other); and
- Efforts to undermine New Hampshire’s status as a control state jurisdiction – and its mission to balance profit with proper regulation and control.
In addition to the legislative and policy priorities identified above, we note the following bill titles that may be of interest to those following alcohol and other drug related legislation in 2013.
- HB 118 (providing legal immunity for 911 calls for drug or alcohol-related emergencies) – referred to the House Judiciary Committee; Public Hearing on January 15, 2013.
- HB 153 (prohibiting the designation of industrial hemp as a controlled substance) – referred to the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee; Public Hearing has not been scheduled.
- HB 168 (increasing the beer tax) – referred to the House Ways and Means Committee; Public Hearing has not been scheduled.
- LSR 2013 – H – 0279 (relative to the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes) – bill not yet available for review.
- Driving Under the Influence Bills – these bills are not yet available for review
- LSR 2013 – H – 0049 (relative to driving privileges for certain first time DWI offenders)
- LSR 2013 – S – 0372 (making modifications to the DWI ignition interlock program)
- LSR 2013 – H – 0406 (relative to commencement of license revocation for driving under the influence)