SB132 (2021) Detail

Adopting omnibus legislation relative to COVID-19.


SB 132-FN - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2021 SESSION

21-0895

08/11

 

SENATE BILL 132-FN

 

AN ACT adopting omnibus legislation relative to COVID-19.

 

SPONSORS: Sen. Prentiss, Dist 5

 

COMMITTEE: Health and Human Services

 

─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

 

ANALYSIS

 

This bill adopts legislation relative to:

 

I.  Employer payment of required COVID-19 testing.

 

II.  Establishing a COVID-19 micro enterprise relief fund.

 

III.  Requiring a COVID-19 needs assessment of nursing homes and long-term care facilities and making an appropriation therefor.

 

IV.  The support and promotion of New Hampshire's live performance industry by the council on the arts.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

21-0895

08/11

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One

 

AN ACT adopting omnibus legislation relative to COVID-19.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Sponsorship.  This act consists of the following proposed legislation:

Part I:  LSR 21-0895, relative to employer payment of required COVID-19 testing, sponsored by Sen. Prentiss, Prime/Dist 5; Sen. Rosenwald, Dist 13; Sen. Whitley, Dist 15; Sen. Sherman, Dist 24; Sen Perkins Kwoka, Dist 21; Rep. Sullivan, Sull 1; Graf 17; Rep. Marsh, Carr 8; Rep. Woods, Merr 23; and Rep. Merchant, Sull 4.

Part II:  LSR 21-939, establishing a COVID-19 micro enterprise relief fund, sponsored by Sen. Prentiss, Prime/Dist 5; Sen. Whitley, Dist 15; and Sen. Sherman, Dist. 24.

Part III:  LSR 21-0946, requiring a COVID-19 needs assessment of nursing homes and long-term care facilities and making an appropriation therefor, sponsored by Sen. Rosenwald, Prime/Dist 13; Sen. Cavanaugh, Dist 16; Sen. Whitley, Dist 15; Sen. D'Allesandro, Dist 20; Sen. Prentiss, Dist 5; Sen. Sherman, Dist 24; Sen. Perkins Kwoka, Dist 21; Sen. Soucy, Dist 18; Rep. McMahon, Rock 7; Rep. Rogers, Merr 28; and Rep. Nordgren, Graf 12; Rep. Klee, Hills 30.

Part IV:  LSR 21-1058, relative to support and promotion of New Hampshire's live performance industry to the council on the arts, sponsored by Sen. Whitley, Prime/Dist 15; Sen. Perkins Kwoka, Dist 21; Rep. McWilliams, Merr 27; Rep. Espitia, Hills 31; Rep. Fenton, Ches 8; and Rep. Wilhelm, Hills 42.

2  Legislation Enacted.  The general court hereby enacts the following legislation:

PART I

Relative to employer payment of required COVID-19 testing.

1  New Subdivision; COVID-19 Testing.  Amend RSA 275 by inserting after section 77 the following new subdivision:

COVID-19 Testing

275:78  COVID-19 Testing.  An employer that requires an employee to obtain a COVID-19 test shall pay for or reimburse the cost of such employee's test if the test:

I.  Is a prerequisite for the employee becoming eligible to work;

II.  Is not otherwise medically necessary, except to determine if the employee is positive for COVID-19; and

III.  Is not covered by the employee’s health insurance plan.

2  Effective Date.  Part I of this act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

PART II

Establishing a COVID-19 micro enterprise relief fund.

1  Findings.

I.  On March 13, 2020, the governor signed the first declaration of a state of emergency due to COVID-19.  As of January 1, 2021, this order has been extended 14 times.

II.  Between March 26, 2020 and June16, 2020, a “Stay at Home” order had been in-place under the authority of the governor as measure to prevent the spread of COVDI-19.  This order included the closing of schools, prohibited gatherings of 10 or more people, and limited business operations that were not considered essential.  

III.  Between March and August of 2020, 449 New Hampshire business closed temporarily or permanently, with 280 remaining closed.  

IV.  New Hampshire began “reopening” on May 11, 2020 with restrictions, some of which remain in place today and continue to impact the micro enterprise sector, those businesses with between 1 and 5 employees including the proprietor.  According to the Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy, there are 25,478 business with between 1-19 employees and 101,795 non-employer businesses.

V.  It is incumbent upon the state government to take prompt, proactive, and continuing action to protect the economic health of New Hampshire communities through building out the infrastructure and sustainability of micro enterprises.

2  New Subdivision; COVID-19 Micro Enterprise Relief Fund.  Amend RSA 12-O by inserting after section 52 the following new subdivision:

COVID-19 Micro Enterprise Relief Fund

12-O:53  COVID-19 Micro Enterprise Relief Fund.  

I.  There is established in the office of the state treasurer a fund to be known as the COVID-19 micro enterprise relief fund.  Notwithstanding RSA 4:45, RSA 4:47, RSA 21-P:43, or any other law to the contrary, to the extent permissible under federal law $1,000,000 of any federal funds received by the state in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency shall be deposited into the fund, provided that at no time shall the balance of the fund exceed $1,000,000 in any fiscal year.

II.  Funds shall be disbursed at the discretion of the commissioner to the 10 New Hampshire regional economic development corporations to be awarded to local or regional micro enterprises.  With each award, an agreement for technical assistance shall be put in place between the regional development corporation, the New Hampshire small business development center, and the micro enterprise to support the implementation of the funds.

III.  Regional economic development corporations shall award one-time grants of up to $10,000 to support one or more areas of need, including development of e-commerce capabilities, upgrading business practices, or maintaining storefront presence.  The regional economic development corporations shall ensure micro enterprises awarded grants pursuant to this subdivision are provided such assistance as may be necessary to support implementation of any grants awarded.

IV.  For purposes of this subdivision, "micro enterprise" shall mean an entity with 5 or fewer employees, including any proprietor, that has been in business for a minimum of one year and that has a demonstrated financial impact during the COVID-19 public health emergency, such as temporary closure, reduction in workforce, or loss of revenue of 50 percent or greater when compared to the same time period during the previous year.  Financial statements demonstrating losses, closures, or reduction in workforce shall be supplied as part of the application process.

3  New Subparagraph; Application of Receipts; COVID-19 Micro Enterprise Relief Fund.  Amend RSA 6:12, I(b) by inserting after subparagraph (364) the following new subparagraph:

(365)  Moneys deposited into the COVID-19 micro enterprise relief fund established in RSA 12-O:53.

4  Effective Date.  Part II of this act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

PART III

Requiring a COVID-19 needs assessment of nursing homes and long-term care facilities and making an appropriation therefor.

1  Short Title.  This act shall be known as the Protect New Hampshire Veterans and Seniors Act of 2021.

2  New Subdivision; COVID-19 Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Audit.  Amend RSA 151-E by inserting after section 21 the following new subdivision:

COVID-19 Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Audit

151-E:22  COVID-19 Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Audit.  The commissioner of the department of health and human services shall issue a request for proposals for a qualified grantee, with the approval of governor and council, to undertake an independent audit of the COVID-19 situation in long-term care and nursing homes in New Hampshire and provide a needs assessment to provide recommendations for further COVID-19 related funding, safety, and public health upgrades, standards and rules for nursing homes, nursing facilities, residential care facilities, long-term care facilities, and the New Hampshire veterans' home, and providing a preparedness plan for COVID-19 at such facilities, to be submitted to the governor, the chairpersons of the house and senate finance committees, the chairpersons of the senate health and human services committee and the house health, human services and elderly affairs committee, and the health and human services oversight committee established in RSA 126-A:13, no later than August 1, 2021.  Neither the governor, the governor’s office, nor the commissioner shall direct this independent audit and needs assessment, but each shall respond to any requests for information from the grantee.  The grantee shall include in the final report all such requests for information.  The grantee shall also include in the final report a separate audit and needs assessment specifically for the New Hampshire veterans’ home.  

3  Appropriation.  The sum of $250,000 is hereby appropriated for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022 to the commissioner of the department of health and human services from federal COVID-19 relief funds for the purpose of hiring a qualified grantee as required in RSA 151-E:22.  If such federal funds are unavailable, the governor is authorized to draw a warrant for said sum out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated for the purpose of section 2 of this act.

4  Effective Date.  Part III of this act shall take effect upon its passage.

PART IV

Relative to the support and promotion of New Hampshire's live performance industry by the council on the arts.

1  Title.  This act shall be known and may be cited as the Save Our Granite Stages Act.

2  Purpose Statement.  Independent live venues are important entertainment hubs and economic multipliers for New Hampshire's local economies.  They serve as critical tax bases as employers and tourism destinations and as revenue generators for neighboring businesses such as restaurants, hotels, and retail.  The cultural impact of New Hampshire's independent live venues is difficult to calculate and serves as an important draw for young people to the state.  Unfortunately, these businesses were among the first to close as COVID-19 spread across the country, will likely be the last to reopen, and will take years to recover if they can stay in business at all.  Smaller venues with a capacity of 300 or less are being impacted the most by the COVID-19 economic and public health crisis.  This act provides targeted assistance and long-term planning support and recognizes the importance of independent live venues to New Hampshire's economy.  

3  Council on the Arts; Declaration of Policy.  Amend RSA 19-A:1 to read as follows:

19-A:1  Declaration of Policy.  It is hereby found that many of our citizens lack the opportunity to view, enjoy or participate in living theatrical performances, musical concerts, operas, dance and ballet recitals, art exhibits, examples of fine architecture, and the performing and fine arts generally.  It is hereby further found that, with increasing leisure time, the practice and enjoyment of the arts are of increasing importance and that the general welfare of the people of the state will be promoted by giving further recognition to the arts as a vital aspect of our culture and heritage and as a valued means of expanding the scope of our educational programs.  It is hereby further found that independent live venues are important entertainment hubs and economic multipliers for New Hampshire's local economies. They serve as critical tax bases as employers and tourism destinations and as revenue generators for neighboring businesses such as restaurants, hotels, and retail. The cultural impact of New Hampshire's independent live venues is difficult to calculate and serves as an important draw for young people to the state.   It is hereby declared to be the policy of the state to join with private patrons and with institutions and professional organizations concerned with the arts to insure that the role of the arts in the life of our communities will continue to grow and will play an ever more significant part in the welfare and educational experience of our citizens.  It is further declared that all activities undertaken by the state in carrying out this policy shall be directed toward encouraging and assisting rather than in any ways limiting the freedom of artistic expression that is essential for the well-being of the arts.

4  New Paragraph; Council on the Arts; Duties.  Amend RSA 19-A:5 by inserting after paragraph VIII the following new paragraph:

IX.  To provide support and promotion of New Hampshire's live performance industry, with special attention to smaller venues with a capacity of 300 or less.

5  Council on the Arts; Reporting Requirement.  Amend RSA 19-A:7 to read as follows:

19-A:7  Reports.  The council shall make biennial reports to the governor and council.  The council's strategic plan and biennial report under this section shall address the activities of the council to provide support and promotion of New Hampshire's live performance industry.

6  Effective Date.  Part IV of this act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

 

LBA

21-0895

Revised 2/10/21

 

SB 132-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT adopting omnibus legislation relative to COVID-19.

 

PART I  Relative to employer payment of required COVID-19 testing.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [ X ] County               [ X ] Local              [    ] None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2021

FY 2022

FY 2023

FY 2024

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Funding Source:

  [ X ] General            [    ] Education            [    ] Highway           [    ] Other

 

COUNTY:

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

$13,000,000

$13,000,000

$13,000,000

 

LOCAL:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

 

METHODOLOGY:

This section requires employers to pay for employees' COVID-19 testing when such testing is required for work; or is not otherwise medically necessary except to determine if the employee is positive for COVID-19; or is not covered by the employee's health insurance plan.

 

The New Hampshire Association of Counties states that counties currently test their employees twice a week.  The counties currently spend $250,000 for one weekly test with the state paying for the second weekly test.  If the counties test for one year, the cost would be $13,000,000 (52 x $250,000).

 

The New Hampshire Municipal Association there is no information available as to how many municipalities currently require employees to obtain COVID-19 tests.  To the extent that a municipality does require a test and is not currently paying for it and it is not covered by insurance, this may increase municipal expenditures by an indeterminable amount.  There is no impact on municipal revenues.

 

The Department of Administrative Services does not have information as to the classification of employee types who would be required to test for COVID-19 as a condition of employment.  Pre-employment costs such as physicals have not included COVID-19 testing costs in budget requests for FY 22-FY23.  The number of employees that may need to be tested is unknown and such costs for pre-employment testing may not be covered by existing appropriations and may require additional funding in the next biennium.  Therefor the fiscal impact is indeterminable at this time.

 

It is assumed this section is effective July 1, 2021.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Department of Administrative Services, New Hampshire Municipal Association and New Hampshire Association of Counties

 

PART II  Establishing a COVID-19 micro enterprise relief fund.

 

FISCAL IMPACT: [ X ] State   [  X  ] County [ X ] Local           [   ]  None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2021

FY 2022

FY 2023

FY 2024

   Appropriation

$0

$1,000,000

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

$1,080,000

$81,000

$85,000

Funding Source:

    [  X  ] General            [    ]  Education           [    ] Highway        [  X  ] Other- Federal COVID-19 Funds

 

 

 

 

 

 

COUNTY:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

$0

Indeterminable

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable

$0

$0

 

LOCAL:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

$0

Indeterminable

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable

$0

$0

 

METHODOLOGY:

This section establishes the COVID-19 Micro Enterprise Relief Fund, a dedicated fund within the State Treasury, to be administered by the Department of Business and Economic Affairs (DBEA).  To the extent permissible under federal law,  $1,000,000 of any federal funds received by the state in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency shall be deposited into the fund, provided that at no time shall the balance of the fund exceed $1,000,000 in any fiscal year.  Funds are to be disbursed at the discretion of the Commissioner of DBEA to the 10 New Hampshire regional economic development corporations to be awarded to local or regional micro enterprises.  With each award, an agreement for technical assistance shall be put in place between the regional development corporation, the New Hampshire small business development center, and the micro enterprise to support the implementation of the funds.  Regional economic development corporations shall award one-time grants of up to $10,000 to support one or more areas of need, including development of e-commerce capabilities, upgrading business practices, or maintaining storefront presence.  An eligible "micro enterprise" shall mean an entity with 5 or fewer employees, including any proprietor, that has been in business for a minimum of one year and that has a demonstrated financial impact during the COVID-19 public health emergency, such as temporary closure, reduction in workforce, or loss of revenue of 50 percent or greater when compared to the same time period during the previous year.

 

It is unclear if county and local government would be eligible to directly receive these grants since it specifies the grants are for regional economic development corporations.  RSA 162-A:2, XII provides a definition for local development organization which includes regional development corporation.  This definition also states "The term "local development organization" shall include a town, city or county if such town, city or county has published written procedures for participating in economic development activities through the loaning of funds or the enhancement of credit".

 

Treasury reports there is no fiscal impact on the revenues or expenditures of the Treasury as the fund is appropriated to and administered by the DBEA.  There is no fiscal impact anticipated at the county or local levels.

 

The Department of Business and Economic Affairs (DBEA) identified 10 regional economic development corporations that would be eligible to receive funds to be distributed to micro enterprises.  The Department does not know how much funding would become available or permissible under federal law.  To accommodate the distribution of requested funding and associated federal reporting that may be required, the Department anticipates hiring one new administrative position, and assumes General Funds will be needed to pay for the additional position.  The estimated salary and benefit cost of this position (Program Specialist III, Labor Grade 23) is $80,000 in FY22, $81,000 in FY23 and $85,000 in FY24.  This section does not authorize any new positions or provide appropriations to fund positions.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Treasury Department and Department of Business and Economic Affairs

 

PART III  Requiring a COVID-19 needs assessment of nursing homes and long-term care facilities and making an appropriation therefor.

 

FISCAL IMPACT: [ X ] State   [   ] County [  ] Local           [   ]  None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2021

FY 2022

FY 2023

FY 2024

   Appropriation

$0

$250,000

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

$250,000

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Funding Source:

    [  X  ] General            [    ]  Education           [    ] Highway        [    ] Other-

 

METHODOLOGY:

This section requires the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services to issue a request for proposals, subject to approval by the Governor and Executive Council,  for an independent audit of the COVID-19 situation in long-term care and nursing homes in New Hampshire.  The RFP will also include a needs assessment and COVID-19 preparedness plan relating to safety, public health upgrades, standards and rules for nursing homes, nursing facilities, residential care facilities, long-term care facilities, and the New Hampshire Veterans' Home.  The recommendations will be submitted to the Governor and specified legislative committees no later than August 1, 2021.  The grantee shall include a separate audit and needs assessment specifically for the New Hampshire Veterans’ Home in the final report.   

 

The section appropriates $250,000 for FY 2022 to DHHS from federal COVID-19 relief funds for the purpose of hiring a qualified grantee.  If such funds are not available, General Funds shall be used for this purpose.

 

DHHS does not currently have $250,000 in COVID-19 relief funds allocated or allowed for the purposes of conducting the independent audit and assessments as required.  Therefore, it is expected that the funds used for the purposes of conducting the independent audit and assessment would come from General Funds.

 

DHHS would not need to hire additional staff to issue the request for proposals and draft the resulting contract.  Other tasks, for example rule making or the imposition of additional licensure requirements, would depend on the information and recommendations contained in the assessment, and the costs associated with those tasks are indeterminable at this time.

 

It is assumed this section will be effective July 1, 2021.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Department of Health and Human Services

 

PART IV  Relative to support and promotion of New Hampshire's live performance industry to the council on the arts,

 

No fiscal impact.

 

 

Links

SB132 at GenCourtMobile
SB132 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Feb. 10, 2021 Senate Hearing
March 4, 2021 Senate Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

SB132 Revision: 32065 Date: Feb. 10, 2021, 11:56 a.m.

Docket


March 4, 2021: Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2021-0452s, 03/04/2021; SC 12


Feb. 10, 2021: Remote Hearing: 02/10/2021, 09:30 am; Links to join the hearing can be found in the Senate Calendar; SC 10


Jan. 6, 2021: Introduced 01/06/2021 and Referred to Health and Human Services; SJ 3