Speaker to Announce House Appointees
CONCORD - Speaker of the New Hampshire House Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson) and House Majority Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack) offered the following comments relative to the passage of Special Session House Concurrent Resolution 1 (SSHCR1), establishing a legislative task force to address the state’s opioid and heroin addiction crisis. SSHCR1 passed the House by a vote of 290-46 and passed the Senate unanimously by a voice vote.
“This Task Force will allow us the time to work on these bills appropriately but in an expedited manner to combat this crisis. It will allow legislative action to be taken in an open and transparent process in order to vet all proposals. House and Senate members have continuously heard from local leaders related to how this crisis is affecting their communities. We know that a process without their input could result in less effective results and create more problems. We believe this is the most effective way to come up with a solution which benefits the citizens of New Hampshire,”said House Speaker Shawn Jasper.
“We believe this Task Force is the best approach to coming up with a comprehensive set of solutions. These are complex issues with huge consequences,”said House Majority Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack). “By assembling this group of legislators who are experts in their respective policy areas, and putting together a process by which they work with external stakeholders, we believe we have a better chance of not just having good legislation, but having the best legislation we can, given what we know at this time. This is an evolving issue that the legislature is prepared to deal with throughout the coming months. This Task Force will be on the front lines of the legislative process, and their work will help our state respond in a swift, but measured manner."
The Task Force will be made up of 26 House and Senate members representing a wide range of committees and will fully vet and debate a set of issues including but not limited to:
- Updating penalties for fentanyl distribution to be consistent with penalties for heroin
- Requiring insurance companies to adhere to same substance abuse treatment evaluation criteria; removing prior authorization requirements
- Updating prescription drug monitoring program technology, increase statewide usage
- Expanding Drug Courts
- Increasing law enforcement prevention and interdiction measures
- Increasing prescriber educational standards
A preliminary report is expected before the Christmas holiday, and a final report will be presented on January 6, 2016 which will serve as the basis for filing legislation.
Of the 26 task force members, 14 will be members of the House, and will include Republican and Democrat members of the House Criminal Justice, Judiciary, Health and Human Services, Executive Departments and Administration, and Finance committees. The Speaker will have two additional appointees. Several alternates will be ready to fill in should a regular appointee be absent.
Speaker Jasper added, “We will draw upon House members’ professional backgrounds in law enforcement, medical services, and judicial matters in addition to their policy expertise. A benefit of a volunteer, citizen legislature is that we have many members with practical, real-world experience in areas directly related to what the task force is charged with addressing.”
A full list of House appointees will be announced by the Speaker’s Office.