Here are a few Legislative items that have caught my attention this month that might be of interest to Andover citizens:
New Hampshire House Bill 101 would bar voters registered as independents from voting in a primary election unless they chose a party affiliation at least four months prior.
Andover Republican representative Alvin See spoke in support of the bill, arguing that primaries should specifically be available for those who are interested in being members of their party. “If you’re not interested in participating in a party, then a primary is not a good place to be,” he said.
Poverty Decreases: The publication Business New Hampshire ran an article published by the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute which made the following statements;
“Evidence shows key federal assistance policies supported people and boosted the economy in 2021.
“The national child poverty rate fell by about 46% between 2020 and 2021. From July through December 2021, about $320.7 million flowed to New Hampshire families through advance monthly payments of the Child Tax Credit. These payments helped Granite Staters afford food, rent, utilities, and educational expenses for their children.”
More Help for Veterans: Signed into law in January, the Advancing Uniform Transportation Opportunities (AUTO) for Veterans Act, (sponsored by Maggie Hassan) will make severely disabled veterans eligible to receive a grant through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help purchase a new adaptive vehicle once every 10 years, helping them to drive safely and maintain their independence.
Animal Welfare: At the end of December, the FDA Modernization Act was signed into law. This new law allows drug manufacturers to use scientifically rigorous non-animal test methods for drug safety testing, changing archaic language from the 1930s.
Previously, drug manufacturers were strongly guided toward the use of animal tests, even when non-animal methods were available and mounting evidence that animal tests were inaccurate predictors of human response.
In 2022, funding for health insurance navigators was reinstated. The Biden administration recently approved $98.9 million in funding for 59 health navigator organizations around the United States. The funding includes $12.5 million to support additional direct outreach, education, and enrollment activities.
The 2022 Omnibus Reconciliation bill passed by Congress in December also quietly rewrote huge areas of bi-partisan health policy. These include: improving readiness for the next pandemic; modernizing the nation’s mental health system; expanding Medicaid benefits for children, postpartum mothers, and residents of US territories; expanding rural telehealth and the Acute Hospital Care at Home program under Medicare and a $21.5 billion increase for the Veterans Administration including $13.9 billion for mental health services (including suicide prevention), $2.7 billion to support homeless assistance programs, and investments in VA Community Care.
For a comprehensive list visit AHA.org/special-bulletin/2022-12-20-appropriations-committees-release-omnibus-spending-bill-health-provisions.