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New Hampshire

State Legislative Session Roundups: Oregon, Delaware & New Hampshire

Extending Coverage by Keeping Youth on their Parents Health Care Plan

Young adults between the ages of 19 and 29 represent one of the largest and fastest-growing segments ofthe U.S. population without health care coverage.  In an effort toensure that all Americans are insured a growing number of states have enacted legislation to allow children to stay on their parents' health insurance plans well into adulthood.

New England Leads Fight for Marriage Equality

On Monday, March 23rd, the Vermont Senate overwhelmingly passed (26 to 4) a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, making the state the first in the nation to take legislative rather than judicial steps toward granting marriage rights to same-sex couples.  Although House Speaker Shap Smith was confident a majority of representatives would vote in favor of the "marriage equality" act, Governor Jim Douglas revealed in a press conference Wednesday that he would veto the bill, though he did say he would accept a legislative override.

New Hampshire Data-Mining Ban Upheld- Blow to Drug Industry Marketing is Boon to States

Tuesday, New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation law banning the sale of data on physician prescribing habits to drug industry marketers was upheld by a federal appeals court.  The legislation and subsequent court ruling dealt a significant blow to the drug industry and its heavy-handed marketing tactics. The 2006 New Hampshire law, sponsored by Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, will protect the privacy of physicians and their patients by banning data-mining - the process by which the drug industry uses, or mines, the prescribing habits of providers to inform direct-to-provider marketing. As Rep. Rosenwald stated in a press release, the "decision unanimously recognizes that States have the right to protect the prescriber-patient relationship and patient safety, and to try to reduce the cost of pharmaceuticals.” Maine and Vermont passed similar laws which have been held up by litigation, but will now move forward.

States Still Leading Feds on Minimum Wage

With food and gas prices rising rapidly, low-wage workers can at least welcome an increase in the federal minium wage to $6.55 per hour scheduled to go into effect on July 24th.  Even better, a number of states will also be increasing their minimum wage rates even higher than the federal rate:

2008 Session Roundups: New Hampshire

Lawmakers made notable gains on several fronts, with new progressive leadership elected in 2006 making good use of their positions:

Health Care: Lawmakers enacted the HealthFirst initiative (SB 540) requiring insurers to offer a standard "wellness plan" to small businesses with targets for premiums to be priced at 10% of the previous year's state median wage, roughly $262 per month.  The plan will cap a person's out-of-pocket medical expenses and seeks to achieve cost savings by emphasizing preventive measures that are typically available only to large businesses.  The legislation also outlaws insurers from developing competing plans designed to undercut the new program.