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2015 Legislation

Selected energy and planning legislation from the first session (2015) of the 164th General Court.

Energy | Planning

Bill Number/Chapter Law Cross Reference Table. For more information about the legislative process, see How a Bill Becomes a Law

(click on a column heading to sort by that column)
Bill Number Chapter Law
HB102 CL129
HB108 CL049
HB153 CL189
HB175 CL008
HB200 CL084
HB201 CL085
HB205 CL121
HB233 CL162
HB268 CL003
HB306 CL067
HB344 CL167
HB362 (Sec. 1 & 2) CL089
HB362 (Sec. 3) CL089
HB382 CL068
HB451 CL193
HB464 CL236
HB486 CL240
HB534 CL016
HB572 CL264
HB599 CL265
HB614 CL219
SB030 CL047
SB038 CL174
SB060 CL148
SB080 CL116
SB088 CL184
SB097 CL247
SB098 CL126
SB099 CL267
SB143 CL031
SB168 CL032
SB170 CL268
SB221 CL221
SB230 CL080

Energy

HB 205 - relative to lending practices of energy efficiency and clean energy districts
Chapter Law 121
This bill amends a number of provisions in RSA 53-F dealing with the financing provisions in energy efficiency and clean energy districts. Changes include amending the definition of eligible property to exclude residential properties containing less than five dwelling units, requiring that all funding for qualified energy improvements be made by private lenders, changing the criteria for both eligibility of property owners and qualifying improvements, and deleting the requirement for a loss reserve fund.

Effective Date: June 8, 2015

HB 362 - relative to the reliability of the electric grid (section 3)
Chapter Law 89
This bill amends RSA 378, section 38, IV to require electric and natural gas utility least cost integrated resource plans include provisions outlining the institution or extension of electric utility programs designed to ensure a more reliable and resilient grid to prevent or minimize power outages, including but not limited to, infrastructure automation and technologies.

Effective Date: August 4, 2015

HB 382 - establishing a committee to study facilitating private investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy
Chapter Law 68
This bill establishes a committee to study facilitating private investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Effective Date: June 2, 2015

HB 572 - relative to the siting of high pressure gas pipelines
Chapter Law 264
This bill
I. Requires rules to be adopted governing the siting of high pressure gas pipelines and provides guidelines for such rules.
II. Requires the site evaluation committee to consider intervention in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proceedings involving siting of high pressure gas pipelines.
III. Allows terms and conditions contained to a certificate of site and facility to include the authority to require bonding.

Effective Date: July 20, 2015

HB 614 - implementing goals of the state 10-year energy strategy, modifying uses of the site evaluation committee fund, establishing fees for energy facility evaluation, and relative to public information sessions on proposed energy siting
Chapter Law 219
This bill implements goals of the state 10-year energy strategy prepared by the office of energy and planning. This bill modifies authorized uses of the site evaluation fund and establishes fees for energy facility evaluation. This bill also modifies requirements for public information sessions on proposed energy facilities.

Effective Date: July 8, 2015

SB 60 - establishing a commission to investigate implementation of decoupling for New Hampshire utilities
Chapter Law 148
This bill establishes a commission to investigate implementation of decoupling for New Hampshire utilities.

Effective Date:
I. Section 2 shall take effect November 1, 2015.
II. Remainder shall take effect June 12, 2015.

SB 170 - requiring the public utilities commission to ensure ratepayer protections with electric power suppliers and extending the time for the site evaluation committee to adopt certain rules
Chapter Law 268
This bill requires the public utilities commission to:

I. Redesign the commission’s website.
II. Develop a summary of the terms and conditions of an electric generation service contract for residential customers.
III. Extends the time for the site evaluation committee to adopt rules relative to criteria for the siting of energy facilities.

Effective Date: July 20, 2015

SB 221 - relative to electric rate reduction financing
Chapter Law 221
This bill permits the public utilities commission to issue finance orders that authorize the issuance of certain rate reduction bonds in accordance with the 2015 settlement proposal, or if the commission orders divestiture, regarding cost recovery of the Merrimack Station scrubber and divestiture of PSNH’s remaining generation plants. The bill also clarifies employee protections in the event of the divestiture or retirement of PSNH generation assets.

Effective Date: July 9, 2015

Planning

HB 102 - relative to consideration of warrant articles
Chapter Law 129
This bill requires that every article in a town meeting warrant be acted upon before final adjournment of the meeting. Previous law included this requirement only for towns with 10,000 or more inhabitants.

Effective Date: August 11, 2015

HB 108 - relative to sealing nonpublic session minutes
Chapter Law 49
This bill declares that a vote to seal nonpublic session minutes shall be taken in public session.

Effective Date: January 1, 2016

HB 153 - relative to the telecommunications planning and development advisory committee
Chapter Law 189
This bill revises the membership and duties of the telecommunications planning and development advisory committee.

Effective Date: July 6, 2015

HB 175 - establishing a committee to study improving the efficiency of the financial approval process for housing subdivisions used by the department of justice
Chapter Law 8
This bill establishes a committee to study improving the efficiency of the financial approval process for housing subdivisions used by the department of justice.

Effective Date: May 5, 2015

HB 200 - allowing homestead food operations exempt from licensure to sell homestead food products at retail food stores
Chapter Law 84
This bill allows homestead food operations exempt from licensure to sell homestead food products at retail food stores.

Effective Date: August 4, 2015

HB 201 - relative to the acquisition of property rights at Back Lake dam in the town of Pittsburg, Lake Armington dam in the town of Piermont, Cass Pond dam in the town of Epsom, and Chesham Pond dam in the town of Harrisville by the department of environmental services
Chapter Law 85
This bill allows the department of environmental services to acquire easements at the Back Lake dam in Pittsburg, Lake Armington dam in Piermont, Cass Pond dam in Epsom, and Chesham Pond dam in Harrisville for the purpose of repairing the dams. This bill is a request of the department of environmental services.

Effective Date: August 4, 2015

HB 233 - relative to local approval of mining activity
Chapter Law 162
This bill clarifies that mining activities regulated by the state under RSA 12-E are also subject to local zoning ordinances and site plan regulations. It also allows the mining permit pre-application process at the state level to be open to public input at the request of the applicant.

Effective Date: August 25, 2015

HB 268 - establishing a committee to study the adoption of low-impact housing development standards by the department of environmental services
Chapter Law 3
This bill establishes a committee to study the adoption of low-impact housing development standards by the Department of Environmental Services.

Effective Date: April 27, 2015

HB 306 - relative to membership of the wetlands council and the water council
Chapter Law 67
This bill removes the requirement that the municipal official appointed to the Wetlands Council be an elected official, but adds a limitation that the appointee may not be a member of a conservation commission, and removes the requirement that NHMA nominate three persons for the single position. The law also makes other changes to the membership on both the Wetlands Council and the Water Council.

Effective Date: August 1, 2015

HB 344 - relative to tax increment financing plans of municipal economic development and revitalization districts
Chapter Law 167
This bill permits the legislative body of a municipality to increase or decrease appropriations in a tax increment financing plan.

Effective Date: August 25, 2015

HB 362 - relative to the reliability of the electric grid (sections 1 and 2)
Chapter Law 89
This bill allows the governing body of a municipality (with respect to municipal roads) or the Commissioner of Transportation (with respect to state roads) to declare a tree within the limits of a right-of-way a public nuisance and have it removed, after notice to the landowner, if it poses a "danger to the traveling public, spread of tree disease, or the reliability of [utility] equipment." Previous law required a finding of "unreasonable danger." The public nuisance declaration and landowner notice are not required if delay would pose an imminent threat to safety or property, "including electric transmission and distribution lines."

Effective Date: August 4, 2015

HB 451 - relative to local approval of mining permits
Chapter Law 193
This bill clarifies that mining activities that are exempt from state regulation are subject to local ordinances and to local site plan review.

Effective Date: September 4, 2015

HB 464 - establishing the traditional commercial and recreational fishing protection act, prohibiting political subdivisions from interfering with commercial and recreational operations, . . .
Chapter Law 236
This bill provides that no commercial or recreational fishing operation may be declared a public or private nuisance solely because of a change in ownership or a change in the character of the property in or around the locality of the operation. It also prohibits any local legislative body from adopting an ordinance that declares a commercial or recreational fishing operation a nuisance merely because it is a fishing operation, or any zoning ordinance that unreasonably burdens or forces the closure of a commercial or recreational fishing operation, including one conducted as a home occupation. It does not prohibit a municipality from regulating fishing operations generally, nor does it authorize a fishing operation to expand if the expansion would violate local ordinances or create a nuisance.

Effective Date: September 11, 2015

HB 486 - authorizing towns and cities to establish special assessment districts and establishing a committee to study the creation of a special village district in Danbury
Chapter Law 240
This bill:
I. Allows a town or city to establish one or more special assessment districts to provide public facilities and services and for which special assessments and charges may be levied and collected to pay for those public facilities and services.
II. Establishes a committee to study the creation of a special village district in Danbury.

Effective Date:
I. Sections 1-2 shall take effect September 11, 2015
II. Remainder shall take effect July 13, 2015

HB 534 - relative to the duties of the housing finance authority
Chapter Law 16
This bill requires the housing finance authority to disclose all terms and conditions associated with grants or loans made to municipalities. The bill also requires an annual, independent audit of the housing finance authority.

Effective Date: July 4, 2015

HB 599 - relative to the economic revitalization zone tax credit program
Chapter Law 265
This bill changes eligibility requirements for economic revitalization zones and requires each zone to be reevaluated every 5 years to determine if the zone still meets eligibility criteria. The bill specifies that only full-time jobs are counted for purposes of calculating the business tax credits received by the zone. The bill also authorizes the commissioner of the department of resources and economic development to establish rules for evaluating the effectiveness of an economic revitalization zone tax credit program.

Effective Date: I. Section 7 shall take effect July 1, 2020 II. Remainder effective July 1, 2015

SB 30 - relative to the establishment of redevelopment districts in unincorporated places
Chapter Law 47
This bill:
I. Permits the establishment of redevelopment districts in unincorporated places.
II. Provides for the assessment of parcels located with redevelopment districts.
III. Authorizes a state guarantee for redevelopment bonds.

Effective Date: May 21, 2015

SB 38 - establishing a commission to develop a land conservation plan
Chapter Law 174
This bill establishes a commission to develop a long-term state conservation plan. The commission’s final report, which is due on or before September 15, 2016, is to identify specific natural resource protection priorities requiring further state investment over the next five years, a process for reviewing and revising priorities on a periodic basis, and a strategy for collaboration and funding among governmental and private partners to achieve the commission’s stated conservation goals.

Effective Date: June 16, 2015

SB 80 - establishing a committee on rail trails
Chapter Law 116
This bill establishes a committee to study and make recommendations for legislation regarding rail trails.

Effective Date: June 8, 2015

SB 88 - establishing a committee to study public-private partnerships for intermodal transportation
Chapter Law 184
This bill establishes a committee to study public-private partnerships for intermodal transportation.

Effective Date: June 29, 2015

SB 97 - authorizing municipalities to adopt ordinances to regulate stormwater to comply with federal permit requirements
Chapter Law 247
This bill clarifies that a municipal governing body may adopt ordinances for the maintenance and operation of a stormwater system or stormwater utility. The governing body may request the advice of the planning board in adopting such ordinances.

Effective Date: September 11, 2015

SB 98 - relative to third party review required by the planning board
Chapter Law 126
This bill allows an applicant for subdivision, site plan, or other review by a planning board to ask the board to use a different third-party consultant than the board would otherwise use to review the application. The board must use "reasonable discretion" in deciding whether the request is warranted, but the ultimate decision is left to the board. If the request is granted, the 65-day period for acting on the application is extended by 45 days.

Effective Date: August 8, 2015

SB 99 - establishing a committee to study allowing the sampling of beer or wine at farmers’ markets, establishing a committee to study powdered or crystalline alcohol, and relative to the definition of alcohol
Chapter Law 267
This bill establishes a committee to study allowing the sampling of beer or wine at farmers’ markets and establishes a committee to study powdered or crystalline alcohol. This bill also adds solids, powders, and crystals to the definition of alcohol.

Effective Date: July 20, 2015

SB 143 - relative to defining phased development
Chapter Law 31
This bill establishes a definition of "phased development" as used in the innovative land use control statute, RSA 674:21.

Effective Date: July 6, 2015

SB 168 - relative to the duties of the commissioner of the department of environmental services
Chapter Law 32
This bill requires the commissioner of the department of environmental services, jointly with the executive director of the fish and game department, to make recommendations concerning the lease of certain state-owned submerged lands in the Great Bay estuary.

Effective Date: July 6, 2015

SB 230 - relative to speed limits on state roads that are seasonally congested by pedestrian and bicycle traffic
Chapter Law 80
This bill authorizes the Commissioner of Transportation, upon petition by the governing body of a municipality, to recommend a seasonal decrease in the posted prima facie speed limit on any part of the state highway system that is seasonally congested by pedestrian and bicycle traffic. The speed limit may not be reduced below 20 miles per hour, and there may be only one seasonal speed limit, with a maximum duration of four months, in any 12-month period. The municipality must bear the cost of signage, but the signage must be approved by the Department of Transportation.

Effective Date: August 1, 2015

NH Office of Strategic Initiatives
Governor Hugh J. Gallen State Office Park
Johnson Hall, 3rd Floor  |  107 Pleasant Street  |  Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-2155  |  fax: (603) 271-2615