News and Legislative Update – January 2023
Table of Contents
Housing Champion Bill. SB 145 is a key proposal this legislative session to provide technical assistance, infrastructure support and recognition to communities working to address housing needs. Assigned to the Senate Commerce Committee, the bill is sponsored by Senator Perkins Kwoka (D- District 21) and has bipartisan co-sponsorship from the House and Senate. A growing Housing Champion Coalition is coming together to support the proposal, including the NH Municipal Association and the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire.
Housing Funding Bill. Senator Innis (R-District 7) has introduced SB 231. Another bill with strong bipartisan and bicameral cosponsorship, the bill proposes major appropriations for key housing programs including the Affordable Housing Fund, Invest NH and a new historic housing tax credit. The bill also includes $8 million for homeless services and housing stabilization services.
Fourplex Bill. Representative McWilliams (D-Concord) has reintroduced a proposal, HB 44, for the 2023 session to require municipalities to permit by right single-family lots in residential districts on water/sewer to be used for up to 4 residential units. At the hearing before the House Municipal and County Government Committee on January 19, supporters underscored the opportunity to address “Missing Middle” housing in the state. Maine passed a similar bill in 2022, allowing for fourplex development by right in Maine’s designated growth areas.
Land Use Docket. Representative Lynn (R-Windham), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has reintroduced his bill to create a land use review docket in New Hampshire’s Superior Court. HB 347 is scheduled for an executive session on February 1, 2023 at 9 am. Housing Action NH supports amending the bill to indicate that a newly established docket would not supplant the Housing Appeals Board.
Residency Requirements for Homeless Services. SB 110, proposed by Senator Donovan Fenton (D-District 10), establishes additional residency requirements in the administration of emergency shelter programs. Housing Action NH is concerned that the proposal conflicts with RSA 165 requirements that municipalities provide assistance regardless of residency. SB 110 will be heard by the Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee on February 7 at 9 am.
Density Study Commission. The Senate has passed SB 47, Senator Perkins Kwoka’s bill to extend the work of the Committee to study barriers to increased density of residential development in New Hampshire. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
Source of Income Protection. HB 469, proposed by Representative Cam Kenney (D-Durham), would prohibit discrimination against tenants seeking to rent with use of a housing choice voucher in the private market. A hearing was held before the House Judiciary committee on January 26 and the bill is scheduled for executive session on February 8 or 9. Housing Action NH supports the legislation.
ADU Expansion. Representative Ellen Read (D-Newmarket) has proposed HB 423, a bill that increases the number of accessory dwelling units allowed by right from one to 2, changes the definition of attached unit, and increases the maximum square footage from 750 to 1,000. The bill has been assigned to the House Municipal and County Government Committee.
Special Committee on Housing. House Speaker Sherm Packard (R-Londonderry) has created three special legislative committees, including a new committee on housing. The Special Committee on Housing, chaired by Representative Joe Alexander (R-Goffstown), held its inaugural meeting on January 30. The next meeting is scheduled for February 17.
White House Renter Protections Initiative. The Biden-Harris Administration has announced new actions to increase fairness in the rental market and further principles of fair housing. These actions align with a new Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights that lays out a set of principles to drive action by the federal government, state and local partners, and the private sector to strengthen tenant protections and encourage rental affordability.
Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act. New Hampshire’s Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has introduced a bill in the US Senate to authorize $1 billion annually to help local governments combat homelessness. The bill addresses homelessness through additional affordable housing as well as mental health care, substance abuse treatment and job training.