New Hampshire Legal Assistance

Helping to balance the scales of justice for everyone since 1971.

NHLA 2016 policy advocacy in review

NHLA maintains a consistent presence at the State House, lobbying on legislation within our poverty law practice areas, and has a robust practice before administrative rulemaking agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services, New Hampshire Employment Security, and the Public Utilities Commission.

The 2016 legislative session ended as an especially successful year, capped by reauthorization of the New Hampshire Health Protection Program (Medicaid expansion). NHLA worked closely with the large and diverse group of stakeholders - from hospitals and insurance companies to the Business and Industry Association to substance use and mental health advocates - that won reauthorization of this essential program, which serves nearly 50,000 low-income Granite Staters.

NHLA negotiated a number of compromise bills this year:

  • Working with the NH Rental Property Owners Association on language permitting certain agreements between landlords and tenants in nonpayment eviction cases
  • Collaborating with small loan lenders to amend the Small Loan Act’s definitions and cap certain fees on small loans.
  • Working with the NH Municipal Association to eliminate the 15 percent of assessed value penalty required for repurchase of principal residences after tax deeding - a big win for low-income homeowners!

NHLA also led efforts to defeat a number of proposals that would have been harmful to low-income and vulnerable New Hampshire residents, advocating against ill-conceived legislation:

  • Removing the presumption of weekly pay for hourly workers
  • Prohibiting the use of Food Stamps to buy anything other than milk at convenience stores
  • Requiring suspicion-less drug testing of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families recipients.
  • Capping child support payments by high-income parents

Together with steadfast allies from the NH Bar Foundation and the NH Bankers Association, NHLA also defeated a proposal to outlaw the IOLTA Program, a critical funding mechanism for legal aid for low-income residents.

All NHLA advocates take part in analyzing legislation and proposed rules, and many make occasional appearances at public hearings on legislation and proposed rules.Policy Director Sarah Mattson Dustin coordinates the work and is NHLA’s lead lobbyist at the State House.