Differences in House Adopted Version of SB 48
SB 48 is a bill which would establish a commission to study the efficiency and efficacy of the fish and game department and make recommendations to improve the department’s management and financial health. On March 9, 2017, the New Hampshire Senate voted to pass its version of SB 48 into law. On January 9, 2018, the House of Representatives voted to pass SB 48 into law with its own amendments. While the two versions may seem similar, some important language was changed in the House version which significantly reduces the impact the commission has on the fish and game department.
First, the House version of SB 48 removes “governance and management structure” from the purview of the commission’s study, thereby leaving them authority only to review the fish and game department’s operations. Additionally, the Senate version of the bill states that the commission shall make recommendations to improve the management, governance, and long-term financial health of the fish and game department, including the fish and game commission membership and authority. However, the House version removes “governance” and the “commission membership and authority” language from the bill. This removes the new commission’s authority to review and make recommendations about the leadership of the fish and game department.
Second, the Senate version of SB 48 includes a provision which authorizes the new commission to “accept financial support or other resources and expend such sums in the development of its work and reports.” However, the House version removes this section from the bill entirely. This removes the ability of the commission to use outside funding for their study of the department.
Third, the Senate version stated that the commission reports its findings and recommendations “for proposed legislation.” However, the House version removes “for proposed legislation,” indicating that the commission does not have the authority to recommend legislation under the House version of the bill.
Additionally, some other minor changes were made. The House version adds search and rescue costs to the list of operating expenses in the declaration of purpose; the report date and effective date of Section 3 in the bill are changed to January 1, 2019 instead of 2018; and the commissioner from the Nature Conservancy was changed to a person representing “a land conservation organization.”