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HB 580 and HB 484

Two House Bills (HB 580 and HB 484) were introduced last week at Representatives Hall in Concord. On Tuesday, February 19th, Representative Skip Reilly and Senator Jeanie Forrester introduced HB 580, the “moratorium” bill to an almost capacity filled hall of 400 seats. Between the hours of 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM, residents and professionals speaking on behalf of companies and special interest groups presented testimony, both for and against the bill before the Science, Technology and Energy Committee.

The committee, which consists of approximately 26, was mostly present, with a few absent due to other obligations. At one point, Committee Chairman Borden adjourned the hearing to open the second hearing for HB 484. He stated the bill would be heard on February 21st, rather than the current day, due to the great number of people present to testify for HB 580. Chairman Borden closed the hearing for HB 484 and reopened the hearing for HB 580. It was evident there was greater support for HB 580 present, due to the number of those testifying in support of the bill.

Few questions were addressed to the public, most likely due to the large crowd. The hearing was adjourned at approximately 6:00 PM. A work session of the Committee is scheduled for Thursday, February 28th at 10:00 AM in Room 304 of the Legislative Office building. The public is welcome to attend and observe, but no public input is accepted at the session.

House Bill 484 (the public approval for siting) was introduced by Representative Kurk on Thursday, February 21st in Room 304 of the Legislative Office Building at 8:30 AM. A much smaller group of approximately 30 people representing the public were present. The Committee was also slightly smaller in representation than on Tuesday. A substantial amount of time was taken to question Representative Kurk regarding the bill.

In addition, those presenting testimony were questioned quite thoroughly. The more intimate nature of the hearing provided an effective opportunity of exchange. Once again, those in attendance in support of HB 484, outnumbered those in opposition. The hearing was adjourned at approximately 12:00 PM, with the Committee work session for the bill scheduled for Tuesday, March 5th at the same location. The time has not been clarified.

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