Legal Breakfast Series highlights important legislative updates relevant to NH's business community

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The Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce partners with Orr & Reno, PA, to present an ongoing Legal Breakfast Series that explores various topics pertaining to both business and personal matters. These complimentary events offer the unique opportunity for attendees to learn from experienced attorneys, ask questions, and enjoy a light breakfast with other Chamber members, business leaders, and community members. 

With the 2020 Legislative Session rapidly approaching and all kinds of activity from the House, Senate and Governor during the 2019 session, on Nov. 19 Orr & Reno attorneys Jonathan Eck and William Chapman presented a summary of legislature enacted in 2019 that directly affects New Hampshire businesses to both business and nonprofit members.

Attorney Eck highlighted changes in several important categories—fiduciary access to digital assets, the state’s workforce needs, new legislature prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity, availability of criminal history records for businesses, and protection of New Hampshire remote sellers from unlawful sales taxes.

Two pieces of new legislation, CH 140 and CH 204, relate to fiduciary access to digital assets. Adoption of a new act titled “Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act,” has clarified how digital assets—which can be defined as anything from access to a personal email account, to online access to a bank account—can be accessed by a fiduciary under a will, trust, or power of attorney, among others. This legislation also protects account holders from scams, and other means of financial exploitation, by allowing broker-dealers and investment advisors to delay disbursements from accounts if there is significant cause for alarm.

Attorney Eck also presented several new pieces of legislation that affect the state’s workforce needs. With the current low percentage of unemployment, these laws encourage retention of workers in our state, especially in regard to recent college graduates. CH 317 created an incentive program, where participating businesses can contribute to pay off their employees’ student debt; CH 72 established a committee to study options for lowering student debt; CH 135 established a commission to study career pathways from full-time service year programs to post-secondary education and employment opportunities; CH 322 establishes the “Career Readiness Drive to 65 Act,” which provides state funding to students in grades 10-12 to enroll in community college courses; CH 22 limits the number of hours that youth can work; CH 201 prohibits employers from requiring low wage workers to sign non-compete agreements; and CH 247 offers a temporary tax credit for charitable contributions to a school district.

Attorney Chapman presented an overview of CH 332, which prevents discrimination based on “gender identity,” which is defined as “a person’s gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.” This legislation is imperative for any businesses who work out of a “place of public accommodation,” which is any location where a member of the public can freely enter and be served as a customer.

Another piece of legislation, CH 297, contains essential information for hiring managers within the business community. This legislation requires state police to maintain a database of public criminal history records, that is accessible to individuals, businesses, and state agencies for a fee. This law also allows municipalities to require individuals who engage in door-to-door business to submit a criminal history check; these new requirements will not affect individuals soliciting for charities or engaging in political activities.

Attorney Chapman also summarized CH 2980, which ensures that New Hampshire “remote sellers” are not unlawfully subjected to sales tax from foreign entities. A “remote seller” engages in “remote purchase transactions,” which is any sale outside of the state, where the individual, business or other legal entity making the sale does not have any physical presence within the foreign taxing jurisdiction. 

The presentation wrapped up with two additional pieces of legislation that Eck and Chapman predicted would be of interest to the business community. CH 260 establishes a commission to study the health and environmental risks of 5G technology, and CH 309 requires any person or business that is required to be licensed under New Hampshire insurance laws to implement a written security program to protect against “cybersecurity events.”

While Eck and Chapman covered many urgent pieces of legislation at the Legal Breakfast Series event, both engaged attendees with personal insight and encouraged questions throughout the presentation. They also provided links to find more information on the laws discussed. The casual atmosphere created the opportunity for business leaders and community members to tailor the discussion to meet their needs and take full advantage of time spent with Orr & Reno’s experienced attorneys.

Upcoming legislative events

What’s on tap for our next Legal Breakfast Series? Don’t miss “2020 Legislative Preview,” which will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 22 from 8-9 a.m. at Orr & Reno, PA. Attorneys Lindsay Nadeau and Connie Lane will give a primer on what to expect in the upcoming legislative session and examine how the 2020 Presidential Election may shape what happens in and around Concord. Pre-registration is required for these complimentary sessions, which include coffee and breakfast items. Learn more and register today.

And the Chamber's popular "Legislative Outlook" Monthly Forum planned for Thursday, Jan. 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Holiday Inn in downtown Concord, is the perfect opportunity to hear from a panel of experts who will share insight on this year’s top issues following a record number of vetoes in 2019. Check our key events webpage for more information on this highly anticipated event that includes lunch and a lively Q&A session.

Advocacy

The Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce advocates for members on both local and legislative issues through its volunteer Local and State Government Affairs Committees. Updates written on behalf of the committees are posted to the Chamber's Legislative Update web page and shared with members through the enewsletter.

Tim Sink is the President of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce. Read his posts at ConcordNHChamber.com/blog.

Incorporated in 1919, the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce turned 100 years old on October 18 and is one of the largest chambers in the state with more than 950 members. New Hampshire's state capital chamber of commerce develops economic opportunities, strengthens the business climate, and enhances quality of life in the Capital region. It is deeply invested in the local community and dedicated to shaping competitive economic development strategy, advocating for policies and projects that benefit the region, and promoting Concord as a culturally vibrant visitor destination. For more information visit ConcordNHChamber.com.

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