Legislative Update: February 13, 2024

Legislative Update: February 13, 2024

Another attempt at licensing reform

Chief Executive Officer

Legislative efforts to alter or reform occupational licensing requirements, especially as they relate to out-of-state licensees acquiring a corresponding New Hampshire license, have been a constant debate at the State House over the past several years.

This session is no different, as HB 1272 would lower the barrier for professionals from out-of-state seeking a license in New Hampshire. If passed, the Office of Professional Licensing (OPLC) would have to issue licenses to real estate professionals – and any of the 49 other occupations licensed by the OPLC – who present evidence of an active license in good standing from another jurisdiction and pass a background check. 

For real estate, that would eliminate the need to take the New Hampshire portion of the real estate examination. NHAR testified in opposition.

Even the sponsor of HB 1272 conceded that there would likely need to be a carve-out for real estate and a few other professions whose laws are particularly unique to New Hampshire. 

The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee should take action on the bill later this month.

More lax timber tax 

Senate Bill 514 seeks to increase the amount of wood or wood chips a landscaper can use for personal use or for land conservation purposes without being subject to the timber tax. 

The bill would increase the current personal use exemptions from 10,000 to 15,000 board feet of logs, and from 20 to 30 cords of fuel wood. It would also clean up the equivalent language by replacing it with an exemption of 300 tons of whole tree chips. If enacted, the legislation will reduce time and paperwork for both landowners and local officials. 

The Senate passed the bill last week and is expected to be taken up by the House of Representatives later this spring.

Faster driveway permits? DOT says slow down

House Bill 1202 would require the Department of Transportation to issue permits on class I and class III highways, and the state-maintained portion of class II highways to be issued within 30 days of application or 45 days for commercial or industrial enterprise, or to a subdivision. The bill is the result of concerns that DOT sometimes takes many months to issue a driveway permit.

The Department of Transportation opposes the bill, arguing that for safety reasons the permits need to take numerous months to complete. NHAR supports the legislation. 

The House Public Works Committee is expected to take action on the bill later this month.

Quote of the Week

"13 communities permitted 100 or more units in 2022, comprising 50 percent of the total housing growth in the state.”

2023 Current Estimates and Trends in New Hampshire’s Housing Supply Survey, NH Business and Economic Affairs (BEA). In 2022, Salem permitted the most housing units (470) while Laconia issued the most permits for single-family housing (105 units), followed by Londonderry (76). 129 towns approved fewer than 10 housing units, including 16 which approved none, while 56 communities permitted more than 50 housing units.

For more information, contact New Hampshire Realtors CEO Bob Quinn: bob@nhar.com.

"Amidst the sea of change to which the New Hampshire Association of REALTORS has played witness in its 85 years, one thing that has remained constant is the Realtor 'R' and the value we bring to every real estate transaction in which we take part. We are part of a unique community where our familial cooperation transcends our business competition. These are not mere platitudes, but our living ideals, and they are, in fact, the foundation on which we conduct ourselves in our day-to-day affairs."

Joanie McIntire, 2024 President, New Hampshire REALTORS