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Republican Leaders Discuss Priorities for Upcoming Legislative Session

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

When they return to Concord next month, New Hampshire lawmakers will have hundreds of bills to sift through to begin the new legislative session. 
At a forum in Bedford Tuesday morning, top Republican leaders said the focus this session will be on addressing the state’s opioid problem and whether to renew Medicaid expansion.

And when it comes to New Hampshire's drug crisis, lawmakers will consider several proposals. That includes bills to increase the penalties for fentanyl and requiring insurance companies to cover substance abuse treatment.

But House Speaker Shawn Jasper said any bills that come with additional state spending will take more time. 

“The first thing we have to see is, where did we close out the year, and then we have to have the Ways and Means Committees from both chambers really delve into the numbers and give us some revised numbers to see where we are at," Jasper said.

But during the forum, Democratic Sen. Molly Kelly of Keene turned the focus slightly. Kelly said in order to attack the drug issue, renewing New Hampshire's Medicaid expansion, which is set to expire next December, is a crucial part. 

“Almost 4,000 people have now accessed these services through the Medicaid Expansion program,” Kelly said.

But figuring out how to pay for this program will likely spur a big debate.

Other issues to come up in Concord next year include proposed changes to the state’s voting laws, business tax policies and gun laws.

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