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Paid Family Leave Bill for N.H. Won't Face Vote This Year

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

A paid family and medical leave bill won’t be voted on this year, despite community and bipartisan support. Representative Mary Gile, the primary sponsor of the bill, is still holding out hope for its future.

The bill, which would establish a paid family and medical leave insurance program in New Hampshire, was given a consolation prize in committee on Tuesday. Legislators voted to retain the bill, meaning that it will move to a subcommittee for further deliberation, and be voted on next year.

Gile, who has been trying to get a version of this bill passed for 16 years now, says the Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services committee failed to see the forest for the trees with this bill.

"These policy committees often – if a bill has a fiscal note, which this one did – they get bogged down in the finances of it," Gile says, "They’re not supposed to. I mean, I’ve been here 20 years and I’ve seen that happen so often. When you lose sight of the policy because of the amount of money involved."

Gile hopes that the bill’s time in its subcommittee will generate a strong understanding of, and investment in, the insurance program. With the governor’s support and decent state revenue, she expects that the bill will pass next year.

Hannah McCarthy first came to NHPR an intern in 2015, returned as a Fellow the following year and then bounced around as a reporter and producer before landing as co-host of Civics 101. She has reported on everything from the opioid epidemic to State House politics to haunted woods of New Hampshire.
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