New Hampshire Retail Lumber Association Announces 2017 Legislative Priorities

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Concord, N.H. – The New Hampshire Retail Lumber Association (NHRLA) announced its 2017 legislative priorities during an annual breakfast at the New Hampshire State Capitol, Tuesday morning.

More than 100 state legislators attended the event where NHRLA members discussed concerns regarding mandated paid family leave bill, and proposed building code updates which add unnecessary additional costs to homeowners with negligible added protections or energy efficiency measures. Additionally, NHRLA voiced its support of initiatives in the Governor’s budget that would encourage and promote business development programs in New Hampshire. NHRLA lumber dealers are encouraging programs be centered around workforce development.

“The NHRLA has been advocating for Granite State businesses since 1928,” explained Ken Hamshaw, vice president of Hamshaw Lumber in Keene, N.H. “We’re here today to focus on the future of our state, and to showcase how New Hampshire’s independent lumber and building material dealers strengthen their local communities every day.”

NHRLA’s 71 member companies represent independent lumber and building material dealers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and other associated businesses in the state of New Hampshire, and employ over 6,200 New Hampshire residents.

For more information contact Ashley Ranslow, Manager of Government Affairs, at aranslow@nrla.org or 518-880-6350.

About NHRLA’s Legislative Priorities

  1. Paid Family Leave

HOUSE & SENATE ACTION REQUESTED: That the House and Senate closely examine House Bill 628, which would create a system of paid family and medical leave insurance.

House bill 628, an “act relative to a family and medical leave insurance program” needs to be closely examined and thoroughly vetted before passage or implementation. In this legislation, there are more questions than answers about what qualifying events trigger leave, the definition of family member, how the leave can be taken, the opt-out provision, and eligibility requirements. While paid family and medical leave insurance programs are advertised as free, they are not free to employers or employees. Besides the additional administrative costs, such as recordkeeping and monitoring payroll deductions, employers are required to continue to pay non-wage benefits, including health care during the paid leave. Small employers may have to hire a temporary worker to fulfill employees’ job duties while they are on leave. Furthermore, employees would be taxed to fund the program.

2. Building Codes

HOUSE & SENATE ACTION REQUESTED: That the House and Senate support House Bill 92 and House Bill 168 with Amendments. 

NHRLA continues to monitor New Hampshire’s efforts to update the State Building Code. The State currently has adopted the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC). The Building Code Review Board, along with the legislature, is considering adoption of the 2015 IRC. The New Hampshire Home Builders and Remodelers Association (NHHBA) and NHRLA have concerns with certain provisions in the 2015 IRC, including: the requirement of either sheetrock or fire sprinklers on basement ceilings whenever lightweight floor joists are used (I-joists or floor trusses). These provisions add unnecessary additional costs to homeowners with negligible added protections or energy efficiency measures. NHRLA supports proposed amendments to the 2015 IRC in an effort to keep housing costs down for homeowners while also improving the construction of residential dwellings.

  1. Business Development

NHRLA supports initiatives in the Governor’s budget that would encourage and promote business development programs in New Hampshire, including programs centered around workforce development. NHRLA members are having a difficult time finding and hiring qualified personnel to fill open positions. Those hiring challenges will exacerbate as the workforce in the lumber and building materials industry continues to age and retire. The State and its education system should invest in recruiting, developing, and training the youth to fill skilled labor openings in our industry and the many other industries, including construction and manufacturing. Workforce development is an important component of improving New Hampshire’s economy and ensuring that the state’s labor supply has the skills necessary to meet the needs of businesses.