Legislative and Governmental Affairs
Devine Millimet’s Legislative and Governmental Affairs Practice Group, based in the state capital in Concord, is made up of seasoned professionals from across the political spectrum. Our team includes veterans of service in state executive branch departments as well as experienced political campaigners, all of whom are well-qualified to help our clients through the challenges and opportunities presented by the unique nature of state government in New Hampshire: a legislative branch made up of 424 citizen legislators, and an executive branch that is headed up not just by a governor, but also by the five members of the executive council.
We are prepared to respond quickly and effectively for our clients when they are confronted by state actions such as legislative initiatives or administrative rulemaking and adjudication. But we also recognize that the governmental process can provide our clients with affirmative opportunities to resolve impediments to achieving their business goals. We regularly provide legislative leaders with proposed legislation to address problems confronting businesses and individuals, and we also work regularly with executive branch agencies both in formal rulemaking proceedings and in more informal settings where departmental actions are at issue.
The clients we represent include businesses in highly regulated areas such as health care, energy, telecommunications, and environmental law. We handle work on behalf of business associations and also not-for-profit entities and organizations. The Legislative and Governmental Affairs Practice Group provides a complete array of services: we monitor the legislative and administrative processes; draft legislation and regulations; prepare and deliver testimony on pending legislation and rules; develop and coordinate lobbying strategies designed to bring success to our clients; assist in licensure and certification; and represent clients in administrative adjudication.
As a part of one of northern New England’s largest law firms, we are able to call upon the expert assistance of our colleagues throughout the firm as we develop our governmental strategies and prepare our substantive responses to proposed changes in laws and rules in the highly technical areas of the law where we operate. We also work closely with Devine Strategies, our strategic consulting subsidiary, in developing effective communications, grass roots efforts, and issues management to achieve our clients’ most important objectives.
Deregulation of Telecommunication Services. In the 2012 legislative session, we achieved the passage of an historic measure which deregulated the retail telecommunication industry in New Hampshire. This complex bill was drafted by DMB lawyers and was passed by the full House and Senate without any dissenting votes.
Creation of Economic Revitalization Zones. This landmark measure which we drafted and saw through to completion authorized the establishment of areas (known today as Economic Revitalization Zones) in certain locations around the state where job creation and economic development were particularly critical. The law, which the Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee called “historic”, marked the first time ever that New Hampshire had established a state tax break as a tool to attract or retain businesses.
Obtaining New Federal Medicaid Funding Source For Nursing Homes. This legislation which we lobbied and assisted in drafting established a complex system whereby bed fees are combined with federal matching funds and then returned to the nursing homes. The law has resulted in an increase of about $25 million per year in new federal Medicaid funding for nursing homes in the state.
Improvements In Net Operating Loss. DMB has been in the forefront of the efforts to reform New Hampshire’s net operating loss laws. We first achieved the passage of a bill that upped the net operating loss limits from $250,000 to $1,000,000. We then drafted and successfully lobbied for legislation which repealed a Department of Revenue Administration NOL rule that was costing New Hampshire businesses $2 million to $4 million each year. Most recently, we were part of the successful effort to increase the state-established NOL limits to $10 million.
Insurance Coverage for Naturopathic Doctors. Health insurers in New Hampshire did not provide reimbursement to patients of Naturopathic Doctors, the only primary care-trained doctors in the State who were not treated as primary care providers by New Hampshire’s health insurance companies. This meant that New Hampshire citizens and businesses were not able to fully utilize the cost-effective services of these doctors. We solved this problem by achieving the passage of legislation which created coverage requirements for NDs.
Passage of Eminent Domain Replacement Value. Another novel bill which we authored and lobbied to passage by the legislature involved eminent domain payments. In what we think was the first such legislation of its kind which was passed anywhere in the country, HB 1393 in 2002 was designed to require the state to provide business owners with their replacement costs in the event that their property was taken by eminent domain. Under current law, businesses receive only fair market value in return for their property, an amount which in some circumstances may be only a fraction of what it actually costs the business to set up and continue the operation of the business in another place. Unfortunately, although we successfully saw the bill through to passage by both the House and the Senate, HB 1393 was vetoed by the Governor. We came just short of getting that veto overturned in the House, which voted 182 to 161 in favor of an override.