Anatomy of a BillNew Hampshire

Building Cross-Party Relationships Makes Possible Bipartisan Affordable Housing Plan in New…

February 28, 2020

A bipartisan group of New Hampshire State legislators have teamed together to craft legislation addressing the chronic shortage of affordable housing in the state of New Hampshire. HB 1629 and HB 1632 are part of the New Hampshire Bipartisan Affordable Housing Plan to resolve the state’s housing crisis. During MAP’s National Week of Post-Partisan Action, HB 1632 passed the House! What’s more, one of the bill’s sponsors took us behind the scenes as HB 1632 was voted out of the New Hampshire State House.

The Bipartisan Affordable Housing Plan is a prime example of the importance of building relationships across the aisle in order to more effectively address a state’s most critical needs. Three of the bill sponsors, Representatives Joe Alexander (R), Gates Lucas (R), and Willis Griffith (D) attended MAP’s 2019 Future Summit — America’s largest bipartisan convening of young state legislators. Even though the young legislators were all from the same state, they previously had not had many opportunities to work together. Future Summit presented them with that opportunity, providing as space to engage not only with policy, but with one another as colleagues.

Following Future Summit, Reps. Alexander, Lucas and Griffith returned to their home state ready to tackle issues facing the next generation of young people in New Hampshire. Recognizing the potential for bipartisan momentum, the bill sponsors worked across the aisle to seek solutions to increase affordable housing in New Hampshire. Together, they determined that this would be possible through enhancing local control in communities by increasing housing development. In addition, Rep. Tom Loughman (D) joined the State Future Caucus Network members’ as they coordinated with the Governor’s Housing Task Force to craft the legislation. On October 30, 2019, the New Hampshire Bipartisan Affordable Housing legislative package was unveiled by Governor Chris Sununu, the bipartisan group of young legislators, and community housing activists.

HB 1629 and HB 1632 focus on improving local zoning decision making and incentivizing both new affordable housing construction and redevelopment of existing housing stock to qualify as affordable housing.

  • HB 1629 creates specific training requirements for zoning or other planning board members, and establishes new protocols to expedite and add transparency to the zoning decision making process.
  • HB 1632 creates municipal level economic development incentives through establishing a state supported “New Hampshire housing champion certification.” The bill provides investment incentives and tax relief to qualifying projects and first-time home buyers, and sets out provisions for a study of the housing champion certification’s utilization.

On February 19, 2020, Rep. Lucas shared the passage of HB 1632 with MAP’s audience — the bill is now headed to the Senate for consideration. A floor vote for HB 1629 has been scheduled for March 5, 2020. Stay tuned as the Bipartisan Affordable Housing legislative package continues through the New Hampshire General Court.

Update 3/11/2020: HB 1629 passed the New Hampshire House of Representatives on March 5. Both HB 1629 and HB 1632 are now headed to the New Hampshire Senate.

Rep. Sara Jacobs


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