As the state’s drug task force plans to wrap up on Tuesday, most of the bills slotted to be fast-tracked next legislative session have more or less been chosen.
The bills include increasing the penalties for fentanyl, ramping up drug prevention in schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, and creating a 24-hour hotline for those battling addiction.
Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley said without the task force, such proposals would not have been carefully vetted before facing a vote.
“It may seem that you should just snap your fingers and do it all in one day…I think we have done is blend the need for getting it right with getting it done quickly,” Bradley told reporters on Thursday, adding that he expects to have these bills on the governor’s desk by January 21.
Over the course of three weeks, the 26-member panel heard from dozens of experts from the medical, law enforcement and non-profit sectors. The task force, crafted by Republican leadership, was formed after Governor Maggie Hassan called lawmakers back to Concord last month for a special session. Although the governor applauded lawmakers' efforts, she was disappointed zero legislation was passed during the special session.
After the expedited bills, next on the agenda is a statewide drug court program as well as putting more state dollars into the prescription drug monitoring program.