TITLE I
THE STATE AND ITS GOVERNMENT

Chapter 12-O
DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS

Section 12-O:1

    12-O:1 Definitions. –
In this chapter:
I. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the department of business and economic affairs.
II. "Department" means the department of business and economic affairs.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:2

    12-O:2 Establishment; Purpose. –
I. There shall be a department of business and economic affairs under the executive direction of a commissioner of business and economic affairs, consisting of a division of economic development which shall include but not be limited to a bureau of workforce development, and a division of travel and tourism development which shall include but not be limited to a bureau of visitor service. The department's purpose shall be to ensure the efficient coordinated function of the department, economic development policies of the state of New Hampshire and the collaborative participation of all related state departments, agencies, and authorities.
II. The purpose of this chapter is to improve the administration of state government by providing unified direction of policies, programs, and personnel in the field of economic development and travel and tourism development making possible increased efficiency and economies from integrated administration and operation of these related functions of the state government.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017. 2018, 200:4, eff. July 1, 2018. 2021, 91:68, eff. July 1, 2021.

Section 12-O:3

    12-O:3 General Provisions. –
I. Upon the recommendation of the commissioner after consultation with division directors concerned and the council of partner agencies established in RSA 12-O:7, the governor and council are authorized to approve revisions in internal administrative departmental organization as the governor and council find from time to time may improve or make more economical the administration of the department.
II. With the approval of the governor and council and of the director of personnel, the commissioner of business and economic affairs is authorized to transfer classified personnel, appropriations or portions thereof relating thereto as well as necessary equipment, within any division or between divisions of the department.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:4

    12-O:4 Powers and Duties of Department. – In addition to any other powers and duties set forth in this chapter or as otherwise provided by statute, the department of business and economic affairs shall have the power and duty to plan and conduct a program of information and publicity to attract tourists, visitors, industrial concerns, and other interested persons from outside the state to the state of New Hampshire, and to encourage, coordinate, and participate in the efforts of other public and private organizations or groups of citizens in order to publicize the facilities, industrial advantages, and other attractions of the state for the same purposes. The commissioner shall assign such duties and functions as in her or his discretion will best effectuate the purposes, powers, and duties set forth in this section and as otherwise provided by statute. The department is authorized to set its logo and to establish and maintain any websites.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:5

    12-O:5 Commissioner of Business and Economic Affairs. – There shall be a commissioner of business and economic affairs who shall be appointed by the governor and council for a term of 4 years from the date of appointment. It shall be the responsibility of the commissioner to organize and direct the work of the department. The commissioner shall appoint one member of his or her staff who shall act in the commissioner's stead when said commissioner is absent from the state and at such other times as directed by the commissioner. When acting for the commissioner said person shall have all the power, duties, and authority of the commissioner. Directors of departmental divisions shall be subject to the supervisory authority of the commissioner, which authority shall include power to establish department and divisional policy as well as to control the actual operations of the department and all divisions therein. The commissioner is authorized to establish any advisory commissions and programs which the commissioner may deem necessary to carry out the mission and operations of the department.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:5-a

    12-O:5-a Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. –
I. There is established in the office of the commissioner the unclassified position of director of intergovernmental affairs. The director shall be qualified to hold that position by reason of education and experience and shall perform such duties as the commissioner from time to time may authorize.
II. The commissioner shall nominate for appointment by the governor, with the consent of the council, this unclassified director of intergovernmental affairs who shall serve for a term of 4 years.
III. The salary of the director of intergovernmental affairs shall be determined after assessment and review of the appropriate temporary letter grade allocation in RSA 94:1-a, I(b) for the position which shall be conducted pursuant to RSA 94:1-d and RSA 14:14-c.
IV. Upon completion of the appointment of the first director of intergovernmental affairs, position number 40049 shall be abolished to allow for the transition of this classified position with its available appropriations into the unclassified position of director of intergovernmental affairs. Funding shall be transferred into a new expenditure class number 11 within accounting unit 03-22-22-220010-2007.

Source. 2021, 91:66, eff. July 1, 2021.

Section 12-O:6

    12-O:6 Reports and Publications. – The commissioner of business and economic affairs is authorized to prepare, publish, and distribute reports, charts, surveys, or other documents consistent with the responsibilities of the department. The commissioner may charge reasonable fees for such documents. Fees for documents distributed by the department shall be adopted as rules under RSA 541-A.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:7

    12-O:7 Council of Partner Agencies Established. –
I. There shall be a council of partner agencies to assist and advise the commissioner of business and economic affairs which shall consist of the following members:
(a) The executive director of the business finance authority.
(b) The chancellor of the community college system.
(c) The executive director of the community development finance authority.
(d) The executive director of the New Hampshire housing finance authority.
(e) The chancellor of the university system of New Hampshire.
II. The council shall develop bylaws to guide its operations.
III. The commissioner of the department of business and economic affairs shall chair the council.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017. 2020, 38:23, eff. Sept. 27, 2020.

Section 12-O:8

    12-O:8 Council of Partner Agencies; Duties. – The council established in RSA 12-O:7 shall consult with and advise the commissioner of business and economic affairs with respect to the policy, programs, and operations of the department upon a continuing basis and for said purposes shall meet with the commissioner not less frequently than quarterly. Each agency represented on the council shall make reasonable efforts to coordinate its economic development activities with those of the department, provided that nothing in this section shall be construed to deprive represented agencies of their authority to operate autonomously. The council shall submit to the governor and council biennially a written report of the activities of the department covering the previous 2 calendar years, which report shall be a public document. A nonpublic session of the council may be called at any time for any of the reasons specified in RSA 91-A:3, II upon majority vote and shall consist solely of the members thereof.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:9

    12-O:9 Directors of Divisions. – The commissioner shall nominate for appointment by the governor and council a director of economic development and a director of travel and tourism development, each of whom shall serve, subject to the provisions of RSA 4:1, for a term of 4 years from the date of appointment and until a successor is appointed and qualified. The directors of the divisions of economic development and travel and tourism development who are in office on the effective date of the transfer of those divisions to the department of business and economic affairs shall serve for the remainder their terms, at which time they may be reappointed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Any vacancy in such office shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the original appointment. Directors of divisions shall be responsible for the administration and operation of their respective divisions subject to the supervisory authority of the commissioner as set forth in RSA 12-O:5.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:10

    12-O:10 Salaries. – The annual salaries of the commissioner of business and economic affairs, and of the directors of the divisions, shall be as provided in RSA 94.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:11

    12-O:11 Division of Travel and Tourism Development; Transfer of Functions, Powers, and Duties. – All of the functions, powers, duties, personnel, records, and property of the division of travel and tourism development of the former department of resources and economic development are hereby transferred to the division of travel and tourism development of the department of business and economic affairs. Whenever reference is made to the division of travel and tourism development in the statutes, it shall henceforth be construed to mean the division of travel and tourism development of the department of business and economic affairs.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:11-a

    12-O:11-a Repealed by 2021, 91:67, eff. July 1, 2021. –

Section 12-O:11-b


[RSA 12-O:11-b suspended by 2021, 91:69 for the biennium ending June 30, 2023.]
    12-O:11-b Division of Travel and Tourism Budget; Meals and Rooms Tax Revenue. – The budget of the division of travel and tourism, including the travel and tourism development fund established by RSA 12-O:16, shall be funded at an amount no less than 3.15 percent of the net income identified by RSA 78-A:26, I for the most recently completed fiscal year.

Source. 2019, 346:81, eff. July 1, 2019.

Section 12-O:12

    12-O:12 Division of Economic Development; Transfer of Functions, Powers, and Duties. – All of the functions, powers, duties, personnel, records, and property of the division of economic development are hereby transferred from the former department of resources and economic development to the division of economic development of the department of business and economic affairs. Whenever reference is made to the division of economic development in the statutes, it shall henceforth be construed to mean the division of economic development of the department of business and economic affairs.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:13

    12-O:13 Travel and Tourism Revolving Fund; Transfer; Functions. –
I. The travel and tourism revolving fund in the former department of resources and economic development is hereby transferred to the department of business and economic affairs. The fund is hereby established as a nonlapsing revolving fund. The revolving fund shall be used for, but not be limited to, cooperative efforts with the private sector, for the purpose of bulk brochure distribution, familiarization tours, promotional programs, trade shows, and other projects generally recognized as beneficial to promoting the state of New Hampshire.
II. All income received from participation in cooperative promotional programs, familiarization tours, trade shows, brochure distribution projects, and other promotional opportunities which become available, shall be deposited into the fund.
III. The commissioner of the department of business and economic affairs shall submit a report detailing the activities of the revolving fund annually to the governor and council and the fiscal committee of the general court within 60 days of the close of each fiscal year.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:14

    12-O:14 New Hampshire Tourism Policy. –
It is the intent of the general court that all agencies and departments of state government and, specifically, the director of travel and tourism development, under the supervision of the commissioner of business and economic affairs, shall implement their statutory responsibilities in a manner consistent with promoting and encouraging the orderly growth and development of tourism within the state. This policy shall include efforts to:
I. Foster awareness and appreciation of New Hampshire's natural, historical, cultural, and scenic resources among its residents.
II. Instill a better understanding among New Hampshire residents and also state employees of the importance of tourism to the state economy.
III. Establish and maintain a database on matters concerning state tourism research.
IV. Encourage fairs, conventions, trade shows, and other expositions of hospitality and friendliness toward visitors.
V. Protect and preserve wildlife, natural resources, and geological, archaeological, and cultural treasures within the state for the enjoyment of residents and nonresidents.
VI. Support tourism by developing an essential tourism infrastructure, including, but not limited to, adequate highways and public transportation networks and facilities for the traveling public.
VII. Encourage, assist, and coordinate, when possible, the tourism activities of local and regional promotional organizations.
VIII. Encourage law enforcement personnel to assist, whenever possible, the traveling public by providing them with a hospitable reception and appropriate information.
IX. Ensure, when feasible, equal access by visitors and residents to public recreational resources.
X. Ensure that the interest of tourism is fully considered by state agencies and the general court in its deliberations.
XI. Harmonize, to the maximum extent, all state activities in support of tourism with the needs of the general public, the state and its political subdivisions, and the tourism industry. Any conflicts among the agencies and departments of the state in the implementation of their responsibilities under this section shall be referred to the council on resources and development established by RSA 162-C.
XII. Utilize tourism activities and resources as resident recruitment tools for the state.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:15

    12-O:15 Director of Travel and Tourism Development; Duties. –
The director of travel and tourism development, under the supervision of the commissioner of business and economic affairs and consistent with the New Hampshire tourism policy under RSA 12-O:14, shall:
I. Promote New Hampshire as a domestic and international travel destination in order to increase visitation and travel expenditures, business activity, and employment throughout the state.
II. Develop and administer programs to encourage and promote the development of the tourism industry in the state.
III. Provide information and assistance to local and regional officials on matters related to travel and tourism and encourage the development of locally coordinated programs.
IV. Encourage partnerships among the tourism industry, business and industry, and state and local officials to expand the state's travel promotion strategy.
V. Raise the perception of travel and tourism in the minds of New Hampshire residents, businesses, and government.
VI. Conduct research to measure the effectiveness of promotional programs.
VII. Ensure that New Hampshire maintains a high quality tourism experience for the visitor by working with the travel industry on ways to utilize natural, historical, cultural, and recreational attractions and facilitating statewide activities which can be used as resources by the travel industry.
VIII. Provide marketing and promotion of film and digital media for the purpose of strengthening the cultural, educational, and economic impact of media production in New Hampshire.
IX. Perform any other duties and functions as assigned by the commissioner.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017. 2018, 200:6, eff. July 1, 2018.

Section 12-O:16

    12-O:16 Travel and Tourism Development Fund. –
I. There is hereby established in the office of the state treasurer a fund to be known as the travel and tourism development fund. Any appropriations received shall be deposited in the fund. Moneys in the fund and any interest earned on the fund shall be used for the purpose of promoting and developing appropriate travel and tourism initiatives through the division of travel and tourism development and shall not be used for any other purpose. The director of travel and tourism development shall oversee expenditures from the fund. The moneys in the fund shall be nonlapsing.
II. The commissioner shall prepare an annual report to be presented no later than December 1 of each year to the governor and council, the fiscal committee of the general court, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house of representatives. The report shall detail the specific activities supported by, and expenditures from, the fund during the past year and shall additionally detail the activities of the travel and tourism revolving fund established in RSA 12-O:13.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:17

    12-O:17 Joint Promotional Program. –
A joint promotional advertising program is hereby established to carry out the duties of the department of business and economic affairs as set forth in RSA 12-O:4 to publicize the advantages of the state of New Hampshire for tourism and to encourage continuous partnership with private industry in this promotion in order to maintain a viable and strong economic base in the state.
I. The department shall administer a joint promotional advertising program. The funds appropriated for this program shall be expended for grants for advertising programs entered into with independent groups or organizations which are designed to promote travel and tourism in the state of New Hampshire.
II. Funds appropriated to the joint promotional program shall only be made available to regional associations, statewide tourist groups, chambers of commerce, or other promotional organizations with the approval of the commissioner. Such grants shall only be given to those organizations which have been in existence for at least 3 years prior to the date of the grant application.
III. Grant awards shall require 50 percent matching funds from private sources. Grants shall not be used for the administrative salaries or overhead expenses of any applicant selected for a grant.
IV. Grant applications shall be reviewed by appropriate staff which shall recommend approval or disapproval of applications to the commissioner of business and economic affairs. A recommendation for disapproval by the commissioner shall be in writing with the reasons for disapproval stated.
V. Funds appropriated for the joint promotional program for the first fiscal year of any biennium shall not lapse and shall be available for expenditure during the second fiscal year of the biennium. All funds which have not been expended by the end of the second fiscal year of a biennium shall lapse to the general fund.
VI. The commissioner shall adopt rules under RSA 541-A after public hearing governing the joint promotional program. These rules shall include:
(a) A description of the joint promotional program, stating the general course and method of its operations and the methods by which the public may obtain information or make submissions or requests;
(b) The procedures and criteria used to certify groups or organizations eligible for matching grants;
(c) The application process, including the information required of applicants;
(d) The procedures and criteria used to evaluate grant applications; and
(e) Procedures for the administration of grants by recipients including reporting requirements.
VII. Three percent of the funds appropriated to the joint promotional program shall be allocated for a grant or grants to organizations that do not qualify under paragraph II. Such grants shall require 10 percent matching funds from private sources, provided that the organization:
(a) Has a demonstrated program of cooperation for promotion;
(b) Has a demonstrated need for promotion;
(c) Has demonstrated a case of regional depression or financial hardship;
(d) Agrees that this unmatched grant shall not be awarded for more than 2 successive years; and
(e) Further agrees that the affected area shall not be eligible for any unmatched grant for a period of 5 years after the second year following the award of the first of any unmatched grant.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:18

    12-O:18 Rest Areas and Welcome Centers. –
I. The department of business and economic affairs shall be responsible for the staffing of all operational rest areas and welcome centers owned by the department of transportation. There is established in the department a bureau of visitor service within the office of the commissioner to administer this function. The commissioner may consult with local business representatives relative to said function, and shall have the authority to enter into contracts with private or public entities for said function as the commissioner deems appropriate.
II. Notwithstanding paragraph I, the department of transportation and the liquor commission may undertake and/or participate in the development of the welcome centers in Hooksett on the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate Route 93 as authorized by the legislature.
III. Subject to a memorandum of understanding with the department of transportation, the bureau of visitor service shall provide rest area management and operational services without limitation, to include staffing, training, fiscal management, grounds and building maintenance, and customer service to the traveling public.
IV. The bureau of visitor service shall seek to advance initiatives and strategies to reduce state operational responsibility and cost, to provide an improved user experience for visitors, and to focus state resources on customer service for those visitors.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017. 2019, 346:140, 141, eff. July 1, 2019.

Section 12-O:19

    12-O:19 Package Plan Program; Recreational Facilities. –
I. As used in this section the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:
(a) "Voluntary corporation," a corporation organized under RSA 292, dedicated by its articles of agreement and bylaws to serve and promote the recreational interests of the state of New Hampshire or a section thereof and which may number among its members certain corporations actively engaged in developing and promoting recreational facilities in the state of New Hampshire.
(b) "Package plan program," a method of selling tickets by which the department, in conjunction with a voluntary corporation, offers for sale to the general public interchangeable or reciprocal tickets for services and accommodations, or both, in connection with recreational facilities of both the state and the voluntary corporation or any of its members. The charges for services and accommodations when sold in this manner may be less than when sold individually.
II. The department of business and economic affairs may participate in package plan programs with voluntary corporations as defined in this section, and businesses within the tourism industry. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, this participation may include entering into such agreements with voluntary corporations and businesses within the tourism industry as are in the best interests of the state, which agreements may relate to the development, promotion, administration, and sales of package plan programs. Such agreements shall permit the department of business and economic affairs to provide to the voluntary corporation and businesses within the tourism industry a mutually agreed upon number of tickets or vouchers for tickets at a mutually agreed upon discounted rate in order to participate in the package plan program for promotional purposes or in lieu of dues to the voluntary corporation. Any revenue derived by participation in package plan programs payable to the department of business and economic affairs in accordance with such agreements shall be deposited with the state treasurer in the same manner as regular ticket sales. The commissioner of the department of business and economic affairs shall make annual reports on revenue derived from participation in package plan programs to the senate president, the speaker of the house, and governor and council by January 31 following the close of each fiscal year.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:20

    12-O:20 Director of Economic Development; Duties. –
The director of economic development, under the supervision of the commissioner of business and economic affairs shall:
I. Establish and maintain a database on matters related to the economy of the state and its economic development.
II. Plan, develop, and administer programs to assist in the maintenance and expansion of existing industry and business in the state.
III. Plan, develop, and administer programs to encourage and promote the development of new industry and business in the state.
IV. Provide information and assistance to local and regional officials on matters related to economic development and encourage the establishment of local development plans and programs.
V. Research and analyze information on matters related to the economic development of the state to support and evaluate the effectiveness of promotional and assistance programs.
VI. Prepare a written economic development strategy and operating plan as required by RSA 12-O:24 through 12-O:28.
VII. Plan, develop, and administer programs to assist in the implementation of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, 29 U.S.C. section 2801 et seq., as such may be amended, reauthorized, and in effect from time to time, implement the state plan established by the governor and the State Workforce Innovation Board, and perform the following additional functions:
(a) Through the youth council, select youth providers of training services in the local areas.
(b) Identify eligible providers of training services in the local area.
(c) Identify eligible providers of intensive services, if not otherwise provided by the One-Stop operator.
(d) Develop a budget for carrying out the duties of the State Workforce Innovation Board, subject to the approval of the commissioner.
(e) Oversee local programs of youth activities, local employment, and training service.
(f) Establish, in conjunction with the commissioner, local performance measures.
(g) Assist the commissioner in developing statewide employment statistics systems described in the Wagner-Peyser Act.
(h) Coordinate workforce investment activities authorized and implemented within the state with economic development strategies, and develop the employer linkages with such activities.
(i) Make available to the public, on a regular basis through open meetings, information regarding State Workforce Innovation Board activities including information regarding the state plan prior to its submission, and information regarding membership, the designation and certification of One-Stop operators and the award of grants or contracts to eligible providers of youth activities and, as requested, minutes of formal meetings of the State Workforce Innovation Board.
(j) Review the operation of programs and the availability, responsiveness, and adequacy of state services, and make recommendations to the governor, appropriate chief elected officials, service providers, the legislature, and general public with respect to steps to improve the effectiveness of these services and programs.
(k) Review plans of all state agencies providing employment training, and related services, and provide comments and recommendations to the governor, the legislature, the state agencies, and appropriate federal agencies on the relevancy and effectiveness of employment and training and related services delivery system in the state.
VIII. Perform any other duties and functions as assigned by the commissioner.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017. 2020, 37:31, eff. July 29, 2020.

Section 12-O:21

    12-O:21 New Hampshire Economic Development Fund. –
I. There is hereby established the New Hampshire economic development fund which shall be administered by the commissioner of the department of business and economic affairs. Said fund shall be for the purpose of providing funds for grants, loans and other economic development initiatives which shall be generally considered to be beneficial to the state's overall economy as provided for in paragraph II.
II. Said fund shall be distributed or expended by the commissioner with prior approval of the fiscal committee of general court and the governor and council for any of the following purposes:
(a) Business financing and expansion initiatives.
(b) Workforce recruitment retention and creation.
(c) International trade.
(d) Research and development activities.
(e) Other projects or programs recognized as being beneficial to business activity in New Hampshire.
III. To maximize the economic impact of expenditures from this fund, and to leverage additional funding from other sources, the commissioner may contract with such organizations as, but not limited to, the following:
(a) Chambers of commerce.
(b) Regional economic development or planning organizations.
(c) Innovation Research Center.
(d) Small Business Development Center.
IV. All moneys appropriated to the fund as well as moneys returned to the department as a result of contracts between the commissioner and any other party as authorized shall be redeposited into the New Hampshire economic development fund. In addition, the department may accept gifts, grants, donations or other moneys for the purposes of this section. Said moneys shall be deposited into the New Hampshire economic development fund.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017. 2021, 91:65, eff. July 1, 2021.

Section 12-O:22

    12-O:22 New Hampshire Canadian Trade Council. – The commissioner of business and economic affairs and the secretary of state shall have the authority to establish a New Hampshire trade council to meet with one or more trade councils established by the Canadian provinces, either separately or collectively. The members of the council shall include 2 senators appointed by the president of the senate, 2 house members appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, the commissioner or designee, the secretary of state or designee, and such other members as the commissioner and secretary of state may appoint.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:23

    12-O:23 Northern County Area Industrial Agent. – A special position shall be provided, in the division of economic development of the department of business and economic affairs, to be known as area industrial agent for the counties of Coos, Grafton, and Carroll. The commissioner shall, subject to the personnel laws of the state, employ such area industrial agent for said counties, who shall be fully qualified by specific training and experience and who shall work under the supervision of the director. She or he shall maintain a residence in one of said 3 counties and her or his duties shall be primarily concerned with, but not limited to, assisting the political subdivisions of the state, regional development organizations or groups, and individuals to maintain and expand existing industries and to encourage, assist, and aid new industries to establish operations in said Coos, Grafton and Carroll counties, and the agent's efforts shall be directed to the economic development of said 3 counties.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:23-a

    12-O:23-a Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry Development Established. –
I. There is established in the department the office of outdoor recreation industry development. The office shall be under the supervision of a classified director of the office of outdoor recreation industry development, who shall serve under the supervision of the commissioner. The director shall provide administrative oversight and ensure that the responsibilities of the office described in this section are fulfilled.
II. The office of outdoor recreation industry development shall:
(a) Coordinate outdoor recreation policy, management, and promotion among state and federal agencies and local government entities.
(b) Promote economic development in the state by:
(1) Coordinating with outdoor recreation stakeholders.
(2) Using outdoor recreational infrastructure and industry to promote tourism and recruit members of the general workforce.
(3) Working with stakeholders and academic institutions to develop relevant training and curricula for members of the outdoor industry and manufacturing workforce.
(4) Improving motorized and nonmotorized recreational opportunities in cooperation with the department of natural and cultural resources.
(5) Recruiting outdoor recreation business and industry.
(c) Recommend policies and initiatives to enhance recreational amenities and experiences in the state and help implement those policies and initiatives.
(d) Develop outcome-driven data regarding the effect of outdoor recreation in the state.
(e) Promote the health and social benefits of outdoor recreation, especially to young people.
(f) Advance sustainable land stewardship initiatives recognizing the relationship between outdoor recreation and its economic benefit to the state.
III. Provided that any federally funded programs managed by the department of natural and cultural resources, division of parks on the effective date of this section shall continue to be managed by the division of parks, the office of outdoor recreation industry development may:
(a) Seek federal grants or loans.
(b) Seek private foundation partnerships.
(c) Seek to participate in federal programs.
(d) In accordance with applicable federal program guidelines, administer federally funded outdoor recreation programs.

Source. 2019, 346:271, eff. July 1, 2019.

Economic Development Strategy and Plan

Section 12-O:24

    12-O:24 Economic Development Strategy and Plan. – The division of economic development, with input and assistance from the council of partner agencies established under RSA 12-O:7 and other public and private organizations with whom it chooses to work, shall develop a rolling 10-year economic development strategy and operating plan.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:25

    12-O:25 Definitions. –
In this subdivision:
I. "Plan" means an ongoing management operating document that identifies strategies and activities, and the progress thereof, designed to expand the state's economic base and strengthen the economic health of New Hampshire, based on the needs of the state and of business and industry. The plan shall identify specific actions, and the responsibilities, rationales, timeframes, resources required, barriers if any, and the tracking and reporting of outcomes associated with those actions.
II. "Strategy" means an overall direction or course that identifies how the division will convey the state's value to the business and industry community, how it will leverage its strengths and assets, and the broad themes it will emphasize that are attractive to retaining and recruiting business and industry.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:26

    12-O:26 Goals and Objectives. – The plan shall identify both goals and objectives for the 10-year period and shall track measurable results so as to be able to assess the plan. Goals and objectives may be added, amended, or deleted as both existing and emerging economic conditions and opportunities warrant. The plan shall also benchmark key economic indicators.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:27

    12-O:27 Content of the Economic Development Strategy and Plan. –
The following, as a minimum, shall be considered in constructing the economic development strategy and plan:
I. Consideration of the entire state.
II. An analysis, relative to business and industry, of New Hampshire strengths and advantages, and how they will be leveraged; analysis of weaknesses and obstacles, and suggestions on how to remedy or mitigate them; identification of opportunities and how to take advantage and benefit from them; and identification of threats and how to meet and deter them. The analysis, where appropriate, should suggest ownership of its various elements.
III. A needs forecast, based on research from both existing and targeted business and industry, that identifies issues and suggested initiatives so as to strengthen New Hampshire as a business and industry destination and to reinforce retention.
IV. Identification of economic, demographic, and other trends which may have both short-term and long-term influence on the economy of the state.
V. The identification of business sectors that are of strategic importance to the state's economy and to the state's global business image, and development of specific strategies to promote the development of such sectors; and an analysis of new industries that can be targeted in New Hampshire and the rationale for their identification.
VI. Identification of how economic development ideas, advice, and information from relevant entities throughout the state will be solicited to strengthen strategies and plans; and how potential partners for the implementation of the strategies and plans, including, without limitation, the United States government, local governments, regional planning commissions, regional economic development corporations, chambers of commerce, business associations, investors, and other relevant entities will be integrated and engaged. Other states should also be studied to build an understanding of best practices that may be emulated.
VII. Innovative programs to position and market the state to aid business recruitment and retention.
VIII. Economic performance metrics, to include previous years and objectives for the 10 years covered by the plan. Such metrics shall be contained in a state economic dashboard and updated regularly.
IX. Inter-department agreements with selected state agencies recognizing their role in economic development strategies, plans, and programs.
X. Identification of how the state will petition for and receive moneys, such as grants, to be used for economic development activities.
XI. Consideration of how workforce education and training in cooperation with the university system, the community college system, private colleges and universities, and other workforce training organizations will be leveraged and enhanced.
XII. Provisions for export growth and how relationships will be fostered with New Hampshire's export-related service providers and with the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration; and provisions to improve the state's image as a destination for foreign business investment and location with overseas entities.
XIII. Identification of a division liaison to communicate needs to the general court for the benefit of economic development.
XIV. Provision to identify and carry out other economic development activities that the governor or the commissioner may request.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:28

    12-O:28 Annual Report. – The division of economic development shall complete the initial economic development strategy and plan by December 31, 2018, and submit the plan to the governor, senate president, senate majority leader, senate minority leader, speaker of the house of representatives, house majority leader, and house minority leader. On or before December 31 of each year thereafter, the division shall similarly provide results and validation from the previous fiscal year and a comprehensive update of the plan so that each annual report shall extend the time frame of the plan by one year, thereby ensuring that a 2-year plan is always in effect.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Division of Economic Development Fund

Section 12-O:29

    12-O:29 Division of Economic Development Fund. – There is hereby established in the office of the state treasurer a fund to be known as the division of economic development fund. The commissioner of business and economic affairs is authorized to accept public sector and private sector grants, gifts, or donations of any kind for the purpose of funding initiatives associated with the activities set forth in RSA 12-O:20. Such grants, gifts, and donations shall be deposited in the division of economic development fund and may only be expended by the commissioner of business and economic affairs to accomplish the purposes of this section. Other than acknowledgment for promotional purposes, donations shall not be used as fees for services in a manner that primarily benefits the party providing the funds. The state treasurer may invest moneys in the fund as provided by law, with interest received on such investment credited to the fund. The moneys in this fund shall be nonlapsing.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Job Training Program for Economic Growth

Section 12-O:30 to 12-O:37

    12-O:30 to 12-O:37 Repealed by 2019, 346:190, I, eff. Sept. 26, 2019. –

International Trade Promotion

Section 12-O:38

    12-O:38 International Trade Promotion. – The commissioner of business and economic affairs shall plan, develop, and administer programs for international trade promotion and inward investment promotion in cooperation with the Pease development authority, division of ports and harbors, and the Small Business Development Center and other private organizations. The commissioner shall take a proactive role in targeting foreign trade shows and foreign trade missions and shall assist New Hampshire businesses desiring to participate in these shows and missions. In planning, developing, and administering programs under this section, the commissioner may draw on the fund created under RSA 12-O:39.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:39

    12-O:39 International Trade Promotion Fund. – There is hereby established in the office of the state treasurer a fund to be known as the international trade promotion fund. The commissioner of business and economic affairs is authorized to accept public sector and private sector grants, gifts, or donations of any kind for the purpose of funding programs associated with the promotion of international trade. Such grants, gifts, and donations shall be deposited in the international trade promotion fund and may be expended by the commissioner of business and economic affairs to accomplish the purposes of RSA 12-O:38. The moneys in this fund shall be nonlapsing.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Review of Economic Development Programs

Section 12-O:40

    12-O:40 Review of Reports Required. – The department of business and economic affairs, in consultation with the legislative budget assistant, shall periodically review reports issued under RSA 162-A:23-a at least once every 5 years and make recommendations to be utilized for an improved and consistent methodology for assessing the quantity and quality of jobs created and saved and the growth potential and environmental impacts of such programs. This section shall not apply to promotional literature.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:41

    12-O:41 Limitation. – The review under RSA 12-O:40 shall not apply to state loans or state loan guarantees of less than $250,000, or to state grants of less than $50,000.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

New Hampshire Workforce Development

Section 12-O:42

    12-O:42 Workforce Development. – The commissioner of business and economic affairs shall work with the workforce development director to plan, develop, and administer workforce investment activities, programs, and grants under the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998, 29 U.S.C. section 2801 et seq., as such may be amended, reauthorized, and in effect from time to time, and shall discharge the day-to-day operational responsibilities and obligations of the State Workforce Innovation Board established under RSA 12-O:44. The commissioner shall coordinate with the State Workforce Innovation Board to promote state and local investment systems that increase the employment, retention, and earnings of participants, and increase occupational skill attainment by participants, and, as a result, improve the quality of the workforce, reduce welfare dependency, and enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the nation.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017. 2020, 37:32, eff. July 29, 2020.

Section 12-O:43

    12-O:43 Workforce Development Director. – There is established within the bureau of workforce development the position of workforce development coordinator, which shall be an administrator II position, classified at labor grade 29. The workforce development director shall lead the workforce development bureau. The workforce development director shall perform all duties which the commissioner may assign.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017.

Section 12-O:44

    12-O:44 State Workforce Innovation Board. –
I. There is established a State Workforce Innovation Board within the bureau of workforce development.
II. Membership of the council shall be as set forth in section 111(b) of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, Public Law 105-220, codified at 29 U.S.C. section 2801 et seq., as such may be amended, reauthorized, and in effect from time to time. Members of the board shall be appointed by the governor and shall serve at the pleasure of the governor. The governor shall select a chairperson for the board from among the members of the board, in accordance with 29 U.S.C. section 2821(c).
III. The board shall meet no less frequently than semi-annually, shall have the powers and responsibilities of the state workforce investment board under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, and shall assist the governor in:
(a) Development of the state plan required under section 112 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
(b) Development and continuous improvement of a statewide system of activities that are funded under this subdivision or carried out through a One-Stop delivery system described in section 134c of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, that receives funds under that act, including:
(1) Development of linkages in order to assure coordination and non-duplication among the programs and activities described in section 121(b) of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998; and
(2) Review of local plans under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, if any.
(c) Commenting at least once annually on the measures taken pursuant to the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act, 20 U.S.C. section 2323(b)(3).
(d) Designation of local areas as required in section 116 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
(e) Development of the allocation formulas for the distribution of funds for adult employment and training activities and youth activities to local areas as permitted under sections 128(b)(3)(B) and 133(b)(3)(B) of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
(f) Development and continuous improvement of comprehensive state performance measures including state adjusted levels of performance, to assess the effectiveness of the workforce investment activities in the state as required under section 136(b) of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
(g) Preparation of the annual report to the United States Secretary of Labor described in section 136(d) of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
(h) Development of the statewide employment statistics system described in section 15(e) of the Wagner-Peyser Act.
(i) Development of an application for an incentive grant under 20 U.S.C. section 9273.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017. 2020, 37:33, eff. July 29, 2020.

Section 12-O:45

    12-O:45 State Workforce Innovation Fund. –
I. There is hereby established the state workforce innovation fund which shall be nonlapsing and administered by the commissioner of the department of business and economic affairs. Said fund shall be for the purpose of receiving financial assistance under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and providing funds for grants and other workforce development initiatives.
II. The fund shall be distributed or expended by the commissioner after consultation with the State Workforce Innovation Board established in RSA 12-O:44 and the approval of the governor and council for any of the following purposes:
(a) Workforce Investment Act Adult and Dislocated Worker programs.
(b) Workforce Investment Act Youth programs.
(c) Workforce Investment Act Senior Community Service Employment programs.
(d) Workforce Investment Act Disability programs.
(e) Workforce Investment Act Regional Innovation and National Emergency grant programs.
(f) Other projects, programs, or grants recognized as being beneficial to workforce development initiatives and consistent with the goals of the Workforce Investment Act.
III. (a) The department may accept gifts, grants, donations, or other moneys for the purposes of this section. Said moneys shall be deposited into the state workforce innovation fund.
(b) The commissioner may enter into contracts and agreements and may take other actions that may be necessary or desirable to effect the transfer to it of operations currently conducted by the Workforce Opportunity Council, Inc. or the New Hampshire Workforce Opportunity Council under the Workforce Investment Act, and to effect the transfer of assets utilized by them in doing so; and, the commissioner may assume, bear, and agree to perform those contracts of the Workforce Opportunity Council, Inc. or the New Hampshire Workforce Opportunity Council that may be necessary or desirable for carrying out the purposes of this section.
IV. The commissioner of the department of business and economic affairs shall have the authority to enter into such agreements for leasing real property, acquiring goods, and engaging services to perform Rapid Response activities in accordance with this subdivision. The commissioner shall provide the governor and council an information item not less frequently than semi-annually describing all such agreements and amounts expended pursuant thereto. Such agreements shall be made pursuant to forms of agreement that shall be approved by governor and council which forms of agreement have been reviewed by the attorney general and the commissioner of the department of administrative services.
V. In accordance with RSA 282-A:181 through RSA 282-A:184, the commissioner of the department of employment security shall have the authority to make grants to New Hampshire employers for the purpose of training employees in accordance with this chapter, such grants not to exceed the amounts specified in RSA 282-A:87, IV(a)(2), and not to exceed to any single employer in any grant year the sum of $70,000, unless first approved by governor and council. The commissioner shall provide the governor and council an information item not less frequently than semi-annually describing all such grants expended pursuant thereto. Such grants shall be made pursuant to a form of agreement that shall be approved by governor and council after review by the attorney general and the commissioner of the department of administrative services.

Source. 2017, 156:40, eff. July 1, 2017. 2019, 346:189, eff. Sept. 26, 2019. 2020, 37:34, eff. July 29, 2020.

New Hampshire College Graduate Retention Incentive Partnership (NH GRIP)

Section 12-O:46

    12-O:46 Definitions. –
In this subdivision:
I. "Certification" means written verification from the department of business and economic affairs that the agreement to be used between the participating employer and the employee meets the requirements of RSA 12-O:48.
I-a. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the department of business and economic affairs.
II. "Department" means the department of business and economic affairs.
III. "Eligible institution of higher education" means any public or private institution of higher education authorized to grant 2-year or 4-year degrees in this state by the higher education commission pursuant to RSA 21-N:8-a.
IV. "Graduate" means a student who graduates from an eligible institution of higher education in May 2019 or thereafter.
V. "Incentive" means a monetary award given each year for not more than 4 years by a participating employer to a graduate which the graduate may elect to be paid to the graduate or to an entity servicing the graduate's student loans.
VI. "Participating employer" means any person, firm, corporation, partnership, association, the state or political subdivision of the state, or any other entity which enters into a participating employer agreement to provide an incentive to a graduate.
VII. "Participating employer agreement" or "agreement" means an agreement that an employer will use to offer each employee an incentive in the amount and duration provided in RSA 12-O:48 and which is to be certified by the department of business and economic affairs.

Source. 2019, 317:1, eff. July 1, 2019. 2020, 38:8, 9, eff. July 1, 2020.

Section 12-O:47

    12-O:47 New Hampshire College Graduate Retention Incentive Partnership Established. – There is established the New Hampshire college graduate retention incentive partnership (NH GRIP) which shall be administered by the department. The purpose of NH GRIP is to recruit and retain graduates from eligible institutions of higher education and provide incentives to those graduates to work in New Hampshire.

Source. 2019, 317:1, eff. July 1, 2019.

Section 12-O:48

    12-O:48 Requirements and Procedure. – Each participating employer shall compile a list of positions which qualify for an incentive under NH GRIP. The participating employer shall publish the list of qualifying positions on the employer's public Internet site and on any Internet employment search site used by the participating employer. A graduate who obtains employment in a qualifying position with a participating employer and who executes an agreement, shall receive an incentive of not less than $1,000 each year for the first 4 years of the graduate's employment with the participating employer. The agreement shall be signed by an authorized agent of the participating employer. The participating employer shall retain a copy of each signed agreement in its files.

Source. 2019, 317:1, eff. July 1, 2019.

Section 12-O:49

    12-O:49 Advertising. – Upon certification, the department shall, in cooperation with the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire College and University Council, the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Fund, the New Hampshire Coalition for Business and Education, and Stay, Work, Play NH, advertise to New Hampshire employers and New Hampshire college students the details of NH GRIP, through print and electronic media. The department shall maintain a list of employers who have a valid participating employer agreement and shall make the list available on the department's public Internet site as well as in writing.

Source. 2019, 317:1, eff. July 1, 2019. 2020, 38:10, eff. July 1, 2020.

Section 12-O:50

    12-O:50 Funding. – For the biennium beginning July 1, 2021, and each biennium thereafter, the commissioner shall include any requests for appropriations related to NH GRIP in the biennial agency budget requests pursuant to RSA 9:4.

Source. 2019, 317:1, eff. July 1, 2019.

Office of Offshore Wind Industry Development

Section 12-O:51, 12-O:52

    12-O:51, 12-O:52 Repealed by 2021, 91:189, III, eff. July 1, 2021. –

Office of Planning and Development

Section 12-O:53

    12-O:53 Office of Planning and Development. –
I. There is established the office of planning and development within the department of business and economic affairs. The office of shall be under the supervision of a classified director of the office of planning and development, who shall serve under the supervision of the commissioner.
II. The office of planning and development shall:
(a) Plan for the orderly development of the state and the wise management of the state's resources.
(b) Compile, analyze, and disseminate data, information, and research services as necessary to advance the welfare of the state.
(c) Encourage and assist planning, growth management, and development activities of cities and towns and groups of cities and towns with the purpose of encouraging smart growth.
(d) Encourage the coordination and correlation of state planning by agencies of state government.
(e) Participate in interstate, regional, and national planning efforts.
(f) Administer federal and state grant-in-aid programs assigned to the office by statute or executive order.
(g) Participate and advise in matters of land use planning regarding water resources and floodplain management.
(h) Take a leadership role in encouraging smart growth and preserving farmland, open space land, and traditional village centers.
(i) Administer the following programs: the statewide comprehensive outdoor recreation plan, the national flood insurance program, and the land conservation investment program. The office shall employ necessary personnel to administer these programs.
(j) Perform such other duties as the commissioner may assign.

Source. 2021, 91:195, eff. July 1, 2021.

Section 12-O:54

    12-O:54 State Development Plan. –
I. The office of planning and development, under the direction of the commissioner, shall:
(a) Assist the commissioner in preparing, publishing, and revising the comprehensive development plan required under RSA 9-A.
(b) Coordinate and monitor the planning efforts of various state agencies and departments to ensure that program plans published by such agencies are consistent with the policies and priorities established in the comprehensive development plan.
(c) Coordinate and monitor the planning efforts of the regional planning commissions to ensure that the plans published by the commissions are consistent, to the extent practical, with the policies and priorities established in the state development plan.
II. In preparing the state development plan, the office of planning and development shall consult with the chief executive officers of the various departments and agencies of state government. The office shall also consult with officials of regional planning commissions and regional and local planning and development agencies, local officials, representatives of the business and environmental community, and the general public.
III. All state agencies and departments shall provide the office of planning and development with information and assistance as required by the office to fulfill its responsibilities under paragraph I. The office shall maintain the confidentiality of any information which is protected by law.

Source. 2021, 91:195, eff. July 1, 2021.

Section 12-O:55

    12-O:55 Data and Information Services. –
The office of planning and development shall:
I. Gather, tabulate, and periodically publish information on the location and pace of development throughout the state, including, but not limited to, population, housing, and building permit data.
II. Initiate data coordination procedures as the state agency responsible for coordinating data collection and dissemination among the state, the private sector, and the various political subdivisions.
III. Gather information for storage in a data bank concerning the data which is currently available within all state agencies. This data shall be used to provide information which is useful in measuring growth and its impact and for statewide planning purposes in general. The data available for dissemination shall include, but shall not be limited to, information for determining future demands for state services and demographic and economic statistics. Any other state agency or department which initiates a data collection program shall inform the office of planning and development of its efforts so that the office may utilize that information for planning purposes in its dissemination program.
IV. Cooperate with the department of environmental services in identifying potential sites for hazardous waste facilities.
V. Develop and maintain a computerized geographic information system in support of state, regional, or local planning and management activities.
VI. Cooperate with the Bureau of the Census and other federal agencies with the objective of improving access to the statistical products, data, and information of the federal government.
VII. Annually estimate the resident population for all cities and towns of the state pursuant to RSA 78-A:25.

Source. 2021, 91:195, eff. July 1, 2021.

Section 12-O:56

    12-O:56 Policies and Plans. –
I. The office of planning and development shall formulate policies and plans for consideration by the commissioner and the governor which serve to integrate and coordinate resource and development activities affecting more than one state agency, level of government, or governmental function. Such activities may include, but shall not be limited to, the following subject areas:
(a) Water resources.
(b) Transportation.
(c) Recreation and natural resources.
(d) Solid waste and hazardous waste management.
(e) Off-shore, coastal, and estuarine resources.
(f) Housing.
(g) Economic development.
(h) Energy.
(i) Shoreland protection.
(j) Smart growth.

Source. 2021, 91:195, eff. July 1, 2021.

Section 12-O:57

    12-O:57 Program Established. – The director of the office of planning and development shall establish a program of regional and municipal assistance within the office of planning and development. This program shall coordinate state, regional, and local planning efforts with the goal of assuring delivery of efficient and effective assistance to local governments in areas related to growth management and resource protection.

Source. 2021, 91:195, eff. July 1, 2021.

Section 12-O:58

    12-O:58 Responsibilities for Assistance. –
The office of planning and development shall:
I. Provide technical assistance and, within the limits of biennial legislative appropriations, financial grants to regional planning commissions established under RSA 36:45-36:53 in support of:
(a) Planning assistance to local units of government.
(b) Preparation of regional plans.
(c) Contributions to and coordination with statewide planning and management activities, including the formulation and updating of the comprehensive state development plan prepared pursuant to RSA 12-O:54.
II. As requested and in cooperation with regional planning commissions, provide technical assistance and information in support of the planning and growth management efforts of local units of government, including training requested under RSA 673:3-a. The office shall encourage municipalities to first seek assistance from established regional planning commissions.
III. Provide computer interface capability among and between each regional planning commission, office of planning and development, and state data collection and storage sources. The computer interface capability shall be used by regional planning commissions to respond to municipal requests for assistance in the preparation and amending of master plans and in the evaluation of municipal infrastructure needs. The computer interface capability shall also be used by regional planning commissions to develop and update regional master plans, as provided in RSA 36:47. The computer equipment used for the purposes of this paragraph shall be compatible and able to interface with the office of planning and development's geographic information system, as well as with other similar state computerized data collection and storage sources.
IV. Provide technical assistance and information to municipalities with the cooperation of other state and regional planning agencies in the following areas:
(a) Use and application of geographic data available in the state's geographic information system (GIS) for local planning and growth management purposes.
(b) Recommending standard procedures for the establishment of accurate, large-scale base mapping to support municipal administrative functions such as tax assessment, public facility management and engineering.

Source. 2021, 91:195, eff. July 1, 2021.

Section 12-O:59

    12-O:59 Coordination at State Level. – The office of planning and development shall coordinate efforts by state agencies to provide technical assistance to municipal governments in areas related to growth management and resource protection.

Source. 2021, 91:195, eff. July 1, 2021.

Section 12-O:60

    12-O:60 Revolving Funds. –
In order to enhance its ability to provide education and training assistance to municipalities and regional agencies, the following nonlapsing revolving funds, which shall not exceed $20,000 on June 30 of each year, shall be established in the office of planning and development:
I. A revolving fund known as the publications revolving fund.
(a) The moneys in this fund shall be used for the purposes of printing materials for distribution. A reasonable charge shall be established for each copy of a document. This charge shall be only in the amount necessary to pay the cost of producing such document.
(b) The amount in the nonlapsing publications revolving fund shall not exceed $20,000, on June 30 of each year and any amounts in excess of $20,000 on June 30 of each year shall be deposited in the general fund as unrestricted revenue.
II. A revolving fund known as the municipal and regional training fund.
(a) The moneys in this fund shall be used for the purpose of providing training to local and regional officials. A reasonable charge shall be established for such training. This charge shall be fixed to reflect the cost of payments to experts to provide the training, the cost of written training material, rental of facilities, advertising and other associated costs. Such training shall be conducted in a geographically dispersed manner and scheduled with the convenience of part-time officials in mind.
(b) The amount in the nonlapsing municipal and regional training revolving fund shall not exceed $20,000 on June 30 of each year and any amounts in excess of $20,000 on June 30 of each year shall be deposited in the general fund as unrestricted revenue.

Source. 2021, 91:195, eff. July 1, 2021.

Broadband Matching Grant Initiative

Section 12-O:61

    12-O:61 Broadband Matching Grant Initiative Established. –
I. There is hereby established within the department of business and economic affairs a broadband matching grant initiative, the purpose of which shall be to provide matching grants to broadband providers, political subdivisions, and communications districts in order to improve broadband availability across the state. When awarding grants, the department shall take into consideration broad geographic coverage of broadband services in New Hampshire and participation of political subdivisions and broadband providers in the grant process that will support business and residential users.
II. Eligible projects shall provide high speed Internet access in unserved areas of the state that lack access to broadband services, as defined in RSA 38:38, I(f), from at least one broadband provider.
III. Any broadband provider, political subdivision, or communications district formed under RSA 53-G shall be eligible for a grant of up to 50 percent of the total eligible costs of a project. Projects under construction at the time of application shall be ineligible. Projects in the planning stages shall be eligible.

Source. 2021, 91:457, eff. July 1, 2021.

Section 12-O:62

    12-O:62 Program Guidelines; Rulemaking. –
I. The department of business and economic affairs shall adopt rules under RSA 541-A, relative to grant application and distribution procedures.
II. The rules shall, at a minimum, include the following:
(a) Establishment of a technology-neutral competitive grant process based on objective criteria.
(b) Establishment of a challenge process, with reasonable timelines, through which information may be provided to the state to ensure that funds are not used to build projects in served areas or areas where construction has commenced. Projects in planning, design, or terms negotiations, and not under construction as of January 1, 2021, shall be eligible for funding.
(c) A method to ensure an applicant's trade secrets, financial information, and proprietary information submitted as part of an application are exempt from disclosure under RSA 91-A.
(d) Establishment of a process that promotes faster service, up to and including gigabit service.
III. The department of business and economic affairs shall ensure that any grants awarded to broadband providers are provided with an appropriate level of consultation with the local governing bodies and a determination that the grants advance the goal of deploying broadband to unserved areas within communities.
IV. Eligible costs for the program shall include, but are not limited to:
(a) Costs associated with access to utility poles and other necessary structures.
(b) Construction of broadband network infrastructure in eligible areas.
(c) Construction of service connections to individual homes or businesses.
(d) Upgrades to existing infrastructure that currently provides service that does not meet the minimum definition of broadband in RSA 38:38, I(c).
(e) All other costs directly attributable to the construction project. In cases where a cost is shared with another ongoing project, shared costs shall be prorated.
(f) Planning costs related to network design and program eligibility.
V. Eligible costs shall not include any operating expenses or other recurring costs.
VI. The broadband provider, political subdivision, or communications district shall provide a minimum of 50 percent of the total cost of the project. Sources of the match may include revenue bonds issued by the political subdivision, bonds issued by the communication district, or private investment by broadband providers either jointly or independently. Sources of the match provided by broadband providers shall not include other federal or state funding awarded specifically to support the expansion of broadband networks.
VII. The department of business and economic affairs shall not, as a condition of an award of grant money, impose any requirement, rate regulation, or other term or condition of service that differs from the applicant's terms or conditions of service in its other service areas.

Source. 2021, 91:457, eff. July 1, 2021.

Section 12-O:63

    12-O:63 Broadband Matching Grant Fund. –
I. There is hereby established the broadband matching grant fund. The fund shall be kept separate and distinct from all other funds and shall be continually appropriated to the commissioner of the department of business and economic affairs for the purposes of this subdivision. In addition to state appropriations, the department may accept gifts, grants, and donations for deposit into the fund.
II. Any federal funds received by the state for the purposes of expanding or improving Internet access that are not otherwise committed to other programs or required by the federal legislation authorizing the funds shall be deposited into the broadband matching grant fund.

Source. 2021, 91:457, eff. July 1, 2021.

COVID-19 Micro Enterprise Relief Fund

Section 12-O:64

    12-O:64 COVID-19 Micro Enterprise Relief Fund. –
I. There is established in the office of the state treasurer a fund to be known as the COVID-19 micro enterprise relief fund. Notwithstanding RSA 4:45, RSA 4:47, RSA 21-P:43, or any other law to the contrary, to the extent permissible under federal law any federal funds received by the state in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency may be deposited into the fund.
II. Funds shall be disbursed at the discretion of the commissioner to the 10 New Hampshire regional economic development corporations to be awarded to local or regional micro enterprises. Each regional development corporation shall be eligible to receive funds. Each regional development economic council shall be authorized to assess an administrative fee up to 10 percent of the funds received through the state to manage this grant program. Any regional economic development corporation that does not award all of the funds received in grants to local micro enterprises shall return the funds to micro enterprise relief fund at the department of business and economic affairs for redistribution at the discretion of the commissioner.
III. With each award, an agreement for technical assistance shall be put in place between the regional development corporation, the New Hampshire small business development center, and the micro enterprise to support the implementation of the funds. Eighteen months after the implementation of the program, the regional economic development councils will prepare and submit reports to the commissioner, that include the number of grants and the amounts, and the use of each grant by the recipient. The commissioner shall compile these reports and submit a compiled report to the speaker of the house of representatives, the senate president, the house clerk, the senate clerk, the state library, and the governor.
IV. Regional economic development corporations shall award one-time grants to support one or more areas of need, including development of e-commerce capabilities, upgrading business practices, or maintaining storefront presence. The regional economic development corporations shall ensure micro enterprises awarded grants pursuant to this subdivision are provided such assistance as may be necessary to support implementation of any grants awarded.
V. For purposes of this subdivision, "micro enterprise" shall mean an entity with 10 or fewer employees, including any proprietor, that has been in business prior to March 13, 2020, when the governor signed the first declaration of a state of emergency due to COVID-19 and that has demonstrated a financial impact during the COVID-19 public health emergency, such as temporary closure, reduction in workforce, or loss of revenue of 50 percent or greater when compared to the same time period during the previous year. Financial statements demonstrating losses, closures, or reduction in workforce shall be supplied as part of the application process.

Source. 2021, 91:438, eff. June 25, 2021.