- Associated Press - Friday, June 19, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - While many political observers focused on the budget this week, lawmakers also looked for compromise on legislation related to tax code changes, fetal homicide laws and how welfare benefits can be used.

Teams of House and Senate negotiators met this week to work on bills passed by both chambers with different details. Bills on which they reached agreement will head to the House and Senate floors next week.

Here’s a look at some of the action:

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PLANET FITNESS

Newington-based gym company Planet Fitness ruffled feathers last month when it threatened to move its headquarters out of state if lawmakers didn’t make a last-minute change to the tax code. Planet Fitness has filed paperwork to go public and said existing tax laws would subject them to much higher taxes after the sale.

Lawmakers agreed this week to a tentative plan that will allow Planet Fitness and numerous other businesses to avoid paying more taxes on certain gains in value. Under the plan, businesses can choose to declare the value of the gain and pay the business profits tax on it, a payment that would reduce tax liability in future years. A business could also choose not to declare the new value to avoid the immediate tax hit but it would lose the future tax deduction.

Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan is skeptical of the change and could veto it if it passes both chambers.

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FETAL HOMICIDE

New Hampshire will not enact a so-called fetal homicide law, as House and Senate negotiators were unable to agree on details of the measure. The bill would have allowed for criminal charges to be brought in the death of an unborn fetus. It would not apply to pregnant mothers or doctors in cases of abortion.

The House wanted the law to apply to any fetus past eight weeks of gestation. Senators, however, wanted the law to apply only in cases when the fetus could live outside the womb. Unable to come to agreement, lawmakers walked away from the negotiating table.

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EBT CARDS

Welfare recipients may soon be banned from using their cash benefit cards to buy alcohol, lottery tickets, tobacco products, guns and adult entertainment or from using them at body piercing and tattoo parlors or marijuana dispensaries. Negotiators agreed to two bills that put restrictions in place.

Federal law already prohibits the cards from being used at liquor stores, gambling establishments and adult entertainment venues, but the Senate version extends the ban to specific items as well. Critics of the bill say it will be impossible to enforce and could lead to profiling by cashiers. The bill requires state officials to develop an education program that makes clear what the benefits can and can’t be used on.

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CARBON TAX CREDITS

Efforts hit a dead end during negotiations on changes to how proceeds are used from carbon tax sales under the regional greenhouse gas initiative. New Hampshire uses proceeds from the sale to fund energy efficiency programs and give rebates to ratepayers. House members wanted to send all of the money back to ratepayers, but the Senate wanted to increase the amount sent to residential energy efficiency programs.

Neither side could agree, meaning the current law will remain unchanged.

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