Victories and Challenges Mark 2017 Legislative Session in Concord

Cornerstone supporters were instrumental in building support for several important legislative measures that Governor Sununu has signed into law. Education policy was a particular bright spot in the 2017 legislative session.

  • School districts now have greater flexibility in finding alternatives for students in grades not provided by the local district (SB 8).
  • Pupil privacy and parental rights were affirmed by passage of SB 43, providing (with a limited exception) that no student shall be required to take a non-academic survey or questionnaire administered in school.
  • Parents are now entitled to two weeks’ notice about school course material involving human sexuality (HB 103).
  • There will be no inclusion of assessment results in a student’s transcript without written consent from a parent, legal guardian, or the adult student (HB 275).
  • The state may not mandate that local school districts adopt Common Core standards, and the legislature has asserted its oversight authority regarding changes to educational standards (SB 44).
  • The education tax credit law is still in place despite an effort by school choice opponents to repeal it (HB 129).

Two other notable victories: New Hampshire now has a fetal homicide law (SB 66), and New Hampshire remains casino-free thanks to the defeat of SB 242.

What To Watch For in 2018

Some bills were retained by legislative committees for further study, with votes to be taken in early 2018. Other bills were tabled, and the same subjects could come up again next year.

  • HB 478, The Bathroom Bill, on gender identity: tabled.
  • HB 587, a ban on so-called “conversion therapy”: retained.
  • HB 180, requiring post-secondary educational institutions to report on how many students require remedial courses, and where those students received high school education: retained.
  • HB 287, to study the decriminalization of prostitution: retained.
  • HB 396, student data privacy: tabled.
  • HB 471, abortion statistics: retained.
  • HB 578, restricting abortions after viability: tabled.
  • SB 247, the lead-paint remediation bill: retained. This bill inexplicably provides remediation funds to landlords but not to homeowners. It also violates parental rights by mandating blood tests on children as a condition of school enrollment.

Where the Legislature and Governor Fell Short

  • While the state budget includes Hyde Amendment language (no state funds may be used directly for abortion), abortion providers may still get tax dollars for non-abortion services and abortion-related overhead.
  • Governor Sununu’s decision to sign the “keno-garden” bill was a mistake on two counts: he is making five-year-olds dependent on expanded gambling, and he has taken a step that is sure to lead to mandatory kindergarten whether or not it’s developmentally appropriate for a particular child.
  • The House rejected a bill to repeal the anti-First-Amendment buffer zone law.
  • Right-to-work legislation passed in the Senate but failed in the House.