MANCHESTER, N.H.—In an effort to successfully advance unfinished business and build on the successes of the past Legislative session, Cornerstone Action today is releasing its 2013-2014 Families First Legislative Agenda (PDF), which is based on the goals identified earlier this year by Cornerstone’s Families First Pledge for candidates.
“Today, as the filing period for incumbent candidates opens, we are identifying the types of bills we’d like to see lawmakers introduce as part of our 2013-2014 Families First Legislative Agenda, and these bill ideas are directly based on the goals identified in our Families First Pledge,” said Shannon McGinley, Cornerstone’s acting executive director. “We fully expect our pledge signers to introduce the bills identified in our agenda, and we intend to help those legislators advance these bills through the N.H. House and Senate and beyond the governor’s desk into the state’s law books.”
Cornerstone’s Families First Pledge secured the promise of more than 85 candidates for state offices to advance citizens’ rights of conscience and religion, protect innocent human life, defend the natural family and traditional marriage, restore the natural rights of parents to raise, educate and care for their own children, and enact free market economic policies to ensure prosperity in New Hampshire. Cornerstone’s 2013-2014 Families First Legislative Agenda uses each pledge goal as the basis for a list of bill ideas that conceptually align with each theme.
Today begins an eight-day bill filing period for incumbent legislators who were nominated by their party to run for a seat in the New Hampshire House and Senate. The filing period runs from Sept. 17 to Sept. 26, and then closes until after the general election on Nov. 6. Then, both incumbent and non-incumbent candidates will have another window between Nov. 13 and Dec. 7 to file additional bills. By the end of the second filing period, the bills that have not yet been filed from Cornerstone’s Legislative Agenda will be reserved for filing in the second year of the biennial legislative session.
“With the release of our Families First Pledge, Cornerstone articulated a high-level set of principles that candidates could align with prior to their election to office,” McGinley said. “Now that we’re getting closer to the time that these candidates take their seats in the Legislature, Cornerstone wants to make it clear what signing the pledge actually means in practice.”
The three bill ideas under the right of conscience goal would codify the N.H. Constitution’s Article 4 “right of conscience” so citizens could live their lives, conduct their business and spend their money only in a way that aligns with their own moral conscience.
“It is intrinsically evil to force someone to pay for something he or she morally objects to, such as an abortion,” McGinley said. “And no one should ever have to provide a service to someone involved in a practice that he or she finds offensive.”
Cornerstone is advancing eight bill ideas under its goal of protecting innocent human life, some of which have already had their first exposure in the Legislature and others that the organization is advancing for the first time in New Hampshire.
“Some of these ideas are simply common sense, such as the Women’s Right to Know Act, which requires abortion doctors to tell a woman about the child who’s life she’s about to end and the associated risks of the procedure she’s about to undergo,” McGinley said. “Other ideas in this category recognize in state law as much as legally possible that life begins when a baby is conceived.”
While at least one bill idea under the category concerning the natural family and traditional marriage would make another attempt at restoring the traditional definition of marriage in state law, the three other points focus on keeping families together and promoting natural family unity as the fundamental building block of society, McGinley said.
Likewise, the next category concerning parental rights recognizes that natural parents almost always know best how to raise, educate and care for their own children.
“Parents should be given the benefit of the doubt unless they do something obvious to forfeit their natural rights,” McGinley said.
Lastly, Cornerstone has identified six important free-market efforts that will ensure that families have the greatest opportunity to pursue their personal goals and achieve whatever they work for.
“Inherent in these ideas is a balanced budget that reduces government spending on unnecessary bureaucracy and enables tax and fee reductions,” McGinley said. “These bills will also ensure that government is lean, affordable and transparent to families all across New Hampshire.”