Rep. Dave Testerman Sides with Democrats, Betrays Women and Girls

Over the past weeks, families and churches around New Hampshire have engaged in tireless advocacy and negotiation to protect the dignity and privacy of women and girls in New Hampshire by working to get HB 396, State Recognition of Biological Sex, to the House floor. On Wednesday night, their efforts were single-handedly demolished by Republican representative Dave Testerman, who joined with Rep. Marjorie Smith and other Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee in a cynical ploy to quietly kill the bill with a so-called “study committee.”

Parents from school districts around the state had desperately contacted the Judiciary Committee to inform them that their daughters are being bullied and harassed—right now—by biological males in locker rooms and restrooms. Rep. Testerman chose to stop the House from urgently protecting the most powerless people among us—our children—and block parents’ concerns from even being debated on the House floor.

On a committee split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, Testerman was the only Republican to vote for Democratic Rep. Marjorie Smith’s motion to “retain” the bill, giving the Democrats the majority they needed to block the bill from coming to the House floor. In the minutes immediately before Testerman’s vote, the Democrats made almost no attempt to disguise the fact that their retention motion was merely a naked attempt to stop the House from voting on the bill—with Rep. Smith joking that they might agree on an amendment for the House to consider “in 10 years.” In other words, Rep. Testerman and the Democrats brazenly used the “retention” mechanism to thwart a bill they did not want to pass.

HB 396 was urgently necessary because school districts—and New Hampshire’s Department of Justice—currently falsely claim that New Hampshire law prohibits all separation on the basis of biological sex. These claims have deceived many schools and other public entities into bowing to gender ideology. Most now use self-declared gender identity alone to separate athletics and private areas, without regard to whether someone has even received medical transitioning. 

It is only a matter of time before these same authorities extend these beliefs to our prisons as well. In California, this has already led to a scenario where multiple men with male genitals are the cellmates of incarcerated women.

This bill, introduced by Rep. Jim Kofalt, would have stopped these misrepresentations by clarifying that public entities are not forbidden from using biological sex to separate athletics, private spaces, and prison facilities. This would not even have required any school board or state agency to change their current policies. 

Rep. Testerman has reiterated that he voted to “retain” the bill because he plans to eventually send it to a “study committee”—an even worse mechanism than retention, used almost exclusively to kill bills—but has refused to give any further explanation for his vote or lay out his position.

In our advocacy in New Hampshire, we’ve repeatedly seen that backroom dealmaking can often be the order of the day. We do not hesitate to say that this is likely what happened here. Given the circumstances, there is every reason to conclude that Rep. Testerman chose to sell the dignity and privacy of women and girls in return for an unknown political favor. 

In May of 2021, a female student was raped in a Loudon County, Virginia bathroom by a biologically male but non-binary student. When the female student’s father was arrested at a school board meeting for protesting his daughter’s rape, the National School Boards Association cited the arrest in asking the Department of Homeland Security to stop the “domestic terrorism and hate crimes” facing school boards. Rep. Testerman has chosen his side: not wronged fathers, but the powerful people who threaten them.

If a similar event occurs in New Hampshire in the coming years—as HB 396 languishes in Rep. Testerman’s bad faith “study committee”—Granite Staters will know who is responsible.

Rep. Testerman’s constituents can contact him through his information provided on the General Court website.

Hear from the New Hampshire parents Rep. Testerman betrayed by watching this mother’s testimony below:

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