Legislative Update 04/04/22

Ask Governor Sununu to Sign the Civil Liberties Defense Act into Law
Earlier this month the NH House of Representatives voted to pass HB 440, the Civil Liberties Defense Act. This critical bill is now headed to the Governor’s desk, and he is expected to take action on it within a matter of days.

By putting common sense limits on New Hampshire’s expansive emergency powers, the law will prevent future governors from abusing them. It is not a response to any actions by the current Governor.

In a recent interview, Senator Tom Sherman, a gubernatorial candidate, stated that, if elected Governor, he would implement a mask mandate on his first day, depending on some number of cases of COVID-19 in the state. Under the current law, he would without question have the power to do so, and to take virtually any other authoritarian action imaginable, upon declaring a state of emergency. This is why it is imperative that this bill be signed into law – to protect Granite Staters from this kind of abuse of nearly unchecked gubernatorial power.

Please take a moment to call Governor Sununu to ask that he sign HB 440 into law. Please remember to thank him for his hard work during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as thanking him in advance for signing this bill and protecting our civil liberties from governmental overreach by his successors. You can call the Governor at 603-271-2121.

HB 1673, Relative to the Scope of the Fetal Life Protection Act

STATUS: Two weeks ago, the NH House of Representatives voted in full session on HB 1673, a bill designed to totally gut the Fetal Life Protection Act. This attempt to destroy NH’s only protection for the preborn was narrowly defeated by a razor-thin margin of only two votes. The House then voted to adopt an amendment proposed by Rep. Matt Simon, identical to language adopted earlier this year by the Senate to convert another gutting bill, SB 399. As in the case of SB 399, this amendment transformed HB 1673 from a gutting bill into one which actually strengthens the Fetal Life Protection Act. The amendment does so by clarifying the law’s ultrasound requirement, thus preventing people from quoting the requirement out of context in order to paint the law as cruel and unreasonable.

You can read more about the House vote here.

WHEN: There is a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee this Thursday, April 7 at 10:00 AM.

CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone SUPPORTS this bill as amended.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please contact the Senate Judiciary Committee and ask that they vote OTP on HB 1673 as amended by the House. There should be no issues in passing the bill as amended, as it is identical to SB 399 passed by the Senate earlier this year.

HB 1609relative to certain provisions of the fetal life protection act requiring an ultrasound examination

STATUS: Last week, the House voted to pass HB 1609 with the amendment proposed by the House Finance Committee. As originally written, HB 1609 was meant to totally gut the Fetal Life Protection Act, leaving it unenforceable. The Finance Committee’s amendment removes the gutting language but adds an exception for fetal anomalies incompatible with life. However, it also contains the strengthening ultrasound language which we supported in amendments for similar bills. 

CORNERSTONE POSITION: While we take no position on the Finance Committee amendment passed last week, we celebrate that the original text of HB 1609 – which would have totally gutted our six-month abortion ban – was defeated. 

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