Legislative Update April 29

Week of April 29th – May 3rd

NOTE: the “Nope to Dope” rally scheduled for Sunday, April 28 at Hope Tabernacle in Manchester has been cancelled due to an emergency schedule change by Bishop Jethro James.  

House Action This Week

BILL: SB 263 Relative to Anti-Discrimination for Students in Public Schools

WHEN: The House Education Committee will vote on SB 263 on Tuesday, April 30, at 10:00 a.m. in Legislative Office Building Room 207.

CORNERSTONE POSITION: OPPOSED. No one wants invidious discrimination in schools. As the bill is currently written, however, it poses more questions than solutions. See Cornerstone’s bill commentary here

  • The bill includes “gender identity” as a protected class under anti-discrimination policy. There’s no age limit on that. If a school employee were to address a six-year-old by a pronoun consistent with the child’s biological sex and not with the child’s adopted “gender identity,” SB 263 would open the door to lawsuits. Do we want a state law that forces the courts to become “pronoun police”?
  • The bill only applies to discrimination by schools, not individual students. A student being bullied by a fellow student because of gender identity, religion, or any other reason mentioned in anti-discrimination law would not be protected by SB 263.
  • any student who is denied the opportunity to play on, or try out for, the sports team of his/her choice on the grounds of being transgender (i.e. a male identifying as female being denied a place on a women’s sports team) would be able to sue the school and school district under SB 263. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Contact the House Education Committee and urge them to vote “inexpedient to legislate” on SB 263.

BILL: SB 310, Casino Gambling

WHEN: The House Ways and Means Committee will vote on SB 310 on Tuesday, April 30, at 1:30 p.m. in Legislative Office Building room 202.

CORNERSTONE POSITION: OPPOSED. Casinos and video slot machines foster gambling addictions, breed crime, and usually have a net negative economic effect. Cornerstone has long held the position that gambling harms families, and research supports our position

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Contact the House Ways and Means Committee and urge an “inexpedient to legislate” vote on SB 310. 

Senate Action This Week

BILL: HB 383, Anti-Discrimination in Schools

WHEN: The New Hampshire Senate will vote on HB 383 at its session on Thursday, May 2. The session begins at 10:00 a.m.

The Senate is expected to accept a unanimous committee report to “re-refer” the bill, which would keep the bill in committee: “In consideration of SB 263 [noted above in this update], which is very similar to this bill, the committee recommends re-refer to further research how the two bills may complement each other and provide comprehensive protection from discrimination.”

CORNERSTONE POSITION: OPPOSED to HB 383. As with SB 263, the language is unclear. Furthermore, feelings about one’s own gender identity could become the basis of a claim of discrimination. It would be wrong to take the noble goal of nondiscrimination and use it to punish people who aren’t on board with gender politics.

Watch for an update on the Senate vote in the next Cornerstone legislative update.

Update on Recent Legislative Action

These are bills we’ve been following that are going on to next steps. Your voice is still needed and still matters!

BILL: HB 481, Legalizing and Regulating Recreational Marijuana

STATUS:  The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill on April 23. The committee has not yet voted on the bill. 

By an overwhelming margin, opponents of marijuana commercialization outnumbered HB 481 supporters at the hearing!  At a press conference before the hearing, Sen. Bob Giuda (R-Warren) led several speakers in outlining the problems posed by the bill. See WMUR’s coverage here

CORNERSTONE POSITION: OPPOSED. Enabling widespread use of recreational marijuana PRIVATIZES THE GAINS AND SOCIALIZES THE LOSSES of marijuana commercialization. HB 481 is wrong for New Hampshire. Learn more by viewing this video message from Neil Hubacker, Cornerstone’s Director of Strategic Alliances.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Email the Senate Judiciary Committee, and ask members to vote “inexpedient to legislate” on HB 481. Remember, the House has already passed HB 481. We need to stop it in the Senate, and the next step is getting an ITL recommendation from the committee!

Opposition to HB 481 is not a partisan issue. Republicans as well as Democrats need to hear your message that HB 481 is wrong for New Hampshire.

Note that the Nope to Dope rally scheduled to be held in Manchester on April 28 has been cancelled due to an emergency schedule change by speaker Bishop Jethro James.

BILL: SB 196 Relative to Non-Academic Surveys Administered by Public School to its Students.

STATUS: The House Education Committee will vote on SB 196 on Tuesday, May 7 at 10:00 a.m. in Legislative Office Building room 207.

CORNERSTONE POSITION:  OPPOSED. SB 196 would roll back a 2017 law protecting student privacy and parental rights. Instead of giving parents the right to “opt-in” before a non-academic survey is administered to their children in school, it would switch to an “opt-out” policy – meaning that if a parent doesn’t actively say NO, the school will administer the survey to the student. Read our written testimony from earlier this year when the bill had its Senate hearing.  

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Contact the House Education Committee and ask members to vote “inexpedient to legislate” on SB 196.