Legislative Update February 17

Week of February 17-21, 2020

Key Takeaways:

  • Full House is meeting this week. Votes expected on putting abortion into NH Constitution (CACR 14) and legalization/regulation of marijuana (HB 1663-FN) among others. Details in this update.
  • Senate committee will hold a hearing on a bill to require abortion coverage in any insurance policy with maternity benefits. (SB 486-FN).
  • House Health and Human Services executive session on minors seeing mental health practitioners without parental consent (HB 1616-FN).
  • Update on HB 1659-FN, Assisted Suicide.
  • Senate fails to protect infants born alive from attempted abortion (SB 741-FN).

House session on 2/19 and 2/20 (Wednesday and Thursday):

CACR 14, Abortion in the NH Constitution

STATUS: The House Judiciary Committee voted on CACR 14 in executive session on February 5. By a margin of 18-2, the committee voted “inexpedient to legislate,” and we are overjoyed. Your overwhelming turnout opposing this poorly-crafted and objectionable amendment made a clear, compelling case and was effective beyond our expectations.

NEXT STEP: The bill will be voted on by the full House this week. In addition to the committee’s recommendation of “inexpedient to legislate,” there will be a minority report submitted, so a floor fight is almost certain before the House votes. 

CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone OPPOSES CACR 14, which would enshrine abortion into the New Hampshire Constitution. (Read Cornerstone’s report on the hearing, Constitutional Amendment on Abortion Meets Strong Opposition.)

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Your Representative needs to hear from you! Please contact yoursand urge him/her to support the committee recommendation by voting “inexpedient to legislate” on CACR 14.

HB 1663-FN, Legalization and regulation of cannabis

STATUS: The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee met on February 12th and voted 11-7 to recommend an interim study which would effectively kill the bill. 

NEXT STEP: The House is expected to vote on HB 1663-FN this week. 

CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone OPPOSES HB 1663, and the committee’s “interim study” vote is a win for public health and the children of New Hampshire. The bill is equivalent to a previous bill, HB 481, which was sent to Interim Study by the Senate. Read our commentary on HB 481 and why dope is bad for the people, safety, and economics of NH.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Your support for the committee recommendation of “interim study” will be sufficient to kill the bill. Please contact your representative and let him/her know HB 1663-FN is wrong for NH.

Committee meetings this week:

SB 486-FN, Requiring health insurance policies that offer maternity benefits to cover abortions.

WHEN: Tuesday, February 18th, at 2:15 pm, Senate Commerce Committee, State House Room 100.

CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone OPPOSES SB 486-FN. It is both a religious liberty and life issue. By coercing all business owners (and their employees and customers) to provide direct material support for abortion regardless of their personal or moral convictions, the bill crosses a line.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Contact the Senate Commerce Committee  and ask them to recommend “inexpedient to legislate” on SB 486-FN.

HB 1616-FN, authorizing minors age 12 and older to see mental health practitioners without parental consent.

WHEN: Tuesday, February 18th, at 1:00 pm, House Health and Human Services will meet in executive session to vote on this bill.

CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone OPPOSES HB 1616-FN which would give children as young as 12 access to mental health services without parental knowledge or consent. It appears to be part of a systematic effort to sideline a parent’s right to know and ability to make decisions in their child’s best interests, instead shifting the responsibility to the child. It is irresponsible and harmful. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Contact the House Health and Human Services Committee and ask them to recommend “inexpedient to legislate” on HB 1616-FN.

Update on Recent Legislative Action
Bills we have been following that are now on to the next steps. Your voice still needed and still matters! 

Bills impacting right to life:

SB 741-FN, Senate version of born-alive infant protection act (House version is HB 1675-FN) 

STATUS: The senate voted at their session Thursday, February 13th to table the legislation by a roll call vote of 14-10.

CORNERSTONE POSITION: In one of its most unfortunate votes of the year, the New Hampshire Senate rushed a floor vote and has refused to go on record guaranteeing enforceable protection for babies who are born alive, regardless of the circumstances of their birth. Enforceable penalties for infanticide should not be controversial. The decision to table SB 741-FN should offend every Granite Stater. Sen. Regina Birdsell (R-Hampstead) and her co-sponsors of SB 741-FN are courageous and compassionate, and their constituents can be proud of them.

NEXT STEP: The bill is effectively dead unless the Senate votes to take it off the table to be voted on. 

HB 1675-FNBorn Alive Infant Protection Act

STATUS: The hearing was held on Wednesday, January 29. This is the House version of born-alive legislation. The Senate version, SB 741-FN, was tabled by the Senate on February 13 after a rushed floor vote.

NEXT STEP: The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote for Wednesday, March 4. 

CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone SUPPORTS HB 1675-FN. Read Cornerstone’s testimony at the hearing, clarifying the bill and its scope.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: To give this bill any chance of passing, it is urgent to contact the House Judiciary Committee and urge the members to vote “Ought to Pass” (OTP) on HB 1675-FN

Note: If you email a committee on multiple bills, please send a separate email for each bill. If you opt to call, you may mention multiple bills.

HB 1678-FNPrenatal Non-discrimination Act

STATUS: The hearing was on Wednesday, January 29. 

NEXT STEP: The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote for Wednesday, March 4.

CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone SUPPORTS HB 1678-FN. Read Cornerstone’s testimony at the hearing, clarifying the bill and its scope.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Contact the House Judiciary Committee and urge the members to vote “Ought to Pass” (OTP) on HB 1678-FN

Note: If you email a committee on multiple bills, please send a separate email for each bill. If you opt to call, you may mention multiple bills.

HB 1659-FN , Assisted Suicide

STATUS: Hearing was held in the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday, February 12.

NEXT STEP: The committee will vote on this bill in executive session on Wednesday, March 4.

CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone OPPOSES HB 1659-FN: Behind deceptive language such as “end-of-life options” or “death with dignity,” lies a harsh reality. Most individuals seek assisted suicide not because of their own pain but because they fear they are a burden to others. This disproportionately impacts the disabled and those living with chronic conditions. No one, not even a physician, can accurately predict end of life. Cornerstone believes codifying assisted suicide in our state law will hurt our people, especially the most vulnerable. Read and share our blog post on HB 1659-FN. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Now is the time to contact the House Judiciary Committee and ask them to recommend “inexpedient to legislate” on HB 1659-FN. Turnout at the hearing was outstanding. It’s time to follow through!

Bills impacting parents and children:

HB 1404 , HIV/AIDS Prophylactic Treatment for Minors without Parental Consent

STATUS: The hearing was held in the House Health and Human Services Committee on January 28th. The bill is still being held in committee.

NEXT STEP: A subcommittee had a work session on the bill February 12 without taking a vote. We are waiting for information on when the full committee will vote.

CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone OPPOSES HB 1404.  By leaving parents out of the knowledge/consent process for dispensing prophylactic drugs to minors engaging in high-risk sexual behavior, we are failing to adequately care for and protect our children. The bill currently contains language that gives children the responsibility to consent to treatment. Who will be responsible for the consequences?

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Now is the time to contact the House Health and Human Services Committee and ask them to recommend “inexpedient to legislate” on HB 1404.

HB 1251, Participation in school sports for female student athletes (Saving Women’s Sports) 

STATUS: Second hearing was on Tuesday, February 4. A large number of previously unregistered attendees opposed to the bill came armed with prepared testimony and were allowed to testify (counter to previous direction from the chair). Only half the committee members were in attendance.

NEXT STEP: The committee has not yet scheduled a vote on HB 1251.

CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone SUPPORTS HB 1251. The research and science are clear. Allowing biological males to compete against girls robs them of the opportunity to win or participate. Read our commentary and testimony on HB 1251.

WHAT YOU CAN DOThis bill has encountered stiff opposition and needs your support. If you haven’t already done so, please contact members of the House Education Committee and ask them to recommend “ought to pass” on HB 1251.

Legislative Wrap-Up

Here are a few of the bills Cornerstone is monitoring. Each of the following bills has had a public hearing, but committee votes have not yet been scheduled. 

Changing school records to indicate a student is “non-binary”: HB 1163  will require schools to update documents and software to include the option of identifying a student as non-binary (i.e. neither male nor female).  The bill is still pending a recommendation by the House Education Committee. We attended the January 29th hearing to voice our opposition, pointing out that biological sex was necessary for other reasons (i.e. a health emergency) and suggested a non-binary designation could be noted in a separate section labeled “identify as” or similar (a workaround already implemented by at least one school district).  You can find contact information for the House Education Committee here to recommend “inexpedient to legislate.”


Note: This is the inevitable consequence of SB 263, which Governor Sununu signed in 2019, and HB 1319, which he signed in 2018. See our September 2019 coverage of another SB 263 consequence – one of many, and our February 2018 post on HB 1319, the gender identity bill (now law).  

Birth certificates: HB 1577-FN is a repeat of last year’s bill to allow changes in birth records to reflect gender reassignment. A committee hearing (House Health and Human Services) was held on January 30th, and a work session will be held on February 18. Cornerstone OPPOSES HB 1577-FN. Read our testimony . (Cornerstone also opposed last year’s attempt to tinker with vital records.) 

Non-academic surveysHB 1459 is yet another attempt to weaken a Cornerstone-supported law that respects parental rights and student privacy. A hearing was held on January 30th in the House Education Committee. A floor vote has not yet been scheduled, so there’s still time to contact the committee. There was a bill similar to this last year; here’s Cornerstone’s testimony from January 2019

Religious liberty for students and teachersHB 1306, another re-run from 2019, would repeal a law allowing school districts to authorize the use of the Lord’s Prayer in school. A hearing was held on January 29th in the House Education Committee. A floor vote has not yet been scheduled, so there’s still time to contact the committee. (Read our testimony on HB 1306.) It is being countered by HB 1334, a thoughtful pro-religious liberty measure. 

Cannabis policy: numerous billsare under consideration, including one to use marijuana to “treat” children with autism (SB 700-FN). Read Cornerstone’s testimony. SB 700-FN had a hearing in January and is still with the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

Education tax credit scholarshipsHB 1423 seeks to impose additional onerous reporting requirements on participants in the ETC scholarship program. The House Education Committee held a hearing in January, and their vote is pending. 

Contact us for more information on any of these bills.

Your Voice Is Important!

Your legislators want to know what you think.When you’re concerned about a bill or an issue, take a few minutes to contact the committee or your legislator by calling, writing, or sending a short email in your own words. Your message can be as simple as stating your support/opposition and making a voting recommendation. Your voice counts!

(Note:If you email a committee about multiple bills, please send a separate email for each bill. If you opt to call, you may mention multiple bills.)