Legislative Update February 24th 2020

Week of February 24-28

What’s in this issue:

  • The House and Senate are off, but some key education bills are facing committee votes this week.
  • Continued tracking of important legislation we’re following.

Key Legislation We’re Following

HB 1251, Participation in school sports for female student athletes (Save Women’s Sports), Committee vote this week!!

WHEN: The House Education Committee will vote on HB 1251 at a session beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 26; Legislative Office Building, Room 207. It is unknown exactly what time HB 1251 will be voted upon.

CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone SUPPORTS HB 1251.

WHY: 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 DO: Attend the committee vote if you can. Opponents of preserving women’s sports teams will be out in force! We don’t know what time the vote will be held, since the committee has many bills on which to vote that day. If you can be in the hallway outside room 207 of the Legislative Office Building at 9:40 a.m., you’ll be seen by the committee members as they arrive for their day’s work.

If you have not yet contacted the members of the House Education Committee, please do so and ask them to vote “ought to pass” on HB 1251. 

The House Education committee will be voting on several other important bills next week. See “Update on Recent Legislative Action” later in this update for more information. If you want to email a committee member about more than one bill, please send a separate email for each bill.

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

WHEN: The Senate Commerce Committee is likely to vote on the bill in early March, at a date not yet announced. The committee hearing on the bill was on February 18th.

CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone OPPOSES SB 486-FN. See Cornerstone’s testimony on the bill and the Union Leader’s coverage of the hearing.

WHY: 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 clearly crosses a line by violating constitutionally protected religious freedom and conscience rights.

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

Other Legislation to Watch This Week:
Bills to be voted on in committee this week  and other updates. Your voice still needed and still matters! 

Bills to be voted upon by House Education Committee on Tuesday, February 25, 2020

In addition to its Wednesday, February 26 session when it will vote on HB 1251 (see above), the House Education Committee will meet on Tuesday, February 25, to vote on these other bills Cornerstone Action has been following. There is still time to contact the Committee to voice your opinion. We will report on the result of these votes in next week’s legislative update.

HB 1163requiring schools to update documents to include the option of identifying a student as non-binary.
CORNERSTONE POSITION: Any school record that identifies a student as “non-binary” should also indicate the student’s biological sex for emergency health concerns.

HB 1334, relative to religious activities of teachers and students in public schools.
CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone SUPPORTS HB 1334, which promotes the religious liberty interests of students and teachers. This bill is in response to HB 1306, which would repeal a law allowing school districts to authorize the use of the Lord’s Prayer in schools. By itself, HB 1306 could imply hostility to religion – but if HB 1334 passes, HB 1306 could be harmless. HB 1334 will affirm that legislators stand behind the rights of students and teachers.

HB 1459, relative to nonacademic surveys administered to students in school.
CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone OPPOSES HB 1459, which is yet another attempt to weaken a Cornerstone-supported law that respects parental rights and student privacy. Read Cornerstone’s testimony on a similar bill from 2019. This year’s bill is no better than last year’s.

Other Key Legislation to Watch:

Right to Life

CACR 14, Abortion in the NH Constitution
CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone opposes CACR 14, and supports the committee recommendation of “inexpedient to legislate.” For more information: “Constitutional Amendment on Abortion Meets Strong Opposition”
STATUS/NEXT STEPS: The New Hampshire House has delayed action on this bill. We are awaiting a House vote on the Judiciary Committee’s recommendation of “inexpedient to legislate. The next House session has not yet been scheduled. There will no session during NH school vacation week, Feb. 24-28. 
ACTION: Watch for next week’s Cornerstone Action legislative update for information on when the bill is rescheduled for a House vote.

HB 1675-FNBorn Alive Infant Protection Act
CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone SUPPORTS HB 1675-FN. Read Cornerstone’s testimony at the hearing, clarifying the bill and its scope.
STATUS/NEXT STEPS: The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote for Wednesday, March 4. 
ACTION:  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.

HB 1678-FN, Prenatal Non-discrimination Act
CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone SUPPORTS HB 1678-FN. Read Cornerstone’s testimony at the hearing, clarifying the bill and its scope.
STATUS/NEXT STEPS: The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote for Wednesday, March 4.
ACTION: Contact the House Judiciary Committee and urge the members to vote “Ought to Pass” (OTP) on HB 1678-FN

HB 1659-FN , Assisted Suicide
CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone OPPOSES HB 1659-FN: 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. 
STATUS/NEXT STEPS: The committee will vote on this bill in executive session on Wednesday, March 4.
ACTION: Now is the time to contact the House Judicary 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
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.
STATUS/NEXT STEPS: 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.
ACTION:  Contact the House Health and Human Services Committee and ask them to recommend “inexpedient to legislate” on HB 1404.

HB 1616Authorizing minors age 12 and older to see mental health practitioners without parental consent.
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. We recommend that the House kill the bill, either with an “Inexpedient to Legislate” or “Interim Study” vote.
STATUS/NEXT STEPS: The House Health and Human Services Committee voted 19-0 to recommend Interim Study for HB 1616, which should kill the bill in a House floor vote which will happen on a date yet to be determined. 
ACTION: Watch for next week’s Cornerstone Action legislative update for information on when the bill is scheduled for a House vote.

Good news on HB 1663-FN-A-L, Relative to the legalization and regulation of cannabis

The New Hampshire House voted on Wednesday, February 19 to send HB 1663 to Interim Study. This effectively kills the bill. Legislators heard our message: HB 1663 is wrong for New Hampshire!