Legislative Update June 29 & 30

Last Scheduled Session for New Hampshire Senate on June 29,
House on June 30 

Trouble spots: omnibus bills
and abortion insurance mandate

The Senate will convene at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, June 29 in Representatives’ Hall at the State House in Concord. The session will be live-streamed at the following link:

The House will convene at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 30 at the Whittemore Center at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. The session will be live-streamed at the following link:

Your voice counts! 
With several important House votes coming up on June 30th, your brief, clear, and courteous messages to legislators are very much needed.

Omnibus Bills: Just Say No

Some of the bills that the Senate has passed to the House for action on June 30 are omnibus bills, also known as “bundled bills.” This was a maneuver in the Senate to combine multiple bills into one, passing them all at once.

According to one legislative source, the 26 omnibus bills sent to the House contain a total of 183 original bills, making it impossible for representatives to thoroughly consider the merits of any single bill.

That might be the way Congress does business, but New Hampshire deserves better. 

Omnibus bills are poor public policy and they set a bad precedent for future legislative action. Omnibus bills flunk the fairness test, and they prevent legislators and the public from giving each individual bill the attention it deserves.

Tell your state representatives to vote to June 30 to non-concur with any omnibus bills received from the Senate. Any legislation that is important should be brought back in 2021 and dealt with in a thoughtful way, according to the usual legislative procedure.

HB 685, Abortion Insurance Mandate

The Senate “amended” HB 685, originally dealing with insurance reimbursements for ambulance services, and replaced its contents with an abortion insurance mandate. The House will be asked to concur or non-concur with the Senate’s version of the bill on June 30th.

WHAT TO DO: Contact your state representatives(s). Message: Please vote NON-CONCUR on HB 685. (Note that you may live in two districts: one for your own town, and one for a “floterial” district that draws from several towns.) Look up your representatives and their contact information. 

WHY: There are several reasons to reject HB 685 as amended. Even abortion-friendly legislators have reason to vote “non-concur.”

  • No insurer should be required to provide coverage for abortion, and no employer who provides health insurance as an employee benefit should be forced to be complicit in providing abortions. This is a matter of religious liberty and conscience rights.
  • The Senate stripped out the original language of the bill and replaced it with the abortion mandate in what’s called a non-germane amendment. While that maneuver is accepted under Senate rules, House rules are different. House members should reject any bill that comes to them with non-germane amendments.
  • No public hearing was held in the House on the language of HB 685 as amended. There should be NO concurrence on a bill that short-circuits public involvement in that way.

HB 1162, relative to adoption and parentage (and 13 other things)

WHAT TO DO: Ask your state representative(s) to vote NON-CONCUR on HB 1162.

WHY: This bill is the prime example of an omnibus bill that needs to be stopped. The fourteen points in the “amended analysis” (see the first two pages of the bill) reflect the number of bills rolled into one by the Senate. The overall theme is child welfare. The first point of the analysis, however, reflects the original intent of the bill: to allow any two adults to adopt a child, regardless of any relationship that may or may not otherwise exist between the adults.

That change in adoption law deserves far more scrutiny and analysis than it has gotten so far. When legislation is about the composition of the family, it deserves its own vote. Bundling it with more than a dozen other bills is not in the best interests of families or children. 

What Happens Next?

Once the Senate and House finish their business on June 29 and 30 respectively, the bills approved by both chambers will go to the Governor’s office for his signature or his veto.

HB 685, the abortion insurance mandate, is a stand-alone bill with no other subject matter rolled into it. If it comes to Governor Sununu, he should veto it without hesitation. Watch for a Cornerstone report on the status of the bill after the June 30 House session.

Once we know what bills are headed to the Governor’s desk, you can expect a Cornerstone call to action.

U.S. Supreme Court Decisions Expected This Week

In light of the recent Bostock decision that undermined women’s rights by redefining “sex” discrimination to include gender identity, we’ve been watching the Supreme Court docket carefully. Early next week, the Court should issue decisions on three cases the outcomes of which could be of vital importance to issues surrounding life, health, and religious and educational freedom in New Hampshire and throughout the country.

Read the Cornerstone blog for information on cases to watch: 

  • June Medical Services LLC v. Russo
  • Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania
  • Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue