Legislative Update March 16th

Week of March 16-20, 2020

General Court News

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, out of an abundance of caution the General Court has suspended all legislative activities for at least one week, March 16-20. The State House will be closed to legislative members, legislative staff, and visitors but remain open for governmental operations until further notice

Note from Cornerstone:
With this news, the Senate vote on the Save Women’s Sports bill (SB 480) will not take place on March 19. The below information on legislative updates is still relevant. We encourage you to take this break to read up on the issues, and stay informed on the bills you care about! Cornerstone will continue to update you as the situation progresses. 

Update on Key Legislation

Senate Approves Abortion Insurance Mandate

UPDATE:  The Senate voted 14-10 “ought to pass” on SB 486-FN. The bill now moves to the House, where a hearing has not yet been scheduled.

CORNERSTONE POSITION: Cornerstone OPPOSES SB 486-FN. See Cornerstone’s testimony on the bill and the Union Leader’s coverage of the Senate committee hearing. It is a religious liberty and life issue based on the false notion that abortion is health care. No insurer, business owner, or insurance subscriber with religious or conscientious objection to abortion should be forced to support it via an insurance mandate. SB 486-FN threatens constitutionally protected religious freedom and conscience rights. 

House Decides on Hundreds of Bills in Marathon Two-Day Session

UPDATE: Read the Cornerstone blog for a summary of House votes on eleven bills Cornerstone was watching for the recent House session.

BILLS THAT ARE MOVING TO THE SENATE:

 The following bills are moving to the Senate. Watch Cornerstone’s legislative updates and Facebook posts for information about hearing times for these and other bills we’re following.

  • HB 1306, relative to the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in schools. Cornerstone is opposed. This bill would repeal a no-longer-used statute that lets school districts permit the use of the Lord’s Prayer in schools, using the prayer in its historical context. In a troubling move, though, the House killed a related bill (HB 1334) to reaffirm the religious liberty rights of teachers and students in school. This makes HB 1306 look less like a housekeeping measure and more like hostility to religion.
  • HB 1423, relative to education tax credit scholarships. Cornerstone is opposed. The additional reporting requirements to be imposed relative to school choice scholarships under this bill violate pupil privacy laws.  
  • HB 1404, prophylactic treatment for HIV/AIDS for minors without parental consent. Cornerstone is opposed. Shutting parents out of their children’s health care decisions is wrong.
  • HB 1459, parental opt-out on nonacademic school surveys. Cornerstone is opposed. The current law allows parents to opt-in, and that should be preserved.
  • HB 1577, changing birth records to retroactively reflect a “new” gender. Cornerstone is opposed
BILLS THAT FAILED IN THE HOUSE:

The current House majority’s hostility to the right to life is on display once again. The House chose to kill HB 1675-FN, to protect children who survive attempted abortion, and HB 1678-FN, to protect preborn children at risk of being aborted for reasons of sex selection or genetic anomaly. The vote on upholding these “inexpedient to legislate” motions was 177-131 on HB 1675-FN, and 193-101 on HB 1678-FN. 

AND SOME BETTER NEWS:

A few bad bills were killed by means of being sent to Interim Study. No further action will be taken on HB 1659-FN, assisted suicide; HB 1163-FN, changing school records to reflect a student’s decision to identify as “non-binary”; and HB 1616, authorizing minors age 12 and up to get mental health services without parental consent.