Legislative Update May 13

Week of May 13th – May 17th

Senate Session Wednesday, May 15th

The New Hampshire Senate will meet on Wednesday, May 15, at 10:00 a.m. to vote on several of the bills Cornerstone has been following. 

BILL: HB 291 Establishing a Committee to Study End-of-Life Care

CORNERSTONE POSITION:  OPPOSED. Cornerstone will oppose the bill until and unless it is amended to ensure that a study of palliative and hospice care will not provide cover for physician-assisted suicide. HB 291 is a dangerous bill.  

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Urge your Senator to overturn the committee recommendation of “ought to pass with amendment” and instead vote “inexpedient to legislate” on HB 291.

BILL: HB 446, Initiating Amendments and Corrections to Birth Certificates

CORNERSTONE POSITION:  OPPOSED. HB 446 will allow birth certificates to be amended to reflect a person’s adopted “gender identity,” whether male, female, or “neither male nor female.” Vital records are meant to record facts, not feelings. For more information including the text of the amendment the Senate is being asked to adopt, see the blog post on the Cornerstone website

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Urge your Senator to overturn the committee recommendation of “ought to pass with amendment” and instead vote “inexpedient to legislate” on HB 446.

BILL: HB 480, Sports Betting

CORNERSTONE POSITION:  OPPOSED. HB 480 would expand legal gambling, in a manner that make the state rely on gambling addiction in order to make sports betting a reliable state revenue source. Read Cornerstone’s op-ed, “Gambling With Our People.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Urge your Senator to overturn the committee recommendation of “ought to pass” and instead vote “inexpedient to legislate” on HB 480.

BILL: HB 669, Relative to Gender Identity Information on Drivers’ Licenses and Non-Driver IDs

CORNERSTONE POSITION:  OPPOSED. The bill would allow a gender notation of M, F, or X (meaning non-binary or “other”) on drivers’ licenses and state-issued non-driver IDs. It makes no sense to allow a subjective feeling to determine the data appearing on such documents. Read Cornerstone’s testimony on HB 669. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Urge your Senator to overturn the committee recommendation of “ought to pass with amendment” and instead vote “inexpedient to legislate” on HB 669.

Committee Hearings and Votes:
Your Voice Is Needed! 

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

STATUS: After the House passed SB 263 on May 8, it was referred to a second House committee. The House Judiciary Committee will have a public hearing on the bill on Wednesday, May 15 at 10:30 a.m. in room 208 of the Legislative Office Building.

On May 8, the House voted “ought to pass with amendment” on SB 263. The roll call on the motion is here, with a “Nay” vote being the desired one. Two Republicans, Joe Alexander (R-Goffstown) and Gates Lucas (R-Sunapee), joined 212 Democrats in voting “Yea.” Three Democrats broke with their party to join 140 Republicans in voting “Nay”: Thomas Buco (D-Conway), Donna Mombourquette (D-New Boston), and Julie Radhakrishnan (D-Amherst).

CORNERSTONE POSITION: OPPOSED. No one wants invidious discrimination in schools. As the bill is currently written, however, it poses more questions than solutions. See “Gender Politics Goes to School,” Cornerstone’s most recent commentary on the bill. 

  • 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 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:  Attend the public hearing on Wednesday, May 15 at 10:30 a.m. in room 208 of the Legislative Office Building. You need not testify aloud, but you can register your opposition to the bill by signing the committee’s “blue sheet” on the bill (available on committee table) and checking the “opposed” box. If you can’t attend, email the committee and urge them to vote “inexpedient to legislate” on SB 263.

BILL: HB 481, Legalizing and Regulating Recreational Marijuana

WHEN:  The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on HB 481 on Tuesday, May 14. If you have not yet emailed the committee to oppose the bill, please do so now!

The committee heard a second day of testimony recently to accommodate everyone who wanted to be heard on HB 481. As on the first day of testimony, by an overwhelming margin, opponents of marijuana commercialization outnumbered HB 481 supporters! Read the full story 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.  

WHAT YOU CAN DO: It’s not too late to contact the committee and urge “Inexpedient To Legislate”.

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! 

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

STATUS: The House Education Committee recently voted 11-9 “ought to pass with amendment” on this troubling bill. The House is expected to vote on the bill at its May 23rd session. Watch for a Call to Action in an upcoming Cornerstone update.

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 more here.

BILL: SB 310, Casino Gambling

GREAT NEWS! The House voted overwhelmingly to defeat the casino bill. The vote was 289-63 on an “inexpedient to legislate” motion, with a “Yea” vote being the right one. Be sure to thank your representatives who voted “Yea” on the motion to kill the bill!