Legislative Update May 20

Week of May 20th – May 24th

Next House Session Thursday, May 23
at 10:00 a.m.

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

STATUS: The Committee vote was “Ought to pass with amendment” (the amendment did not affect the substance of the bill).

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.

  • For the committee majority, Rep. Mel Myler: “…obtaining active parental consent is a complex process, which can lead to low [survey] participation rates.” Our position is that if involving parents is a “complex process,” the problem is with the process, not with the parents.
  • For the committee minority, Rep. Glenn Cordelli: “For the protection of our students, it is important to keep existing law which was the result of a bi-partisan study committee in 2017.”

WHAT YOU CAN DOContact your Representative! Ask them to overturn the “Ought to pass with amendment” and vote “Inexpedient to Legislate”.

Senate Session Thursday, May 23
at 10:00 a.m.

BILL: HB 481, Legalizing and Regulating Recreational Marijuana

STATUS:  The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday, May 14 5-0 to re-refer HB 481 to committee for further study. Now the full Senate will consider that recommendation at its May 23 session.

To re-refer this bill back to the committee would be very good news – stopping HB 481 from becoming law this year. If the motion to re-refer is approved by the full Senate, the next action on HB 481 will come early next year. This victory is due in no small part to the overwhelming support we have gotten against HB 481!

CORNERSTONE POSITION: OPPOSED to the bill, thus in support of the re-refer motion. 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: Contact your senator and urge support for the committee recommendation of re-referral to committee.

BILL: HB 189 Establishing an exemption from criminal penalties for child
sex trafficking victims

CORNERSTONE POSITION:  SUPPORT. This bill is about protecting minors, and helping them come forward without reprisal to escape trafficking. It would be a great step to helping victims! 
WHAT YOU CAN DO: This is on the Senate’s consent calendar (considered a non-controversial bill), but we still urge you to contact your senators to support the committee recommendation of “ought to pass” on HB 189. 

Committee Hearings and Votes:
Your Voice Is Needed!

BILL: HB 608 Expanding the Law Against Discrimination Based on Gender Identity 

WHEN: Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Tuesday, May 22 10:40am Senate House, Rm 100

CORNERSTONE POSITION: OPPOSED. What seems like a harmless housekeeping bill is a lot more insidious, a way to punish those who don’t get on board with LGBTQ policies. Read our written testimony here.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Contact the Senate Judiciary Committee and urge them to vote “inexpedient to legislate”.

BILL: SB 111 Relative to Health Care Data

House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs will vote on this bill Tuesday, May 21 at 10 a.m., Legislative Office Building, Rm. 205.

CORNERSTONE POSITION: The underlying bill is not a concern, but the committee could be asked to vote on an amendment to add abortion statistics to the other health data collected by the state Department of Health and Human Services. This is on Cornerstone’s radar as we would advocate for the addition of abortion statistics as data to be collected.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Watch for Cornerstone’s report on the committee vote in the next update.

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 263 Relative to Anti-Discrimination for Students in Public Schools

STATUS:  The House Judiciary Committee will vote next week on this bill at 10:00am Tuesday, May 28.

CORNERSTONE POSITION: OPPOSED and we encourage the committee to examine the bill more closely. 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:  If you have not yet contacted the committee to request that they retain the bill for further study, please do so ASAP.

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

STATUS: The Senate voted on Wednesday May 15th “ought to pass with amendment” on HB 291, relative to an end-of-life study committee.

CORNERSTONE POSITION: The amendment changes the subject of the study to hospice and palliative care. This is a welcome improvement to the bill, but it is still unclear whether the amendment would rule out assisted suicide as a policy option. We are evaluating the amended bill, which will have to go back to the House for approval of the amendment. Cornerstone opposes physician assisted suicide as “end-of-life care”.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Watch our emails for future updates.

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

STATUS: The Senate voted on Wednesday May 15th “ought to pass with amendment” on voice vote. The amendment does not address our concerns. Next stop: back to the House for agreement on amended language. No date has been set

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 adopted, see the blog post on the Cornerstone website

BILL: HB 480, Sports Betting

STATUS: The Senate voted on Wednesday May 15th “ought to pass with amendment” on voice vote. Now it will go to Senate Finance and then back to the House for agreement on amended language.

CORNERSTONE POSITION:  OPPOSED. HB 480 would expand legal gambling, in a manner that makes 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.”

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

STATUS: The Senate voted on Wednesday May 15 “ought to pass with amendment”on voice vote. The amendment does not address our concerns. Next stop: back to the House for agreement on amended language. No date has been set.

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.