Legislative Update: Week of April 8, 2024

Safe Haven Expansion Advances to the Senate

Recently, the House passed HB 1607, relative to expanded safe haven protections, but missed a critical opportunity to position New Hampshire as the leader in child protections among our New England neighbors. The most important part of the bill was removed on the House floor: section 5, which would have ensured parents surrendering a baby would not have to fear prosecution as a result of their surrender. It is critical and necessary to include this exclusionary provision in the expansion of safe haven law to accomplish the law’s goal, that is, to save lives, NOT catch criminals or deter parents from doing the right thing for their child.

We know of instances where mothers have turned away from making use of the safe haven law out of a real fear of prosecution. This either leads to an increase in illegal abandonment and chances for infant death through malnourishment, exposure, or overdose – or keeps an unwanted child in an unsafe and dangerous environment. Excluding the act of surrendering a child from being leveraged for prosecution does not preclude bringing a criminal to justice.

During the House debate on HB 1607, Representative Katy Peternel gave a compelling floor speech addressing the critical need for the exclusionary rule. You can read her full speech here.

The version of HB 1607 passed by the House that lacks the exclusionary clause does approve safe haven infant safety devices for 24-hour staffed facilities and allows babies to be surrendered until they are 61 days old (currently it is 7 days).

However, work must still be done to protect at-risk babies from fatal abandonment or abuse. The Senate must re-insert the Section 5 exclusionary provisions of the bill to ensure parents are not discouraged from using this safe and secure means to surrender their unwanted child.


As the bill advances to the Senate, we ask you to continue your strong support of the bill, including urging lawmakers to reinstate the important exclusionary rule. Stay tuned for further updates and to learn when the bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Crossover Week Happening Now

It is currently crossover week in the New Hampshire legislature. This means that the two legislative bodies, the House and the Senate, must complete all work on any remaining bills first introduced in that body. Then, any bills passed by the House or Senate will then move on to the other legislative body, where new hearings, committee votes, and floor votes will take place. This process is known as “crossover week.”

What this means for Cornerstone priority bills:

This means that any priority bills passed by a legislative body, House or Senate, will now begin their legislative process in the next body, beginning with assignment to a committee.

Important Cornerstone bills “crossing over” into a new legislative body and to keep on your radar:

SB 219 – Students First: House, Education Committee
HB 1283 – State-Sanctioned Suicide: Senate, HHS Committee
HB 1607 – Safe Haven Expansion: Senate, Judiciary Committee
HB 396 – State Recognition of Biological Sex: House, Judiciary Committee

State-Sanctioned Suicide Advances to the Senate

On March 21st, the New Hampshire House of Representatives, including many Republicans, ignored the voices of the disabled community, veterans, and concerned New Hampshire citizens of all ages and cast their vote to legalize state-sanctioned suicide. In a major disappointment for such an important issue, many representatives were not even present to vote. You can see the full roll call here33 Democrats voted against state-sanctioned suicide; 39 Republicans voted in favor.

HB 1283relative to end of life options, passed by the closest of margins in the House, 179-177. A last-chance reconsideration motion brought to the House floor on March 28th failed, and state-sanctioned suicide will now move on to the Senate, one step closer to becoming law in the state. 

On the grave matter of life or death, there should be no room for doubt. The state does not have a conscience, and the decision of who lives or dies should never be in the hands of government. In the end, HB 1283 does not promote choice or bodily autonomy.  Rather, it creates a climate that will destroy other options for end-of-life care and will empower the government to decide which lives are worth living. We only need look to Canada and other countries such as Britain and the Netherlands that have embraced physician assisted suicide to see the tragic roadmap ahead of us.


As the issue of state-sanctioned suicide advances to the Senate, we urge you to continue strong opposition of the bill, and stay tuned for more Cornerstone updates on key dates, including when the bill comes up for a hearing before the Senate HHS Committee.

Those who were unable to participate in the public hearing or either of the two rallies at the State House will have additional opportunities to help halt this dangerous legislation.

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