Photo: Cheryl Senter/AFSC
“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” – Howard Zinn
September 9, 2022
Greetings, State House Watchers!
We hope that the summer months were an opportunity for fun, rest, and reconnection, and that your spirits are renewed and ready for the busy months ahead.
And we also hope that you are ready to vote in the state primary on September 13! Here are some links to help you to know how to register, find your polling place and view your ballot so that you can be prepared.
We are writing to share with you our “State House Watch Year in Review 2022,” which features a comprehensive list of the bills we tracked during the 2022 session and their various outcomes. We want to thank Anne Saunders for her extraordinary labor during this busy session. Her research and tracking were essential contributions to each weekly newsletter and to this end-of-session report. Anne is not able to continue in this role for 2023, so please consider whether you or someone you know would like to work with us! It is a paid contractor position. Contact Maggie to learn more or to share ideas for good candidates.
Since the New Hampshire legislature adjourned in late May, Governor Sununu signed more than 200 bills into law, and he vetoed eight bills. The House and Senate will meet for “veto override day” next week, on Thursday, September 15, with both the House and Senate convening at 1 PM. You can watch the Senate session here, and the House session here. All eight of the vetoed bills will come up for a vote. If a two-thirds majority in both chambers votes to override, the bill becomes law. If the vote falls short of two-thirds in either chamber, the veto is sustained. You can read the Governor’s veto messages in the current House calendar and the Senate calendar as well as on his website here. While gathered, legislators will also vote on a proposal from the Governor to give New Hampshire residents some funds for fuel assistance. Read more at NH Bulletin.
This week, the filing period began for legislative service requests (LSRs) from incumbent House members. LSRs are proposals for new legislation which will be translated into proper bill language and introduced in the new session. From September 6 – 16, current House members can submit proposals for the 2023 session. There will be a second LSR period after the general election, from November 9 – 22, so that newly elected and newly re-elected House members can submit proposals. The Senate timeline is more flexible and has not yet been published. Starting in late September, we’ll be watching the General Court website to see what’s coming for the 2023 session.
Looking Back at the 2022 Session
For the comprehensive list of all of the 2022 bills we tracked and their outcomes, click here.
From the U.S. Supreme Court to the NH State House to town meetings and county-level commissions, 2022 has been marked by right-wing extremism, white nationalism, reckless leadership and an assault on the common good. While there have been multiple and simultaneous attacks on reproductive rights, immigrant rights, LGBTQ+ rights, public education and more, there is also much to cheer. We are thankful for the organizers who leapt into action when needed, to demand that abortion rights, transgender rights, asylum rights, voting rights, fair elections, public health, and school funding be restored and protected. It can be overwhelming to confront multiple crises at the same time, but by continuing to build a movement for multi-issue, intersectional advocacy and organizing, we can rely on each other to step up when we need to, and to take breaks when we need to.
We’re happy to note some positive accomplishments in the 2022 session, including the creation of a new adult dental benefit for Medicaid recipients, a prohibition on shackling of pregnant prisoners, a narrowing of the ultrasound requirement for pregnant people, and the expansion of the components of an adequate education to include Holocaust and genocide education as well as personal financial literacy, among other subjects. Among the wins from the 2022 session were those bills which never made it to the Governor’s desk because they were defeated in either the House or the Senate, including multiple attempts to roll back bail reform, harm public education and discriminate against LGBTQ+ people.
There were also some alarming developments, including that Governor Sununu signed HB 1178 into law, prohibiting the state from enforcing federal gun laws. Sununu’s signing of the bill took place between multiple mass murder events in the U.S.—Uvalde, Buffalo, and Highland Park, among others—and just prior to the passage of the federal Safer Communities Act. The action prompted concern by advocates for commonsense gun safety laws, including from multiple law enforcement agencies who describe the new law as confusing and a potential threat to public safety. Read more at InDepthNH.
We recommend to you an important new report from the NH Fiscal Policy Institute: Key Challenges Facing Granite State Workers Amid the COVID-19 Recovery. The report highlights the difficulties many New Hampshire households are experiencing related to inflation, high-cost housing, lack of access to affordable childcare, and more, all despite a “strong economic recovery.” NH lawmakers will craft a state budget in 2023; it is important that these realities are taken into account.
Speaking of NHFPI, they are hiring! Here’s what they’ve shared with us: The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute seeks a leader with a passion for public policy and research, and the ability to nurture and lead a small team of talented professionals, with the potential for growth. NHFPI has a strong reputation for nonpartisan, high-quality, and credible analysis on important state issues such as the State Budget, income and poverty, education, health care, and tax policy. Candidates should have a strong appreciation for nonpartisan research, understanding of public policy, and strong nonprofit management skills to empower a high-performing, talented staff and provide leadership and direction that advances NHFPI’s growth and development. To apply please send your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Executive Director” in the subject line. Resume review begins immediately, and applicants are encouraged to apply by September 12.” View this position posting online here.
Monday, September 12
Peace & Justice Conversations: 9/11 and Afghanistan, 21 Years Later – 7 PM online. Although none of the 9/11 hijackers were Afghans, the U.S. war on Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks has profoundly impacted the Afghan people. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, some members of 9/11 families spoke out against the war on Afghanistan and went on to form September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, an organization of 9/11 family members turning their grief into action for peace and justice that is still speaking out and growing 21 years later. This webinar will look back at the history of the U.S. response to 9/11 as a war rather than a crime, and how that has shaped the situation of ordinary Afghans today. Presenter Kelly Campbell, chair of the Peaceful Tomorrows Afghanistan committee, will talk about the organization's current work to support ordinary Afghans, especially women and children, by returning Afghan central bank funds to Afghans, and share what she learned on a women’s peace and education delegation to Afghanistan in spring, 2022.
Friday, September 16 to Sunday, September 18
BIPOC Healing Retreat – Hosted by AFSC, facilitated by Creative Praxis, at Aryaloka Buddhist Center in Newmarket, NH. Please join us for an innovative and transformative healing retreat to build community, care for ourselves and nurture our collective liberation! This Healing Retreat for NH BIPOC activists, emerging leaders and community members will center our safety, joy, and healing by nurturing the connections, creativity and resilience we need to survive, thrive and contribute to a more just and equitable world. This healing experience is grounded in anti-racist, trauma-informed, joy-filled, and community-centered approaches in both theory and practice, tailored explicitly for BIPOC activists, emerging leaders, & community members. The five core areas of the retreat include: Building radical, authentic connections; creating safe and courageous spaces; healing and wellness practices for BIPOC; navigating white and colonized spaces; and deepening understanding of the impact of systemic racism and how it manifests in the human body. There are still three open spots, so register today!
Thursday, October 13
Visibility at the NH State Board of Education – At Granite State College, 9 to 10:30 AM, hosted by AFSC, Granite State Progress, Save our Schools NH and NH Voices of Faith. The NH State Board of Education meets on the second Thursday of every month and we plan to be there at the start of each meeting to remind the Commissioner, Chair, and other members just how much Granite Staters value and appreciate their public schools. Commissioner Edelblut has been overt in his efforts to weaken public education in New Hampshire. NH's students deserve an honest education, healthy classrooms, and strong public schools. Join our coalition in holding him and accountable for his misguided priorities.
Saturday, October 22
Sharing Our Light: A Celebration of Community – AFSC-NH Annual Celebration & Fundraiser, at the Concord Unitarian Universalist Church, 274 Pleasant Street, Concord. Doors open at 5 PM. Dinner at 5:30 PM; program starts at 7 PM. There will be a remote option as well. More details coming soon. Sign up here if you would like to offer a performance as part of the show.
With best wishes,
Maggie Fogarty, Grace Kindeke and Anne Saunders
AFSC’s New Hampshire "State House Watch" newsletter is published to bring you information about matters being discussed in Concord which relate to racial, social and economic justice.
The AFSC is a Quaker organization supported by people of many faiths who care about peace, social justice, humanitarian service, and nonviolent change. Maggie Fogarty and Grace Kindeke staff the New Hampshire Program which publishes this newsletter. Anne Saunders was our State House Watch researcher and writer for the 2022 legislative session.
‘State House Watch" is made possible in part by a grant from the Anne Slade Frey Charitable Trust. Your donations make our work possible. Click the DONATE NOW button on our web page to send a secure donation to support the work of the AFSC’s New Hampshire Program. Thank you!