State House Watch: February 10, 2023

By Maggie Fogarty and Grace Kindeke


Grace Kindeke

“To build community requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination.”  – bell hooks

February 10, 2023

Greetings, State House Watchers,

We grieve with all of you the devastating loss of life in Syria and Turkey following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake earlier this week. Tens of thousands of people died, and millions more are without adequate access to shelter, food, or water. The needs are far beyond the ability of local governments to meet, and calls have gone out for global humanitarian relief. AFSC has a long history of supporting community-led humanitarian assistance in areas not covered by larger government and relief agency efforts, including long-standing work with Syrian refugees, who are among the earthquake survivors. Our staff are preparing to deliver essentials such as food, clothing, blankets, diapers, and more with local partners. Funds raised will be used for these emergency kits and to sustain our ongoing peacebuilding efforts with displaced people in the region.  Please donate as you are able to support this emergency response.

Recommended reading for Black History Month

The origins of Black History Month, from the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH)

How Black History Paves the Way for a Just Black Future, YES magazine interview with Alicia Garza, February 1, 2023

Watch, read and listen to the 1619 Project – Now on HULU and podcast and at the NY Times(free PDF).


Please take action to support/oppose next week’s key bills:

Reproductive rights are on the calendar next week, with four public hearings in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, February 15, and three more on Thursday, February 16. You can find more information about each bill, as well as opportunities for advocacy and visibility with Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund here: Be Our Valentine - A Week of Abortion Access Action Toolkit.

SUPPORT HB 502, relative to voter affidavit ballots. This bill is the repeal of SB 418, which was signed into law in 2022 and which created affidavit ballots for those registering to vote without an ID. The law requires voters who register in New Hampshire for the first time on election day to cast a provisional ballot with a unique identifier. Those voters then must do additional follow-up after Election day or their ballot will be invalidated. Repealing SB 418 is a top priority of the NH Coalition for Voting Rights. HB 502 will be voted on in the full House on Tuesday, February 14. Let your Representative know that you want them to support HB 502.

SUPPORT SB 209, relative to providing menstrual hygiene products at no cost to individuals who biologically menstruate in state and county correctional facilities. On Thursday, February 16 at 9:45 AM in Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee, Room 103, SH. Sign in here to show support.

OPPOSE SB 219, relative to a salary floor for public school teachers. This bill has a deceptively positive-sounding title, but it is a cynical attempt to punish school districts which have hired assistant superintendents and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice leaders. The bill is premised on the false notion that ‘over-investment’ in non-teacher positions is causing low teacher salaries. On Tuesday, February 14 at 9:30 AM in Senate Education Committee, Room 101, LOB. Sign in here to oppose the bill.

SUPPORT A People’s Budget for New Hampshire! Governor Sununu will give his biennial budget address to a joint session of the House and Senate on Tuesday, February 14 at 1 PM. Join the NH Campaign for a People’s Budget at 12 noon at the State House for Love Our Neighbor: NH People's Budget Valentine's Day Visibility. New Hampshire people deserve a state budget that invests in our communities’ health, education, recovery, opportunity, and vitality. Not one that punishes educators, bans an honest education, and gives tax cuts to the wealthiest at the expense of community services and programs. Join us to hold signs and share our valentines with lawmakers urging them to spread the love and fully fund the services and programs that enable all NH communities to thrive. We will have signs and valentines and supplies to make your own!

Immigration news

The Biden administration plans to recreate the Trump-era asylum ban, adding additional barriers to those seeking refuge. The government announced its intentions to move forward with a transit ban in its filing before the Supreme Court in the Arizona v Mayorkas case. Read it here: 2023.02.07 SCOTUS Feds Brief.pdf (pages 12 and 13).  “We should be dedicating efforts, time, and resources to strengthening and expanding safe pathways for people to come to the U.S. for refuge, to work, and to be reunited with loved ones without putting others at risk of detention or denial of their right to seek asylum,” said Imani Cruz, from AFSC’s Washington DC Office of Public Policy and Advocacy. We call on Congress to restore the right to asylum, cut funding to ICE and CBP and to welcome every immigrant with programs grounded in communities. Read AFSC’s statement here.

Beyond the Dome

New Hampshire community leaders joined federal and state law enforcement officials for a public forum in response to a rise in hate crimes and bias incidents across the state. The forum is the first of many planned for the coming year to hear from New Hampshire residents about their experiences and to explain procedures for reporting and requesting action. Ali Sekou, president of the Islamic Society of Concord, explained his community’s concern: “’We want our relationships with law enforcement to be genuine and fair and we might not always report incidents to the police because it might not go anywhere. There’s a burden on Muslims because of terrorist acts but we’re just a religion and that religion is used against us.’ Sekou and others said they worry about the safety of their families and fear their children will face discrimination growing up in a majority white community, despite the influx of diversity in religion, race and culture in parts of the state during the past decade, including Concord. Read more at the Concord Monitor, and NHPR.

Last week at the State House

In a unanimous vote, the House Finance Committee voted to strip essential provisions from the Senate’s plan to close the Sununu Center, frustrating advocates who worry that the delay will exacerbate staff vacancies and risk the current residents being transferred to out of state facilities: “So where do our kids go? Our kids go to Michigan, our kids go to Arkansas,” [Keith] Kuenning, [director of advocacy for Waypoint] said. “Tell me how that’s a community-based service if we’re shipping our children out of state…. Nobody wants to see a kid in a locked-up facility. Nobody. But in some instances, it happens. But we should take care of New Hampshire’s children in New Hampshire.” Read more at NH Bulletin.  

Advocates for an end to gun violence gathered in Concord last week and provided testimony during a long day of public hearings on gun bills in the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. Zandra Rice Hawkins, director of GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress and a member of the NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, explained: “Advocates were out here today because we believe that enough is enough. We should be able to walk down our streets, go to our schools, without having to worry about gun violence." Read more here.

SB 144, which would re-establish the minimum wage in New Hampshire and raise the wage to $15/hour by 2024, had its public hearing in Senate Commerce this week, supported by prime sponsor Senator Donna Soucy (D-Manchester) and members of the RaiseUp NH coalition, including Rev. John Gregory Davis, pastor of the Meriden UCC: “You don’t need to be an economist to understand two moral travesties of this situation. First, no one can support themselves, no matter how hard they work, on this paltry wage, and secondly that none of us wish to see anyone we know or love forced to work for such inadequate compensation. This is an injustice we can address, and it is long past time we do so.” Currently, NH’s minimum wage defaults to the federal level of $7.25/hour, the lowest in New England.  Read more here and here.

Overheard at the State House

“I have seen how the conditions of sub-livable wages create home environments that bring parents into a chronic state of anxiety, stress, depression and despair. These day-to-day economic conditions for any of us could lead to a decreased ability to cope, and to the increased presence of anger, parental absence, and the inability to regulate otherwise stable emotions. The chronic pressure and anxiety about daily economic survival become the conditions for children to go without the nurturing environment with their parents they need to grow into confident, emotionally healthy, well-functioning citizens….Each of your votes on this legislation will hold you personally responsible for the ever escalating consequences, short and long term, of the mental health and well-being, or lack of it, in our communities. Your vote on SB 144 will either support the conditions for good emotional development and mental health, or it will keep families in bondage to the natural human consequences of a substandard, perpetually insecure economic reality.” -  LR Berger, NH licensed clinical mental health provider, testifying in favor of raising the minimum wage

“It is clear from the data gathered on the [immigration] checkpoints that they interfere with liberties protected under law, and that the harms of the checkpoints clearly outweigh any legitimate enforcement value. HB 624-FN would serve as an effective counterbalance to unlawful, unnecessary and ineffective enforcement strategies…. The law would send a message …that our state takes the civil rights and liberty interests of our residents, visitors and businesses seriously and that questionable federal law enforcement activities are not welcome.” – Testimony from the NH Immigrant Rights Network in support of HB 624, which would require public notification prior to immigration checkpoints

LOB – Legislative Office Building (33 N. State St. Concord)
SH – State House (107 N. Main St. Concord)

OTP – “Ought to Pass,” the recommendation for approving a bill or an amendment
OTP/A – Ought to Pass with Amendment
ITL – “Inexpedient to Legislate,” the recommendation for defeating a bill or an amendment.
ITL” can also be used as a verb.
IS – Referred for interim study
RC – Roll call vote. Each legislator’s vote is recorded and attributed to them.
VV – Voice vote

Last Week in the Senate

The Senate met in session on Thursday, February 9. You can watch it here . Here are the outcomes of the bills on our watch list.

On the Consent Calendar


SB 156-FN, relative to voter registration and verification of voter identity. The intent of this legislation is to clarify procedures and provide additional tools for clerks and officials to use in order to verify legitimate voters. OTP by VV

SB 172-FN, allowing court-appointed guardians to receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families benefits. OTP by VV. Referred to Finance.

SB 254-FN, relative to community-based sentencing alternatives for primary caregivers. This bill would have promoted community-based sentencing alternatives for primary caregivers. The language is in need of further examination, and a working group intends to come together to discuss the impact primary caregiver incarceration has on children, the problem the bill intends to address. ITL by VV

On the Regular Calendar


SB 113-FN, relative to cost effectiveness review of the joint utility energy efficiency plan. OTP by VV

SB 42-FN, relative to overpayment of unemployment compensation. OTP by VV

SB 32-FN, relative to the opioid abatement trust fund. OTP-A by VV

Next week at the State House

Both the full House and the full Senate will meet on Tuesday, February 14 in Joint Convention at 1 PM to hear Governor Sununu’s budget address. House members will meet before and after the budget address to vote on bills.

Coming up in the House

You will notice that several bills on this list are headed to the floor “without recommendation.” This indicates that the committee vote was a tie for both ITL and OTP.  During the House session, these bills will be considered first as Ought to Pass.

On the Consent Calendar

HB 291-FN, relative to false reports to certain departments. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 20-0.

HB 292-FN, establishing a criminal penalty for theft by a public servant. ITL by a vote of 20-0.

HB 102-LOCAL, requiring high schools to include instruction on the nature and history of communism. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 17-3.

HB 334-FN, relative to determination and cost of state adequate education. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 20-0.

HB 364-FN, relative to transportation for students attending career and technical education centers. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 20-0.

HB 365, relative to a statewide facility condition assessment for school buildings. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 20-0.

HB 424-FN, relative to school lunch payment policies. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 20-0.

HB 435, relative to relief aid calculation in determining grants for adequate education. This bill increases the amount for relief based upon eligibility for free or reduced priced school meals and adjusts the grants by changes in the consumer price index as determined pursuant to RSA 198:40-d. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 20-0.

HB 101-FN, relative to requiring voters declare a party affiliation prior to a state primary election. This bill removes the ability of undeclared voters to cast a ballot in a partisan, primary election and requires them to set a registration four months before the contest. Current law allows the individual political parties to make this change on their own and the committee did not find it prudent to remove that choice at this time. Committee recommends ITL by a vote 19-0.

HB 259, relative to a study about making working at polling places on election day a civic responsibility and legal obligation for citizens. Committee recommends ITL by a vote 20-0.

HB 482-FN, requiring the use of ballots with embedded security, traceability, and relative to the chain of custody for ballots cast in elections. Committee recommends ITL by a vote 19-1.

HB 599-FN, relative to requiring an audit of the November 2022 election results. Committee recommends ITL by a vote 19-1.

CACR 1, relating to the governor. Providing that there be a lieutenant governor who shall assume the duties of the governor if the governor is incapacitated. Committee recommends ITL by a vote 20-0.

HB 266, relative to notice and public access requirements for hybrid and virtual agency public comment hearings for rulemaking. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 19-0.

CACR 5, relating to fundamental rights. Providing that the constitution protects the right to marry. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 19-0.

HB 164, relative to prohibiting towns from criminalizing the right to peacefully and orderly assemble. The purpose of this bill is to formally legalize the right to peacefully protest in any public place without restriction and to void any municipal ordinances preventing the same. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 20-0.

HB 171-FN, relative to bodily injury actions against governmental units. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 19-0.

HB 379-FN, requiring that attorneys be appointed to represent indigent tenants during residential eviction proceedings and making an appropriation therefor. This bill as originally introduced sought to establish a right to counsel paid for by the state for all eviction proceedings. The amendment changed the bill to require merely that in connection with evictions, tenants be informed that they may be eligible for legal assistance from New Hampshire Legal Assistance and informing them how to contact Legal Assistance. Committee recommends OTP-A by a Vote 20-0.

HB 633-FN, relative to electric distribution company market share, prohibiting certain electric rate increases, and requiring enforcement against Eversource. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 20-0.

HCR 3, relative to affirming states’ power over the federal constitution. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 18-0.

HR 13, affirming support for the people of Puerto Rico. By this resolution the NH House of Representatives shows its support and solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico as they decide for themselves which course they wish their island to follow, whether it involves statehood, independence, or maintaining their commonwealth status. Self-determination is their right, and theirs alone. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 17-0.

On the Regular Calendar

SB 1-FN-A, (New Title) relative to the closing of the Sununu youth services center and establishing a commission to study the public safety of the secured youth development center and surrounding communities. This bill would postpone the closure of the Sununu Youth Development Center from 1 March 2023 until a replacement facility is sufficiently completed and youth are transferred. General funds in the amount of $1.5 million are appropriated to support continuing operations the final four months of the current fiscal year. Site evaluation and two design options are funded at $400,000 with site recommendation not later than September 30, 2023. A Commission to Study Community Impacts of the Secured Youth Development Center is established with a sunset date. Construction monies are not appropriated. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 23-0.

HB 234-FN, relative to renewable energy credits. This bill is designed to end the practice of Renewable Energy Credit (REC) sweeping, a provision in statute that enables in-state utilities to use the REC NH residents produce and own without notice or compensation in order to meet their obligations under the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION

246-FN, relative to uses of moneys in the renewable energy fund. The committee is unanimous in its concern about the rising price of energy and need to reduce those prices going forward. The members of the committee who recommend ITL believe the people of NH will accept that a rebate of $0.52 – or even $1.40 – per month will not make a big difference in their monthly budget, but that by collectively investing that money in alternative energy projects we can continue to diversify our sources of electricity to end our over-reliance on natural gas based on past state energy policy decisions. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION

HB 418-FN, relative to eliminating the rebates distributed by the energy efficiency fund. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION

HB 576-FN-A-LOCAL, establishing an energy conservation program and an energy conservation project fund and establishing the state PACE reserve fund. Commercial property assessed clean energy (C-PACE) is a financing tool for building projects targeting energy efficiency and performance. This bill is CPACE enabling legislation to allow investors and private equity lenders to make loans for commercial clean energy and energy efficiency construction projects in NH to access tools such as up a 60% Federal tax credit. This bill uses no state money and opens up Federal tax incentives for Granite State property owners and developers to retrofit or build new energy efficient buildings. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of  14-5.

HB 630-FN, establishing a revolving clean energy accelerator fund in the department of energy. A revolving clean energy accelerator fund, also known as a “green bank,” is a type of investment fund that provides financing to clean energy projects. The bill seeks to establish a “green bank” in which to deposit Inflation Reduction Act dollars. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION

HB 374-FN, relative to the application process for driver’s licenses and the privacy of motor vehicle records. The minority believes that testing those who might otherwise be able to drive from the more than 14,000 undocumented persons as to their ability to drive safely is of paramount importance. This is a public safety measure. Over 100 people signed in electronically in support, with only 2 opposed. We have heard in the past strong testimony from police chiefs in support of this bill. Support which recognizes that this bill would greatly assist their community policing efforts. The American Friends Service Committee, the ACLU, as well as churches and immigrant’s rights groups also supported the bill. Their support recognizes that the bill improves public safety and provides for expanded social and economic justice. Passage of the bill would allow many more people to register their automobiles and purchase insurance too. What the bill does not do is grant any further privileges beyond driving privileges. The reality is that it will only prove a person’s identity, their residence, their age, and that they’ve passed a driving test. More than 20 other states and the District of Columbia have made provisions such as this. Vote 11-9. MAJORITY: INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE. MINORITY: OUGHT TO PASS.

HB 597-FN, relative to race and ethnicity data on driver’s licenses, and race and ethnicity data collection. This bill would allow for a driver at license renewal to opt in and provide their ethnicity and race information to be on their driver’s license. Currently no data is being collected statewide. Accurate data will help identify trends in who and where folks are being stopped, and their self-identified ethnicity and race information will be available on a statewide basis. The NH Department of Motor Vehicles testified that they will be able to implement the program. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION

HB 34-FN, relative to raising the age of marriage to eighteen. This bill would allow New Hampshire to join other states in ending child marriage, protecting the children of New Hampshire, and allowing them to be children. MAJORITY: INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE. MINORITY: OUGHT TO PASS.

HB 560-FN-A, establishing a contact person notification program to assist law enforcement personnel who have contact with a person with mental or physical disabilities and making an appropriation therefor. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 19-0.

HB 309-FN, relative to civil rights education in public elementary and secondary schools. Vote 12-8. MAJORITY: INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE. MINORITY: OUGHT TO PASS.

HB 420-FN-A, relative to the availability and funding for the dual and concurrent enrollment program by the community college system and making an appropriation therefor. Vote 19-1. MAJORITY: OUGHT TO PASS. MINORITY: INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE.

429-FN-LOCAL, requiring the offering of breakfast and lunch in all public and chartered public schools. The purpose of the bill and amendment is to require all public school districts in the state to offer a breakfast and lunch program under the Federal National School Breakfast Program (SBP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The amendment removes charter schools from the bill’s requirements. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION

HB 430-FN-LOCAL, relative to applications for the education freedom accounts program. The bill limits applications for Education Freedom Accounts (EFAs) to students who are presently enrolled in public school for at least one year or will be entering kindergarten or first grade.. The existing law has enabled a taxpayer-funded private tuition rebate program. The bill restores the program back to its intended purpose of providing “school choice” options to students and their families. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION

HB 626-FN, requiring the department of education to administer the education freedom account. The bill requires the Department of Education to administer Education Freedom Accounts (EFAs). Under current law, EFAs are administered by a private contractor that keeps 10% of the taxpayer dollars allocated to these accounts. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION

HB 638-FN-LOCAL, relative to the extraordinary need grants to schools. Vote 19-1. MAJORITY: OUGHT TO PASS. MINORITY: INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE.

HB 502-FN, relative to voter affidavit ballots. This bill repeals HB 418 which became law in 2022, creating provisional ballots. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION

HB 508-FN, relative to the payment of postage on absentee ballot return envelopes. This bill would have the Secretary of State provide pre-paid, first-class postage for all return envelopes accompanying absentee ballots. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 11-9.

HB 300-FN, prohibiting the disposal of certain food waste. This bill, as amended, comports with the findings, goals, and recommendations of the Solid Waste Working Group and the committee’s work to address waste disposal hierarchy goals. It supports efforts to keep food waste out of landfills as it is not only a methane gas generator, but it is also heavy. There are preferable methods such as feeding hungry people and animals, and composting. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 20-0.

HB 462-FN-A, making an appropriation to the solid waste management fund and targeting food waste reduction and diversion. This bill appropriates $2 million to the solid waste management fund and supports food waste reduction and diversion efforts. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of  20-0.

HB 620-FN, establishing a department of early childhood education and relative to a pre-kindergarten pilot program. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION

Coming up in House committees

You can watch the House hearings here. You can sign in for House bills here. And you can contact House committees.

Monday, February 13

Room 205-207, LOB
9 AM HB 204, relative to non-academic surveys in schools.
9:45 AM HB 550-FN, relative to chartered public school dissolution.
11:30 AM HB 371, establishing a commission to evaluate and recommend standards for public schools.

9 AM HB 558-FN, relative to electric microgrids and electric grid resiliency 350NH Tracks
10:30 AM HB 523-FN, relative to net energy metering limits for individual and business customers. 350NH Tracks
2:30 PM HB 524-FN, relative to regional greenhouse gas initiative funds. 350NH Tracks
3 PM Executive Session on HB 208-FN, establishing greenhouse gas emission reduction goals for the state and establishing a climate action plan

Tuesday, February 14

Room 302-304, LOB
9 AM Full Committee Work Session on HB 639-FN-A, relative to the legalization and regulation of cannabis and making appropriations therefor.

Wednesday, February 15

Room 302-304, LOB
10 AM Full Committee Work Session on HB 465-FN, restricting use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances in certain consumer products; HB 639-FN-A, relative to the legalization and regulation of cannabis and making appropriations therefor.

EDUCATION, Room 205-207, LOB
9 AM Executive Session on HB 272-FN, increasing chartered public school per pupil funding; HB 529-FN-A-L, relative to additional aid grants for schools based on free and reduced price meals and fiscal capacity disparity; HB 382, authorizing local school boards to give students release time for participation in religious instruction in an elective course for the purposes of satisfying curriculum requirements; HB 634-FN, relative to students’ participation in religious instruction to satisfy elective curriculum requirements; HB 441-FN-L, eliminating residency requirements for public school attendance; HB 104, relative to multi-stall bathrooms and locker rooms in schools; HB 352, relative to excused absences due to a student’s mental or behavioral health; HB 505-FN, relative to comprehensive mental health education in schools; HB 539-FN, relative to vaccination clinics at schools; HB 627-FN, relative to local education improvement plans and disparities in education; HB 514, relative to the dissemination of obscene material by schools and institutions of higher learning; HB 604, relative to reading specialists; HB 623-FN, establishing a teacher candidate loan forgiveness program; HB 563-FN-L, relative to the adoption of school administrative unit budgets; HB 452, relative to the department of education procedures for school building aid applications; HB 354, relative to chartered public school eligibility for state school building aid; HB 394-L, relative to the organization of cooperative school boards; HB 632, relative to the cooperative school district budget committee.

1 PM Division Work Session on HB 527-FN-A, relative to Medicaid reimbursement rates for certain assisted living facilities.

10 AM HB 69, relative to direct payment and membership-based health care facilities.
11 AM HB 238, relative to the role of quality control and the developmental disability service system.
1 PM Executive session on HB 282-FN-A, relative to including certain children and pregnant women in Medicaid and the children’s health insurance program. Continued executive session on any remaining bills from February 9, 2023.

9 AM CACR 2, relating to reproductive freedom. Providing that all persons have the right to make their own reproductive decisions.
10:30 AM HB 271-FN, repealing the fetal life protection act.
1 PM HB 88, relative to reproductive rights.
2:30 PM HB 224-FN, repealing the criminal and civil penalties from the fetal life protection act.

10:30 AM Executive session on  HB 154, relative to the adoption of public health ordinances by municipalities; HB 294, enabling municipalities to adopt a child tax credit; HB 423, relative to accessory dwelling unit uses allowed by right

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202-204, LOB
10 AM Executive session on HB 569-FN, relative to the state education property tax and the low and moderate income homeowners property tax relief program.

Thursday, February 16

, Room 202-204, LOB
9 AM Executive session on HB 32-FN, relative to possession or discharge of a firearm in a safe school zone; HB 46-FN, relative to the appointment of magistrates and repealing the statutes governing bail commissioners; HB 59-FN, requiring a background check prior to any commercial firearm sale; HB 76, imposing a waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a firearm; HB 78, repealing an act prohibiting the state from enforcing any federal statute, regulation, or Presidential Executive Order that restricts or regulates the right of the people to keep or bear arms; HB 106-FN, relative to extreme risk protection orders; HB 351-FN, relative to the negligent storage of firearms and relative to firearm safety devices; HB 444-FN, prohibiting possession of a firearm at a polling place; HB 474-FN, relative to enforcement of federal firearms laws and establishing penalties; HB 512-FN, exempting firearms manufactured in New Hampshire from federal laws and regulations.

EDUCATION, Room 205-207, LOB
10 AM HB 649-FN, repealing the collection of the state education property tax.
11:30 AM HB 528-FN, relative to school lunches and establishing the meals for students fund. Continued executive session on any remaining bills from February 15, 2023

10 AM HB 64, requiring the commission on demographic trends to consider data on race and ethnicity for the purpose of increasing racial and ethnic diversity in New Hampshire.
10:30 AM HB 228, relative to repealing the commission on demographic trends.

Various budget work sessions with state agencies.

10 AM Budget Work Session - Community College System of New Hampshire
11 AM Budget Work Session - University System of New Hampshire
1 PM Budget Work Session - Lottery Commission
2 PM Budget Work Session - Police Standards and Training Council

9:45 AM HB 114, relative to the age at which a minor may receive mental health treatment without parental consent.
10:30 AM HB 575-FN, relative to vaccine and pharmaceutical products purchased, promoted, or distributed by the state and its political subdivisions.
11:15 AM HB 557-FN, relative to the department of health and human services’ rulemaking authority regarding immunization requirements.
2 PM HB 342-FN, relative to lead testing in children.
2:30 PM HB 425-FN, repealing the statute relative to medical freedom in immunizations.

9 AM HB 346-FN, relative to the right of any infant born alive to appropriate medical care and treatment.
10:30 AM HB 562-FN, requiring informed consent prior to receiving an abortion procedure.
1 PM HB 591-FN, prohibiting abortions after detection of fetal heartbeat.
3 PM HB 652-FN, relative to nonpublic sessions under the right to know law.

11:15 AM Executive session on HB 150, relative to the certification of a collective bargaining unit.
11:30 AM Executive Session on HB 125, relative to youth employment during the school year and at night.

1 PM Executive session on HB 605-FN, relative to solar generation under the renewable portfolio standards.

Friday, February 17

9:00 AM Executive Session on HB 588-FN, relative to the criteria for applying for parole; HB 653-FN, prohibiting personal recognizance bail for violent crimes; HB 624-FN, relative to federal immigration checkpoints; HB 596-FN, prohibiting the use of racial profiling in law enforcement activities and in sentencing; HB 400-FN, relative to certain assault offenses, bail eligibility for commission of certain assault offenses, and making a false report to a law enforcement officer; HB 107-FN, relative to employment restrictions for registered sex offenders; HB 360-FN, an act legalizing cannabis for persons 21 years of age or older.

Budget work sessions with various state agencies.

1 PM Budget Work Session with Department of Health and Human Services.

10 AM Presentation by NH Realtors Association.
10:30 AM Presentation by Elm Grove Companies.
1 PM Presentation from NH Legal Assistance.
1:30 PM Presentation by Housing Action NH.
2 PM Research presentation on NH zoning laws by Jason Sorens.

Coming up in the Senate

The full Senate will join the full House on Tuesday, February 14 in Joint Convention at 1 PM to hear Governor Sununu’s budget address.

Next week in Senate committees

You can watch the Senate hearings here. You can sign in for Senate bills here. And you can contact Senate committees.

Tuesday, February 14

Room 100, SH
9:30 AM SB 145-FN, relative to New Hampshire housing champion designation for municipalities and making appropriations therefor.
9:45 AM SB 202-FN-A, relative to establishing a homeownership innovations fund in the New Hampshire housing finance authority.

9 AM SB 217-FN-A, establishing a rural and underserved area educator incentive program for higher education and making an appropriation therefor.
9:15 AM SB 218-FN-A, establishing an early educator professional development grant.
9:30 AM SB 219-FN-L, relative to a salary floor for public school teachers.
9:45 AM SB 216, making changes to the requirements for civics education and establishing the New Hampshire civics education commission.

9:30 AM SB 224, relative to housing opportunity zones and inclusionary zoning.

FINANCE, Room 103, SH
2:30 PM SB 232-FN-A, making an appropriation to support the work of the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
2:45 PM SB 115-FN-A, relative to making an appropriation to the department of health and human services for the purpose of funding vaccine administration through public health departments

Thursday, February 16

Room 103, SH
1:15 PM SB 159-FN-L, relative to permits for the siting of new landfills.

9:15 AM SB 126-FN, relative to licensure requirements for telehealth services and relative to licensure of physicians and physicians assistants treating patients incarcerated with the department of corrections.
9:45 AM SB 205-FN, relative to a cost of living adjustment in the state retirement system.

10 AM SB 238-FN, relative to the use of telemedicine to treat mental health conditions.
11 AM SB 237-FN, relative to the child care scholarship program and making an appropriation therefor.

9:30 AM SB 208, relative to online access to state information on economic relief disbursements.
9:45 AM SB 209, relative to providing menstrual hygiene products at no cost to individuals who biologically menstruate in state and county correctional facilities.

9 AM SB 241-FN, relative to graduated public assistance programs.
9:15 AM SB 239-FN, relative to the use of harm reduction services to treat alcohol and substance abuse.
10:15 AM SB 265-FN-A, making an appropriation for the multi-tiered system of support for children’s mental health.

Upcoming Events

Sign up for the DEI workplace innovation challenge hosted by NH Businesses for Social Responsibility.

Wednesday, February 1 to February 17

Crying in the Wilderness: An Immigrant’s Journey in Detention – 3 PM to 5 PM. Cheshire Mills Complex – 69 Main Street, Harrisville. Sharing a message of compassion and care for all our immigrant neighbors. Powerful photos, words and artwork illustrating the emotional toll of immigrant detention. Join us for the opening reception of a traveling exhibit with 10 large photos printed on canvas and suspended in black metal frames, illustrating the physical and emotional impacts of detaining and shackling an asylum seeker.

Saturday, February 4 to Saturday, April 8

Black Quaker Lives Matter Film Festival & Forum – 1 PM. Hosted by The Black Quaker Project. We are proud to announce the 2023 Black Quaker Lives Matter Film Festival & Forum, a groundbreaking exploration of Black Friends who made a difference throughout both USA and world history.  From February 4 to April 8, we will hold screenings, dedicated to Quakers of Color, over Zoom.

Sunday, February 5 to March 22

Bringing It Back: Conversations We Still Need – 2 PM to 3:30 PM. Portsmouth Public Library, Livingston Room, 175 Parrott Avenue, Portsmouth. Hosted by the Black Heritage Trail NH. In 2023, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, will celebrate four hundred years as an incorporated town by honoring the city’s diverse and dynamic social, political, intellectual, cultural, economic, and spiritual history from the time of the first Native American settlements to the present. In recognition of this four-hundred-year milestone, BHTNH’s annual Elinor Williams Hooker Tea Talk series will revisit significant themes from past conversations. The 2023 series will dig deeper into complex issues that often divide us in order to build inclusive communities in which we all can thrive.

Sunday, February 12

The Paradox of Education for Black & Brown Children – 2 PM to 3:30 PM. Portsmouth Public Library, Livingston Room, 175 Parrott Avenue, Portsmouth. Hosted by the Black Heritage Trail NH.  It has been a year since NH Legislators joined a wave of states across the country to pass laws prohibiting teaching critical perspectives on histories, laws, social practices, and literature that have excluded opposing voices and histories of African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and People of Color. For this panel, presenters will discuss the effect these “divisive concepts” laws have had on teaching excluded perspectives in their classroom with a particular focus on NH. The panel will also explore the paradox of an educational system based on the notion of socializing young people into the existing structure of society, while also claiming to have, as its core mission, the goal of teaching students to be critical thinkers.

Monday, February 13

Peace & Justice Conversations: Building Peace in our Schools with Restorative Practices – 7 PM to 8 PM. Hosted by NH Peace Action. Join us for a conversation with Dr. Whitney Howarth who will talk about her work with educational administrators, behavioral interventionists, counselors and teachers working to implement restorative practices in schools in order to build positive cultures of belonging where students feel empowered and connected. What can we learn about peace building on the local level and interpersonally that has macro-applications from the restorative framework? Come join the conversation about how we can build relationships within high support/high expectation systems that honor equity and inclusion at all levels of influence in our schools. By building less punitive climates of care and connection, we are creating spaces where learners and teachers work together to feel less overwhelmed and more emboldened as change agents.

Tuesday, February 14

Love Our Neighbor: NH People's Budget Valentine's Day Visibility - 12 PM. State House, Concord. Hosted by the NH People’s Budget Coalition. New Hampshire people deserve a state budget that invests in our communities’ heath, education, recovery, opportunity, and vitality. Not one that punishes educators, bans an honest education, and gives tax cuts to the wealthiest at the expense of community services and programs. Join us to hold signs and share our valentines with lawmakers urging them to spread the love and fully fund the services and programs that enable all NH communities to thrive. We will have signs and valentines and supplies to make your own!

Wednesday, February 15

New Hampshire Retirement Systems 101 – 9 AM. 54 Regional Drive, Concord. Hosted by the NH Retirement System. All are invited to attend a general information presentation. These events - not to be confused with the benefit information sessions regularly offered for members - are intended to serve as “NHRS 101,” providing a broad, factual overview of the retirement system. Live events at the NHRS office are scheduled for Wednesday, February 15th, at 9:00 a.m., and Thursday, February 23rd, at 4:00 p.m. A live webinar is scheduled for 10 AM on Friday, February 24. The presentations are expected to last between 60 and 75 minutes. All events are open to the general public.

To Live Peaceably Together: AFSC's Campaign for Open Housing, 1950-1970 - 7 PM to 8 PM. Hosted by AFSC. Housing—where and how people live—is central to conflicts around race and poverty in modern America. Residential segregation continues to concentrate people of color and low-income families in constricted urban neighborhoods or, increasingly, in older, close-in suburbs, while whites and the more affluent move farther out into newer communities. Decades of private practice and government policy created this segregation and its resulting inequality.

Burning Up: Coal Training (Virtual) – 7 PM to 8 PM. Hosted by 350NH. Learn about ending the use of coal in our state - through community organizing and new legislation! This will be a great introduction to coal in our electricity supply and how we're engaging the problem of coal at the local, legislative and regional level. If you have a neighbor or friend who is interested in electricity, green energy, or clean air and water, this is a great training to invite them to!

Thursday, February 16

“Love and Resistance” - An Evening of Poetry and Conversation. 6 PM to 7:30PM. Hub Hage Room at Plymouth State University, Plymouth. Hosted by NH Panther and Plymouth State University’s Center for Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice. Please come out and join Diannely Antigua, who is both the youngest and the first person of color to be named Poet Laureate of Portsmouth, NH, and Ben Bacote, founder and director of NH Panther, writer, activist, and humanities teacher, for a lovely evening of poetry and conversation. Antigua and Bacote will share selections by BIPOC writers touching on the themes of love and resistance, and discuss the intersections of poetry and activism through the lens of their personal experiences. Additionally, Antigua will record the event, to be featured on her podcast, Bread & Poetry. This is intended to be an immersive arts experience, open to all.

February All Call - 7 PM to 8:30 PM. Hosted by 350NH. Join us for our monthly mass call to catch up on No Coal No Gas's recent adventures, find a place in upcoming ones, and build community! See you there!

Saturday, February 18

New 603 Equality Hub: Nashua Kickoff - 1:30 PM to 3 PM. Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua. Hosted by 603 Equality . Join us to connect with new people, learn about bills and school district policies, and discuss actions to protect and expand our rights and wellbeing.

Sunday, February 19

Beyond Forty Acres: Land Ownership, and Black Wealth – 2 PM to 3:30 PM. Portsmouth Public Library, Livingston Room, 175 Parrott Avenue, Portsmouth. Hosted by the Black Heritage Trail NH. In the 1930s and 1940s, as African Americans in urban centers like New York, Washington, D.C., and Boston began to establish themselves as part of the middle and upper-middle class, they flocked to the East Coast shoreline in summer to take in the beach and the bonfires. For this conversation, panelists will share the history and personal stories of land ownership, discriminatory practices that have prevented wealth accumulation, and the enormous loss of farmland that Black families have experienced. Panelists will share stories of upwardly mobile Black communities and how they have recast the borders of white spaces. They will also discuss innovative ways Black New England farmers are reclaiming the land and sowing the seeds of health and empowerment.

NH Peace Action Acts! – 7 PM to 8 PM. Hosted by NH Peace Action. Did you know that it only takes six calls in one day coming in to get that issue discussed in the daily staff meeting of a Congressperson or Senator? While it can feel daunting to advocate for our positions with officials who we often disagree with, we have seen that we can change minds and policy, especially when we coordinate our efforts. In this Zoom meeting, we will start with a quick update on current legislation on a peace issue (exact focus TBA). Then we will take action together, calling and writing our representatives and using social media to spread our message.

Tuesday, February 21

Don't Step on My Feet Again: A Poetic Exploration of Life in Gaza - 12 PM to 1 PM. Hosted by AFSC. Join us for the second AFSC "Light in Gaza" webinar, where we will have the privilege of listening to Basman al-Dirawi in conversation with poet Tariq Luthun. This event will delve into the richness of poetry, culture, and life in Gaza, as the speakers shed light on the challenges posed by the blockade and occupation.

The Kent Street Coalition Book Club – 7 PM. Hosted by the Kent Street Coalition. We will discuss the book The Common Good by Robert Reich on Zoom. All are welcome to join us. Contact GaleTaylor for the Zoom link. "Robert B. Reich makes a powerful case for the expansion of America’s moral imagination. Rooting his argument in common sense and everyday reality, he demonstrates that a common good constitutes the very essence of any society or nation. Societies, he says, undergo virtuous cycles that reinforce the common good as well as vicious cycles that undermine it, one of which America has been experiencing for the past five decades. This process can and must be reversed. But first we need to weigh the moral obligations of citizenship and carefully consider how we relate to honor, shame, patriotism, truth, and the meaning of leadership." -

Wednesday, February 22

A Friend's Call to a Farm Bill - 7 PM to 8:30 PM. Hosted by AFSC. Our food system is failing to address hunger in the United States. Nearly 38 million people—including 12 million children—are food insecure. The U.S. 2023 Farm Bill can expand efforts to alleviate hunger in the U.S. and ensure that no one is forced to go without food. Join AFSC staff and partners for our second roundtable discussion on the U.S. Farm Bill on how we can collectively call for policies that build a more just, equitable, and sustainable food system. In this Farm Bill learning series, all are welcome to join. We will deepen our understanding of how the Farm Bill functions, its crucial role in responding to the climate crisis, and how we can advocate for legislation that prioritizes the growing needs of our communities and environment.

Saturday, February 25

Prepared to Serve 2023 – 9 AM to 4 PM. Pembroke Academy, Pembroke. Hosted by the NH Conference United Church of Christ. With the theme “Connecting & Reconnecting”, we will offer a slate of workshops that will provide training and sharing on the topics most commonly asked for in this time of emergence. This year’s theme is from the scripture passage found in Romans 1:11-12 (CEV): “I want to see you and share with you the same blessings that God's Spirit has given me. Then you will grow stronger in your faith. What I am saying is that we can encourage each other by the faith that is ours.”

Black Excellence Conference  - 9 AM to 4 PM. University of NH, Durham. Hosted by BLM Seacoast. On February 25th in Hamilton Smith Hall at UNH, we are holding our first Black Excellence Conference! This empowering, one day conference draws talented BIPOC professionals from across different industries by offering access to distinguished speakers and panelists, as well as a trusted environment to network, celebrate excellence among our peers, and share innovative practices to advance our community.

Sunday, February 26

Shades of Black: Connected by Color, Culture & Community – 2 PM to 3:30 PM. Portsmouth Public Library, Livingston Room, 175 Parrott Avenue, Portsmouth. Hosted by the Black Heritage Trail NH. Black folk in predominantly white environments have often found it “exhausting” to continually describe for others the negative impact of racism on them. They also have felt it a burden to serve in the position of “teacher” representing the wider Black community, instead of being viewed as individuals with their own unique stories and needs. For this panel, Black Americans from diverse backgrounds will share their stories on what it means to live in and love their own skin.  

Black Excellence Awards Night – 5 PM to 8 PM. University of NH, Durham. Hosted by BLM Seacoast. In the Strafford Room in the Memorial Union Building, we are hosting our 3rd Black Lives Matter Seacoast Awards Night but this time in person! On this night, we will be honoring Black, Indigenous and People of Color community members who have contributed greatly to the Seacoast! This space is to give a platform to those who's recognition is long overdue. The night will feature an amazing keynote speaker, a dinner, performers, and the honoring of great award winners!

Monday, February 27

Peace and Justice Conversations: Ukraine’s Path to Peace – 7 PM to 8 PM. Hosted by NH Peace Action. One year into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, join retired Colonel and former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell Lawrence Wilkerson for a discussion of the current state of affairs in Ukraine, and the ways the US policy can help work toward a peaceful future.

Tuesday, February 28

Self Care for Organizers - Close Art Looking - 6:30 PM to 8 PM. Hosted by RENEW US. “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” - Audre Lorde. Organizing and movement work isn't easy - if you're reading this, you've probably experienced compassion fatigue, overwhelm, and issues around caring for yourself while you continue to do this work. Self-care looks different for everyone: how can you start caring for yourself when you're too busy caring for everyone else? We'll start with a brief grounding and relaxation exercise, and then spend time with a work of art. We'll do close looking, conversation prompts, and deep discussion about what we notice. Organizers of all levels are welcome to join, zero art skills or knowledge necessary!

Be well,

Maggie Fogarty and Grace Kindeke 

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. Bookmark to read past and upcoming newsletters, including our 2022 End of Session Report. 

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. You can support our work by donating to the NH Program online or by sending a check payable to: AFSC-NH, 4 Park Street #304, Concord NH 03301. Thank you!