State House Watch: February 10, 2024

By Maggie Fogarty, Grace Kindeke and Kathleen Wooten

“The longer I live, the more deeply I learn that love – whether we call it friendship or family or romance – is the work of mirroring and magnifying each other’s light.” – James Baldwin

February 10, 2024

Greetings, State House Watchers,

We hope you’re finding good ways to celebrate Black History Month! We recommend this op-ed from Jonathan Baird, and this good news about efforts to abolish slavery in the NH Constitution. We also want to share this inspiring story about AFSC’s Healing Justice Program Associate, Ophelia Burnett: From Adversity to Advocacy: A Story of Resilience and Systemic Change (NH Center for Justice and Equity).

It’s always the right time to face the truth of our history and the current reality of institutional racism and its terrible legacy. Check out this story of neighbors in Maryland who learned that there is an African burial ground in their neighborhood: Their journey to unearth a cemetery for enslaved people led to communitywide interest (NPR, February 9, 2024). This reminds us of the good work done last year in NH, with the passage of SB 11, relative to African burial grounds. Read more here: NH now has a formal process when African American burial grounds are discovered.

In the midst of this year’s attacks on the right to collectively bargain, we’re cheering on the graduate students at UNH who are preparing for their first union election in March. Read more here (Fosters Daily Democrat, February 6, 2024): “Josh Trombley, a graduate teaching assistant in the school’s Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, pointed to local housing barriers and low wages as key reasons for the unionization. ‘Our labor fuels the university’s educational and research mission,’ he said in a prepared statement. ‘Many courses rely on our teaching, and we play a key role in maintaining UNH’s standing as an R1 research institution. The cost of living is skyrocketing and the housing crisis continues to worsen, but our wages and benefits aren’t keeping up - some of our members are paid as little as $22,000 per year.’”

If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day this week, consider sending some Love to Gaza! This year, the non-stop Israeli bombardment and thousands of lives lost means that Valentine’s day will be a difficult day in Gaza. Bombings have destroyed most properties in Gaza and thousands face imminent famine. People will not be celebrating in ways Gazans have in past years: sharing sweets, Gaza-grown flowers, balloons, and red teddy bears. Now more than ever we wish to reach Palestinians in Gaza with a message of love, as we work for a day when flowers once again can bloom in Gaza.


Remember that while signing in to support or oppose bills is the quickest way to express your opinion, it’s also helpful to contact the Senate and House committees directly, even with just one or two lines about who you are, where you live and why the issue matters to you.

Support Affordable Housing
OPPOSE HB 1115, relative to the termination of tenancy at the expiration of the tenancy or lease term. Public hearing in House Judiciary, Room 206-208, LOB on Wednesday, February 14 at 9:45 AM. Please contact the committee, and sign in to oppose and share testimony.

SUPPORT HB 1291, establishing a committee to study the impact of the housing crisis on people with disabilities. Public hearing in House Special Committee on Housing, Room 302-304, LOB on Friday, February 16 at 2:30 PM. Please contact the committee, and sign in to support and share testimony.

SUPPORT HB 1168, which increases the number of accessory dwelling units allowed by right from one to two, adds definitions, and increases the maximum square footage. It also gives municipalities the right to require that accessory units meet the definition for workforce housing. Public hearing in House Special Committee on Housing, Room 302-304, LOB on Friday, February 16 at 9 AM. Please contact the committee, and sign in to support and share testimony.

Protect Public Education
SUPPORT HB 1594-FN, establishing an annual review and qualification to determine eligibility to participate in the education freedom accounts program. Public hearing in House Education, Room 205-207, LOB on Monday, February 12 at 9:15 AM. Please contact the committee, and sign in to support and share testimony.

SUPPORT HB 1512-FN, limiting education freedom account funding to budgeted amounts. Public hearing in House Education, Room 205-207, LOB on Monday, February 12 at 10:45 AM. Please contact the committee, and sign in to support and share testimony.

OPPOSE HB 1353, giving the commissioner of education subpoena power. This bill would authorize the commissioner of the department of education to issue subpoenas. No other department heads have this authority, and the expectation is that if the current commissioner was given this level of power, it would be used to circumvent the normal process of school district grievances without family and/or student consent, specifically targeting alleged violations of the banned concepts bill. Public hearing in House Judiciary, Room 206-208, LOB on Wednesday, February 14 at 9 AM. Please contact the committee, and sign in to oppose and share testimony.

To be voted on in the full House. Please contact your House members and urge them to oppose these harmful bills:
OPPOSE HB 1652, relative to establishing a local education freedom account program. This bill allows school districts to adopt a program for local education freedom accounts for a parent of an eligible student to receive a grant from a scholarship organization for qualifying educational expenses at a public school, chartered public school, nonpublic school, or program approved by the department of education.

OPPOSE HB 1677, relative to participation in education freedom accounts based on school or school district proficiency scores.

Join Granite State Progress on Thursday, February 15 at 9 AM at Granite State College on Hall Street in Concord for a visibility event  at the meeting of the State Board of Education. The ED 306s (aka, the minimum standards for public schools) will be taken off the table at this meeting. Please wear Red for Ed(ucation) and ask the Commissioner to not “break our education standards!”

There are hundreds of bills this session that would impact public education. We’ve highlighted some key ones coming up soon but urge you to bookmark the Action Alert page at NEA-NH and follow their guidance each week. We also recommend this resource hosted by the NH School Funding Fairness Project and this one from Reaching Higher NH. For good analysis of the education funding bills, you can follow Andru Volinsky’s blog. Read his latest post to learn more about the history of public education in NH.

Protect Voting Rights

Please sign in to SUPPORT the following Senate bills ahead of their hearing in the Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs committee on Tuesday, February 13: SB 536, enabling no-excuse absentee registration and voting; and SB 537, allowing the preprocessing of absentee ballots. You can use this Legislative Toolkit.

Immigration News

On Wednesday, the Senate failed to advance the $118 billion package (summary here and bill text here) which included war funds for Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel, billions for increased southern border militarization (detailed analysis here) and a provision suspending funds to the UN aid agency that has provided essential humanitarian aid for Palestinians, UNRWA.  

AFSC released this statement on the Senate bill – “[Last Sunday,] US Senators unveiled a proposal to spend millions of dollars on weapons and war in Ukraine and Israel while further militarizing the U.S. border and implementing cruel and unnecessary immigration policies. Domestically, this proposal would exacerbate the humanitarian abuses at the border, separate families, and punish people fleeing violence or seeking a better life. Internationally, it would further enable Israel’s genocide in Gaza, and further delay dialogue and diplomacy to deescalate conflicts around the world. Instead of investing in wars and walls, we need investments in the things that actually keep us safe: healthcare, housing, education, and programs that address the root causes of violence rather than perpetuating it.”

A new $95.34 billion package that includes military funds for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan and some humanitarian aid to Gaza, the West Bank, Ukraine and other conflict zones advanced in the Senate after a procedural vote. The package, which does not include a provision to restore funds to the UNRWA (read more here), will be worked on into next week and if passed, will head to the House where it will face challenges from House members aligned with candidate Trump who are resistant to sending aid to Ukraine (more here). Sign AFSC’s petition to restore life-saving aid to Palestine.  

Meanwhile, Governor Sununu took the time to visit the southern border to support Texas Governor Abbott’s resistance to federal jurisdiction, and the border measures he’s enacted that have already resulted in the deaths and bodily injury of several migrants. (Read more here and here). It is disappointing that Governor Sununu would travel out of state just to score political points, feeding into a narrative that continues to embolden white nationalist groups.

"It's essentially serving as a lightning rod to gather all these extreme fringe elements down to the border," said Freddy Cruz, program manager for the Western States Center, which monitors anti-democratic movements. "It's having an impact, as we're seeing with neo-Nazi groups, militias, conspiracy theorists, all joining together to rally behind this issue of immigration." (From NPR)

At the NH State House, AFSC and several partners testified against SB 563 the “so called anti-sanctuary cities” bill which now awaits action from the Senate Judiciary committee. Read more here. It’s not too late to contact committee members and urge them to ITL this harmful and divisive bill.

Recommended Reading

New report from NH Fiscal Policy Institute: State of NH Child Care: End of One-Time Federal Investments May Reduce Industry Stability. “Limited access to affordable child care creates significant challenges for New Hampshire’s families and economy, and may hinder New Hampshire’s efforts to support a robust workforce.[1] While New Hampshire families requiring child care experienced challenges with availability, affordability, and quality of care before 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these challenges and highlighted the severity of barriers to child care.” Summary fact sheet here.

Related to this, we appreciate this commentary from Cora-Lynn Hoppe in the NH Bulletin: Invest in New Hampshire’s working families, not multinational corporations. “At a time when New Hampshire should be making significant investments, we are now facing House Bill 1422, a $2 billion corporate tax cut bill, which, if passed, could greatly impact our ability to lower the cost of childcare. Recent history has already shown us the perils of business tax cuts. Between 2016 and 2022, these cuts cost New Hampshire anywhere from $496 million to $729 million in lost revenue, with a recent report from the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute showing it did not stimulate our economy. Those lost funds, if  preserved, could have been instrumental in bolstering early childhood education and addressing the issues that plague our child care system while lowering costs for families and growing our economy.”

Thank you to Alice Wade from Dover for this important op-ed in response to harmful proposals that impact transgender young people: Stop Pretending that Trans Persecution is Helping Kids (InDepthNH, February 5, 2024). “How many bills have been drafted attacking trans rights here in New Hampshire just this year? 17. That’s 17 bills entirely dedicated to banning trans healthcare, trans participation in sports, rolling back transgender non-discrimination protections, forcing teachers to ‘out’ students to their parents, book bans, and more. The healthcare these politicians are banning saves lives, including mine, 5 years ago.”

Last Week at the State House

Here's a brief news roundup about some of the education-related bills that were voted on or considered at the State House last week:

House passes ‘education freedom accounts’ expansion bill, sends it to Senate (NH Bulletin, February 8, 2024)
N.H. House votes to expand Education Freedom Account program (Boston Globe, February 8, 2024)
Op-Ed by Mary Wilke: School Vouchers and Fiscal Responsibility (InDepthNH, February 6, 2024)
Bill targets social emotional learning (Union Leader, February 6, 2024)
Six-year-old from Concord testifies against bill that would prohibit SEL classes (Concord Monitor, February 5, 2024)

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.
“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.
Re-refer – When a Senate committee wishes to hold onto a bill for further consideration. The recommendation to re-refer must be approved in the full Senate. The committee will have until the end of the calendar year to meet about the bill and make a recommendation for further action.
VV – Voice vote. Votes are not counted.
RC – Roll call vote. Each legislator’s vote is recorded and attributed to them.
DV – Division vote. Votes are counted but not attributed to individual legislators.

Last Week in the House
The full House met on Thursday, February 8. Here are the outcomes on the bills we’re tracking.

On the Consent Calendar

HB 1340, exclusion of incarceration as voluntary unemployment for purposes of calculating child support. This bill provides that incarceration shall not be considered voluntary unemployment for purposes of calculating gross income under the child support guidelines.  PASSED/ADOPTED

HB 1066, relative to the graduation requirement of filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).This bill changes the requirement for school districts, public academies, and chartered public schools to provide information to students on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and repeals the reporting requirement on the number of students provided in-person school assistance on completing the FAFSA. PASSED/ADOPTED
HB 1107, relative to public school curriculum frameworks. This bill defines "curriculum frameworks" and requires the department of education to institute procedures for maintaining them. PASSED/ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
HB 1161, relative to use of the public school infrastructure fund for energy efficient school buses. This bill prohibits the use of the public school infrastructure fund from funding energy efficient school buses or other student transportation vehicles. PASSED/ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
HB 1165, relative to procedures for school facilities under the department of education. This bill revises requirements for school district receipt and use of school building aid and clarifies rulemaking and administration of the school building aid and public school infrastructure fund. PASSED/ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
HB 1471, declaring the total solar eclipse a school holiday. This bill designates April 8, 2024, the day of the total solar eclipse, as a school holiday and authorizes local school districts to organize viewing events. ITL
HB 1555, relative to special meetings for changes in education funding. This bill establishes a maximum warrant reduction or increase for special school district meetings for changes in education funding. Referred for Interim Study
HB 1570, AN ACT relative to administration of school building aid funds by the department of education and making an appropriation therefor. Referred to Finance
HB 1657, relative to prohibiting hazing at educational institutions. This bill establishes reporting and education requirements and criminal penalties for hazing violations.  This bill also establishes an anti-hazing fund. Referred for Interim Study
HB 1670, relative to including all special education costs under state education grants. This bill adds the full amount of state aid for special education services to the grants made for adequate education and assesses the costs under the statewide education tax. Referred for Interim Study
HB 1690, relative to hiring, promotion, graduation, or admission in higher education. This bill prohibits any institution of higher education that discriminates in admission, hiring, promotion, graduation, or admission to any program on the basis of sex, race, sexuality, national origin, ethnicity, or ideology, including but not limited to permitting diversity, equity, and inclusion statements, from accepting funds from the state or any local government or any subdivision thereof.  This bill further establishes procedures for enforcement of this prohibition. ITL

HB 1267, relative to prohibiting environmental, social, and governance standards in the selection of government investments. This bill prohibits the investment of funds of the state treasury, executive branch agencies, and the state retirement system in investments which consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria. ITL
HB 1333, relative to prohibiting state agencies from buying or leasing fleet electric vehicles for 10 years. This bill prohibits state agencies from buying or leasing any type of electric vehicle for its vehicle fleet for a 10-year period. Referred for Interim Study
HB 1451, relative to mandatory overtime and the calculation of base rate of compensation. This bill provides that mandatory overtime shall be reported as part of the full base rate of compensation. PASSED/ADOPTED

HB 1034, relative to enabling municipalities to adopt a homestead property tax exemption. This bill enables municipalities to adopt a homestead property tax exemption. Referred for Interim Study
HB 1461, relative to live-streaming all properly noticed meetings and hearings of elected and appointed municipal bodies. This bill requires all meetings and hearings conducted by all elected and appointed municipal bodies to be live-streamed or recorded. Referred for Interim Study
HB 1544, relative to indemnification for municipalities adopting policies to address homelessness. This bill allows public property to be used to aid and shelter the homeless and indemnifies the government units in charge. Referred for Interim Study
HB 1641, relating to requiring large parking lots to have a solar power canopy. This bill requires that large parking facilities, whether existing or new, utilize photovoltaic solar canopies over at least 50 percent of the open asphalt surface. ITL

HB 1477, relative to environmental surety bonds for businesses that pose a significant risk to the state's natural resources. This bill directs the commissioner to develop a program requiring environmental surety bonds for businesses that pose a significant risk to the state's natural resources. ITL

On the Regular Calendar

HB 1048, relative to the commission on Holocaust and genocide education. This bill extends the date of the issuance of the final report of the commission on Holocaust and genocide studies from 2024 to 2027. PASSED/ADOPTED WITH AMENDMENT
HB 1206, relative to prohibiting educator indoctrination. This bill prohibits educators and school administrators from pushing or asserting, advocating for, or otherwise compelling belief in, any particular theory or ideology. ITL
HB 1561, relative to qualifications for student eligibility in the education freedom accounts program. This bill expands the definition of who is an eligible student qualifying under the education freedom accounts program. ITL
HB 1634, relative to universal eligibility for the education freedom account program. This bill removes the household income criteria from eligibility requirements for the education freedom account program. ITL
HB 1665, relative to student eligibility for the education freedom accounts program. This bill changes the annual household income limit to qualify for the education freedom account program. PASSED/ADOPTED

Last week in the Senate
The Senate did not meet in session last week.

Next Week in the full House
The House and Senate will assemble in Joint Convention on February 15 at 1 PM to hear Governor Sununu’s State of the State Address. The House will act on legislation following the address. 

On the Consent Calendar


HB 1216,  cross-district bullying and cyberbullying. This bill provides that bullying or cyberbullying may occur across school districts and identifies which district will be responsible for the investigation of such claims. Refer for interim study
HB 1402, establishing a procedure for a high school proficiency exam waiver of mandatory school attendance.  This bill allows for a student to take and pass a high school proficiency exam so that the student shall no longer be bound by the mandatory school attendance requirements. Refer for interim study.
HB 1516, relative to enrollment in public schools by children of school district employees. This bill would allow school district employees to enroll their children in the district they are employed, provided that there is adequate staff and classroom space. Refer for interim study
HB 1678, establishing a New Hampshire farm to school local food incentive pilot program. OTP-

HB 1070, relative to procedures during a state of emergency. This bill prohibits state employees from cooperating with the executive branch in suspending civil liberties during a declared state of emergency. ITL
HB 1112, establishing a continuing education requirement regarding human trafficking for individuals licensed by the office of professional licensure and certification. ITL
HB 1324,  relative to green burials and authorizing the natural organic reduction of human remains. This bill establishes scattering gardens and memorial forests as green burial locations, and establishes the regulation under the board of funeral directors and embalmers of natural organic reduction of human remains. Refer for interim study
HB 1679 relative to changing to Atlantic Standard Time. This bill urges Congress to authorize New England states to adopt year-round Atlantic Standard Time, establishes an interstate commission between northern New England states to study the transition to Atlantic Standard Time, and transitions the state to Atlantic Standard time if Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont also enact laws doing the same. Refer for interim study

HB 1693, relative to use of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes. This bill allows and regulates the use of psychedelics for certain qualifying medical conditions. Refer for interim study

HB 1069, relative to material subject to disclosure following a public meeting under the right-to-know law. This bill provides that preliminary drafts circulated to a quorum or a majority of the public body shall be available for inspection following a public meeting. OTP-A
HB 1651 combining the board of tax and land appeals and the housing appeals board. ITL

HB 1290, protection of employment for members of the general court. This bill provides members of the general court with employment protections during voting sessions. ITL
HB 1666 relative to income reporting requirements for lobbyists.  This bill requires lobbyists to identify clients and income received from lobbying activity.  The bill also authorizes the secretary of state to enforce lobbyist statement requirements. OTP-A

HB 1362 authorizing municipalities to stabilize rent increases in rental housing. This bill authorizes municipalities to enact and enforce rent stabilizing ordinances. ITL

HR24,  reaffirming support for the child labor amendment to the United States Constitution. This resolution affirms support for the child labor amendment to the United States Constitution. OTP
HR 28, urging for the compensation for injuries from PFAS and for the closure and cleaning of sites affected by PFAS. OTP-A

HB 1492-FN, relative to the rate and exemptions of the interest and dividends tax. Rep. Susan Almy for Ways and Means. Refer for interim study

On the Regular Calendar

HB 1212, eligibility for free school meals.  This bill increases the eligibility for free school meals to household incomes up to 350 percent of federal poverty guidelines, and provides funding from the education trust fund for the additional costs. OTP
HB 1419, relative to prohibiting obscene or harmful sexual materials in schools. This bill prohibits material that is obscene or harmful to minors in schools and creates a procedure for removal and cause of action. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION
HB 1524, relative to authorizing parents of special education children to observe in the classroom setting. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION
HB 1652 establishing a local education freedom account program.  This bill allows school districts to adopt a program for local education freedom accounts for a parent of an eligible student to receive a grant from a scholarship organization for qualifying educational expenses at a public school, chartered public school, nonpublic school, or program approved by the department of education. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION
HB 1677, participation in education freedom accounts based on school or school district proficiency scores.  This bill extends eligibility for the education freedom account program to students who participated in the program in the preceding year, students whose enrollment transfer requests were denied, and to students in school districts which performed at 49 percent or below in statewide assessments. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION

HB 1560 unassigned moneys in the education trust fund. This bill requires that any surplus in the education trust fund be transferred to the general fund at the end of each fiscal year. OTP

HB 1363, allowing members of the general court to participate in the department of health and human services employee assistance program. This bill allows members of the general court to participate in the New Hampshire employee assistance program operated by the department of health and human services with the cost paid by the legislative branch. ITL

HCR 11, condemning medically unnecessary restrictions on medication abortion. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION

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

Monday, February 12

9:30 AM Executive session on HB 1050-FN, relative to establishing a voluntary waiver of the right to purchase a firearm; HB 1339-FN, relative to department of safety firearm background checks; HB 1428-FN, relative to inmate illness or emergency; HB 1462-FN, relative to requirements for reporting hate crimes

EDUCATION, Room 205-207, LOB
9:15 AM HB 1594-FN, establishing an annual review and qualification to determine eligibility to participate in the education freedom accounts program. 
9:45 AM HB 1287-FN, relative to the definition of the term “evidence-based” within public education. 
10:15 AM HB 1453, relative to degree granting authority of certain institutions of higher education.
10:45 AM HB 1512-FN, limiting education freedom account funding to budgeted amounts. 
11:15 AM HB 1108, relative to establishing a committee to study the role of colleges and universities in contributing to the student loan crisis. 

Tuesday, February 13

10:30 AM HB 1269-FN, relative to the use of child restraints in schools

9:00 AM CACR 26, relating to election reform and ballot reconciliation. Providing that requirements for elections shall include provisions and penalties in regard to ballot reconciliation, access, retention, polling location limits, poll workers, allowance of registered voters for post-election ballot viewing, ballot lot and voting documentation viewing, and scanning and recording photographically during citizen audits.
9:25 AM HB 1085, relative to public inspection of absentee ballot lists.
10:15 AM HB 1099, relative to partisan school district elections.
11:30 AM HB 1136, relative to requiring a reconciliation of votes cast and undervotes with the total of ballots cast.
1:00 PM HB 1157, relative to overvoted and under voted ballots.
1:25 PM HB 1149, relative to domicile residency, voter registration, investigation of voter verification letters, and relative to the terms “resident,” “inhabitant,” “residence,” and “residency.”
2:15 PM HB 1381-FN, relative to required training on election procedures.
2:40 PM HB 1091, relative to the financing of political campaigns.

1:00 PM HB 1132, relative to permits for the siting of new landfills.
2:00 PM HB 1170-FN, requiring public benefit and community impact assessments from the department of environmental services.
2:45 PM HB 1620-FN, relative to suspending the issuance of new landfill permits until 2031.

10:00 AM HB 1465-FN, relative to studies of nuclear energy technologies

Wednesday, February 14

10:00 AM HB 1221, relative to including solid waste landfills in the definition of development of regional impact.
10:45 AM HB 1490, relative to the solid waste management act.
1:00 PM HB 1145-FN, prohibiting the private ownership of landfills.

11:30 AM HB 1688-FN, relative to the use of artificial intelligence by state agencies.
1:30 PM HB 1456, relative to the appointment of the members of the board of tax and land appeals and the housing appeals board.
2:00 PM HB 1545, relative to the disposal of state surplus property for affordable housing.

1:00 PM HB 1028, relative to the definition of mental illness for purposes of the New Hampshire mental health services system.

JUDICIARY, Room 206-208, LOB
9:00 AM HB 1353, relative to authorizing the commissioner of the department of education to issue subpoenas.
9:45 AM HB 1115, relative to the termination of tenancy at the expiration of the tenancy or lease term.
10:30 PM HB 1368, prohibiting termination of a tenancy based on a tenant’s failure to pay rent that was increased by certain price fixing programs.
11:15 AM HB 1497-FN, restricting trial courts in criminal matters from imposing certain sentences following a plea bargain.
1:00 PM HB 1640-FN, relative to qualified immunity standards.
2:15 PM Second public hearing on HB 1602-FN, relative to the authority of the housing appeals board.

10:00 AM HB 1268-FN, relative to prohibiting the issuance of large groundwater withdrawal permits for the commercial sale of bottled or bulk water.
1:00 PM HB 1314-FN, relative to the comprehensive state development plan.

Thursday, February 15

EDUCATION, Room 205-207, LOB
10:45 AM HB 1087, establishing a commission to study information literacy and media literacy instruction in public schools.
11:15 AM HB 1418, relative to the use of education freedom account funds to purchase school uniforms.

10:20 AM HB 1609-FN, relative to the commission on the primary care workforce and the state office of rural health.

Friday, February 16

9:00 AM HB 1168, establishing a committee to study the impact of the housing crisis on people with disabilities.
1:00 PM HB 1399, allowing municipalities to permit 2 residential units in certain single-family residential zones.
1:45 PM HB 1400, relative to the required maximum number of residential parking spaces.
2:30 PM HB 1291, relative to accessory dwelling unit uses allowed by right.

Next Week in the Senate
Senators will meet in session at 10 AM on Thursday, February 15 to vote on legislation, and will meet in Joint Convention with the House of Representatives for the Governor’s State of the State Address at 1 PM.

On the Consent Calendar

SB 518, incentivizing landlords to accept housing choice vouchers. This bill establishes a landlord housing incentive program and fund.  This bill makes an appropriation to implement the fund. OTP-A

SB 378, performance-based school accountability system task force. This bill creates a task force to develop and review the performance-based accountability system to review whether schools are providing the opportunity for an adequate education. OTP

SB 404, expanding child care professionals' eligibility for the child care scholarship program. This bill establishes eligibility criteria for child care professionals to receive child care scholarships. OTP-A
SB 410, establishing a mental health community and transitional housing fund. This bill establishes a mental health community and transitional housing fund to support community and transitional housing through grants to the community mental health programs. The bill also makes appropriations to the department of health and human services for deposit in the fund and to increase provider rates for community mental health center supported housing. OTP-A
SB 499, reduction of hunger for children, older adults, and people with disabilities. This bill directs the department of education to expand options for free and reduced priced meals to students and directs the department of health and human services to implement a summer EBT program to provide assistance to families with children eligible for free and reduced-price meals over the summer. The bill also directs the department of health and human services to participate in the elderly simplified application project within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to provide food assistance to eligible older adults and people with disabilities. OTP-A

On the Regular Calendar

CACR 24, reproductive freedom. This constitutional amendment concurrent resolution would amend the constitution to provide that individuals shall have a right to personal reproductive autonomy. ITL
SB 322, relative to licenses to carry. This bill requires a license authorizing an individual to carry a loaded pistol or revolver in this state to include the name, title, and signature of the person issuing the license. OTP-A
SB 360, extreme risk protection orders. This bill establishes a procedure for issuing extreme risk protection orders to protect against persons who pose an immediate risk of harm to themselves or others. ITL
SB 571, requiring a background check prior to any commercial firearm sale. This bill requires commercial firearms sales or transfers in this state to be subject to a criminal background check and provides a criminal penalty for a violation. This bill further provides a process for a commercial sale of a firearm where neither party to the prospective transaction is a licensed firearms dealer. ITL
SB 575, legal protection for legal New Hampshire abortion and contraception care. This bill provides various legal protections related to the performance of or support of legal reproductive health care services including: I.A prohibition against extraditing certain individuals for legally protected health care activity; II. Prohibitions against government officials or police agencies from cooperating with any out of state investigation into legally protected health care activity, absent court-issued subpoenas or warrants; III.  Prohibitions on adverse actions or discipline taken by the board of medicine, board of registered nursing, or pharmacy board for certain legally protected health care activity; and IV. A prohibition against health care providers or other New Hampshire entities from sharing confidential communications or information regarding reproductive health care services with out of state agencies or individuals absent a search warrant. ITL
SB 577, imposing a waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a firearm. This bill establishes a waiting period for the delivery of a firearm, subject to certain exceptions. ITL

SB 476-FN, making a capital appropriation to the department of corrections toward the replacement of the New Hampshire state prison for men. This bill makes a bonded appropriation of $40 million for architectural, engineering, programming, and design and construction documents for the New Hampshire state prison for men. OTP

SB 330, allowing the ability to work from home to count toward unemployment benefits eligibility. This bill repeals disqualification for unemployment benefits for those not available for work outside the home. OTP

SB 339, repealing the graduation requirement regarding Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications. This bill removes requirements that students file a free application for federal student aid form (FAFSA) or a waiver for such form prior to graduation, and removes all references to the FAFSA. OTP-A

SB 527, relative to student housing. This bill includes student housing in municipal workforce housing regulations. OTP-A

SB 303, use of renewable energy funds by the department of energy. This bill adds battery storage projects to uses of the renewable energy fund, deletes a required renewable generation incentive program, and authorizes a political subdivision incentive, rebate, or grant program using the fund.  The bill also modifies the reporting date by the department of energy concerning the renewable energy fund. This bill is a request of the department of energy. OTP-A

SB 248, relative to bail for a defendant. This bill amends the statute governing bail and pre-trial release to include provisions for pre-trial detention for commission of certain offenses that would create a presumption that the defendant is a danger to the public. OTP
HB 596, prohibiting the use of racial profiling in law enforcement activities and in sentencing. OTP

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 13

9:15 AM SB 383-FN, relative to local tax caps.
9:30 AM SB 536-FN, enabling no-excuse absentee registration and voting.
9:45 AM SB 537-FN, allowing the processing of absentee ballots.
10:00 AM SB 538-L, relative to zoning procedures concerning residential housing.

Upcoming Events & Actions

Are you, or do you know, a social justice minded young person, aged 18-22, who wants to learn about community organizing with AFSC? Consider applying for AFSC’s 3rd annual Emerging Leaders for Liberation cohort! Applications will be accepted from January 15 to March 1, 2024. You can read here about the recently concluded 2nd cohort, which included New Hampshire community leader Bol Nakdimo.

Every Wednesday
Solemn Vigils for Ceasefire now! Humanitarian access to Gaza! No tax dollars for war crimes! – Join us from 2 PM to 3 PM. Hosted by NH Peace Action, AFSC & interfaith partners.
February 14: Congressman Chris Pappas – Dover District Office, 660 Central Avenue, Dover, NH
February 21: Senator Jeanne Shaheen – across from the Dover District Office, 2 Washington Street, Dover, NH
February 28: Congressman Chris Pappas – Dover District Office, 660 Central Avenue, Dover, NH

Every Thursday
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Peace in Palestine & Israel - 5:30 PM. Hosted by AFSC.
Solemn Vigils for Ceasefire Now – 12 noon at City Hall Plaza, in front of the State House, Concord

Every Friday
AFSC Action Hour for a Ceasefire 12 noon. Hosted by AFSC. Join AFSC staff every Friday at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT to hear updates from Gaza. Then, take action with us as we contact our elected officials and call for an immediate cease-fire and humanitarian access to Gaza. Our elected officials need to keep hearing from us.

Sunday, February 11
Love Sunday: A Celebration of Sanctuary & Advocacy - 10 AM to 1 PM. Hosted by Community Church of Durham. 15 Main St, Durham. Join us for a celebration of the vibrant and vital IMMIGRATION MINISTRY in the Community Church of Durham. We're lifting up the human stories that motivate our work. We're celebrating the leaders (within and beyond the church) who make it all possible. And we're using a unique silent auction to raise critical funds for legal fees--as we continue to walk alongside immigrants contending with a broken and dehumanizing system here in the US. Join us at 10 am for our first service, or at 12 pm for our second! And come to the festive 11 am "FRIENDSHIP HOUR"--where we make connections, share stories and explore new networks of courage and service.

Monday, February 12

Labor Town Hall – 5:30 PM. Hosted by NH Faith & Labor Alliance & Dartmouth Unions. Church of Christ at Dartmouth College, UCC - 40 College Street, Hanover, NH. Join us to build collective power through music, stories and testimonies. Refreshments will be available. For more information, contact:

Peace & Justice Conversations: Being Muslim in America c2024 - 7 PM to 8 PM. Hosted by NH Peace Action. Join Robert Azzi a photojournalist, columnist and public speaker who lives in Exeter NH. An Arab American Muslim born in the Granite State, Azzi will present a program, “Being Muslim in America c2024” which is a variation of his popular program “Ask a Muslim Anything” which he has been presenting over the past few years, a program which in recent months has come to include issues on conflict, identity, and oppression between Palestinians and Israelis.

Wednesday, February 14
Love Beyond the Walls: Valentine's Day Visibility  - 2:30 PM. Hosted by AFSC. Hillsborough County Department of Corrections 445 Willow St, Manchester. We believe that love transcends walls, bars and cages. Please join us for “Love Beyond The Walls” to celebrate Valentine's Day and the people we love as part of our Free Them All campaign, calling for a future without incarceration. A future supported by systems that promote healing, not punitive, justice. Learn more here.  We will share messages of love, faith and resilience during our community visibility. Write messages to your incarcerated loved ones in NH by filling out this form!

Thursday, February 15
Local Solutions Webinar Series: Our Housing Shortage - 12 PM. Hosted by ODP. This presentation will focus on the background of the housing shortage and the direction that housing development appears to be headed. This webinar will include an overview of OPD’s “New Hampshire’s Housing Supply: Current Estimates and Trends – 2023 Update”, a report on residential building permit activity throughout the state in 2022.

Button Up: Improving Energy Efficiency at Home & Church – 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Hosted by UU Action. Learn about saving electricity, insulation and air sealing, weatherization programs and rebates  
Emerging Leaders for Liberation (ELL) Information Call - 7 PM. Hosted by AFSC. Join us and learn about the Emerging Leaders for Liberation 2024 cohort, a program designed for Quaker young adults, students at Quaker colleges, and young adults in AFSC programs (ages 18-22) to hone their skills in leadership and community organizing. The application is open through March 1st, so apply today! Join us and learn more about this immersive development opportunity, and how you or a young adult you know can join. The call will feature an overview and comments by the ELL director Julián Andaya and Robert Andrew Stuart Fellow, Jasmin Diaz. The presentation will be followed by a Q & A session.

Wednesday, February 21
Remaking the Economy: Building Regional Solidarity Economies - 2 PM to 3:30 PM. Hosted by NPQ. How do we build regional economies rooted in community ownership? In this webinar we take a deep look at movement growth and ongoing challenges— with participants from New Orleans, Los Angeles, Oakland (CA), Buffalo and Washington DC sharing their perspectives.

Israel, Palestine & the Basics of International Law - 7 PM. Hosted by NH Peace Action & AFSC. In the current crisis in Israel and Palestine many terms and processes regarding International Law are regularly raised but not always well defined. In this talk you will get some basic definitions, concepts and procedures explained so that you can understand and speak more confidently with legislators, friends and media.

Saturday, February 24
Black History Month Quaker Zoom Event: The Bayard Rustin Legacy Forum - 1 PM to 3 PM. Hosted by the Black Quaker Project.  virtual symposium sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee, hosted by Dr. Harold D. Weaver Jr., and moderated by Palestinian-American Quaker scholar-activist Dr. Sa’ed Atshan. They will be joined by Haverford College Africana and Religious Studies scholar, Dr. Terrence Wiley, and Friends Council on National Legislation administrator, Laura Brownlee, for a series of presentations on the remarkable legacy of Friend Rustin, followed by an audience Q & A. Our distinguished panel will engage with the 2023 biopic Rustin, which we recommend viewing prior to this one-time event.

Monday, February 26
Peace & Justice Conversations: Iran & The Mid-East Turmoil - 7 PM to 8 PM. Hosted by NH Peace Action. The current Israeli attacks on the Palestinians have already spilled over into neighboring countries. The U.S. has now bombed Yemen. The stark possibility that Iran will be pulled into this war is looming larger and larger. Over forty years of U.S.-Iran tensions may soon reach their breaking point, along with other political realities in the region. Jamal Abdi will join us to help us understand the history and implications of the current crisis.

Tuesday, February 27
Understanding our Immigration Process - 7 PM. Hosted by AFSC. In this session we'll look at what pathways exist for migrants to enter the U.S. lawfully under current laws, and discuss the challenges that arise for those in different situations. We will walk through the process and have a time for conversation about our vision for a process that would ensure that all migrants are treated with dignity and respect regardless of circumstance.

Thursday, February 29
Local Solutions Webinar Series: YIMBYism: A Different Approach to Development - 12 PM. Hosted by ODP. This presentation will focus on how two different communities worked to not only change their zoning ordinances, but also their approaches to development, focusing more on working with applicants to help them fit their proposals to their respective zoning ordinance.

February to March
Finding Your Place in the Climate Justice Movement – Hosted by 350 NH. We're calling this a training series but really what we want is to bring all of our community members together so we can make a greater impact on the climate justice issues we face. All are welcome to join us for one or all of the Zoom calls and the in-person sessions:

Feb 10 at 10 AM - Climate Justice 101 (Zoom)
Feb 13 at 6:30 PM - Legislative Advocacy and Climate Justice (Zoom)
Feb 24 at 10 AM - Climate Action Planning (Zoom)
Mar 5 at 6:30 PM - Climate and Militarism (Zoom)
Mar 23 at 10 AM - Finding Your Story in the Climate Movement (In person, Concord, TBA)

February to April 
Elinor Williams Hooker Tea Talks 2024: A New Deal for a Great Society - Hosted by the Black Heritage Trail NH in Portsmouth, Keene, Nashua. Registration is open for the 2024 annual Elinor William Hooker Tea Talks. This year's program will explore how two federal programs geared toward building a more just society -- Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" and Lyndon B. Johnson's "Great Society" -- played out in New Hampshire. We will ask what impact these programs had on our state and what happens now when changing demographics meet programs designed during the New Deal and Great Society. February talks will be held in Portsmouth, the March talk in Keene, and the April talk in Nashua. 

Feb 11 - Home Sick: Attaining the American Dream 
Feb 18 - A Question of Access and Quality: Health Care in NH 
Feb 25 - Close to the Edge: Policing and Criminal Justice in NH 
Mar 10 - Equity and Adequacy: Public Education in NH 
Apr 21 - Envisioning the Future

With best wishes,
Maggie Fogarty, Grace Kindeke and Kathleen Wooten

AFSC’s New Hampshire
“State House Watch" newsletter is published to bring you information about matters being discussed in Concord including housing, the death penalty, immigration, education, civil liberties, and labor rights. We also follow the state budget and tax system, voting rights, corrections policy, and more. Subscribe today to receive State House Watch news every week!

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.
Read our 2023 highlights here. Kathleen Wooten is AFSC’s State House Watch researcher and database manager.

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