State House Watch: February 26, 2023

By Maggie Fogarty and Grace Kindeke


Getty Images/iStockphoto

“Rest is a divine right. Rest is a human right. We come into the world prepared to love, care, and rest. The systems kill us slowly via capitalism and white supremacy. Rest must interrupt. Like hope, rest is disruptive, it allows space for us to envision new possibilities.” ― Tricia Hersey, Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto

Hello, State House Watchers,

We’re easing into a vacation week at the State House (except for House budget writers, of course), but there’s much to report from last week’s voting days in the House and Senate, and a very busy week of hearings and votes planned for when lawmakers return to work for the week of March 6.

First, we want to acknowledge with sadness the acts of anti-Semitism and other forms of hate that took place in the Seacoast in the early hours of Tuesday morning, February 21. Read more here. Temple Israel, BIPOC-owned businesses and others which display their support for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people were targeted with graffiti including swastikas. Black Lives Matter Seacoast, the Reproductive Freedom Fund of NH and other groups coordinated a loving and creative community response so that area residents could show compassion and solidarity to those who were directly impacted by the harmful acts. We renew our own dedication to the shared work to build communities of love, safety, and inclusion. This work is ongoing, urgent, and essential to our collective well-being.

Congratulations to Representative Chuck Grassie of Rochester who won his special election on Tuesday after a tied outcome during the general election in November. With this result, the House of Representatives is now even more closely split with 201 Republicans and 198 Democrats, and one vacancy. The impact of such a close count in the House has been clear with the number of bills proceeding to the House floor “without recommendation” due to tie votes in committee, and the ability of Democrats last week to remove some items from the table when the attendance in the House favored their plan.

Extra congratulations to the student worker collective at Dartmouth College whose organizing strength has won them a fair contract including a $21/hour wage! “The union, most of whose members are international students, undocumented students, and first-generation college students from working class families, voted last week to authorize a strike if Dartmouth would not agree to their wage demand…. In a statement released Saturday, the union said, ‘We now have a tentative agreement on the full package proposal with the College,’ including a $21/hour base wage, annual wage increases tied to the cost of college, and mental health and sick pay. Students working as area managers in the dining facilities covered by the contract would be included in the bargaining unit, a demand the college had previously been reluctant to accept.” Read more here from Arnie Alpert at InDepthNH.


Please take action to support/oppose several key bills which will come up for hearings or votes when the House and Senate return from break the week of March 6 – 10. For those bills in committee, please sign in (House bills, Senate bills) to register your opinion and share testimony. For those bills which will be voted on in the full House or Senate on March 9, you can contact your own Representatives and Senator and let them know how you want them to vote.

Transgender Rights - The House and Senate will hold committee hearings on a number of anti-trans bills on Tuesday, March 7. Join 603 Equality, the NH Council of Churches, and NH Voices of Faith for a visibility and press conference at the State House on March 7 at 8 AM. You can also register here to join the community planning call on February 28 at 6:30 PM.  

The following bills will have hearings on March 7. Please sign in, contact the committee, and consider offering testimony.

Oppose SB 272, which would require school officials to forcibly out transgender, gender non-conforming, or questioning students with non-affirming parents. At 9 AM in Senate Education Committee, Room 101, LOB.
Oppose HB 10, which is a less-strongly worded, but still bad, version of SB 272. Both bills also allow parents to object to a wide range of "objectionable" or "sexual" (read: LGBTQ+) materials in schools. At 1:15 PM in House Children and Family Law, Room 206-208, LOB.
Oppose HB 417, which would define gender affirming care for minors as "child abuse." At 10:45 AM in House Children and Family Law, Room 206-208, LOB.
Oppose HB 619, the "trifecta of anti-transness," which would ban gender affirming care for minors, end LGBTQ+ affirmation and education in public schools, and re-legalize conversion therapy. At 10 AM in House Health and Human Services, in Representatives Hall, State House.
Support HB 368, which would allow out-of-state trans healthcare seekers who come to New Hampshire to be protected from prosecution when they return to their home states. At 1 PM in House Health and Human Services, in Representatives Hall, State House.

Affordable Housing & Tenant Rights – These bills are expected to be voted on in the full House on March 9. Please contact your Representatives and ask them to vote to:

Oppose HB 117, which would allow landlords to evict tenants just because their lease is up.
Support HB 469 which would prevent landlords from discriminating against renters who possess a housing choice (Section 8) voucher.
Support HB 401 which would put in place more protections for renters being evicted for renovations.
Support HB 567, which would require landlords to give additional notice to tenants regarding rent increases.

Public Education - There are several school voucher expansion bills being considered by the legislature, which will likely be voted on at the next House session on March 9. Please contact your Representatives and ask them to vote against any bill expanding school vouchers. With many thanks to public education advocate Mary Wilke, you can click the bill links below for background information and helpful talking points.

Oppose HB 331, which would eliminate income eligibility for vouchers.
Oppose HB 464, which would enable certain categories of students to access vouchers regardless of family income.
Oppose HB 367, which would raise eligibility for vouchers from 300% of the poverty level - $90,000 for a family of four - to 500% of the poverty level - $150,000 for a family of four.

For local elected officials, please fill out this form to sign on to the Local Elected School Funding Letter (see the letter here), calling on the Governor and the Legislature to increase funding for public schools in the state budget. It is time to end the downshift for most of the costs of public schools to local property taxpayers, which lead to gross inequities for students and local taxpayers alike. 

Other Actions – Here are three more actions to take this week.
For food assistance: Please use this form to contact Governor Sununu and encourage him to take action and bring relief to the nearly 38,000 Granite Staters who are facing a massive hunger cliff when emergency SNAP benefits end starting in March. This is a major loss to many working families who need these resources to buy food and will also negatively impact our economy. NH will lose $7 million a month in federal dollars that care for our neighbors and support our economy.

Protect immigrants: Contact the Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee and your own Senator to urge defeat of SB 132, the anti-sanctuary cities bill, which will be considered in executive session on March 7. For key messages, you can read the testimony from the NH Immigrant Rights Network, and the ACLU-NH.

Protect bail reform: Sign and share this advocacy alert from ACLU of New Hampshire. We recommend this important op-ed by UNH law professor Buzz Scherr in Tuesday’s Union Leader: "False narratives dominate the bail debate. We are not amidst a frightening crime wave in New Hampshire as some might have you believe. In Manchester, the arrest rate for Class A crimes (the most serious) is down 33% from 2018 (the passage of bail reform) to 2021. For Class B crimes, the arrest rate went down 32%.... The discussion about bail in New Hampshire is littered with anecdotes that are told so as to scare rather than to inform. But this is a serious topic and it warrants an informed, factual and data-driven conversation."

Immigration News

On Wednesday, the Biden administration proposed a rule change that takes a page out of the Trump administration playbook and amounts to an asylum ban. Under the proposed rule, asylum seekers who enter the United States between ports of entry or who present themselves at a port of entry without a previously-scheduled appointment using the new CBPOne phone app will be presumed to be ineligible for asylum unless they applied for and were denied protection in a country they traveled through on their way to the United States, subject to certain exceptions. The rule would privilege wealthy, white migrants and illegally bar vulnerable people from predominantly Black and Brown countries from being able to seek asylum in the US.

Immigrant rights groups have been anticipating this rule and voicing their strong opposition for weeks. Human First issued a statement: “As a candidate, President Biden promised that his administration would not ‘deny asylum to people fleeing persecution and violence’ and would end restrictions on asylum for individuals who transit through other countries to reach safety. The proposed rule for an asylum ban modeled after the Trump administration’s policies undercuts those promises and will inflict devastating harms on refugees while violating U.S. law and treaty obligations,” said Eleanor Acer, senior director for refugee protection at Human Rights First. “By imposing this policy on asylum seekers in credible fear interviews, the rule would lead to the rapid deportation of asylum seekers who are unable to prove to asylum officers that they meet requirements that have no basis in the statute and are irrelevant to their fears of return.”  

We recommend their helpful overview of this dangerous and misguided proposal, as well as this summary from Dara Lind for Immigration Impact: How To Seek Asylum (Under Biden’s Proposed Asylum Transit Ban), In 12 Not-At-All-Easy Steps.

Black History Month - Recommended Reading

Who’s afraid of Black history? (Henry Louis Gates, Jr, NY Times) - “As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so aptly put it, ‘No society can fully repress an ugly past when the ravages persist into the present.’ Addressing these 'ravages,’ and finding solutions to them — a process that can and should begin in the classroom — can only proceed with open discussions and debate across the ideological spectrum, a process in which Black thinkers themselves have been engaged since the earliest years of our Republic.”

America has a history of banning Black studies. We can learn from that past (Derecka Purnell, The Guardian) - “This history is important because it helps us realize that today’s book banning efforts belong to a broader political backlash to the current Black liberation movement that started with the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012. The ideas and demands that Black people, and all people, deserve freedom from police violence, deserve quality housing, deserve universal healthcare, deserve a world that has different problems from what Dr. King identified as the triple evils of racism, capitalism and militarism. It is no accident that these ideas are found in the very same books that prisons ban, including mine. Prison officials, politicians and rightwing pundits target knowledge found in critical race theory because they know that theory leads to action for people who care about love, liberty and justice. They want to stop people from being inspired to fight for better lives.”

Beyond the Dome

We’re glad to see that issues of substandard, unsafe and unhealthy rental housing; ineffective oversight by City building officials; and lack of accountability for landlords are getting increased scrutiny as advocates, including immigrant community leaders, demand long overdue improvements: Manchester advocates call for increased supports for new Americans, stronger code enforcements (NHPR).

In recent months, the NH Judicial Branch launched a diversity, equity and inclusion initiative to address racial disparities in incarceration and to address biases within the system. Read more here: Addressing DEI – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in NH’s Justice System (InDepthNH). The plan includes data gathering, training and community feedback.

A new lawsuit was filed last week in response to the state’s ongoing practice of boarding mental health patients in hospital emergency rooms for extended periods of time. Read more here: NH hospitals ask judge to order phase-out of emergency psychiatric boarding (NHPR).  “As of Wednesday, 28 adults and 15 children were waiting in hospital emergency departments for inpatient mental health care. The state health department has taken steps in recent years to expand mental health treatment, including the launch of mobile crisis services last year and the purchase of Hampstead Hospital to turn it into a psychiatric facility for youth. But officials say they’ve been held back in those efforts because they can’t hire enough workers. Some beds at New Hampshire Hospital are going unused because of staff shortages. Ramsdell argued the law requires the state to transfer patients into the mental health system as soon as an involuntary emergency admission is completed — and hiring challenges don’t relieve the state of that duty. He said the state could raise wages or shell out for temporary staffing, as private hospitals have had to do.”

Last week at the State House

A lot happened last week! Here are a few highlights/lowlights.

Taking advantage of a temporary majority during Thursday’s House session, Democrats managed to remove HB 430 from the table, defeat the committee’s recommendation of ITL and pass the bill, which requires that “education freedom accounts” are only for students who have attended public school for at least one year. The bill moves on to House Finance and will return to the full House at some later date.

Two minimum wage bills  - HB 57 and SB 144 – were defeated last week, mostly along party lines. The defeat of these proposals means New Hampshire will continue to default to the measly federal minimum wage of $7.25, the lowest in all of New England. Read more here and here.

A House bill which, in its original form, would have renamed Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day for a state holiday, but which was amended to honor Italian heritage, was tabled in the full House on Thursday. We support the original intention of HB 180 and hope that the state of New Hampshire will join many NH communities in recognizing the second Monday in October with a focus on the history, legacy and presence of indigenous peoples.

We’re delighted that the full House has voted to approve HB 282, a bill that would expand Medicaid coverage to certain groups of lawfully present immigrants who are pregnant or children. You can read testimony in support of this bill from the NH Immigrant Rights Network here. The bill will now be considered in House Finance. Read more here.

And the full House also approved HB 201 which reduces the penalty for driving without a license from a misdemeanor to a violation for the first offense in a 12-month period. This bill was supported by immigrant leaders and the NH Immigrant Rights Network (see our testimony here).

Another proposal related to immigrants - HB 455 - had its hearing last week in House Children and Family Law. The bill proposes to address complications with regard to the special immigrant juvenile status, a pathway to citizenship for youth and young adults who have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Read more here: Bill could prevent NH undocumented children abused by parents from being deported. At the request of the sponsor, Representative Laura Telerski, the committee voted to retain the bill to give the complex matter more attention and to recommend possible next steps before the end of the calendar year.

And we’re happy to see that SB 263, which would reauthorize expanded Medicaid and ensure that tens of thousands of New Hampshire people retain their access to health care, was recommended OTP by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee with unanimous, bipartisan support. The bill will be voted on in the full Senate in the coming weeks. Read more here.

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.
Retain – When a House committee wishes to hold onto a bill for further consideration. The committee makes this decision for themselves; approval in the full House is not needed. The committee has until the end of the calendar year to make a recommendation for further action.
RC – Roll call vote. Each legislator’s vote is recorded and attributed to them.
VV – Voice vote
DV – Division vote

Last week in the House

The full House met in session on Wednesday, February 22 and Thursday, February 23. Here are the outcomes of the bills on our watch list.

On the Consent Calendar


HB 491, relative to prohibiting the use of the prone restraint for minors. OTP-A by VV.

HB 46-FN, relative to the appointment of magistrates and repealing the statutes governing bail commissioners. As amended, this bill establishes a committee to study the use of court magistrates throughout the state court system to supplement or replace the current bail commissioner positions. OTP-A by VV. Referred to Finance.

HB 453-FN-A, relative to prohibiting the folding of election ballots and providing adequate envelops for absentee ballots to prevent folding. ITL by VV.

HB 397, relative to the prohibition of the possession of hypodermic needles by minors. OTP-A by VV. Referred to Criminal Justice & Public Safety.
HB 598-FN, relative to funding maternal mortality reviews. Laid on the Table by VV.

HB 235, establishing a commission to study the expansion of the landlord tenant mediation program in circuit courts. OTP-A by VV.

HB 99-FN-LOCAL, requiring tax bills to provide information about a state tax rebate program for lower income homeowners. ITL by VV.
HB 273, requiring composting and waste recycling to be made available to residents of public housing. ITL by VV.

HR 7, calling for the federal government to preserve and protect Medicare and Social Security without cuts to benefits. OTP by RC, 333-12.
HCR 7, recognizing the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation. ITL by VV.

On the Regular Calendars I and II

HB 108, relative to the confidentiality of reports made to the division of children, youth, and families and requiring guardians ad litem be appointed in certain instances. OTP by DV 214-143.

HB 639-FN-A, relative to the legalization and regulation of cannabis and making appropriations therefor. This bill legalizes the possession and use of cannabis for persons 21 years of age and older. As amended, the bill authorizes the liquor commission to regulate and administer the cultivation, manufacture, and retail sale of cannabis statewide, and makes an appropriation therefor. The bill maintains the Alternative Treatment Centers (ATC’s) currently registered to dispense therapeutic cannabis as a separate entity to manufacture, cultivate, or transport cannabis to their NH Health and Human Services-regulated retail locations. OTP-A by DV 234-127. Referred to Ways & Means.

HB 97-FN, establishing an additional penalty for a violation of privacy. OTP by VV.
HB 201-FN, relative to changing the penalties for driving without a license. OTP by DV, 190-165.
HB 643-FN-A, relative to legalizing marijuana. This bill would legalize marijuana possession for anyone over 21 and put the state liquor commission in charge of selling it. ITL by VV.

HB 131, requiring reports concerning school policies on classroom recordings and in-classroom observers. ITL by VV.
HB 272-FN, increasing chartered public school per pupil funding. OTP-A by DV, 348-11. Referred to Finance.
HB 492-FN, requiring the department of education to provide the house and senate standing committees responsible for education with copies of the laws and rules relative to education. OTP-A by VV. Referred to Finance.
HB 529-FN-A-LOCAL, relative to additional aid grants for schools based on free and reduced price meals and fiscal capacity disparity. OTP-A by VV. Referred to Finance.
HB 540-FN-LOCAL, relative to adequate education grant amounts for pupils receiving special education services. OTP by VV. Referred to Finance.
HB 601-FN-LOCAL, relative to state participation in the Medicaid direct certification program for free and reduced-price school meals. OTP-A by DV, 205-151. Referred to Finance.

HB 196, establishing a commission to review and make recommendations on campaign finance laws. Laid on the Table by DV, 339-7.

HB 180, renaming Columbus Day as Indigenous People’s Day. Laid on the Table by VV.

HB 282-FN-A, relative to including certain children and pregnant women in Medicaid and the children’s health insurance program. OTP-A by DV, 186-170. Referred to Finance.
HB 565-FN-A, relative to expanding Medicaid to include certain postpartum health care services. OTP-A by RC, 184-179. Referred to Finance.
HB 574-FN-A, re-establishing the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program. ITL by DV, 185-179.

HB 240, relative to equal access to marriage. This bill would codify that the NH Constitutional Right to Privacy protects the right of interracial marriage in New Hampshire. OTP by DV, 218-132.
HB 254, relative to remote participation in public meetings under the right to know law. ITL by VV.
HB 256, prohibiting cities and towns from discriminating in the use of public facilities. ITL by VV.
HB 308, relative to a quorum for meetings open to the public to include remote presence. OTP-A by DV, 222-127.
HB 63, relative to religious use of land and structures. ITL by DV, 189-158.

HB 57-FN, relative to the state minimum hourly rate. ITL by VV.

HB 44, relative to permissible residential units in a residential zone. ITL by DV, 209-141.
HB 226, enabling municipalities to regulate the distribution and disposal of certain solid waste within landfills. ITL by RC, 257-90.

HB 212-FN-A, appropriating funding for investigations, testing, and monitoring relative to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. OTP by VV. Referred to Finance.

HCR 1, a resolution applying for a convention of the states under Article V of the Constitution of the United States. ITL by DV, 198-150.
HR 8, urging Congress to enact legislation regulating and banning certain semi-automatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices. ITL by RC, 181-162.
HR 9, calling for the federal government to enact an American Marshall Plan to rebuild economically impoverished communities and strengthen climate resilience infrastructure. ITL by DV, 176-179.
HR 10, supporting statehood for the District of Columbia. ITL by DV, 179-168.
HR 15, relative to affirming support against the establishment of a state religion. ITL by VV.

Last week in the Senate

The Senate met in full session on Thursday, February 23. You can watch it here. Here are the outcomes of the bills on our watch list.

On the Consent Calendar


SB 202-FN-A, relative to establishing a homeownership innovations fund in the New Hampshire housing finance authority. OTP by VV. Referred to Finance.

SB 93-FN-L, relative to the individualized education programs of chartered public school students. Re-referred to committee by VV.

SB 158, relative to absentee ballot outer envelopes. OTP-A by VV.

SB 164-FN-L, relative to biodiverse environments. OTP-A by VV.

SB 108-FN, relative to participation of the New Hampshire public defender program in the state employee health insurance plan. OTP-A by VV. Referred to Finance.

SB 85-FN-A, relative to emergency behavioral health services and behavioral health crisis programs. OTP-A by VV. Referred to Finance.
SB 178-FN-A, relative to certain specialty formulas under Medicaid. OTP by VV.
SB 233-FN-A, re-establishing the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program. OTP by VV. Referred to Finance.

SB 244-FN, relative to false public alarms. OTP-A by VV.
SB 248-FN, relative to bail for a defendant. Re-referred to committee by VV.

SB 187-FN, relative to driver’s licenses for certain visa holders. OTP by VV.

On the Regular Calendar


SB 46, relative to electronic payments to employee debit cards. OTP by VV.
SB 144, relative to the state minimum hourly rate. ITL by RC 14-10.

SB 134-FN, relative to disability pensions for public safety employees who are victims of violence. Re-referred to committee by VV.

SB 128-FN, relative to payment for legal services for persons involuntarily admitted for mental health services. OTP by VV.
SB 129-FN, relative to the payment of costs for indigent persons involved in mediation services. OTP by VV.
SB 138-FN-A, making an appropriation to PFAS remediation fund grants. Laid on the Table.
SB 172-FN, allowing court-appointed guardians to receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families benefits. OTP by VV.

SB 175-FN, relative to Medicaid coverage for mothers. OTP by RC, 24-0.

SB 186-FN, relative to an electric bicycle low-income transportation incentive program and making an appropriation therefor. ITL by VV.

SB 189-FN, relative to the definition of gross business profits in determining taxable business profits. OTP by DV, 15-9. Referred to Finance.
SB 261-FN, relative to the interest and dividends tax rate and threshold. ITL by RC, 13-10.

Coming up at the State House

There is no House or Senate session next week, but the following week, both bodies will meet on Thursday, March 9, starting at 10 AM.

Last week’s House calendar did not include the bills that will be voted on in the full House during the March 9 session, so we will post an addendum to this newsletter on Friday, March 3 with that information. Read it here.

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.

See updated schedule of House Committee hearings in our March 3 issue here.

Coming Up in the Senate

The full Senate will meet in session on Thursday, March 9 at 10 AM in the Senate Chamber.  Watch it here.

On the Consent Calendar


SB 151-FN, relative to mental health education. Inserts mental health curricula into the state’s criteria for an adequate education. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 5-0.
SB 219-FN-L, relative to a salary floor for public school teachers. The bill mandates that public school teachers may not be paid below the prescribed salary floor if the district in question has more than one assistant superintendent and/or employs a diversity, equity, and inclusion professional. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 5-0.

SB 110-FN-L, relative to administration of the emergency shelter program by cities and towns. This bill clarifies which town or city is responsible for expenses related to emergency shelters. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 5-0.

SB 61, relative to surface water setbacks for landfills. These new rules will govern setbacks of newly sited landfills from surface water bodies to impose site-specific requirements sufficient to prevent groundwater contamination. The department will also be required to take into account certain additional environmental protective measures proposed by an applicant for a landfill permit. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 5-0.
SB 227 directs the department of environmental services to contract for an assessment of the current set-back requirements that are applicable to the permitting of new solid waste facilities. Re-refer to committee by a vote of 5-0.

SB 105-FN, relative to information collected by the division of vital records administration as part of the live birth worksheet. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 5-0.
SB 208, relative to online access to state information on economic relief disbursements. This bill would emphasize accountability and taxpayer transparency with the state’s spending of federal funds. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 5-0.
SB 209, relative to providing menstrual hygiene products at no cost to individuals who biologically menstruate in state and county correctional facilities. An amendment was adopted on SB 209 which includes juvenile detention facilities and specifies sufficiency in regards to the number of menstrual hygiene products to be provided per menstrual cycle of a biologically menstruating person. This bill would create a standard across all state and county correctional facilities which provides the basic amount of menstrual cycle health services to biologically menstruating incarcerated individuals. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 5-0.

SB 173-FN, relative to surprise medical bills. This bill requires insurers to cover emergency services provided by nonparticipating providers in the same manner as if the services were provided by a participating provider and requires the insurer to pay the nonparticipating provider the out-of-network rate less any cost-sharing for the services provided. The bill also prohibits surprise medical bills and balance billing. Re-refer to committee by a vote of 5-0.
SB 243, establishing a committee to study implementing a state-based health insurance exchange. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 5-0.

SB 251, establishing a committee to study the long-term impact of the New Hampshire adult parole system. Probation and parole are designed to lower prison populations and help people succeed in the community; however, new data suggests that they may have the opposite effect. In New Hampshire, 60% of state prison admissions are due to supervision violations, which is much higher than the national average. This discrepancy warrants further study on the issue. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 5-0.

On the Regular Calendar


SB 141-FN, relative to administration of the education freedom accounts program. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 3-2.

SB 73-FN, relative to Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grants. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 3-2.
SB 222, relative to the definition of broadband infrastructure as a revenue-producing facility eligible for municipal revenue bonds. Re-refer to committee by a vote of 4-1.

SB 229-FN, relative to administration of certain wetlands permits by the department of environmental services. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 5-0.

SB 205-FN, relative to a cost of living adjustment in the state retirement system. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 4-1.

SB 123-FN, relative to the adoption of ambient groundwater quality standards by the department of environmental services. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 7-0.
SB 154-FN, relative to tuition waivers for children in guardianships after being in state foster care. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 7-0.

SB 238-FN,relative to the use of telemedicine to treat mental health conditions. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 5-0.
SB 263-FN, extending the New Hampshire granite advantage health care program and reestablishing the commission to evaluate the effectiveness and future of the New Hampshire granite advantage health care program. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 5-0.


SB 117, relative to the definition of a “child” for the purpose of negligent storage of firearms. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 3-2.
SB 179, relative to eliminating the use of seclusion as a form of punishment or discipline on children in schools and treatment facilities. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 5-0.
SB 181-FN, relative to access to abortion care. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 3-2.
SB 184, relative to the age at which a minor may receive mental health treatment without parental consent. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 3-2.
SB 249-FN, relative to the release of a defendant pending trial. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 3-2.
SB 252-FN, relative to release of a defendant pending trial. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 4-1.

Coming Up 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, March 7

Room 100, SH
9 AM SB 269, relative to tip pooling and sharing.

9 AM SB 272-FN, establishing a parents’ bill of rights in education.

9:15 AM SB 221, enabling municipalities to adopt a property tax exemption for child day care agencies.
9:30 AM CACR 9, relating to the New Hampshire presidential primary. Providing that the New Hampshire presidential primary will be the first presidential primary of a presidential election cycle.
9:45 AM CACR 10, the general court.

Following the hearing at 1 PM, we expect an executive session on SB 132, prohibiting cities and towns from adopting sanctuary policies. Please urge the committee to defeat this anti-immigrant bill.

Friday, March 10

Rooms 201-203, LOB
9 AM Organizational/Regular Meeting. Meeting livestream here.  

Upcoming Events

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

Weekly on Wednesdays

GSOP Tenant Clinic (for NH Residents) - 1 PM to 4 PM. 1045 Elm Street, Suite 201 in Manchester. Hosted by Granite State Organizing Project. Anyone experiencing housing issues is welcome to stop by for info on renters' rights, how to apply for emergency assistance, help with conditions issues and more. Call Jessica Margeson at 603-668-8250 for more information. We want tenants to feel comfortable knowing they could reach out for all of their tenancy concerns and questions.

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.

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

Centro Latino Community Health Fair – 4 PM to 8 PM. Blessed Sacrament Parish, 14 Elm St. Manchester (parking in rear). Hosted by Granite State Organizing Project. All are welcome to come and get information about healthy nutrition, how to sign up for Medicaid and other services.  Offering free COVID vaccines! Information provided in English and Spanish. Call Iliana Barreto for more information: 978-219-7586.

The Cost of Living: Utilities Crisis Panel & Community Forum - 6 PM to 7:30 PM. Manchester City Library. Hosted by 350 New Hampshire and Party for Socialism and Liberation - Southern NH. Join us for a discussion on the cost-of-living crisis and what we can do about it. Bring your friends and bring your questions for us!

LGBTQ+ Community Call - 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Hosted by 603 Equality. Join us to learn about four bills that would roll back LGBTQ+ rights, and one bill that would advance protections for out-of-state trans healthcare seekers who come to New Hampshire for care. Join us to get support on writing testimony, talking to the media, or filling another support role for our big lobby day at the State House on March 7.

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!

Wednesday, March 1

Recovery Community Town Hall - ARCNH Info Session - 7 PM to 9 PM. 180 Elm Street #Suite E Milford. Hosted by Addiction Recovery Coalition of New Hampshire (ARCNH). This monthly town hall style info session is designed to educate our community about addiction and recovery, and designed so that ARCNH can learn more about how we can support the specific needs of our community. This series will be held monthly, every first Wednesday from February through June. Attendance is free, and pre-registration is preferred. During this event you will be able to meet and hear from members of our employee and volunteer-based staff; learn more about how ARCNH came to be, and the services we currently offer; ask questions about addiction, recovery and ARCNH; meet members of your community who are also interested in learning about addiction recovery; hear hopeful stories of addiction and recovery from our staff and participants; learn about opportunities for you to get involved in the local recovery community.

Saturday, March 4

Light Up Keach Park Community Forum  – 11:30 AM. 14 Canterbury Road Concord. Hosted by Change for Concord. We invite you to come to our community forum for the Keach Park Lights at the City-Wide Community Center in the Heights. Our program will include food, music, and presentations about our work. Our hope is that this event will build connections among the residents of our community, promote understanding of our campaign, and provide feedback, questions and suggestions which will strengthen our work. Concord residents, please sign the petition. Thank you!

Sunday, March 5

Remembering Selma: Charting the Path Forward to a Multiracial Democracy - 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM. March: Hartnett Parking Lot - 99 Lowell St. Manchester. Lunch/Discussion: NEP House of Praise, 251 Chestnut St. Manchester. Hosted by Open Democracy & partners. The events on the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on "Bloody Sunday," March 7, 1965, were pivotal in the civil rights movement and in United States history, galvanizing public opinion and mobilizing Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act. Join us to commemorate the 58th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" with a community march, teach-in and potluck lunch. We will hear stories from members of our community who were present, witnessed or led in the Civil Rights Movement. Join in the discussion to learn more about NH’s connection to that history, the challenges to maintain the gains of that era and ways we can come together to continue to ensure that voting remains accessible to all citizens.

Exploring the Heart of Cross-Racial Conversation – 2 PM to 3:30 PM. Portsmouth Public Library, Livingston Room, 175 Parrott Ave. Portsmouth. Hosted by the Black Heritage Trail NH.  Since the end of WWII, the perceived success of Asian Americans – who have been wrongly portrayed as a monolithic group – has led white apologists to cast this group as the “model minority.” The lack of cross-racial conversations keeps people isolated in their own racial groups at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. This panel will explore what happens when racialized groups begin to dialogue. Panelists will discuss the myth of the model minority, what happens when language is used as a social construct to divide, and what happens when the American racial hierarchy forces one to choose a particular identity or culture over another. How can we speak openly and honestly in cross-racial conversations?

Monday, March 6

Organizing 101 - What is Organizing and why are we doing this? (and why it matters!) -7 PM to 8:30 PM. Hosted by Renew US. Working together and organizing is the beginning of the path forward for the kind of change we want to see in the world: deep, structural change that makes life better for everyone. Our Organizing 101 five-part series seeks to demystify aspects of organizing, activate you into your community, and plug you into collaboration moments with Renew US partner organizations. Each session will focus on a component of organizing, and each will conclude with an action for you to take. You do not have to attend all five (you’re welcome to!) and each session stands alone. Please click here for all of the upcoming programs and times.

Tuesday, March 7

Faithfully Showing Up for Our LGBTQ+ Youth - 8 AM. NH State House, Concord. Hosted by NH Council of Churches & NH Voices of Faith. Join us to show up faithfully for our LGBTQ+ youth in NH. On March 7, the House HHS committee will hear two bills, including HB 619 which seeks to overturn the state ban on conversion therapy, target affirming medical care for transgender youth, and more. Please join us in front of the State House at 8 AM for a joint visibility with coalition partners. Hearings begin at 9 AM in Reps Hall. Voices of faith are especially crucial to these bills. Let's show our LGBTQ+ youth that they have strong support from voices, and communities of faith across NH!

350NH All-Chapter Gathering - 6 PM. Hosted by 350 NH. Join us for an all-chapter gathering on March 7th at 6pm to connect with volunteers across the state and get updates about our ongoing campaigns together! Long-time chapter members, new chapter members, and anyone interested in joining a chapter is welcome to come! This event is virtual, held on zoom. See you there!

Thursday, March 9

From Nonotuck to Northampton: Recovering Indigenous Histories – 7 PM. Hosted by Historic Northampton. Historic Northampton’s newly launched “Indigenous Histories” on our website features the scholarship of Dr. Margaret M. Bruchac, including her extended essay titled “From Nonotuck to Northampton: Recovering Indigenous Histories." In her essay, Bruchac re-examines colonial era encounters between Nonotuck and settlers, offers Indigenous perspectives, and gives readers the tools to better understand the historical record. The website also includes a visual history, maps, links to relevant historical publications and documents, and more.

Saturday, March 11

International Women’s Day Rally – 1 PM to 3 PM. Veteran’s Park. Manchester. Hosted by the Party for Socialism & Liberation, AFSC and partners. Join a coalition of local organizations in downtown Manchester to celebrate International Women’s Day, a holiday started by socialist women workers in the US in 1909. We will be having a family-friendly rally with a festive atmosphere to uplift issues facing working class women and gender oppressed people such as the struggles for reproductive and LGBTQ rights. Bring a sign and a friend!

Sunday, March 12

“Youth to Power”: Black Female Activists – 2 PM to 3:30 PM. Temple Israel, 200 State Street Portsmouth. Hosted by the Black Heritage Trail NH. Black Women have been leaders in this country for centuries as abolitionists, voting rights advocates, college founders, civil rights defenders, labor leaders, entrepreneurs, and more. Often, their work to overcome race and gender stereotypes have been seen as unusual or magical, serving to minimize their labor and talent. This closing discussion will feature a group of young BIPOC women exploring where we are culturally as a state and where we want to be heading. Panelists will share how their activism is shaping their world view and hopes for the future.

Wednesday, March 15

Remaking the Economy: Caring for the Care Economy – 2 PM to 3 PM. Hosted by Non-Profit Quarterly. In the past three years, the US economy has revealed an undeniable truth: it runs on care work. This labor, done mostly by women of color, is often made invisible: performed quietly and cheaply by those at the margins of society, who work hard without good pay or protections. How can workers in the sector come together to organize—and counter this tendency of the nation’s economy to devalue care work that is intrinsic to our survival? To explore these questions, this webinar offers three leaders in the care economy, who will discuss these issues from multiple perspectives, including as worker-owners in care-sector cooperative businesses and as policy advocates.

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 current and past 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!