State House Watch: March 19, 2023

By Maggie Fogarty and Grace Kindeke


NH Campaign for a People's Budget gathered at the State House on March 13, 2023 prior to the House Finance Committee's public hearing on the state budget. AFSC

“Revolutionary love is a well-spring of care, an awakening to the inherent dignity and beauty of others and the earth, a quieting of the ego, a way of moving through the world in relationship, asking: ‘What is your story? What is at stake? What is my part in your flourishing?’ Loving others, even our opponents, in this way has the power to sustain political, social, and moral transformation. This is how love changes the world.” – Valarie Kaur

March 19, 2023

Dear State House Watchers,

Happy almost springtime!

Apologies for being a bit tardy with this week’s issue; a happy visit with family from out of town took precedence for the past couple of days.

Last week’s snow caused the cancellation of a day of legislative hearings and the postponement of many town meetings. Some municipalities arranged for absentee voting, and most are planning to meet on March 28. Read more here.

This coming week will include two session days in the House – March 22 and 23 – and one in the Senate – March 23, with votes scheduled on many consequential proposals including those related to transgender rights, bail reform, public education, voting rights and housing justice.


HB 117 which ends just cause evictions. This bill was passed in the full House and already has a hearing scheduled in the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday, March 21 at 10 AM. Please sign in to oppose this bill, submit testimony in person or online, and plan to join Granite State Organizing Project and NH Voices of Faith at the doors of the hearing room – Room 100 at the State House - at 9 AM.

Oppose HB 460 which removes voter affidavits as proof of identification and repeals the procedures for affidavit ballots. This bill disproportionately impacts new Americans, first-time voters, and vulnerable populations. The full House will take up this voter suppression bill this week. Please use this action alert from 603 Forward to urge your Representatives to defeat this harmful proposal. And please join Kent Street Coalition and NH Voices of Faith at the State House (outside) for visibility starting at 7:30 AM on March 22.

Oppose HB 10, which is NH's version of a "don't say gay" bill under the guise of parental rights. The bill requires NH to provide an "opt out" for any material deemed objectionable, and has vague language that could require teachers to out LGBTQ+ students to their parents. NH's child advocate has deemed this bill dangerous to youth across our state. The proposal came out of committee without recommendation and will be voted on in the full House on Wednesday. Please contact your Representative, and join 603 Equality, NH Council of Churches and Voices of Faith in person at the State House (outside) at 8 AM March 22.

Support HB 61,which would repeal the banned concepts act. This bill is on the House calendar for March 22 or 23. Please let your Representative know that you want them to pass this bill and to support honest education in New Hampshire.

Immigration News

At both the federal and state level, there is much to be done to push back against anti-immigrant policies.

The Biden Administration is following in former President Trump's footsteps and enacting inhumane policies against migrants at our southern border. The Administration has proposed new rules which would make it almost impossible for vulnerable people to access their legal right to seek asylum. Join us on March 22 at 6 PM in Manchester for #RestoreAsylum & #KeepFamiliesTogether Visibility Action, to call for an end to this cruelty and to show that NH people stand together for a just immigration system that does not discriminate, deport, detain or separate families. We will gather at 6 PM at the Center of NH, 650 Elm Street, Manchester, and walk to the Norris Cotton Federal Building, 275 Chestnut Street. All are welcome.

And please remember that we have eight days left to submit comments in opposition to the proposed asylum ban. Please use this link for more information and to submit your comments by March 27. Everyone deserves to live in safety and peace – no matter their race or country of origin.

Here at home, Governor Sununu continues to push the narrative that the federal government and New Hampshire taxpayers need to invest in northern border enforcement in the form of a new Northern Border Alliance. Read more here, and from our colleague Chris Wellington: “Over the past few weeks, we have learned that our Governor is using the issue of immigration seemingly for his own political gain. He has been flooding the news outlets over his concern about the rise in unauthorized border crossings from Canada into the U.S. via the Customs and Border Protection’s Swanton Sector which covers parts of New York, all of Vermont and New Hampshire’s 3 northernmost counties (Coos, Carroll and Grafton). He claims that the Biden Administration is not doing its job at the northern border and that Sununu must act to stem this influx. It is important to note that neither Sununu nor any state agency has provided any data on unauthorized border entries into New Hampshire or apprehensions of border crossers within New Hampshire to support these ‘concerns.’ Sununu has taken a two-pronged approach to this alleged problem: creation of a New Hampshire taxpayer-funded border enforcement program labeled the Northern Border Alliance Program and application to the Department of Homeland Security’s 287(g) program which authorizes nonfederal law enforcement entities to enforce federal immigration law.”

The NH Immigrant Rights Network offered strong testimony in opposition to the proposed Northern Border Alliance during the House Finance Committee’s budget hearing on Tuesday: “We are strenuously opposed to the creation of a Northern Border Alliance Program as described in this bill (see program description and funding requests starting on p. 34, line 7 of HB 2.) which appears to be an attempt to use New Hampshire taxpayer funds for federal immigration enforcement activities. We urge members of the House Finance Committee to emphatically reject this program as ill-conceived, politically motivated, anti-immigrant, and a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars.” As the House Finance Committee works to amend the budget bills to reflect their own priorities, now is the time for you to contact the committee and urge them to eliminate this harmful and unnecessary program.

We are dismayed to report that the full Senate has voted “ought to pass” on SB  132, the anti-sanctuary cities bill that will undermine decades of progress made between immigrant community leaders and local and state law enforcement to prevent racial profiling and to maintain a separation between community policing and immigration enforcement. We are focused now on stopping this harmful bill in the House. Stay tuned for the House committee hearing and other opportunities for advocacy. In the meantime, please reach out to your municipal officials, including your local police chief, and explain to them why it matters to protect local priorities rather than to engage in federal immigration enforcement. Their voices need to be heard.

Recommended Reading

The NH Fiscal Policy Institute (NHFPI) has shared a new resource which explains who benefits from tax cuts in New Hampshire. (Spoiler alert: It isn’t low-income or middle-income people.) From Households with high incomes disproportionately benefit from interest and dividends tax repeal: “Revenue projections included in the Governor’s budget proposal and estimates from the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) suggest revenues will fall substantially during the upcoming budget biennium, as the planned phaseout of the Interest and Dividends Tax begins to take effect. Starting in 2023, the tax rate is reduced by one percentage point every year until the tax is eliminated completely in 2027…. New economic modeling…indicates that more than nine of out every ten forgone tax dollars would benefit the top 20 percent of households by income, and more than half of the tax reduction would benefit the top 1 percent of households….Tax reductions to high income households, including reductions in dividends and capital gains taxes, are relatively ineffective economic stimulus compared to food assistance, aid to individuals who have become unemployed, and income supports for individuals with low and moderate incomes.” Let’s make sure our budget writers are listening!

Beyond the Dome

Last week, President Biden released his proposed budget for FY ’24. In response, AFSC joined 61 other faith groups on a letter calling for significant cuts in funding for militarism: “The country is sprinting towards a trillion-dollar budget for weapons and war — propping up an expensive and harmful militarized foreign policy while people struggle to meet their basic needs. We cannot continue down this morally bankrupt path. We urge members of Congress to dramatically cut militarized spending in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget — both to facilitate reinvestment in the wellbeing of our communities, and to curtail the harms of our militarized foreign policy.” The appropriations process is underway in Congress now, so all of our Members of Congress should hear from us about our priorities for investment as well as divestment. Please reach out to Senator Shaheen in particular, as she sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

On March 6, community leaders gathered with high-ranking law enforcement leaders at the invitation of the NH Center for Justice and Equity to talk about the culture of policing in New Hampshire. Those present shared experiences of racial profiling in the state, as well as different perspectives about how to measure the existence of systemic racism. Read more here.

At the March 13 meeting of the Concord City Council, Mayor Jim Bouley announced his plan to create a diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice initiative and to encourage the Council to commit resources in the City budget for outside facilitation to support community engagement in the process. The announcement was met with some frustration expressed by those in attendance who wished to speak to the proposal and ask questions, but were denied the opportunity to do so as the public comment period had passed. Read more here. We hope that the City’s plan will be shaped by BIPOC community members going forward, and that their input will inform every step of the process.

Last Week at the State House

The week started off with the House Finance Committee’s hearing on HB 1 and HB 2, the state budget bills. Community members and issue advocates gave testimony for hours in Representatives Hall in support of increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates, investing in affordable housing, and improving the funding formula for public education, and in response to proposed changes to licensing requirements. Read more here. Some advocates expressed concern about funding for a new state prison, as well as the Northern Border Alliance (see above). Prior to the hearing, the NH Campaign for a People’s Budget gathered outside to highlight our vision that the state budget invest in justice – racial, social, economic and environmental – and require wealthy people and corporations to pay their fair share. You can watch the messages here.

Good news from last week includes the following:

The House Health & Human Services Committee voted to retain HB 619, the bill that our friends at 603 Equality refer to as the “trifecta of anti-transness” for its intention to ban trans health care for minors, ban LGBTQ affirmation and education in public schools, and change the definition of conversion therapy.

The House Children & Family Law Committee voted unanimously to recommend ITL for HB 417, which defines gender-affirming care for minors as child abuse. The bill is on the consent calendar for Wednesday.

The House Executive Departments & Administration Committee voted to recommend ITL for HB 390, a bill that would remove the current members of the NH Commission on Native American Affairs and replace them with a majority of members selected by a Vermont-recognized tribe. The committee realized that the bill was divisive among indigenous leaders in New Hampshire and that there had been no consultation with the current commission. Read more here.

The full House passed HB 421, which ensures that feminine hygiene products are available at no costs to those confined in jails and prisons, as well as HB 89, a bill which posthumously exonerates Willard Uphaus and Eunice "Goody" Cole. Our friend Renny Cushing would be pleased.

The full House also voted to table HB 514, which would have subjected employees of K-12 schools to charges under the obscenity law even if the materials in question had not been previously found to be obscene by a state court. They also tabled HB 104 which would have denied students the opportunity to use a school bathroom that aligned with their gender identity.

And the House approved – by a single vote margin – HB 596 which prohibits racial profiling by law enforcement and in sentencing. Read more here.

Alas, there was also bad news.

The Senate voted on party lines to pass SB 272, a bill that could harm LGBTQ students by requiring that school personnel out them to their parents. Read more here and here.

And the Senate passed SB 132, the anti-sanctuary cities bill, also on a party line vote. We thank Senators Donna Soucy and Rebecca Perkins Kwoka for speaking against the bill during the debate, and for this statement following the vote: “By taking away local control from our cities and towns regarding their own law enforcement officers, we are putting police departments and communities at risk. This legislation also disregards the important work, from community outreach and relationships founded in trust, that our local law enforcement officials have fostered in their respective communities. The disparagement seen in this bill of certain communities comes from misinformation spread by recognized hate groups that are trying to entrench their xenophobic agendas here in New Hampshire.”

Last week in the House

The House of Representatives was in session on Thursday, March 16. Here are the outcomes on the bills we’re tracking.

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

On the Consent Calendar

HB 421, requiring feminine hygiene products to be provided to prisoners who menstruate in state and county correctional facilities. OTP-A by VV.

HB 528-FN, relative to school lunches and establishing the meals for students fund. ITL by VV.

HB 286, relative to the removal of political advertising. OTP by VV.
HB 405, relative to out-of-state college students voting. This bill is a sweeping proposal that targets college students by creating two classes of voters. It is possibly unconstitutional and would create an undue burden on the Secretary of State’s office in its implementation. ITL by VV.
HB 415, making ballots cast in elections public documents. ITL by VV.
HB 484, relative to the handling of the absentee ballot envelopes prior to election day. This bill allows the moderator to open absentee ballot outer envelopes on the Monday prior to election day. ITL by VV.
HB 495, relative to counting votes. This bill aims to establish guidelines for determining which marks on a ballot constitute a vote. It would also require instructions on ballots about requesting a new ballot. ITL by VV.

HB 359, relative to legal holidays. ITL by VV.

HB 48-FN, relative to employee protections from COVID-19 in the workplace. ITL by VV.
HB 118-FN, prohibiting employers from engaging in certain anti-union activities. ITL by VV.
HB 241, relative to the opportunity of school district employees representing the collective bargaining unit to meet with the public employer as part of collective bargaining negotiations. ITL by VV.

HB 134-FN, extending the public employees labor relations act to employees of the general court and relative to the duties of the joint committee on legislative facilities. This bill establishes the opportunity for nonpartisan employees of the general court to collectively bargain. ITL by VV.
HB 245-FN, relative to the compensation of members of the general court. ITL by VV.
HCR 6, relative to condemning the use of violence against supporters of self-governance. ITL by VV.

On the Regular Calendar


HB 497-FN, relative to the confidentiality of records within the division of children, youth, and families. OTP by RC, 178-173.

HB 76, imposing a waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a firearm. OTP by RC, 178-173.
HB 89, relative to posthumous exonerations and annulments. OTP/A by DV, 317-45.
HB 328-FN, an act legalizing certain controlled substances for persons 21 years of age or older. ITL by RC, 290-76.
HB 360-FN, an act legalizing cannabis for persons 21 years of age or older. OTP by DV, 160-210.
HB 444-FN, prohibiting possession of a firearm at a polling place. ITL by RC, 202-167.
HB 596-FN, prohibiting the use of racial profiling in law enforcement activities and in sentencing. OTP by RC, 186-185.

HB 104, relative to multi-stall bathrooms and locker rooms in schools. The bill would prevent transgender youth from accessing facilities aligning with their gender identity. Laid on the table by DV, 345-28.
HB 399-FN, allowing for a testing exception for graduation from high school. Laid on the table by VV.
HB 514, relative to the dissemination of obscene material by schools and institutions of higher learning. The bill also sets up a confusing one-way process to remove what some people might consider to be objectionable material and impose those limited beliefs on others. In doing so, the bill denies the rights of other parents and students to appeal. Parents already have the right to review materials and opt out their child from anything they find objectionable. Laid on the table by RC, 200-175.

HB 58-FN, prohibiting payment of subminimum wages. ITL by DV, 192-182.
HB 125, relative to youth employment during the school year and at night. The bill as amended clearly defines and sets reasonable limits on the time 16- and 17-year-old students can work when school is in session. ITL by VV.

HB 208-FN, establishing greenhouse gas emission reduction goals for the state and establishing a climate action plan. ITL by DV, 192-181.
HB 263-FN, requiring notification to renewable energy customer-generators of issues related to renewable energy credits. ITL by VV.
HB 523-FN, relative to net energy metering limits for individual and business customers. ITL by DV, 189-182.
HB 524-FN, relative to regional greenhouse gas initiative funds. ITL by DV 187-180
HB 605-FN, relative to solar generation under the renewable portfolio standards. ITL by VV.

Last week in the Senate

The full Senate met in session on Thursday, March 16. Here are the outcomes on the bills we’re tracking.

On the Consent Calendar


SB 193, relative to the obligation of collective bargaining units to negotiate in good faith. OTP by VV.
SB 195-FN, relative to the purchase of steel products with the Buy America certification. OTP-A by VV.
SB 269, relative to tip pooling and sharing. OTP by VV.

SB 140-FN, relative to establishing a program for the recruitment of educators. OTP by VV.
SB 153-FN-A, establishing a first responder career development, recruitment, and retention program, and making an appropriation therefor. OTP/A by VV.
SB 216, making changes to the requirements for civics education and establishing the New Hampshire civics education commission. OTP-A by VV.
SB 217-FN-A, establishing a rural and underserved area educator incentive program for higher education and making an appropriation therefor. Re-referred to Committee by VV.
SB 218-FN-A, establishing an early educator professional development grant. OTP by VV.

SB 84, establishing a commission to study property tax exemptions for charitable organizations. OTP/A by VV.

SB 60, relative to water quality. OTP/A by VV.
SB 79, relative to the participation of customer generators in net energy metering. OTP/A by VV.
SB 96, relative to state energy performance contracting. OTP/A by VV.
SB 159-FN-L, relative to permits for the siting of new landfills. OTP/A by VV.
SB 166-FN, relative to electric grid modernization. OTP/A by VV.

SB 235-FN, relative to services provided through a primary care behavioral health model. OTP/A by VV.
SB 239-FN, relative to the use of harm reduction services to treat alcohol and substance abuse. OTP/A by VV.

SB 255-FN, relative to the expectation of privacy. OTP/A by VV.

SB 52-FN, relative to the regulation and operation of electric vehicle charging stations. OTP/A by VV.

On the Regular Calendar


SB 145-FN, relative to New Hampshire housing champion designation for municipalities and making appropriations therefor. OTP by RC, 21-3.

SB 272-FN, establishing a parents’ bill of rights in education. OTP/A by RC, 14-10.

CACR 10, the general court. OTP by RC, 24-0.
SB 132-FN, prohibiting cities and towns from adopting sanctuary policies. OTP/A by RC, 14-10.
SB 133-FN, relative to changing the date of the state primary election and creates runoff election for federal primary election. Special ordered to March 30.
SB 220-FN, modifying the absentee voter registration process, absentee ballot application, and absentee ballot voting process. ITL by RC, 14-10.
SB 222, relative to the definition of broadband infrastructure as a revenue-producing facility eligible for municipal revenue bonds. Special ordered to March 30.

SB 85-FN-A, relative to emergency behavioral health services and behavioral health crisis programs. 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 by VV.
SB 152-FN, relative to New Hampshire workforce training programs. OTP by VV.
SB 202-FN-A, relative to establishing a homeownership innovations fund in the New Hampshire housing finance authority. Laid on table by VV.
SB 233-FN-A, re-establishing the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Laid on table by VV.

SB 36-FN, relative to systems of care for healthy aging. OTP/A by VV.
SB 86-FN, relative to health care workforce development and making appropriations therefor. OTP/A by VV.
SB 237-FN, relative to the child care scholarship program and making an appropriation therefor. OTP/A by VV.
SB 238-FN, relative to the use of telemedicine to treat mental health conditions. Special ordered to March 30.
SB 265-FN-A, making an appropriation for the multi-tiered system of support for children’s mental health. ITL by VV.

SB 58, relative to arrests without a warrant while in the care of a medical professional on the premises of a residential care or health care facility. Special ordered to March 30.
SB 247, repealing limited liability for manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition. ITL by RC, 14Y-10N.
SB 250, relative to remote participation in government meetings. OTP/A by VV.

Coming up in the House

The House will meet in full session on Wednesday, March 22 at 9 AM and Thursday, March 23 at 9 AM. A full session day is also scheduled for Thursday, April 6, the deadline to act on all House bills (Crossover Day).

On the Consent Calendar


HB 417-FN, relative to the definition of child abuse. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 16-0.

HB 389, relative to consumer protection relating to hospital price transparency. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 18-1.

HB 287, removing testing equipment from the definition of drug paraphernalia in the controlled drug act. This bill amends the definition of drug paraphernalia in the controlled drug act and repeals testing equipment from the definition of drug paraphernalia. The aim of this bill is to provide persons suffering from substance misuse disorder a harm reduction tool that may decrease the chance of a drug overdose. This bill exempts Fentanyl test strips from the definition of drug paraphernalia from the controlled drug act. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 20-0.
HB 305, relative to exceptions for violations related to Presidential Executive Orders governing the keeping or bearing of arms. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 20-0.
HB 315, prohibiting provocations based on a victim’s actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation from being used as a defense in a criminal case. After hearing testimony during the public hearing, the committee found that this bill should be ought to pass with amendment. The amendment, as in the original bill, makes it unlawful to use “panic” over a person’s sexual orientation or gender as a defense to murder, but adds religion, race, national origin, or political affiliation as additional grounds that cannot be used as an objectively reasonable cause of extreme provocation in such a case. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 20-0.
HB 400-FN, relative to certain assault offenses, bail eligibility for commission of certain assault offenses, and making a false report to a law enforcement officer. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 19-0.
HB 503-FN, relative to the rights afforded to a person accused of a crime. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 20-0.

HB 446, relative to participation in the education freedom accounts program by students with disabilities. This bill requires the scholarship organization administering the Education Freedom Accounts program to provide parents of students with disabilities an explanation of their rights under state and federal law for services specific to the education option in the program. The Department of Education Bureau of Special Education is to develop and maintain the explanation. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 19-1.
HB 452, relative to the department of education procedures for school building aid applications. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 20-0.
HB 649-FN, repealing the collection of the state education property tax. This bill repeals the Statewide Education Property Tax (SWEPT) and transfers that funding of adequate education costs to the general funds. This bill further removes the low and moderate income homeowners property tax relief program for relief from the SWEPT. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 20-0.

HB 179, relative to the definition of electioneering. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 20-0.
HB 195, relative to the definition of political advocacy organization. This bill changes the current law to require independent political organizations that spend $2,500 or more in a calendar year for communication that advocates for or against a candidate, or a measure, to register as a political advocacy organization. The purpose of the bill is to make clear who is paying for the mailings, social media, or other communication that is often dumped on voters shortly before an election. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 19-0.
HB 244, relative to the printing of the election day checklist. This bill changes the latest time that an absentee ballot may be requested to be mailed as 12 noon on the day before an election. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 19-0.
HB 402-FN, relative to prohibiting false statements against candidates. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 19-0.
HB 478, relative to ballot order in the general election. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 19-0.
HB 496, relative to the delivery of ballots to nursing homes and elder care facilities. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 17-2.

HB 129-FN-LOCAL, relative to menstrual hygiene products in schools. This bill modifies existing law by removing the specification of female hygiene products be available in girl’s bathrooms to be available, leaving availability up to the school board. “Girls” is modified to menstruating students, to avoid future legal issues. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 22-3.
HB 555-FN-A, appropriating state general fund surplus toward the retirement system unfunded accrued liability. When money is left over in the general fund at the end of a biennium it is automatically added to the Revenue Stabilization Reserve Account, better known as the rainy day fund. This bill redirects 75% of this money to help pay off our retirement system’s unfunded liability whenever the rainy day fund already has a good cushion. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 25-0.

CACR 8, relating to a constitutional right to birth control. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 20-0.
HB 277, relative to patients’ right to sterilization treatment. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 20-0.
HB 425-FN, repealing the statute relative to medical freedom in immunizations. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 18-2.
HB 431, permitting qualifying patients and designated caregivers to cultivate cannabis for therapeutic use. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 19-1.
HB 642-FN, relative to prohibiting the department of health and human services from enforcing salary caps for direct care workers. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 20-0.

HB 346-FN, relative to the right of any infant born alive to appropriate medical care and treatment. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 18-1.

CACR 3, relating to recall elections. Providing that the general court may authorize recall elections. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 14-1.

On the Regular Calendar


HB 10-FN, establishing the parental bill of rights. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION

HB 135-FN, prohibiting no-knock warrants. The amendment limits no knock search warrants to only cases where there was a demonstrable need to do so for the preservation of human life. The amendment also adds a requirement to obtain clearance from the head of whatever law enforcement agency is involved prior to such a warrant being sought, as well as a reporting requirement to the District Attorney or Attorney General after the warrant is served. The amendment adds the ability of the public to obtain a copy of the warrant after it has been executed. The bill allows for no knock warrants for the recovery of evidence only when such evidence is related to the preservation of human life. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 19-1.
HB 351-FN, relative to the negligent storage of firearms and relative to firearm safety devices. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 10-9.
HB 397, relative to the prohibition of the possession of hypodermic needles by minors. This bill simply allows for a minor to be exempt from criminal prosecution for possessing a prescribed hypodermic syringe or needle when they are acting as an authorized agent, pursuant to RSA 318:42, of an adult and under their direct supervision. Currently, a minor holding a hypodermic syringe or needle with their parent’s insulin could be subject to criminal prosecution and they would not be allowed to pick up such a prescription at the pharmacy for their parent. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 14-6.

CACR 7, relating to use of money raised by taxation for education. Providing that money raised by taxation may be applied for the use of religious educational institutions. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 61, relative to teaching on discrimination in the public schools and discrimination in public workplaces. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION
HB 204, relative to non-academic surveys in schools. The restrictions placed on non-academic surveys by requiring a prior written parental authorization and restricting the use of questions that evoke an “emotional response” will significantly restrict a school’s ability to create programs to meet a student’s social, emotional, or mental health needs. For years, schools have successfully utilized the aggregated data from “climate or culture” type surveys. These results do not identify an individual student but rather identify school and/or school district trends of their student populations. Without this type of aggregated data, a school district’s hands will be tied in creating purposeful programs and may very well miss opportunities to improve a student’s well-being. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 331-FN-LOCAL, relative to the income threshold for the education freedom account program. This bill completely removes the annual household income threshold so that any family, no matter their income, would be eligible to use taxpayer money to pay private school tuition bills. A better use of tax revenue would be to fund our public schools in a way that is fair to students and taxpayers. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 371, establishing a commission to evaluate and recommend standards for public schools. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 427, relative to public comment and inquiry during school board meetings. Current law requires school boards to have a dedicated period for public comment on board meeting agendas. This bill expands these requirements to include questions and complaints from the public and answers from the board. The bill goes further to allow comments, complaints, and questions not limited to agenda items or any other specific subject of interest to the board or community. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION
HB 432-FN, relative to participation in the education freedom accounts program. This bill requires annual recertification of income eligibility for awarding of Education Freedom Account (EFA) funds. The EFA program currently requires applicants to certify family income is below 300% of the federal poverty guideline. For a family of four, this is $90,000 per year and the guideline is updated annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). in the haste to incorporate the EFA program into the state budget, annual income recertification was omitted. And this omission allows families who were once income-qualified to continue receiving taxpayer money to pay private school costs long after their income has increased due to a change of employment or other circumstances. The bill only requires annual income recertification, regardless of statutory changes to the income eligibility threshold. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 451, relative to the state board of education prohibition on discrimination. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 515, relative to education freedom accounts. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 516-FN, relative to freedom of speech and association at public institutions of higher education. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 538-FN, establishing a local education freedom account program. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 552-FN-A-LOCAL, relative to making incentive grants for school districts that improve in certain assessment scores. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 572-FN, relative to eligibility for free school meals. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 12-8.
HB 573-FN-A-LOCAL, limiting education freedom account funding to budgeted amounts. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 603-FN, relative to education service providers under the education freedom accounts program. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 621-FN, relative to funds of the education freedom accounts program after termination of a student’s participation and responsibilities of the scholarship organization. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 629-FN, establishing a student bill of rights. This bill is intended to bring the discourse and focus of this House to students and their rights. It attempts to centralize in one place the rights of students already guaranteed by our federal and state constitutions and statutes. It is not intended to create any new rights. Public education, along with the effort and guidance of parents, the community, and the state, help to protect, nurture, motivate, educate, and provide a safety net for the growth and development of students from childhood to adulthood. Teaching students that they are respected members of our schools, that their voice is worth listening to, and that they have rights, helps them to become active members of their schools, communities, and informed citizens as adults. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.

HB 40, relative to domicile residency, voter registration, and investigation of voter verification letters, and relative to the terms “resident,” “inhabitant,” “residence,” and “residency.” The existing law creates unnecessary barriers for citizens seeking to exercise their constitutional right to vote, including the elderly, young adults, and the homeless. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 255, relative to campaign contributions by limited liability companies. This bill requires that a political contribution by a limited liability company (commonly referred to as an “LLC”) be allocated to its members for the purposes of determining whether a member has exceeded contribution limits in the NH statutes. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 10-9.
HB 460-FN, relative to eliminating voter identification exceptions. By eliminating the opportunity to execute an affidavit in lieu of photo identification, this bill fundamentally changes the voter registration process in New Hampshire at the cost of preventing thousands of people from voting. Under this bill, everybody who registers to vote will need to present a birth certificate, passport (which costs over a hundred dollars and takes 10-12 weeks to get), or naturalization papers. Based on data provided to the committee, if this law had been in effect in 2022, up to 3,000 New Hampshire voters may not have been able to register and vote. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 586, relative to absentee voting due to absence. OTP by a vote of 10-9.

HB 56, relative to permits for the siting of new landfills. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.

HB 127, relative to the declaration of a state of emergency. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 11-7.
HB 339-FN, prohibiting the investment of state funds in any company participating in a boycott of Israel. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 15-5.
HB 390, revising the membership and structure of the New Hampshire commission on Native American affairs. This bill revises the structure and membership of the New Hampshire Commission on Native American affairs. During the hearing, there was testimony from the indigenous community that was opposed to the bill. It is the position of the committee that the NH General Court is not the place to address significant differences between those testifying. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 16-3.
HCR 2, relative to condemning recent vandalism and intolerance, as recently levied against places of worship and public spaces, elected officials and against the general citizens of New Hampshire. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 13-7.
HR 11, relative to welcoming communities. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 10-9.

HB 49-FN-A, relative to postponing the closure of the Sununu Youth Services Center. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 23-2.

HB 114, relative to the age at which a minor may receive mental health treatment without parental consent. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 11-9.
HB 299-FN, prohibiting discrimination in medical care. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 12-8.
HB 342-FN, relative to lead testing in children. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 11-9.
HB 557-FN, relative to the department of health and human services’ rulemaking authority regarding immunization requirements. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 575-FN, relative to vaccine and pharmaceutical products purchased, promoted, or distributed by the state and its political subdivisions. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 11-9.
HB 582-FN, requiring the division of vital records to collect induced termination of pregnancy statistics. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 11-9.
HB 615-FN, requiring independent audits of reproductive health care facilities. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 13-7.

CACR 2, relating to reproductive freedom. Providing that all persons have the right to make their own reproductive decisions. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 88, relative to reproductive rights. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 224-FN, repealing the criminal and civil penalties from the fetal life protection act. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 261, authorizing residential tenants to terminate their lease in instances of domestic violence or following a disabling illness or accident. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 271-FN, repealing the fetal life protection act. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 562-FN, requiring informed consent prior to receiving an abortion procedure. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 17-3.
HB 591-FN, prohibiting abortions after detection of fetal heartbeat. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 16-4.

HB 150, relative to the certification of a collective bargaining unit. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 561, establishing a committee to examine workforce and school accommodations for those with long-term COVID and ME/CFS. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 12-8.

CACR 4, relating to compensation for legislators. Providing that legislators’ biennial salary compensation shall be increased. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 10-5.

HB 423, relative to accessory dwelling unit uses allowed by right. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 14-6.

HB 205, relative to testing private wells. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.

HB 139, relative to the definition of “municipal host” for purposes of limited electrical energy producers. WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION.
HB 142, relative to the operation of the Burgess Biopower plant. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 18-2.

Coming up in House Committees

Monday, March 20

Room 210-211, LOB
1 PM Executive Session on HB 46-FN, establishing a committee to study replacement of bail commissioners with court magistrates; HB 74-FN, relative to an employee’s unused earned time; HB 212-FN-A, appropriating funding for investigations, testing, and monitoring relative to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances; HB 234-FN, relative to renewable energy credits; HB 272-FN, increasing chartered public school per pupil funding; HB 379-FN, requiring notice be provided to tenants during residential eviction proceedings regarding legal counsel; HB 462-FN-A, making an appropriation to the solid waste management fund and targeting food waste reduction and diversion; HB 504-FN, relative to the adult parole board and making an appropriation therefor; HB 534-FN-A, relative to water assistance for natural disasters.

Coming up in the Senate

The Senate will be in full session on Thursday, March 23  in the Senate Chamber and live streamed here starting at 10 AM.

On the Regular Calendar


SB 105-FN, relative to information collected by the division of vital records administration as part of the live birth worksheet. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 6-1.
SB 115-FN-A, relative to making an appropriation to the department of health and human services for the purpose of funding vaccine administration through public health departments. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 7-0.
SB 151-FN, relative to mental health education. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 7-0.
SB 175-FN, relative to Medicaid coverage for mothers. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 7-0.
SB 205-FN, relative to a cost-of-living adjustment in the state retirement system. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 6-1.
SB 231-FN, establishing a historic housing tax credit and making appropriations for workforce housing and affordable housing. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 7-0.
SB 249-FN, relative to the release of a defendant pending trial. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 5-2.
SB 252-FN, relative to release of a defendant pending trial. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 7-0.
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 by a vote of 7-0.

SB 253, relative to parental access to a minor child’s medical records. Re-refer to Committee by a vote of 3-2.

Coming up in Senate Committees

Tuesday, March 21

Room 100, SH
9:30 AM HB 235, establishing a committee to study the landlord tenant mediation program.
9:45 AM HB 477, to prohibit municipal inspections of owner-occupied units of multi-unit housing.
10 AM HB 117, relative to the termination of tenancy at the expiration of the tenancy or lease term.

9 AM HB 365, relative to a statewide facility condition assessment for school buildings.
9:15 AM HB 466, relative to water bottle filling stations in schools.
9:30 AM HB 654, relative to the one-year certificate of teaching eligibility.

9:30 AM HB 75, to increase the threshold of county owned personal property subject to competitive bidding.
9:35 AM HB 83, relative to county commissioners’ authority on county buildings.
9:40 AM HB 87, relative to county responsibility for capital building projects.
9:45 AM HB 72, relative to the tenure of public librarians.

1:45 PM HB 151, establishing a committee to study the issue of unmarried cohabitants, domestic partnerships, and common law marriage.
2:15 PM HB 240, relative to equal access to marriage.

Job Opportunities

City Year New Hampshire is recruiting young adults to serve as tutors and mentors in Manchester schools! Student Success Coaches provide students with critical support and receive incredible benefits themselves. Application deadlines are March 24 and May 5. Apply here or nominate someone.

Upcoming Events

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

The Refugee Leadership Development Program provides monthly workshops to refugee and immigrant organizers across the United States. Led by refugees for refugees, this training series is an opportunity to learn more about advocacy tactics being used to advance pro-refugee / pro-immigrant policy on the state and national level, story-telling and narrative shifting, and connecting with resources and local networks to build more welcoming and inclusive communities. Participants who attend a minimum of 3 workshops will receive a Certificate of Participation by We Are All America. Similarly, those who attend every training will be gifted a Certificate of Completion, where the alum of our program will be invited to co-facilitate or propose future workshops.

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.

Tuesday, March 21

Stop Dirty Banks in Concord, NH! - 12 PM to 1:30 PM. 118 Storrs Street, Concord. Hosted by Third Act. Seniors of the Concord area will hold a rally at The Bank of America on Storrs Street as part of a national day of action across the US to pressure the major banks to stop financing the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. The rally is among the nearly 90 events in over half the US states taking place across the country.

Palestinian Children’s Rights in the 118th Congress - 12 PM. Hosted by the No Way to Treat a Child Campaign. Please join the #nowaytotreatachild campaign co-leaders from Defense for Children International - Palestine and American Friends Service Committee for a webinar. In anticipation of new U.S. legislation advocating for Palestinian children's rights, we will analyze bills from previous congressional sessions to build a collective understanding of U.S. complicity in violating Palestinian human rights and different accountability mechanisms to hold Israeli forces accountable. This training will equip Palestinian children's rights advocates with the skills to understand and simply explain legislation, the U.S. - Israel relationship, and violations of Palestinian children's rights committed by Israeli forces and funded by the U.S.

Wednesday, March 22

 #RestoreAsylum & #KeepFamiliesTogether Visibility Action – 6 PM. Start at Center of NH, 650 Elm Street, Manchester. End at Norris Cotton Federal Building, 275 Chestnut Street, Manchester. Hosted by AFSC. The Biden Administration has proposed new asylum rules that make it almost impossible for vulnerable people to access their legal right to seek asylum. Everyone deserves to live in safety and peace – no matter their race or country of origin. Now, more than ever our communities are Stronger Together when we welcome migrants into our growing community. Join us for a visibility and projection action to call for an end to this cruel war against migrants and show that NH stands together for a just immigration system that does not discriminate, deport, detain or separate families. 

The Letter: A Message for the Earth: Film Screening & Panel Discussion – 6 PM – 8 PM at Red River Theatres, Concord. Hosted by NH Interfaith Power & Light, the Laudate Si’ Movement, and the League of Conservation Voters. Join us for a community screening of a new documentary about how spiritual values unite us in the face of this planetary emergency. Following the movie there will be a brief panel discussion led by faith leaders to explore how we can work together to bring a better future for our world and our youth. Admission by donation. For more information contact Ruth Heath, 603-724-4343 or

Thursday, March 23

The Power of Public Narrative, Hosted by Jamayka Young - 5 PM to 6 PM. Hosted by Learn from History Coalition. We all have a story to tell, but storytelling is about more than sharing our personal experiences. When used towards a political objective, in combination with what we learn from our community, our stories can ignite a spark for change and direct passion towards a shared purpose. In this interactive workshop we will discuss how to best use storytelling and public narrative as leadership tools to inspire others to recognize both their own power and the power of collective action.

Thursday, March 23 to Friday, March 24

When The Prisoners Ran Walpole: 50 Years Later – Barker Center (Thompson Rm. 110) Harvard, 12 Quincy St. Cambridge, MA. Hosted by the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard. In the fall of 1972, the men incarcerated at the state prison in Walpole, Massachusetts organized themselves into a labor union—the National Prisoners Reform Association (NPRA). In March of 1973, when Walpole’s guards went on strike, the NPRA took over the prison and ran it peacefully for two months. Seizing on the opportunities provided by the guards’ strike and by a radical new Commissioner of Correction, Walpole’s prisoners launched an extraordinary struggle for self-determination and an important chapter in the movement for prison abolition. Marking the 50th anniversary of these events, join us for a documentary screening and panels with former members of the NPRA and other prison organizations, colleagues of commissioner-turned-abolitionist John O. Boone, and civilian observers. It will also bring a new generation of abolitionist activists into conversation with these speakers.

Friday, March 24

nTIDE Deeper Dive – Employment for African Americans with Disabilities – 12 PM. Hosted by the Institute on Disability/UCED, UNH. Join us for news and updates from the field of Disability Employment, as well as a panel discussion on current disability-related findings and events for African American community members.

Tuesday, March 28

Iraq War at Twenty - 1 PM. Hosted by AFSC. March 19 marked twenty years since the start of the U.S. led war on Iraq.  Join us for a webinar to discuss the impacts of the war and how we might work towards a different future. Join us for a conversation with Iraqi-American lawyer and human rights advocat Sally Al-Ghazali and former AFSC staff member and anti-war activist Peter Lems about the Iraq war, what we have learned in the 20 years since it started, and how we can build a different future.  Their conversation will be moderated by AFSC's Associate General Secretary for Global Cohesion, Sonia Tuma.

Wednesday, March 29

NH Listens - Local People, Local Work, Local Change: Navigating Public Life in a Diverse Democracy  - 4 PM to 5 PM. New England Center, 15 Strafford Avenue, Durham or online. Hosted by NH Listens & UNH Carsey School of Public Policy. Join our speaker series that explores practitioners' journeys working with communities to generate meaningful change. We will be joined by Andres Mejia, District Director of DEIJ at New Hampshire SAU 16. We'll be asking Andres about his experiences navigating the hopes and expectations of families in building a culture of inclusion in school.

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. 

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!