State House Watch: March 25, 2023

By Maggie Fogarty and Grace Kindeke


Advocates for humane immigration policies and protections for asylum seekers gathered in Manchester, NH on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. AFSC

“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe…. Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” ― Arundhati Roy, War Talk

March 24, 2023

Dear State House Watchers,

We are delighted to share an abundance of good news from the State House this week. It’s like an early spring bouquet of good bills passed and bad bills defeated. Let’s savor it!

The Senate will meet next week on March 30 which is Crossover Day, the last day to act on all bills which originated in the Senate. The House will meet next on April 6, which is Crossover Day in the House. The April 6 session day will include a vote on the House’s version of the state budget.


SB 272, the so-called parental bill of rights which would require school personnel to ‘out’ transgender students to their parents/guardians. This bill, which passed the full Senate last week, has already ‘crossed over’ and will have its public hearing in the House Education Committee on Thursday, March 30 at 1 PM in LOB, Room 205-207. Join 603 Equality and many partners – including NH Voices of Faith – for a visibility action at the State House in support of transgender rights starting at 12 noon. More information here. And please sign in now to oppose this harmful bill.

Oppose SB 132, the anti-sanctuary cities bill, which will go back to the Senate floor next week with an OTP recommendation from the Senate Finance Committee. Please urge your Senator to defeat this horrible bill. Read more here from Eva Castillo, Bruno D’Britto and Grace Kindeke.

Support HB 201, which would reduce the penalty for driving without a license, from a misdemeanor to a violation. This bill was proposed by immigrant leaders and Drive Safe NH.  The bill passed the full House on February 22 and has been scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee for Tuesday, March 28 at 1:30 PM in Room 100 at the State House. Please sign in to support this helpful bill.

Support SB 209, relative to providing menstrual hygiene products at no cost to individuals who biologically menstruate in state and county correctional facilities. This bill passed the full Senate on March 9 and has a public hearing in the House Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee on Wednesday, March 29 at 1:45 PM in the LOB, Room 202-204. Please sign in to show support for this good bill. It is scheduled to be voted on in executive session the following day.

Immigration News

The deadline is fast approaching for the submission of public comments regarding the Biden Administration's proposed asylum ban. (You can read more here.) The NH Immigrant Rights Network (NHIRN) will submit comments on Monday, March 27. You can review our draft comments here. We encourage you to submit your own comments since our goal is the highest possible number of unique comments. Please feel free to use our NHIRN comments as a guide, as well as your own experience with asylum seekers and your own work for humane immigration policies. Your comments can be brief and to the point. You can submit your comments via the AFSC asylum ban comment page, or directly to the Federal Register here. Remember that the deadline for public comment is the end of the day on Monday, March 27.

And while we work to protect asylum rights at the southern border, the US and Canada announced an agreement – made over a year ago but not publicized – that will turn away asylum seekers at the northern border. Read more here, here, and here.

Combined with Governor Sununu’s proposal for a Northern Border Alliance, and the efforts to promote collusion between local and state law enforcement and immigration enforcement in our own communities (SB 132), the environment is increasingly hostile and dangerous for migrants in NH and at our borders. Is this who we want to be?

Recommended Reading

How Does Divisive Concept Legislation Impact Students in New Hampshire? (by Mallory Langkau, March 22, 2023): “Students require freedom in their learning…. True and meaningful learning cannot happen if topics of interest or passion to a student are not accessible to them. Education is not equitable when students cannot learn about history and current issues that are representative of their identity or community. Divisive concept legislation is a threat to the liberating impacts of a meaningful education.”

A Snapshot of New Hampshire’s Workforce and the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic After Three Years (from NH Fiscal Policy Institute, March 23, 2023): “The ongoing constraints on New Hampshire’s economy and labor force that existed prior to the pandemic remain. A lack of access to affordable housing and childcare likely directly holds back economic growth and enhancements to the well-being of Granite State families. In the long-term, robust educational opportunities are crucial to helping ensure and retain a sufficient future workforce. Health-related supports, such as long-term care for older adults and enhanced methods of addressing long-term health and disability challenges, also provide opportunities to aid labor force participation. Targeted and intentional policy interventions can be deployed to help support an equitable and inclusive workforce and economy.”

Beyond the Dome

Congratulations to housing justice organizers in Manchester who filed the papers this week to officially register their community land trust, a first within the City of Manchester. Read more here. Three cheers for solidarity economics and community-based action for affordable housing.

And more cheers for Change for Concord whose leaders organized an inspiring community forum last weekend to build support for lights at Keach Park and a community that values its BIPOC residents, young people and new Americans. Read more in the Concord Monitor - Community leaders demand lights at Keach Park during public forum: “The importance of Keach Park in our community is that it serves as a vital place to bring people together, it’s good for mental health and it’s an essential space that fosters a sense of welcoming and belonging where different cultures can come together, share experiences and build relationships,” said [Samrawit] Silva, a member of Change for Concord. “It might seem like a small issue, but I firmly believe installing lights demonstrates the city’s commitment to investing in the community. If the city failed to address this issue, it would send the wrong message to its residents.”

Last Week at the State House

Last week demonstrated the importance and positive impact of community organizing, civic engagement, sustained issue advocacy and electing people who share our values of justice, equity, inclusion and commitment to the common good. Here are some highlights including wins for transgender rights, voting rights, public education, reproductive justice and access to healthcare.

HB 10, a so-called parental bill of rights that would require school personnel to ‘out’ students, (yes, a similar bill to SB 272), was tabled by a division vote of 193-192 after the committee’s recommendation of “ought to pass” and a proposed amendment failed. Read more here and here

HB 417, which would include gender-affirming healthcare in the definition of child abuse, was defeated by a voice vote. And HB 315, a good bill that would prohibit “provocations based on a victim’s actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation from being used as a defense in manslaughter cases,” passed by a voice vote after being amended to include a broader range of potential provocations, including religion, race, national origin and political affiliation.

HB 460, which would have denied eligible New Hampshire voters the right to vote if they failed to bring the proper documents with them on election day, was tabled by a voice vote.

HB 331, which would remove household income criteria from eligibility for education freedom account payments, and HB 538, which would create a local education freedom account program funded with municipal tax dollars, were both tabled. And HB 572, which expands eligibility for free school meals for households up to 300% of the federal poverty line, passed the full House. Yes, we should feed hungry students!

Two good reproductive rights bills passed the House: HB 88, the access to abortion care act; and HB 224, which repeals criminal penalties on doctors who perform abortions. Governor Sununu has indicated that he supports this bill. And HB 591, the near total abortion ban, was defeated decisively by a roll call vote of 271-110. Read more here and here.

Other wins include the following: The full Senate agreed to make expanded Medicaid permanent (read more here). The full House passed a bill which restores some key provisions to the plan for closing the Sununu Center (read more here). And the full House tabled HB 390 which would have dismantled the NH Commission for Native American Affairs, removing many New Hampshire indigenous leaders and giving a majority of seats to people selected by Vermont-based tribes.

LOB – Legislative Office Building (33 N. State St. Concord)
SH – State House (107 N. Main St. Concord)
TABLED – Laid on the table. A vote to put the bill ‘on the table’ means that no further action will be taken until the bill comes off the table. A 2/3 vote may be required to remove the bill from the table. After Crossover, tabled bills cannot be acted on for the remainder of the legislative year.
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.
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. Occurs when the speaker listens for whether yay or nay is louder (no votes are counted).
DV – Division vote. Votes are counted but names aren't recorded.
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.

Last week in the House

The House of Representatives was in session on Thursday, March 22 and 23. Here are the outcomes of the bills we’re tracking.

On the Consent Calendar

HB 417-FN, relative to the definition of child abuse. ITL by VV.

HB 389, relative to consumer protection relating to hospital price transparency. ITL by VV.

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. OTP by VV.
HB 305, relative to exceptions for violations related to Presidential Executive Orders governing the keeping or bearing of arms. ITL by VV.
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. The bill was amended to include an expanded list of prohibited defenses. OTP/A by VV.
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. OTP/A by VV.
HB 503-FN, relative to the rights afforded to a person accused of a crime. ITL by VV.

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. OTP/A by VV.
HB 452, relative to the department of education procedures for school building aid applications. OTP/A by VV.
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. ITL by VV.

HB 179, relative to the definition of electioneering. ITL by VV.
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. OTP/A by VV.
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. OTP/A by VV.
HB 402-FN, relative to prohibiting false statements against candidates. ITL by VV.
HB 478, relative to ballot order in the general election. ITL by VV.
HB 496, relative to the delivery of ballots to nursing homes and elder care facilities. ITL by VV.

HB 129-FN-LOCAL, This bill requires school districts to provide menstrual hygiene products at no cost to all menstruating students attending public schools. OTP/A by VV.
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. OTP by VV.

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

HB 346-FN, relative to the right of any infant born alive to appropriate medical care and treatment. ITL by VV.

CACR 3, relating to recall elections. Providing that the general court may authorize recall elections. ITL by VV.

On the Regular Calendar


HB 10-FN, establishing the parental bill of rights. TABLED by DV.

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. OTP/A by RC, 374-9.
HB 351-FN, relative to the negligent storage of firearms and relative to firearm safety devices. Indefinitely postponed.
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. OTP by VV.

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. OTP by RC, 192-191.
HB 61, relative to teaching on discrimination in the public schools and discrimination in public workplaces. TABLED by VV.
HB 204, relative to non-academic surveys in schools. TABLED by DV.
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. TABLED by RC, 277-103.
HB 371, establishing a commission to evaluate and recommend standards for public schools. TABLED by VV.
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. TABLED by DV, 309-72.
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. TABLED by VV.
HB 451, relative to the state board of education prohibition on discrimination. TABLED by VV.
HB 515, relative to education freedom accounts. TABLED by VV.
HB 516-FN, relative to freedom of speech and association at public institutions of higher education. TABLED by RC, 306-73.
HB 538-FN, establishing a local education freedom account program. TABLED by RC, 296-83.
HB 552-FN-A-LOCAL, relative to making incentive grants for school districts that improve in certain assessment scores. TABLED by VV.
HB 572-FN, relative to eligibility for free school meals. OTP/A by DV, 201-177.
HB 573-FN-A-LOCAL, limiting education freedom account funding to budgeted amounts. TABLED by VV.
HB 603-FN, relative to education service providers under the education freedom accounts program. TABLED by VV.
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. TABLED by VV
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. TABLED by VV.

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. TABLED by VV
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. TABLED by VV.
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. TABLED by VV.
HB 586, relative to absentee voting due to absence. TABLED by VV.

HB 56, relative to permits for the siting of new landfills. This bill establishes a formula for determining the distance for which a new landfill shall be located from a perennial river, lake, or coastal water. OTP/A by DV, 224-155.

HB 127, relative to the declaration of a state of emergency. OTP by RC, 193-185.
HB 339-FN, prohibiting the investment of state funds in any company participating in a boycott of Israel. TABLED by VV.
HB 390, revising the membership and structure of the New Hampshire commission on Native American affairs. TABLED by VV.
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. TABLED by DV, 299-55.
HR 11, relative to welcoming communities. ITL by DV, 185-177.

HB 49-FN-A, relative to postponing the closure of the Sununu Youth Services Center. OTP/A VV.

HB 114, relative to the age at which a minor may receive mental health treatment without parental consent. OTP by DV, 191-186.
HB 299-FN, prohibiting discrimination in medical care. TABLED by VV
HB 342-FN, relative to lead testing in children. OTP/A BY DV, 193-180.
HB 557-FN, relative to the department of health and human services’ rulemaking authority regarding immunization requirements. ITL by DV, 194-185.
HB 575-FN, relative to vaccine and pharmaceutical products purchased, promoted, or distributed by the state and its political subdivisions. ITL by RC, 192-186.
HB 582-FN, requiring the division of vital records to collect induced termination of pregnancy statistics. ITL by DV, 205-177.
HB 615-FN, requiring independent audits of reproductive health care facilities. TABLED by DV, 354-29.

CACR 2, relating to reproductive freedom. Providing that all persons have the right to make their own reproductive decisions. ITL by lack of necessary 3/5 vote (OTP by RC, 193-191).
HB 88, relative to reproductive rights. This bill provides that the state shall not restrict a woman's exercise of her private decision to terminate a pregnancy except as provided in RSA 329:43 - 329:50 and RSA 132:32 - 132:36. OTP by DV, 199-185.
HB 224-FN, repealing the criminal and civil penalties from the fetal life protection act. OTP by RC, 205-178.
HB 261, authorizing residential tenants to terminate their lease in instances of domestic violence or following a disabling illness or accident. OTP by DV, 193-191.
HB 271-FN, repealing the fetal life protection act. TABLED by VV.
HB 562-FN, requiring informed consent prior to receiving an abortion procedure. ITL by VV.
HB 591-FN, prohibiting abortions after detection of fetal heartbeat. ITL by RC, 271-110.

HB 150, relative to the certification of a collective bargaining unit. OTP by DV, 204-179.
HB 561, establishing a committee to examine workforce and school accommodations for those with long-term COVID and ME/CFS. TABLED by VV.

CACR 4, relating to compensation for legislators. Providing that legislators’ biennial salary compensation shall be increased. ITL by RC, 239-145.

HB 423, relative to accessory dwelling unit uses allowed by right. TABLED by DV, 203-178.

HB 205, relative to testing private wells. TABLED by VV.

HB 139, relative to the definition of “municipal host” for purposes of limited electrical energy producers. OTP by RC, 188-186.
HB 142, relative to the operation of the Burgess Biopower plant. OTP/A by RC, 269-109.

Last week in the Senate

The Senate was in session on Thursday, March 23. Here are the outcomes on the bills we’re tracking.

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. OTP/A by RC, 18-5.
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.  by TABLED by VV.
SB 151-FN, relative to mental health education. OTP by VV.
SB 175-FN, relative to Medicaid coverage for mothers. TABLED by VV.
SB 205-FN, relative to a cost-of-living adjustment in the state retirement system. TABLED by VV.
SB 231-FN, establishing a historic housing tax credit and making appropriations for workforce housing and affordable housing. TABLED by VV.
SB 249-FN, relative to the release of a defendant pending trial. OTP by VV.
SB 252-FN, relative to release of a defendant pending trial. OTP by VV.
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. OTP by VV.

SB 253, relative to parental access to a minor child’s medical records. OTP/A by RC, 13-10.

Coming up in House Committees

Monday, March 27

, Room 210-211, LOB
10 AM Executive Session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2024 and June 30, 2025; HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202-204, LOB
11 AM Executive Session on HB 639-FN-A, relative to the legalization and regulation of cannabis and making appropriations therefor.

Tuesday, March 28

Room 206-208, LOB
9:30 AM SB 206, prohibiting corporal punishment in child day care agencies.
10:15 AM SB 179, relative to eliminating the use of seclusion as a form of punishment or discipline on children in schools and treatment facilities.
11 AM SB 43, relative to a needs assessment for juvenile minors who are residents of New Hampshire.
1 PM SB 172-FN, allowing court-appointed guardians to receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families benefits.

FINANCE, Room 210-211, LOB
9 AM Executive Session on HB 430-FN-L, relative to applications for the education freedom accounts program; HB 529-FN-A-L, relative to additional aid grants for schools based on free and reduced price meals and fiscal capacity disparity; HB 540-FN-L, relative to adequate education grant amounts for pupils receiving special education services; HB 542-FN-A, establishing an academic research and improvement performance data analyst in the department of education; HB 560-FN-A, establishing a contact person notification program to assist law enforcement personnel who have contact with a person with mental or physical disabilities and making an appropriation therefor; HB 601-FN-L, relative to state participation in the Medicaid direct certification program for free and reduced price school meals; HB 620-FN, establishing a division of early learning in the department of education and relative to a pre-kindergarten pilot program; HB 626-FN, requiring the department of education to administer the education freedom account; HB 638-FN-L, relative to the extraordinary need grants to schools; HB 282-FN-A, relative to including certain children and pregnant women in Medicaid and the children’s health insurance program; HB 565-FN-A, relative to expanding Medicaid to include certain postpartum health care services.

Continued Executive Session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2024 and June 30, 2025; HB 2-FNA-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures, to immediately follow.

2:30 PM House Judiciary and Children and Family Law will hold a joint meeting to receive a presentation from the Chief Justice and other members of the Judicial Branch regarding the weighted caseload study, judicial resources, and the process and procedures that apply in the Family Division of the Circuit Court.

Wednesday, March 29

Room 202-204, LOB
9 AM SB 29, relative to repealing the statute relating to police matrons.
11 AM SB 245, relative to the inspection of hotel guest records.
1:45 PM SB 209, relative to providing menstrual hygiene products at no cost to individuals who biologically menstruate in state and county correctional facilities.
3:15 PM SB 251, establishing a committee to study the long-term impact of the New Hampshire adult parole system.

EDUCATION, Room 205-207, LOB
1:30 PM SB 152-FN, relative to New Hampshire workforce training programs.
2 PM SB 216, making changes to the requirements for civics education in schools.

10:30 AM SB 96, relative to state energy performance contracting.
11 AM SB 195-FN, relative to the purchase of steel products with the Buy America certification.
1:30 PM SB 207, establishing a committee to study licensure of mental health professionals and relative to mental health critical incident intervention and management.

FINANCE, Room 210-211, LOB

10 AM Continued Executive Session on HB 1-A, making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2024 and June 30, 2025; HB 2-FN-A-L, relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures.

9:30 AM SB 174, relative to veterans access to health care.
10 AM SB 30, relative to membership of the New Hampshire council on developmental disabilities.
10:30 AM SB 35, relative to RSV vaccine administration.
11 AM SB 50, relative to pharmaceutical drug take-back programs.
1 PM SB 85-FN-A, relative to emergency behavioral health services and behavioral health crisis programs.

Thursday, March 30

Room 202-204, LOB
9 AM Executive Session on SB 29, relative to repealing the statute relating to police matrons; SB 209, relative to providing menstrual hygiene products at no cost to individuals who biologically menstruate in state and county correctional facilities; SB 251, establishing a committee to study the long-term impact of the New Hampshire adult parole system.

EDUCATION, Room 205-207, LOB
10 AM SB 109, relative to school safety and coordination with law enforcement.
1 PM SB 272-FN, establishing a parents’ bill of rights in education.
1:45 PM SB 213, relative to educational institution policies on social media.

Friday, March 31

Room 104, LOB
9 AM Presentation by Mercatus Institute at George Mason University.
10:30 AM Presentation from NH Building Officials Association.
11:15 AM Presentation from the City of Dover Planning Department.
1 PM Presentation from Center for Ethics and Society at Saint Anselm College.

Coming up in the Senate

The Senate will meet in session on Thursday, March 30 starting at 10 AM.

On the Consent Calendar


HB 365, relative to a statewide facility condition assessment for school buildings. As introduced this bill encourages school districts to provide the Department of Education with long range capital improvement program outlines. This bill’s intent is to enhance school facility projects and school capital expenditure through recommending that each district has a long-range capital improvement plan, which would be reviewed and updated by the district every 2 years, that can be provided to the department of education in order to assess priority and to plan anticipated capital construction and renovation expenditures, relative to the state building aid program. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 5-0.
HB 466, relative to water bottle filling stations in schools. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 5-0.

SB 224, relative to housing opportunity zones and inclusionary zoning. This bill would have done two things: allowed municipalities the option of drafting their own zoning ordinances to require affordable units as part of new construction and update the criteria for the adoption of housing opportunity zones by a municipality to ensure that the economic viability of a development is maintained and housing units for low- and moderate-income families are available. The Committee determined that some further development of the language would be helpful to ensure these tools are effective for our towns and cities. Re-refer to Committee by a vote of 5-0.

SB 54-FN, relative to purchased power agreements for electric distribution utilities. This bill encourages the development of reliable, low-cost electricity by allowing investor-owned electric distribution utilities to enter into long-term power purchasing agreements with producers. This bill requires that utilities consult with the Office of the Consumer Advocate and the Department of Energy before entering into an agreement. Agreements would also require approval from the Public Utilities Commission. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 5-0.
SB 62, relative to landowner liability under RSA 147-B, the hazardous waste cleanup fund. This bill clarifies when a landowner is liable under RSA 147-B for hazardous waste and substances on their land. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 5-0.
SB 165, relative to the online energy data platform. This bill would require electrical utilities to jointly file with the Department of Energy, the Office of the Consumer Advocate, and a commission created by the bill, a proposal for an online platform which would publish information on New Hampshire energy prices. This platform would make the energy market more transparent to consumers. The proposal would have to include a budget. The bill would require the commission to study the proposal and then approve or defer implementation based on whether it would reduce costs for New Hampshire ratepayers. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 5-0.

SB 82, relative to prompt payments for managed care. Currently, some carriers are not processing some claims within the statutory deadlines. SB 82 will provide a further nudge on carriers to process and respond to claims in a timely manner, enabling patients to be made aware of their costs and allowing providers to be compensated for the care they’ve provided. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 5-0.
SB 116, relative to discharge from the secure psychiatric unit of the state prison. This bill modifies criteria for committal order durations and clarifies that it is the Commissioner for the Department of Health and Human Services that authorizes persons transferred to state hospitals. Rereferring SB 116 will allow more time for the agencies to meet and discuss the underlying issue, which may prove a legislative solution is not required. Re-refer to Committee by a vote of 5-0.

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.
Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 5-0.
SB 133-FN, relative to changing the date of the state primary election and creates runoff election for federal primary election. Committee recommends OTP-A by a vote of 4-1.
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 36-FN, relative to systems of care for healthy aging.
Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 7-0.
SB 86-FN, relative to health care workforce development and making appropriations therefor.
Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 7-0.
SB 104-FN-A, to regulate online gambling and direct net proceeds to a community college education scholarship fund. Committee recommends OTP/A by a vote of 5-2.
SB 132-FN, prohibiting cities and towns from adopting sanctuary policies. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 5-2.
SB 140-FN, relative to establishing a program for the recruitment of educators.
Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 7-0.
SB 145-FN, relative to New Hampshire housing champion designation for municipalities and making appropriations therefor. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 7-0.
SB 218-FN-A, establishing an early educator professional development grant. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 7-0.
SB 237-FN, relative to the childcare scholarship program and making an appropriation therefor.
Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 7-0.
SB 239-FN, relative to the use of harm reduction services to treat alcohol and other substance misuse. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 7-0.
SB 241-FN, relative to graduated public assistance programs. Committee recommends OTP/A by a vote of 7-0.
SB 242-FN, relative to Medicaid direct certification. Committee recommends OTP/A 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 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. Committee recommends ITL by a vote of 3-2.
SB 246, relative to disclosure of post-arrest photographs under the right to know law. Re-refer to Committee by a vote of 4-0.
HB 151, establishing a committee to study the issue of unmarried cohabitants, domestic partnerships, and common law marriage. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 3-1.
HB 240, relative to equal access to marriage. Committee recommends OTP by a vote of 4-0.

Coming up in Senate Committees

Tuesday, March 28

Room 101, LOB
9:15 AM HB 170, requiring the teaching of cursive handwriting and multiplication tables.
9:30 AM HB 377-FN, relative to screening and intervention in public schools and public charter
schools for dyslexia and related disorders, and establishing an addition to adequate education grants for certain pupils screened for dyslexia and related disorders.
9:45 AM HB 435, relative to relief aid calculation in determining grants for adequate education.

10 AM HB 335, relative to notice of tax lien on real estate subject to a lien for old age
10:15 AM HB 336, relative to the format of election ballots.

9 AM HB 233-FN, relative to useful thermal energy under the renewable portfolio standards.

1 PM HB 31-FN, repealing the prohibition on the possession or sale of blackjacks, slung shots, and metallic knuckles.
1:15 PM HB 97-FN, establishing an additional penalty for a violation of privacy.
1:30 PM HB 201-FN, relative to changing the penalties for driving without a license.

1:20 PM HB 111, establishing a committee to study electrical vehicle charging for residential

Wednesday, March 29

Room 103, SH
9:40 AM HB 440-FN, relative to the uses of education trust fund.


How To Improve Employment Outcomes for Young Adults Leaving Incarceration – New report featuring focus groups conducted with directly-impacted people and other relevant stakeholders, as well as new data analysis. The report explains how reentry policies can better support young people returning from incarceration. This population faces numerous obstacles to securing employment upon reentering society, including readiness barriers, which prevent them from being qualified and supported for available employment opportunities, and access barriers, which limit the number and types of jobs available to them. Check out this fact sheet identifying the toplines and an animated video illustrating the compounding obstacles facing these young people.

Economics For Emancipation: A Course on Capitalism, Solidarity & How We Get Free -  Free introductory online course about capitalism, solidarity and how we get free made through a collaboration between the Center for Economic Democracy (CED, a Rising Majority member) and Center for Popular Economics (CPE). This seven-module introductory curriculum includes interactive and participatory workshops. It offers a deep critical dive into the current political economic system, exploration of alternative economic systems, and dynamic tools to dream and build the economy that centers care, relationship, and liberation.

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.

Coalition Meetings

Much of the work we do happens through coalitions which enable us to stay informed, deepen our analysis, build power, grow our capacity and creativity and sustain our engagement.

NH Campaign for a People’s Budget – Meets monthly via Zoom on the first Friday at 10 AM. Hosted by AFSC. A diverse coalition of activists, advocates, faith leaders and others dedicated to realizing a state budget that invests in our communities’ health, education, recovery, opportunity, and vitality, funded by fair and adequate taxation that invites all of us to contribute to the common good in accordance with our ability to pay. Contact us at to learn more or to join.

NH Immigrant Rights Network – Meets monthly via Zoom on the third Tuesday at 9 AM. Hosted by AFSC. A network of New Hampshire organizations and individuals working to promote humane immigration policies at the federal, state, and local level, including the Drive Safe NH team which is leading the advocacy for driver license access for immigrants. Contact us at to learn more or to join.
NH Abolition Network – Meets monthly on the third Monday of the month at 6 PM.  
Gathers monthly to build relationships with partners across the state, deepen our understanding of abolition, and collaborate for justice in different parts of the criminal legal system, including with state legislative advocacy. Contact us at to learn more or to join.

NH Care Over Cost Monthly MeetingMeets monthly on the third Thursday of the month, 6 PM to 7 PM. Hosted by RAD. Join our New Hampshire Healthcare team for a monthly virtual meeting, where we'll discuss denials of medical treatments and medications and the appeals process to overturn denials of care. Find out ways we can help in your approach, learn to help others, and come together in a unifying mission to expose the greedy practices of large corporations that are profiting from our healthcare needs when we need a helping hand the most.

NH Medicaid Patients Community Meeting - Meets monthly on the first Thursday of the month, 6 PM to 7 PM. Hosted by RAD. Do you use Medicaid health insurance in New Hampshire? With the end of the federal Public Health Emergency, changes are coming that may impact what you need to do to maintain your coverage. Join us for a monthly meeting for anyone trying to keep continuous Medicaid coverage. We will talk about the latest updates and rule changes and listen to the issues that are arising for folks, both in general and with new programs rolling out. We will do our best to get your questions answered and will share helpful resources for more information.

GSOP Tenant Clinic (for NH Residents) – Meets weekly on Wednesdays, 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.

Umokuumani – Meets bi-weekly on Wednesdays at 6 PM. Hosted by AFSC. Black & African immigrants’ circle to connect, learn, collaborate, and share important information about immigration in the US and NH, and opportunities for action. Open to Black & African immigrants only. Contact us at to learn more or to join.

Change for Concord – Meets weekly on Fridays at 6 PM. Hosted by C4C. A diverse group of young adults, ages 18-30, who are working together to improve the quality of life for young adults in the Concord community. Contact us at, to learn more or to join.

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.

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.

Saturday, March 26

How Getting Money out of Politics Can Bring Americans Together - 4 PM to 5 PM.  Concord Unitarian Universalist Church, Fellowship Hall, 274 Pleasant Street, Concord. Hosted by Open Democracy. Join us for a conversation with Dr. Dan McMillan, author and founder of Save Democracy in America, a non-partisan campaign to get big money out of politics. Join for a discussion with Dan on his solution to the biggest flaw in our political system: our government is for sale to high-dollar campaign donors, and this is not government by the people. We will talk about how we can help fix this problem by making ourselves the donors.

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 advocate 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.

Thursday, March 30 to Sunday, April 2

MaineTransNet Creative Retreat 2023  - Lubec, ME. Hosted by MaineTransNet. MaineTransNet is an advocacy organization led by trans people for trans people. Our Creative Retreat was hatched on our discord server as a “what if…?” Lucky for us, has become a reality. With some grant funding and generosity from Cobscook Institute, we are able to host our community in rural Maine/Passamaquoddy Homeland for a 3 night creative exploration. We are going to a place to be together, to imagine, explore, expand our ideas and imagery. Participants have the option to engage in workshops around visual art, poetry, dance/movement, and theater. Participants will also have time to rest and have their own creative downtime.

Tuesday, April 4

Women's Leadership in Public Service – 5:30 PM to 7 PM. UNH MUB Strafford Room (level 2), 83 Main Street, Durham. Hosted by New Hampshire Women’s Foundation and UNH Political Science. Join us for a roundtable discussion with elected leaders at UNH in Durham. New Hampshire Women’s Foundation CEO Tanna Clews will be joined by Representative Jess Gill, Assistant Mayor Joanna Kelley and Representative Marjorie Smith to discuss on how women can lead in their communities through public service.

Friday, April 7

Reimagining Self-care: A Community Conversation - 6 PM to 7:30 PM. Arlington Street Community Center, 36 Arlington Street, Nashua. Hosted by the Chewlin Group. A free community conversation around redefining self-care and applying a critical lens to the ways we that take care of our minds and bodies. This three-session series begins April 7. Each date is its own stand-alone session. Registration can be found here.

Monday, April 10

The Beauties & the Beasts of NH Environment, Energy & Climate Bills  - 5:30 PM to 6:45 PM. Hosted by NH Network for Environment-Energy-Climate. Join us for an evening with three prominent NH legislators and two scientists to discuss “the Beauties” and “the Beasts” – the environment, energy and climate bills that have survived committee, House or Senate to “cross over” to the other chamber of the Legislature. Of special concern this year is the threat of toxic pollution from “Advanced Recycling.”  Scientists Walter and Ellickson will explain the science of measuring cumulative effects, which could make a difference in legislation to provide safeguards for new (and old) technologies. We’ll discuss bills that should be supported, those to oppose, and why.

The Newly Passed Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and PUMP Act: What State & Local Partners Need to Know - 3 PM. Hosted by A Better Balance. Join us for a webinar about the newly passed federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act. This webinar is designed for state and local partners and allies in the gender & women’s rights, racial justice, economic justice, maternal and infant health, labor, and social services spaces (among others!). Come learn what you should know about these new laws, including what they do, how they work, the significance of the laws, interaction with other federal/state/local laws, what’s next, and more!

Sunday, April 16

Love’s Gonna Carry Us: A Singalong Concert – 4 PM. 11 Oxbow Pond Road, Canterbury. Hosted by Concord Friends Meeting. Join us for a benefit concert for the Asylum Seeker Support Fund featuring Annie Patterson and Peter Blood, creators of “Rise Up Singing” and “Rise Again” songbooks. Annie & Peter’s songbooks have created a quiet revolution of group singing across North America. This concert offers a rare opportunity to meet the creators of these popular songbooks and experience their gifts of nurturing community and resilience through song.

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!