State House Watch: May 5, 2024

By Maggie Fogarty, Grace Kindeke, and Kathleen Wooten

“The world is like a seesaw out of balance: on one side is a box of big rocks, tilting it its way. On the other side is a box, and a bunch of us with teaspoons, adding a little sand at a time. One day, all of our teaspoons will add up, and the whole thing will tip, and people will say, 'How did it happen so fast?’” ― Pete Seeger

“We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers.” ― Bayard Rustin

May 5, 2024

Greetings, State House Watchers! 

We celebrated International Workers Day with good friends last week. Many thanks to all who joined us in Concord for this important remembrance and a call to action for immigrant justice in the workplace and at our State House. And thanks to our friend John Raby for his recent opinion column in Common Dreams.

We express solidarity with student protesters at the University of New Hampshire and Dartmouth College, and throughout the country, who are engaged in sustained acts of nonviolent protest for a just peace in Palestine and Israel, including calls for their universities to divest from companies profiting from the war. 

AFSC recently joined human rights leaders throughout the US in issuing the following statement: “We commend the students who are exercising their right to protest peacefully despite an overwhelming atmosphere of pressure, intimidation and retaliation, to raise awareness about Israel's assault on Gaza–with U.S. weapons and funding. These students have come forth with clear demands that their universities divest from corporations profiting from Israeli occupation and demanding safe environments for Palestinians across their campuses. The students’ courage and determination in the face of adversity inspire us all to take action and speak out against injustice wherever it occurs. As they risk everything right now, it is critical that all of us do everything we can to support them.”

We are alarmed and angered by the immediate and disproportionate use of armed police to silence these protests on two NH campuses (read more here), and we agree with the statement from Devon Chaffee of ACLU-NH, that “the use of police force against peaceful protestors should never be a first resort.” Take action by signing and sharing this letter from NH Youth Movement.

We’re encouraged by the news that student protestors and administrators at Brown University reached an agreement last week that includes a commitment to a vote on a divestment proposal at the October meeting of the University’s corporation. Read more here. We recommend this resource for divestment campaigns, produced by AFSC.

In related good news, the full House voted last week to defeat SB 439, a bill which would have prohibited the State of NH from doing business with companies that participate in nonviolent protests against the policies of the Israeli government. 

In related troubling news, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the NH House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee have approved language that would conflate criticism of the policies of the Israeli government with antisemitism and hate speech. The ACLU expressed their opposition to such language in a February letter to the US Secretary of Education. In Congress, the measure passed the U.S. House on May 1 by a vote of 320-91. Read more here and here. In New Hampshire, the action came in the form of an amendment to SB 508, a bill intended to address the mental health and substance use disorder needs of residents at county jails. The amendment was unanimously approved in committee on Wednesday and will be on the consent calendar on Thursday, May 9. 

In what the plaintiff’s attorneys call the “largest civil settlement in New Hampshire history,” a jury granted a $38 million settlement to David Meehan for the violence and lasting harm he experienced at the hands of staff at the Sununu Youth Services Center, formerly known as the Youth Development Center (YDC). Read more here. The outcome is an encouraging sign for the many hundreds of others who are preparing to seek justice in the court system for their treatment at YDC. We are also pleased to see that the NH House of Representatives voted last week to approve SB 591-FN-A, a bill that will expand the YDC settlement caps and parameters. Read more here

We are moved by Ann Podlipny’s recent op-ed in the Concord Monitor, New Hampshire, it’s time to acknowledge the stories of suffering, which honors the strength of those who push through institutional indifference, discrimination, and unhealed trauma to speak their truth and demand justice. She reminds us that, in addition to seeking just resolutions to these cases, there is another important step for authorities to take: “It is my fervent hope that the state of New Hampshire issues a formal apology from those of us who have recently learned about or were formerly complicit in the collective abuse of children in state care. To the extent that it could ever be meaningful or healing or do any good whatsoever, we offer a sincere and profound apology.”

Here's a roundup of some genuinely good outcomes from last week’s voting day in the NH House and Senate: 

Thanks to a motion to table by Representative Jonah Wheeler, and the votes of all Democrats and eight Republicans, the so-called ‘anti-sanctuary cities’ bill, SB 563, has been defeated for now. Read more here. We will have to remain vigilant, however, because advocates for this anti-immigrant proposal are likely to try to find other ways to bring the bill back to life before the end of the session. 

We are also delighted to see that NH House members voted to “indefinitely postpone” debate on SB 341, relative to mandatory disclosure by school district employees to parents. This “forced outing” bill had been approved by the NH Senate but is now defeated for the year.  Another anti-LGBTQ+ bill, SB 375, which would deny transgender students access to school sports teams that align with their gender identity, was also defeated in the full House last week by being referred for interim study. A similar bill, HB 1205, remains alive, however, and is currently being considered in the Senate Education Committee. See our Action Alert below.

The House also agreed to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18 years old, thanks to a multi-year effort by Representative Cassandra Levesque of Barrington, who has championed the issue since she was first elected. Read more here.

And we’re also glad to see the defeat of bills that would have imposed mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug-related offenses. Representative Linda Harriott Gathright of Nashua explained that “Mandatory minimums are outdated, one-size-fits-all solutions that are an ineffective use of taxpayer dollars in addressing the opioid epidemic in our state…. The bottom line is our country has already tried this approach.” Read more here.

In good news for tenant rights, the NH Senate voted to defeat HB 1115 by referring it for interim study. The bill would erode tenant protections by expanding the definition of “just cause” for eviction to include the completion of the lease period. 

We’re disappointed but not surprised to see that the NH Senate majority defeated two bills that would have brought greater accountability to the new and yet-to-be justified Northern Border Alliance Program - HB 1054-A, which would remove the phrase "non-lapsing" from the funding for the program; and HB 1528, which would require additional data collection for the program. We’ll continue to work with our partners to oppose this misguided and problematic initiative. Next year is a budget-writing year.


Support Immigrant Communities 
OPPOSE HB 1118, relative to the issuance of drivers’ licenses for aliens temporarily residing in New Hampshire. In addition to an offensive title, this bill will harm immigrant communities by denying driver license access to groups of noncitizens who are currently eligible. The bill would also add a citizenship marker to driver licenses, which can promote discriminatory treatment. The bill has a public hearing in Senate Judiciary, Room 100, SH on Tuesday, April 7 at 1 PM. Please contact the committee, and sign in to oppose and share testimony.

Honor Juneteenth 
SUPPORT SB 481, relative to establishing Juneteenth, June 19, as an annual holiday. The full House will vote on this bill on Thursday, May 9. We are disappointed that the committee unanimously recommended defeat for this bill, opting instead for the current practice of a proclamation. Black history is American history, and we must honor the truth of our past. Please urge your Representatives to overturn the committee recommendation and support this bill. (See our upcoming events below for a list of Juneteenth celebrations across the state.)

Protect LGBTQ+ Rights 
OPPOSE HB 1205, relative to women's school sports. This bill requires schools to designate athletics by sex and prohibits biological males from participating in female athletics. It also creates various causes of action based on violations of the provisions in the bill. This harmful bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate Education Committee. Please contact the committee and urge them to recommend ITL.

Last Week at the State House

LOB – Legislative Office Building (33 N. State St. Concord)
SH – State House (107 N. Main St. Concord)
OTP – “Ought to Pass,” the recommendation for approving a bill or an amendment
OTP/A – Ought to Pass with Amendment
ITL – “Inexpedient to Legislate,” the recommendation for defeating a bill or an amendment. 
ITL” can also be used as a verb.
“Without Recommendation” - This indicates that the committee vote was a tie for both ITL and OTP.  During the House session, these bills will be considered first as Ought to Pass.
Re-refer – When a Senate committee wishes to hold onto a bill for further consideration. The recommendation to re-refer must be approved in the full Senate. The committee will have until the end of the calendar year to meet about the bill and make a recommendation for further action. 
VV – Voice vote. Votes are not counted.
RC – Roll call vote. Each legislator’s vote is recorded and attributed to them.
DV – Division vote. Votes are counted but not attributed to individual legislators.

Last Week in the House
The full House met in session on Thursday, May 2. You can watch it here. Here are the outcomes of the bills we’re tracking.

SB 407-FN, relative to direct pay for ambulance services. This bill requires insurers to directly reimburse ambulance service providers at the usual and customary rate for such services or at the rate negotiated by the insurer and ambulance service provider. OTP-A by VV. Referred to Finance.

SB 362, relative to body-worn cameras. This bill clarifies the circumstances in which body-worn cameras may be copied, distributed, or used in certain criminal, juvenile, or administrative proceedings. OTP by VV. Referred to Finance.
SB 420, relative to requiring an additional report from the legislative study committee concerning the long-term impact of the New Hampshire adult parole system. OTP by VV.
SB 424, relative to reductions of maximum sentences while on parole. This bill requires the supervising probation/parole officer to conduct an annual review of his or her parole caseload to identify and present parolees to the adult parole board for reduction of the parolee's maximum sentence and provides additional factors for the parole board to consider when determining whether to grant a reduction of a parolee's maximum sentence. OTP by VV.
SB 564, relative to crimes involving child sexual abuse images. This bill expands the definition of "child" under the child sexual abuse images statute to include those images that are portrayed to be a person under the age of 18 and are thus indistinguishable from a child. OTP by VV.
SB 578, relative to criminal pretrial services and monitoring. This bill prohibits criminal defendants on pretrial release from being required to pay for pretrial services or monitoring, including electronic monitoring, with the cost instead to be paid by the court where the defendant is charged or through appropriations to the agency performing the pretrial services and monitoring. This bill further requires the agency performing the pretrial services and monitoring to use the least restrictive interventions that are necessary unless otherwise ordered by the court. Referred to interim study by VV.
SB 591, modifying definitions, claims procedures, and funding relating to the youth development center settlement fund and claims administration. OTP by VV. Referred to Finance.

SB 217, establishing a rural and underserved area educator incentive program for higher education and making an appropriation therefor. OTP-A by VV.
SB 338, relative to the education professional standards board. OTP-A by VV.
SB 339, relative to repealing the graduation requirement regarding Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications. This bill removes requirements that students file a free application for federal student aid form (FAFSA) or a waiver for such form prior to graduation and removes all references to the FAFSA. ITL by VV.
SB 374, relative to the licensing of part-time teachers. This bill defines "part-time teacher." ITL by VV.
SB 375, relative to biological sex in student athletics. This bill requires school sports teams to be expressly designated as male, female, or coed, and prohibits biologically male students from participating in female designated sports or entering female locker rooms. Referred to interim study by DV, 118-233.
SB 377, establishing the achieving a better life experience (ABLE) savings account program administrative fund. OTP by VV.
SB 442, relative to student eligibility for education freedom accounts. This bill would increase the annual income threshold for an Education Freedom Account (EFA) from 350% to 400% of the federal poverty guidelines, extend the period of phase-out grants from 2026 to 2029, reduce the amount the scholarship organization may retain for administrative purposes from a maximum of 10% to 8%, and provide that EFA students may enroll in public school academic courses in grades 7-12 with the public school receiving an additional 0.15 pupil cost for each course taken by the EFA student. ITL by VV.

SB 409, relative to reimbursement for ambulance services under the state Medicaid plan. This bill directs the department of health and human services to submit an amendment to the state Medicaid plan regarding reimbursement for ambulance services. OTP-A by VV.

SB 404, relative to expanding childcare professionals' eligibility for the childcare scholarship program. OTP-A by VV.

On the Regular Calendar

SB 359, raising the age of marriage to 18 years of age. This bill changes the minimum age for marriage from 16 to 18 years of age. OTP by DV, 192-174.
SB 417, relative to out-of-home placements for children. This bill revises criteria for out-of-home placement of children under the child protection act and other juvenile statutes and establishes an order of preference based on placement with the child's siblings, when possible, and proximity to the child's community of origin. OTP by RC, 191-174.

SB 248, relative to bail for a defendant. This bill amends the statute governing bail and pretrial release to include provisions for pretrial detention for commission of certain offenses that would create a presumption that the defendant is a danger to the public. Referred to interim study by VV.
SB 316, establishing a penalty for a person who transports fentanyl class drugs into New Hampshire with the intent to distribute. This bill establishes a crime and mandatory minimum penalty for transporting into New Hampshire with the intent to distribute fentanyl class drugs. ITL by VV.
SB 376, relative to establishing a corrections education and vocational planning group. OTP by DV, 192-170.
SB 414, relative to establishing a mandatory minimum sentence for the crime of distribution of a controlled drug with death resulting. Laid on table.
SB 563, relative to federal immigration enforcement. This bill prohibits state and local government entities from adopting sanctuary policies to prohibit or impede the enforcement of federal immigration law. Laid on table by RC 188-177.

SB 341, relative to mandatory disclosure by school district employees to parents. This bill requires all school employees to respond ‘honestly and completely’ to written requests by parents regarding information relating to their children. Indefinitely postponed by RC, 185-176.

SB 380, relative to moving the state primary date. This bill moves the state primary date to June. Indefinitely postponed by RC 189-178.

SB 439, relative to prohibiting discriminatory boycotts of Israel in state procurement and investments. ITL by VV.

SB 403, relative to health care workforce investments. This bill extends the deadlines of the legislative commission on the interdisciplinary primary care workforce issues, makes clarifying amendments to the home health care provider and nurse practice act statutes, establishes the position of and regulation of community health workers, establishes various programs and provides appropriations therefor focused on community health and health care employment. OTP-A by RC, 188-178.
SB 456, relative to establishing a nurse retention school loan debt relief program. OTP by DV, 187-177.
SB 496, directing the department of health and human services to establish a climate and health protection program. ITL by RC, 186-182.
SB 567, relative to protecting and expanding access to abortion medications. This bill directs the department of health and human services to protect and expand access to critical medications for reproductive health that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. OTP by RC, 184-182.

SB 538, relative to zoning procedures concerning residential housing. This bill establishes a tax relief program for office conversion to residences; enables municipalities to allow its governing body to adopt certain zoning ordinance changes; and adds additional authority in zoning powers for parking requirements and lot size requirements related to sewer infrastructure. ITL by RC, 188-173.

SB 476, making a capital appropriation to the department of corrections toward the replacement of the New Hampshire state prison for men. This bill makes a bonded appropriation of funds for architectural, engineering, programming, and design and construction documents for the New Hampshire state prison for men. OTP by RC, 217-144.

SB 454, increasing the annual real estate transfer tax revenue contribution to the affordable housing fund. Laid on table.

Last Week in the Senate
The Senate met in full session on Thursday, May 2. You can watch it here. Here are the outcomes of bills we’re tracking.

On the Consent Calendar

HB 283, to limit application fees charged to prospective residential tenants. This bill limits the rental application fee and other fees charged by a landlord as part of the rental application process for a residential property. OTP by VV.
HB 398, relative to notice of PFAS and other groundwater contamination prior to the sale of real property. OTP-A by VV.
HB 1115, relative to the termination of tenancy at the expiration of the tenancy or lease term. Referred to interim study by VV.

HB 546, relative to the school building aid program. This bill requires a minimum of $50,000,000 per fiscal year to be transferred to the school building aid fund, in addition to any debt service payments, for school building aid grants. OTP by VV.
HB 1048, relative to the commission on Holocaust and genocide education. This bill extends the date of the issuance of the final report of the commission on Holocaust and genocide studies from 2024 to 2027. OTP by VV.
HB 1163, relative to review of public school minimum standards by the legislative oversight commission. This bill requires the legislative oversight committee to review and make recommendations relating to minimum standards for public school approval under consideration by the state board of education. OTP by VV.
HB 1235, relative to high school students serving as school board members. This bill allows student government to establish up to 3 student school board member positions. OTP by VV.
HB 1305, relative to freedom of speech and association at public institutions of higher education. OTP-A by VV.

HB 653-FN, prohibiting personal recognizance bail for violent crimes. This bill lists certain offenses which, if committed by the defendant, create a presumption that a defendant is a danger to the public and shall be detained for up to 36 hours. The bill also provides that a person who commits an offense while on bail shall be detained without bail pending a hearing before a judge. OTP-A by VV.

HB 1168, establishing a committee to study the impact of the housing crisis on people with disabilities. OTP-A by VV.

HB 593, relative to the forfeiture of assets in connection with a drug offense. OTP-A by VV.
HB 1002, relative to fees for records under the right-to-know law. This bill establishes parameters for when a public body may charge a fee for records provided under RSA 91-A. OTP by VV.
HB 1214, relative to establishing a committee to study best practices for the development of a restorative justice model for misdemeanor-level behavior and hate crimes committed by juveniles under the age of eighteen. OTP by VV.

On the Regular Calendar

HB 1066, relative to the graduation requirement of filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This bill changes the requirement for school districts, public academies, and chartered public schools to provide information to students on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and repeals the reporting requirement on the number of students provided in-person school assistance on completing the FAFSA. OTP by VV.

HB 1003, relative to name changes for inmates, parolees, and convicted violent felons. This bill increases the individuals who are subject to notice requirements and a showing of a compelling reason before he or she will be permitted to change his or her name to include those convicted of certain violent felonies. This bill also requires that notice be provided to the initial prosecuting jurisdiction of both the petition and the probate court's order. OTP-A by RC, 24-0.
HB 1252, relative to establishing a committee to study the needs of Native Americans in New Hampshire. ITL by VV.
HB 1456, relative to the appointment of the members of the board of tax and land appeals and the housing appeals board. This bill requires that the members of the board of tax and land appeals and the housing appeals board be appointed by the governor and council, after a public hearing before the executive council. OTP-A by VV.

HB 1054, relative to the Northern Border Alliance Program fund. This bill lapses the northern border alliance fund and ends its continuous appropriation to the department of safety. ITL by RC, 14-10.
HB 1528, relative to reporting by the northern border alliance program. This bill requires the semi-annual report issued by the northern border alliance program to include additional reporting statistics. ITL by RC, 14-10.

HB 470, relative to fentanyl test strips and other drug checking equipment. This bill amends the definition of drug paraphernalia to exclude drug checking equipment and authorizes the use of drug checking equipment. ITL by VV.
HB 1276, relative to repealing the prohibition on the possession or sale of blackjacks, slung shots, and metallic knuckles except by or to minors. Referred to interim study by VV.

Next Week in the House
The full House will be in session on Thursday, May 9, starting at 10 AM. You can watch it here. They will also meet to vote on May 23, May 30 and June 13.

On the Consent Calendar

SB 426-FN, relative to the possession of controlled drugs in motor vehicles. This bill amends the requirements for transporting certain cannabis products in vehicles. Committee recommends OTP. 
SB 508-FN, relative to the duties of the superintendent of the county department of corrections concerning mental health and substance use disorder screening of inmates and coordination for services upon reentry into the community. This bill requires the superintendent of the county department of corrections to require his or her contracted behavioral health treatment providers to use validated screening tools for mental health and substance use disorder and to, where such providers exist, permit licensed community-based treatment providers who meet the security criteria for access to the facility to have contact with people in custody for the purpose of coordinating services upon reentry into the community. The bill has been amended to adopt a problematic and overly broad definition of antisemitism. Committee recommends OTP-A.

SB 481, relative to establishing Juneteenth, June 19, as an annual holiday. This bill establishes Juneteenth as an annual holiday. Committee recommends ITL.

SB 605, relative to ethical standards for members of the general court. This bill defines "organization" for the purpose of determining the ethical duties of members of the general court. Committee recommends OTP-A.

SB 531, relative to background checks of municipal health officers. This bill provides that municipalities shall be responsible for reviewing criminal background checks of nominated health officers, with oversight of appointments by the department of health and human services. The bill is a request of the department of health and human services. Committee recommends OTP.

On the Regular Calendar


SB 459-FN, relative to the presumption of harm under the child protection act. This bill revises certain definitions under the child protection act, including the definitions of abused child, neglected child, and imminent harm.  The bill also revises circumstances creating a rebuttable presumption of harm and removes the prospective repeal of the section.  Finally, the bill expands the child abuse reporting requirement to include health care providers who treat a child under 13 years of age for a sexually transmitted disease. Committee recommends OTP-A.

SB 537-FN, allowing the processing of absentee ballots. This bill allows for the preprocessing of absentee ballots. Without recommendation.

SB 185-FN, relative to protective services for vulnerable adults and the definition of abandonment. This bill adds the definition of abandonment to the protective services to adults subdivision of RSA 161-F on elderly and adult services. Committee recommends ITL. 
SB 413-FN, relative to civil actions for PFAS contamination. This bill creates a civil action for certain PFAS contamination. Without recommendation.
SB 507-FN, extending the time to petition for a new trial in certain cases. This bill extends the time to petition a court for a new trial in certain cases. Committee recommends interim study. 

SB 383-FN, relative to local tax caps. This bill creates an additional adjustment to local tax caps based on inflation and population changes.  The bill also establishes procedures for adoption of a budget cap by school districts. Committee recommends OTP-A. 
SB 532-FN, relative to requiring all municipalities and school governing bodies to post on their official town or school website within 30 days the amount of funds received by the state either by allocation or grant. This bill requires all municipalities and school governing bodies to post on their official town or school website within 30 days the amount of funds received by the state either by allocation or grant. Committee recommends OTP-A.

SB 387-FN, relative to a state parks pass pilot program for recovery centers and community health centers. This bill requires the establishment of a 3-year pilot program for state parks passes for recovery centers and community health centers registered with the department of health and human services. Committee recommends interim study.

Next Week in House Committees

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

Tuesday, May 7

10:45 AM SB 503, relative to requiring a criminal background check when applying for a fish and game guide license.

1:30 PM Executive session on SB 501, relative to driver licenses for noncitizens residing in New Hampshire; and SB 358-FN, relative to invalidating out-of-state driver’s licenses issued to undocumented immigrants.

Wednesday, May 8

10:00 AM Subcommittee work session on SB 517, relative to the employment status of university students working in educational programs.

Next Week in the Senate
The full Senate will not meet in session next week.

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

Tuesday, May 7

9:30 AM Hearing on proposed non-germane Amendment #2024-1658s, relative to residential parking spaces and the removal of unauthorized occupants of residential real property, to HB 1400, relative to residential parking spaces.
10:20 AM HB 1291, relative to accessory dwelling unit uses allowed by right.
10:00 AM HB 1201, relative to payment of wages for deceased employees.

9:00 AM HB 1311, relative to school district collection development and reconsideration policies.
9:10 AM HB 1014, relative to instruction in government and civics, including information on election laws and voting.
9:20 AM HB 1450, requiring the university system of New Hampshire and the community college system of New Hampshire to further work toward implementing comprehensive higher education alignment strategies and findings identified in the governor’s public higher education task force report.

9:45 AM HB 1119, relative to absentee ballots.
10:00 AM HB 1124, relative to limiting conflicts of interest for municipal board and committee members.
10:30 AM HB 1521, relative to recovery houses. 
10:10 AM HB 1175, relative to the official ballot referendum form of town meetings.
10:45 AM Hearing on proposed non-germane Amendment #2024-1493s, Housing Appeals Board RSA 679:5 IV, to HB 1215, relative to development approvals and appeals.

1:00 PM HB 1118, relative to the issuance of drivers’ licenses for aliens temporarily residing in New Hampshire.
1:15 PM HB 1127, relative to the revocation and suspension of drivers’ licenses.
1:30 PM HB 1204, relative to government agent entries into secured premises.
1:45 PM HB 1415, relative to PFAS facility liability.

Wednesday, May 8

9:00 AM HB 1388, relative to recusal by members of the general court for conflicts of interest.
9:30 AM HB 1385-FN, relative to establishing the veteran licensing acceleration program and making an appropriation therefor.
9:45 AM HB 1666-FN, relative to income reporting requirements for lobbyists.

Upcoming Events & Actions

Every Wednesday
Solemn Vigils for Ceasefire now! Humanitarian access to Gaza! No tax dollars for war crimes! – Join us from 2 PM to 3 PM. Hosted by NH Peace Action, AFSC, & interfaith partners.
May 8: Congressman Chris Pappas, Dover District Office, 660 Central Avenue, Dover. We’ll be joined by Veterans for Peace passing through NH on their PeaceWalk 2024, from Maine to Washington, DC.

Every Thursday 
Meeting for Worship with Attention to Peace in Palestine & Israel - 5:30 PM. Hosted by AFSC.

Solemn Vigils for Ceasefire Now – 12 noon at City Hall Plaza, in front of the State House, Concord

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

Save the Dates 
African & Black Diaspora Learning Series – Hosted by AFSC. Join us for an 8 session workshop series that will run from June 2024 through September 2024 and is designed to build community amongst Black and African community members locally and across the country, sharing our backgrounds, cultures and experiences in an open, inclusive and welcoming environment. Workshops will focus on key topics in diasporic history, systems of oppression, and movements for justice, incorporating cultural and trauma-informed wellness practices to develop participants' capacity for leadership in local and national work for immigrant and economic justice.

#VoteTogetherNH Community Conversations - Join us on Fridays, 5 PM to 7 PM as we discuss issues that matter most to us and prepare to speak to our state and federal candidates over the coming weeks. At each of our events, we'll hear community members' stories about the issue, as well as some proposed solutions from policy advocates. We'll prepare together key messages to bring to candidates for elected office between now and the general election in November.

Here's the schedule for the events that we have planned. All the events are free of charge. We can't wait to see you there!

May 10 - Affordable Housing - BarCode, 1055 Elm St, Manchester, NH 03101
May 24 -  LGBTQ+ Rights - Concord Community Center, 14 Canterbury Rd, Concord, NH 03301
June 7 - Immigrant rights - Center for New Americans/YWCA, 72 Concord St, Manchester, NH 03101  

Solid Foundations: Gubernatorial Candidate Forums on the Wellbeing of Kids in the Granite State - 10 AM to 11 AM – NH Institute of Politics, St. Anselm College, Manchester. Hosted by Save the Children Action Network. During this pivotal moment to invest in educating the public about the importance of issues facing New Hampshire families, particularly around early childhood education and child hunger.

May 9 – Cinde Warmington
May 10 – Chuck Morse
May 13 – Kelly Ayotte
May 14 – Joyce Craig 

Sunday, May 5
International Worker’s Day Rally – 3 PM. Veteran’s Park, Manchester. Hosted by Party for Socialism & Liberation. 

Tuesday, May 7
What We Saw in Eagle Pass: Panel Discussion - 5 PM to 6 PM. Hosted by Witness at the Border. We held a 15-day vigil on the banks of the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, TX. Join us for a webinar to learn about what we saw and to discuss the current situation in Eagle Pass and share ideas on what we can do to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis being caused by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Operation Lone Star.

Wednesday, May 8 
Veterans for Peace – PeaceWalk 2024 – from Maine to Washington, DC – We’ll be walking for the well-being of all people, for peace and an end to the threat of nuclear war and all wars, and for an environment that supports all life. PeaceWalk 2024 will be open to all who love peace and want to walk for it. Folks can join the walk for as little or as long as they wish. Walkers will be in Dover, NH on Wednesday, May 8 at 2 PM, joining the Vigil for Ceasefire at the Dover District Office of Congressman Chris Pappas, 660 Central Avenue; and then at Dover Friends Meeting, 141 Central Avenue for refreshments and informal visiting; and then at Community Church of Durham, 17 Main Street, Durham, for a formal program starting at 6 PM. All are welcome!

Surveillance, Criminalization, and Punishment (Spring 2024 Speaker Series) - Toward Data Justice: Countermobilization and Community Control - 4:30 PM. Hosted by Harvard Kennedy School. Will modern surveillance, AI, predictive policing, facial recognition, and more shrink the criminal legal system’s footprint or expand criminalization into new domains? On balance, will new technology improve our flawed systems or entrench existing and new harms? We’ll be joined by academics, practitioners, and impacted community members to unpack cutting-edge technological advancements in criminalization and punishment—exploring improvements to the administration of justice and the reproduction of hierarchies of control and domination.

Think Twice Toolkit: Building Skills for Police Alternatives - 8 PM. Hosted by AFSC. Join us for an empowering 4-part series designed to equip you with a comprehensive toolkit of police alternatives and personal skills. Register once for all 4 sessions and attend as many as you can

Thursday, May 9
Apartheid-Free Webinar: The Palestinian Experience in Israel - 12 PM to 1 PM. Hosted by AFSC. Join us as guest speaker Muhammad Zeidan will discuss the realities of apartheid in occupied Palestine and the discrimination faced by the Arab minority within Israel. Muhammad Zeidan was the former director of the Arab Association for Human Rights in occupied Palestine. He has dedicated his career to safeguarding the political, civil, economic, and cultural rights of the Palestinian Arab minority within Israeli territories.

No To Patterns: The Live Experience - 7 PM to 8:30 PM. 3S Artspace - 319 Vaughan St. Portsmouth. Engage. Connect. Change the patterns. At the May NTP event, host Courtney Daniel will welcome us all into an evening of conversation focusing on the theme of "Learning to Lean on Community" with featured panelists: Kaylee Donovan, founder and CEO of The Gallery and Gene Martin, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute. 

Friday, May 10
Affordable Housing Community Conversation - #VoteTogetherNH – 5 PM to 7 PM at Barcode, Manchester. Join our #VoteTogetherNH team for the first of 6 community conversations focused on the issues that matter most to us this election year. On May 10 we’ll be joined by guest speaker Elissa Margolin from Housing Action NH. Learn more about how we got here, what the solutions are and how we can engage with our candidates about what we need from them. Your experiences matter! Register here

Monday, May 13
Strengthening the Foundations of a Thriving Economy: Income and Poverty - 11 AM to 12 PM. Hosted by NH Fiscal Policy Institute. Despite New Hampshire having the lowest poverty rate among the 50 U.S. states as measured by the Official Poverty Measure, high housing costs and other living expenses indicate more hardships and financial insecurity for Granite Staters near the federal poverty threshold. NHFPI will share the latest information on income, poverty, and cost of living across New Hampshire, highlighting key challenges to household budgets and the effects of taxes on household finances.

Utility Justice: Volunteer Interest Meeting – 6 PM to 7 PM. Hosted by 350NH. Our utility companies’ interests are intertwined with the fossil fuel industry. Electricity prices in New Hampshire have fluctuated wildly because of our over-reliance on fracked gas, yet companies like Liberty and Eversource continue to pursue efforts to increase fracked gas imports. These companies also continue to make record profits at a time when a record number of households need help covering electricity bills. Help us launch the next chapter of our Utilities campaign to ensure clean, affordable energy for all! Come to our first volunteer interest meeting to learn more!

Tuesday, May 14 
Public School Strong Training! - 6:30 PM to 8 PM. Hosted by HEAL Together. Join public school parents, family members and supporters from across the country to learn: - How to show your support for well-resourced and inclusive public schools - What to look for when you observe your school district's school board meeting - How to form a Public School Strong team in your school district - Ways to join a national movement to protect and transform public schools that serve all children.

Challenging Injustice and Building Peace: A Conversation with AFSC - 7 PM. Hosted by AFSC. Join staff leaders from AFSC to learn about our work for just and sustainable peace, just economies, and just responses to forced displacement and migration. Please register by Friday, May 10.

Thursday, May 16 
NH Next: A Summit for Young Changemakers - 11:30 AM to 4 PM. The Factory On Willow 252 Willow St, Manchester. Hosted by Stay Work Play NH. Join other young changemakers, and those who aspire to create change. During this half-day summit, which includes lunch, you will hear from, and engage with, compelling young Granite Staters who have made an impact in New Hampshire in the arts, social justice, business, politics, and more.

Community Power and Choosing Alternate Power Companies - 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM. Hosted by UU Action. Learn about Community Power in NH and about choosing alternate power companies. Ask questions!

Run for Office 101: State Representative - 7 PM. Hosted by 603 Forward. Are you considering a run for State Representative? We’re here to help! Join us to learn what it means to be a State Representative and learn some campaign best practices. 

Wednesday, May 22 
Shades of Progress: A Business Alliance for People of Color Conference - 8 AM to 2 PM. Grappone Conference Center, 70 Constitution Avenue, Concord. Hosted by Business Alliance for People of Color. Join our inaugural, groundbreaking conference dedicated to empowering the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community and Main Street business community in New Hampshire. This event is not just limited to BIPOC professionals; it welcomes leaders and organizations from all backgrounds to come together in a spirit of collaboration, support, and empowerment.

Tuesday, May 28
Migration Justice Webinar Series: Employment and Worker Rights - 7 PM. Hosted by AFSC. Please join AFSC staff from Oregon and from the Central Valley in California to learn about issues faced by immigrant workers in various sectors.  We will offer an analysis of the current conditions and some ideas and opportunities for advocacy to ensure that all workers are able to access labor protections. This webinar will be bilingual in English and Spanish.

Mark your calendar for the next virtual event for AFSC’s “Protecting Immigrant Rights in an Election Year” webinar series to learn more about how our immigration system works and what we can do to protect and advance the rights of migrants. 

June 25 – Hard Conversations

Saturday, June 8 
NeighborFest Block Party - 11 AM to 2 PM. Cedar St. Manchester. Hosted by NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire. This event is designed to connect residents with valuable community resources and strengthen our neighborhood's connections.  We are excited to offer a wide range of activities for the attendees, a comprehensive resource fair, a free lunch from Don Quijote, a petting zoo provided by McDonny's, yard games, family-friendly activities, and free giveaways!

Juneteenth Events:
June 7, 13 & 19 - Juneteenth Celebration 2024 - Hosted by Black Heritage Trail NH. The celebration includes an artist reception, a panel discussion, a live concert, a children's drumming workshop, African drumming, and more.

June 15 - Juneteenth Kickback! - 2 PM. Hosted by BLM NH. This gathering offers a space for unity and joy, featuring traditional foods, music, and storytelling, as we celebrate the enduring resilience and rich culture of the Black community and continue to advocate for future progress.

June 22 - Juneteenth New England - 12 PM to 7 PM. 266 N Main St. Concord. Hosted by Black Womxn in NH Social Club. A joyous and educational event focused on sharing African American traditions related to this holiday including food, drink, music, art, and stories. We are also committed to elevating and spotlighting local Black owned businesses and artists.

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

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

The AFSC is a Quaker organization supported by people of many faiths who care about peace, social justice, humanitarian service, and nonviolent change. Maggie Fogarty and Grace Kindeke staff the New Hampshire Program which publishes this newsletter. Read our 2023 highlights here. Kathleen Wooten is AFSC’s State House Watch researcher and database manager.

Your donations make our work possible. Click the DONATE NOW button on our web page to send a secure donation to support the work of the AFSC’s New Hampshire Program. Thank you!