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State House Watch: February 12, 2022

Greetings State House Watchers!

Thank you for all you have done this week to sign in, show up, testify and share information with your networks about opportunities for advocacy at the State House. It is clear that so many people are doing the best we can to make our voices heard on multiple priorities.

Next week includes session days in both the House and Senate. The Senate meets on Wednesday, February 16, starting at 10 AM at the State House. The House meets on February 16 (starting at 1 PM) and 17 (starting at 9:30 AM) at the NH Expo Center in Manchester; this is their first full session since the opening days in early January and they have a loooong list of bills to be voted on.

Both bodies will meet together to listen to Governor Sununu’s ‘State of the State’ on February 17 at 10 AM. This event and the voting sessions can be viewed remotely here (for the Senate) and here (for the House sessions and the State of the State).

Weary State House Watchers wonder if the House will join the Senate for a bit of a break during the last week of February. We hope so!

 

Show Love for Valentine's Day!

Join AFSC this weekend to support the campaign to #FreeThemAll! In addition to being at heightened risk of contracting COVID-19 due to the inability to properly social distance while incarcerated, many in our jails, prisons and detention centers have had to go without visits from loved ones during the last two years of the ongoing pandemic. This Saturday, February 12 at 2:30 PM, please join AFSC and local community members for "Love from the Walls", a community art action to share messages of faith, resilience and love with people held at the Valley Street jail in Manchester. Earlier this week, Ophelia and Grace joined AFSC colleagues Lewis Webb, Jordan Garcia and Kristin Kumpf for the Free Them All Facebook live to share more about the upcoming actions and the importance of the campaign both personally and collectively.

We recommend this informative episode from ‘The Takeaway’ podcast which focuses on the First Step Act, passed by Congress in December 2018, and “the steps that some states such as California and New Jersey have already taken to reduce the prison population, largely as a result of the spread of COVID-19. While the headlines may have us believe that we are finally entering an age of prison reform, the prison population has once again started to climb.”

 

Investing in Communities

We celebrate the unanimous decision this week by the Manchester Board of School Committee’s Finance & Facilities Committee to invest in four BIPOC-led organizations in Manchester, including the Manchester Community Action Coalition, using funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III (ESSER III) funds (part of the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act). From the Manchester Ink Link:

Community member, Sarah Georges, told the committee that this was just the first step in what needs to be done to overcome what she sees as systemic inequity within the city’s education. She urged the committee to take her struggles into account when they made their decision. ‘These kids now need it, the funding needs to be in these programs, and there’s not even enough of them. This right here, there needs to be more. I get that you represent the children and the kids, but you really need to look at the kids that look like me because you have not represented me for a long time,’ she said. ‘I’m going to fight for (these kids), and I hope you do too. Don’t fail them.’”

 

More Rental Assistance on the Way

As the housing affordability crisis continues in New Hampshire, it is a relief to know that more federal funds for rental assistance are on their way. The Treasury Department confirmed this week that the next installment of nearly $70 million is headed to the state. As NHPR reports, “federal data suggests that New Hampshire lagged behind others in getting some of its emergency rental assistance money out the door last year, particularly the ERA1 funding allocated through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, one of two major coronavirus relief packages that distributed emergency rental relief to states and other localities.” We urge Governor Sununu to ensure that these funds arrive promptly to those who need them.

(For more information about how New Hampshire can benefit from federal funds through the American Rescue Plan, read the latest issue brief from the NH Fiscal Policy Institute.)

We’re disappointed by the decision of the House Judiciary Committee to recommend defeat for HB 1291, a bill which would prohibit landlords from refusing to accept Section 8 vouchers which provide rental funds for low-income renters. As explained by NH Bulletin, “After a wait of many years, a family or individual that finally receives the assistance has between 30 and 90 days to find an apartment or the money is forfeited. The tight turnaround means that many housing choice voucher recipients aren’t able to actually use their assistance because they are unable to find landlords to rent to them … Sometimes advertisements for properties in the state specify that Section 8 vouchers are not accepted; other times, prospective tenants are told when they call or apply that they are not eligible.” We have several days before the full House session to let our Representatives know that we want to them to overturn the recommendation for defeat (ITL) and to pass the bill.

Speaking of affordable housing, our friend Arnie Alpert weighed in this week about the value of resident-owned communities at manufacturing housing parks, and the threat to their future if SB 210 were to pass (Don’t Mess with NH’s Manufactured Housing Co-Ops, InDepthNH). Please let the Senate Commerce Committee know that NH’s resident-owned communities are an essential share of NH’s affordable housing supply and that SB 210 should be defeated.

Housing Action NH keeps us informed about the federal and state housing proposals which would help to address the affordable housing shortage in New Hampshire. Bookmark their policy updates to stay on top of things!

Our friends at NH Legal Assistance have drawn our attention to HB 1337, which would index the eligibility period for unemployment benefits to the unemployment rate, potentially reducing benefits period from 26 weeks to 12 weeks. Read NHLA’s testimony here. The committee hearing took place in the House Labor Committee on February 3 but the committee has not voted yet, so please let them know you oppose this harmful and misguided bill. NHFPI makes a compelling case for a robust unemployment benefits system in this issue brief.

 

Gerrymandered Maps Move Forward

On Monday, the Senate Election Law Committee passed the proposed state Senate and amended state House maps—SB 240 and HB 50. According to the Fair Maps Coalition, these maps “continue the trend of gerrymandering by limiting the number of competitive districts.” Read their press release here: “Both the newly proposed state Senate and amended state House maps limit competition to give a partisan advantage. They reduce the number of competitive districts, in favor of ‘safe’ seats and by doing so, limit the ability of voters to hold elected officials accountable. In addition, despite numerous calls for a transparent process, the amendment to the state House map that was introduced and passed today was finalized almost a full week ago, yet was not included in any materials available to the public ahead of the hearing.” We recommend this op-ed as well: NH citizens drew nonpartisan, competitive redistricting maps: why can’t lawmakers?

 

In This Issue

  • Last Week at the State House
  • House and Senate Session Days
  • Coming Up in House and Senate Committees
  • State House Watch on the radio
  • Recordings
  • Upcoming Events

 

Last Week at the State House

Multiple bills related to abortion rights had hearings last week at the State House, including three bills intended to restrict abortion access: HB 1181, which would allow the biological father of an unborn child to petition the court for an injunction prohibiting the biological mother from having an abortion; HB 1477-FN, prohibiting abortions after detection of fetal heartbeat; and HB 1625, repealing the prohibition on entering or remaining on a public way or sidewalk adjacent to a reproductive health care facility.

The next day, House Judiciary heard three more bills, all of which would protect access to abortion: CACR 18, relating to reproductive medical decisions, providing that the state shall not infringe or unduly inconvenience the right of reproductive medical decisions; HB 1674, relative to reproductive rights; and HB 1673-FN, relative to women’s health privacy and repealing the fetal health protection act. There is still time to let the House Judiciary Committee hear from you; you can contact them here.

Next week, the Senate will vote on SB 399, a bill which was originally written to repeal NH’s abortion ban but which was amended to only make a modest change to the ultrasound requirement. You can let your Senator know, before the session on Thursday, to defeat the amendment and pass the original bill.

We are grateful to AnnMarie Timmons and the women who shared their stories with her for this NH Bulletin article, ‘It’s such an impossible decision’: Fatal fetal diagnoses and the state’s abortion ban.

Many thanks to all who signed in or showed up to support efforts to repeal the Banned Concepts Act—HB 1090 and HB 1638 had hearings this week in the House Education Committee. NH Bulletin has the story. And Robert Azzi reflects on the danger of censorship: "Understand, these book banning-moments aren’t simply 21st Century iterations of medieval manuscript-burning, or loving manifestations of parents trying to have a more prominent voices in their children’s education, but parallel manifestations of the fear of history, knowledge, and truth." (Where they burn books, they will burn people.)

We also want to lift up that SB 203 had a public hearing this week in the Senate Commerce Committee. Viola Katusiime of the Granite State Organizing Project offered testimony in support of the bill, which would raise the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2024: “Many essential and frontline workers are doing important and challenging jobs, such as healthcare aids taking care of our aging population and teaching assistants struggling to provide for their families. Studies show that a pool of workers in low-wage industries tends to be women, and people of color are disproportionately represented. A 2019 analysis by the National Employment Law Center found that gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024 would begin to address years of income and gender inequality, bridging the gap between those on the wage floors and middle earners.” Urge the Senate Commerce Committee to support economic (and racial) justice; you can contact them here.

 

House and Senate Session Days

Coming Up in the Full House

On the Consent Calendar


CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW
HB 1623-FN, relative to cost of living adjustments for foster parents. Recommended ITL by a vote of 11-0.

COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS
HB 1589-FN, prohibiting the sale of products containing intentionally-added PFAS. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 19-0.
HB 1591-FN, eliminating the enforcement division of the liquor commission. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 19-0.
HB 1622-FN, relative to mental health parity. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 19-0.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY
HB 1176-FN, relative to reducing the penalty for sex work within one’s own home. Recommended ITL by a vote of 20-0. The bill was considered problematic because of the risk that this could be used to conceal sexual exploitation of children.
HB 1310, prohibiting the discharge of a firearm in the direction of a building, livestock, or pets. Recommended ITL by a vote of 20-0.
HB 1388-FN, relative to the unsolicited disclosure of an intimate image. Recommended OTP by a vote of 20-0.
HB 1392-FN, relative to penalties for nonviolent drug offenses and repealing the criminal penalties for possession of drug paraphernalia. Recommended ITL by a vote of 17-1.
HB 1493, relative to the drug forfeiture fund. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 20-0.
HB 1682-FN-A, establishing the law enforcement conduct review committee in the New Hampshire police standards and training council and making an appropriation therefor. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 17-0.

EDUCATION
HB 1058, relative to the time allowed for public school students to eat lunch. Recommended ITL by a vote of 19-0.
HB 1125, relative to school emergency plans. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 19-0.
HB 1144, requiring public schools to teach labor history. Recommended ITL by a vote of 19-0.
HB 1218-FN, relative to the merger of Granite State College with the University of New Hampshire. Recommended OTP by a vote of 19-0.
HB 1229, establishing a committee to study school meal programs in New Hampshire’s public schools and non-sectarian schools that accept public funds. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 18-0.
HB 1421-FN, relative to lead in school drinking water. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 18-0.
HB 1574-FN, prohibiting the university system and community college systems of New Hampshire from charging out-of-state tuition to students voting in New Hampshire. Recommended ITL by a vote of 19-0.
HB 1676-FN-A-LOCAL, relative to making incentive grants for school districts that improve in certain assessment scores. Recommended of Interim Study by a vote of 18-0.
HB 1680-FN, establishing a foundation opportunity budget program for funding public education. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 18-0.

ENVIRONMENT AND AGRICULTURE
HB 1049, establishing a committee to study landfill siting criteria and methods for reducing pressure on landfill capacity. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 16-0.
HB 1121, relative to new solid waste sites. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 17-0.
HB 1420-FN, prohibiting the issuance of new landfill permits until the state’s solid waste plan is updated. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 17-0.
HB 1547-FN, setting maximum contaminant levels for perfluorochemicals in the soil. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 17-0.
HB 1652-FN, relative to the recycling of beverage containers. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 17-0.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION
HB 1294, requiring the commission on demographic trends to consider data on race and ethnicity for the purpose of increasing racial and ethnic diversity in New Hampshire. Recommended ITL by a vote of 17-0.
HB 1557, relative to survivor benefit optional allowances under the retirement system. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 18-0.
HB 1566-FN, relative to the New Hampshire prescription drug affordability board. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 19-0.

HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS
HB 1224-FN, prohibiting state and local governments from adopting certain mandates in response to COVID-19; and prohibiting employers and places of public accommodation from discriminating on the basis of vaccination status. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 19-0.
HB 1390, relative to access to language translation services in telemedicine. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 19-0.
HB 1391, establishing a secure psychiatric hospital advisory committee. Recommended ITL by a vote of 20-0.
HB 1526-FN, relative to income eligibility for in and out medical assistance. Recommended OTP by a vote of 19-2.
HB 1642-FN, relative to lead testing in children. OTP/A by a vote of 20-1.
HB 1654-FN, relative to termination of pregnancy statistics. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 20-0.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES
CACR 28, relating to the minimum wage. Providing that all workers have a right to a minimum wage that provides them with well-being and a dignified existence. Recommended ITL by a vote of 20-1.
HB 1304, establishing a committee to study the impacts of outdoor working conditions in heat and cold. Recommended ITL by a vote of 21-0.
HB 1386, establishing a committee to study the effects of heat and high temperature on employee working conditions. Recommended ITL by a vote of 21-0.

LEGISLATIVE ADMINISTRATION
HB 1486-FN, relative to an income-based public assistance stipend for legislators. Recommended ITL by a vote of 16-1.

RESOURCES, RECREATION AND DEVELOPMENT
HB 1618-FN, adding several perfluorinated chemicals to the list of per and polyfluoroalkyl substances with maximum contaminant levels and establishes a cumulative total for the maximum contaminant level of per and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 21-0.

TRANSPORTATION
HB 1464, establishing a committee to study the feasibility and implementation of furthering electric vehicle adoption in New Hampshire. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 19-0.

On the Regular Calendar

COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS
HB 1469-FN, prohibiting banks or businesses from using social credit scores. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 10-9. The bill prohibits a type of discrimination “occurring in China,” that scores people based on ideology involving everything from social media posts to group affiliations down to the use of racial epithets. Objection is that bill is vague and overly broad, making it impossible to enforce.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY
HB 1468-FN, relative to the legalization of cannabis. Recommended ITL by a vote of 16-1.
HB 1598-FN, legalizing the possession and use of cannabis. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 17-4.

EDUCATION
HB 1516, relative to the source of funds for education freedom accounts. Recommended ITL by a vote of 10-8.
HB 1627-FN-A, establishing an education freedom account program administrator in the department of education and making an appropriation therefor. Recommended OTP by a vote of 18-1.
HB 1657-FN-A, establishing a New Hampshire farm to school reimbursement program. Recommended ITL by a vote of 10-8.
HB 1660-FN, relative to school lunches and establishing the meals for students fund. Recommended ITL by a vote of 10-8.
HB 1684-FN-A-LOCAL, limiting education freedom account funding to budgeted amounts. Recommended ITL by a vote of 10-8.

ELECTION LAW
HB 1423-FN-A, relative to campaign contributions and expenditures, and making an appropriation therefor. Recommended ITL by a vote of 11-9.
HB 1482-FN, relative to ranked-choice voting. Recommended ITL by a vote of 12-7.
HB 1484-FN, requiring a forensic audit of the 2020 election results. Recommended ITL by a vote of 19-0.
HB  1496-FN, requiring political subdivisions to make voter checklists available in spreadsheet  form to any resident. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 10-8.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION
HB 1417-FN-LOCAL, relative to payment by the state of a portion of retirement system contributions of political subdivision employers. Recommended ITL by a vote of 10-8.

HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS
HB 1536-FN, relative to expanding Medicaid to include certain postpartum health care services. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 11-10.
HB 1578-FN, relative to including certain children and pregnant people in Medicaid and the children’s health insurance program. Recommended for ITL by a vote of 11-10. Rep. Shapiro wrote in opposition to the committee’s recommendation, arguing: “New Hampshire would join 33 other states and all of our New England neighbors in waiving the current 5-year wait for otherwise eligible children and pregnant people. This would not apply to undocumented people. It would apply to recent green card holders, those awaiting a final hearing for asylum, and those on Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Currently, we hear a constant refrain about New Hampshire’s aging population and a critical lack of workers to staff and grow our businesses. This bill would send a clear message to immigrants that our state welcomes you. Increasing access to healthcare is a wise and practical investment in New Hampshire families.”
HB 1604-FN, including state medical facilities in the statute providing medical freedom in immunizations. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 11-10.
HB 1609-FN, relative to the scope of the fetal protection act. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 11-10. Like the Senate bill, this House bill guts the original language, providing no exceptions to the new 24-week abortion ban and altering only slightly the requirements for an invasive ultrasound.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES
HB 1207-FN, requiring an employer to provide paid time off for an employee to vote. Recommended ITL by a vote of 14-7.
HB 1538-FN-LOCAL, requiring prevailing wages on state-funded public works projects. Recommended ITL by a vote of 11-10.

LEGISLATIVE ADMINISTRATION
HB 1586-FN-A, relative to a likeness of Wentworth Cheswill at the State House. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 17-0.

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND ENERGY
HB 1419-FN, relative to establishing a New Hampshire civilian climate corps advisory commission. Recommended ITL by a vote of 12-9.
HB 1506-FN, establishing a revolving clean energy accelerator fund in the department of energy. Recommended ITL by a vote of 12-9.
HB 1601-FN, relative to funding of the NHSaves program. Recommended ITL by a vote of 13-8. Since this bill was introduced, the Public Utilities Commissions has restored funding for the program. More from NH Bulletin on that here.

TRANSPORTATION
HB 1100-FN, relative to changing the penalties for driving without a license. Recommended ITL by a vote of 10-9.

Coming Up in the Full Senate

On the Consent Calendar

COMMERCE

SB 211, relative to an injured employee’s right to reinstatement to a former position for purposes of workers’ compensation. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 5-0.
SB 345, relative to youth employment. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 5-0.
SB 385-FN, relative to financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 5-0.

EDUCATION
SB 381-FN-A, establishing an office of the advocate for special education. Recommended OTP by a vote of 5-0.

ELECTION LAW AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS
SB 366-FN, requiring an audit of ballots cast in the 2022 primary and general election. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 5-0.

ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
SB 268-FN, relative to the approval of power purchase agreements for offshore wind energy resources from the Gulf of Maine. Recommended OTP by a vote of 5-0.
SB 270, establishing a low-moderate income community solar savings program and relative to statewide energy efficiency programs. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 5-0.
SB 440-FN, relative to approval of offshore wind energy contracts. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 5-0.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
SB 391, relative to the operation of a state forensic psychiatric hospital. Recommended OTP by a vote of 5-0.

JUDICIARY
SB 301-FN-L, relative to the procedure for violations under the right to know law. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 5-0.

TRANSPORTATION
SB 308, relative to driver’s licenses for certain visa holders. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 5-0.
SB 447-FN, establishing the electric vehicle and infrastructure fund. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 5-0.

On the Regular Calendar

COMMERCE

SB 209, relative to electronic wage payments. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 3-2.
SB 249, prohibiting planning and zoning ordinances that prohibit short-term rentals. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 5-0.

EDUCATION
SB 237-FN, relative to participation in the education freedom account program. Recommended ITL by a vote of 3-2.
SB 351, relative to annual performance and financial reporting by private and religious schools that receive public funds. Recommended ITL by a vote of 3-2.
SB 432-FN-L, repealing the education freedom account program. Recommended ITL by a vote of 3-2.

ELECTION LAW AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS
SB 240, apportioning state senate districts. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 3-2. See more information and links above.
SB 253, apportioning state senate districts. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 3-2.
SB 328, relative to the date of the state primary election. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 4-1.
HB 50, apportioning state representative districts. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 3-2.
HB 54, apportioning county commissioner districts. Recommended OTP by a vote of 3-2.
HB 55, apportioning delegates to state party conventions. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 3-2.

ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
SB 258-FN-L, relative to the graves of African Americans alive during the period of American enslavement. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 4-0.
SB 455, requiring the commissioner of the department of environmental services to adopt ambient groundwater quality standards for certain per and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Voted ITL by a vote of 3-1.

FINANCE
SB 319-FN, relative to vaccination status and wellness incentives. Recommended OTP by a vote of 7-0.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
SB 326-FN, establishing the office of early childhood. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 5-0.
SB 413-FN-A, requiring an independent audit and needs assessment regarding COVID-19 preparedness at long term care facilities, nursing homes, and the New Hampshire veterans’ home, and making an appropriation therefor. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 3-2.
SB 422-FN, establishing an adult dental benefit under the state Medicaid program. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 5-0.
SB 430-FN-A, relative to health and human services. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 5-0. Makes multiple changes to the provision of health and human services including establishment of a special fund for administration of opioid treatment programs and a pilot program for people with developmental disabilities.

JUDICIARY
SB 294-FN, relative to the release of a defendant pending trial. Recommended OTP by a vote of 3-2.
SB 298, repealing the law relative to certain discrimination in public workplaces and education. Recommended ITL by a vote of 3-2.
SB 304, relative to discrimination in public workplaces and education. Recommended ITL by a vote of 3-2.
SB 322, relative to remote meetings under the right-to-know law. Recommended for Interim Study by a vote of 3-2.

WAYS AND MEANS
SB 435-FN, relative to the net operating loss carryover under the business profits tax. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 5-0.

 

Coming Up in House and Senate Committees

Coming Up in House Committees

Monday, February 14

HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Room 210-211, LOB
9:30 AM HB 1481, repealing the statute relative to medical freedom in immunizations.
10:45 AM HB 1379, relative to the department of health and human services’ rulemaking authority regarding immunization requirements.
1:00 PM HB 1271, limiting the authority of the department of health and human services to mandate vaccinations; and relative to quarantine costs.
2:15 PM HB 1495-FN, relative to vaccine mandates for government contractors.

Tuesday, February 15

CHILDREN AND FAMILY LAW, Room 206-208, LOB
1:15 PM HB 1651-FN, adding sexual reassignment to the definition of child abuse.

EDUCATION, Room 205-207, LOB
9:30 AM HB 1607-FN, prohibiting unlawful discrimination in public and nonpublic schools.
10:30 AM HB 1671-L, relative to the content of an adequate education.
1:00 PM HB 1678, relative to the administration of the education freedom accounts program.
1:45 PM HB 1120, relative to education service providers under the education freedom accounts program.
2:30 PM HB 1683-FN-L, repealing the education freedom account program.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION, Room 302-304, LOB
1:00 PM HB 1135, requiring a performance audit of the department of education, education freedom account program.

HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Room 210-211, LOB
10:15 AM HB 1606, making the state vaccine registry an opt-in program. New Futures opposes.
1:00 PM HB 1080, relative to the rights of conscience for medical professionals.
2:15 PM HB 1077, repealing the prohibition on conversion therapy for minors.

MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENT, Room 301-303, LOB
9:30 AM HB 1068, relative to building codes for tiny houses.
10:00 AM Continued Public Hearing on HB 1238, relative to zoning powers and the supply of workforce housing.
10:30 AM HB 1119, relative to the regulation of single-use bags.
3:00 PM HB 1393, relative to the adoption of school district budget caps.

Friday, February 18

JUDICIARY, Room 206-208, LOB
9:00 AM Executive Session on CACR 18, relating to reproductive medical decisions. Providing that the state shall not infringe or unduly inconvenience the right of reproductive medical decisions; HB 1181-FN, allowing the biological father of an unborn child to petition the court for an injunction prohibiting the biological mother from having an abortion; HB 1477-FN, prohibiting abortions after detection of fetal heartbeat; HB 1625, repealing the prohibition on entering or remaining on a public way or sidewalk adjacent to a reproductive health care facility; HB 1673-FN, relative to women’s health privacy and repealing the fetal health protection act; HB 1674, relative to reproductive rights.

Coming Up in Senate Committees

Monday, February 14

ELECTION LAW AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS, Room 100, SH
1:00 PM SB 248, relative to political contributions made by limited liability companies.
1:15 PM SB 348, relative to political expenditures and contributions.
1:30 PM SB 365, relative to absentee ballot outer envelopes.

Tuesday, February 15

ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, Room 103, SH
9:00 AM SB 380-FN, relative to solid waste rules and landfill containment tests.
9:15 AM SB 424-FN, relative to renewable energy and natural gas.
9:30 AM SB 269-FN, relative to the New Hampshire weatherization program.

Wednesday, February 16

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Room 101, LOB
9:00 AM SB 458-FN, relative to the Sununu youth services center and operation of a replacement secure facility.

 

State House Watch on the Radio

State House Watch radio airs next week on Valentine’s Day, February 14. Lidia and Steven from Change for Concord will be talking with Sarah Jane Knoy from the Granite State Organizing Project and Dawn McKinney from NH Legal Assistance about housing issues in the state. Our show airs on Mondays at 5 PM and is rebroadcast on Tuesdays at 8 AM. You can listen at 94.7 FM, WNHN in Concord, and online, and find podcasts of our past shows here, including last week’s with Imani Cruz, AFSC’s Migration Policy Advocacy Coordinator and Eva Castillo, Director of the NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees about the state of immigration policy at the federal and state levels.

 

Recordings

Free Them All Facebook live – Over Valentine's Day weekend, AFSC will join partners across the country to bring the force of love to the walls of jails, prisons, and detention centers as part of our effort to #FreeThemAll. Ophelia and Grace joined members of AFSC’s Healing Justice network to discuss how we hope to challenge carceral systems that undermine human rights, what we have planned for the days of action, and how you can get involved. 

Master Class: Black History, Black Freedom, Black Love: Streaming Free"Since 1976, the nation has celebrated the contributions and achievements of Black Americans each February. MasterClass, an online education subscription platform, is making a glimpse of that history available to everyone for free this month, releasing a three-part, 54-lesson class entitled 'Black History, Black Freedom, and Black Love.'"

Information session: Emerging Leaders for Liberation – Hosted by AFSC. AFSC is launching a new hands-on learning program, Emerging Leaders for Liberation! Applicants must be 18-25 years old as of April 1, 2022 and have a relationship to an AFSC program, a Quaker college/organization, or a Quaker meeting. The first cohort will begin meeting in May 2022. Applications will open January 31. The program is eight months long and includes in-person gatherings and online sessions. Two in-person gatherings are planned on weekends in spring and fall 2022. Online sessions will be monthly for three hours. Watch our information session to learn more about the program and how you or a young adult you refer can apply.

 

Upcoming Events

“How to Move Our Money: Practicing Reparations in a Year of Release" – Please hold the date for Sundays, March 6 through April 10 at 5-6 PM. This nonsectarian course is designed for those who accept the basic ethical premise of reparations, and who seek practical guidance for connecting this ethical premise to their own financial privileges. To sign up, send an email to Regina (waysofpeace.org@gmail.com) and she will put you on the list. Group size limited to 24 people.

Black Quaker Lives Matter Film Festival – February 12 to April 9. Hosted by The Black Quaker Project. Join us for this first-of-its-kind film festival that endeavors to educate all about the importance of Quakers of Color who for too long have remained within the margins of the Society of Friends and the wider world. From February 12, during Black History Month, until Paul Robeson’s birthday on April 9 we will screen a film centered on a Quaker of Color with an introduction from a guest expert and a follow up discussion facilitated by BQP Director Dr. Harold D. (Hal) Weaver. Screenings will take place every other Saturday on Zoom at 1pm ET.  

Saturday, February 12

Love From The Walls: #FreeThemAll V-Day Action – 2:30 PM. Hosted by AFSC. Love transcends walls, bars and cages. Join us for a community art action to celebrate Valentine’s Day and the people we love who are currently or have previously been incarcerated by sharing messages of love, solidarity and resilience. As part of our Free Them All campaign, we call for a future without incarceration, a future supported by systems that promote healing, not punitive, justice.

Sunday, February 13

Absented Presence: “They All Died Off” and Other Myths About Native Americans – 2 PM to 3:30 PM. Hosted by the Black Heritage Trail of NH at the Portsmouth Public Library, Levenson Room, 175 Parrott Avenue. Many organizations across the state have been using “Land Acknowledgments” raising awareness of the first nation status and original presence of Native Americans in our state. However, New Hampshire is one of only 15 states that have no federally recognized tribes. For this panel, presenters will explore various issues in New Hampshire’s Native American community including, inadequate representation, invisibility, access to education, and tribal non-recognition.

Monday, February 14

Peace & Justice Conversations: China and the Nuclear Arms Race – 7 PM to 8 PM. Hosted by NH Peace Action. We are in a classical Thucydides trap, the inevitable tensions between rising and declining powers, that too often across history have resulted in catastrophic wars. Today, dynamics that mirror the Cold War and many of those that triggered World War I could lead to war via accidents or miscalculations; they block cooperation that is essential to stanching the climate emergency; and they fuel anti-Asian racism in the U.S. Our guest speaker Joseph Gerson will review the rise and enforcement of the U.S. Asia-Pacific empire; the self-defeating drive to manage or contain China’s rise, background to the Taiwanese and South China Sea flashpoints, and alternative common security policies that should be adopted by the United States and China.

Training for Freedom, a PBS documentary – This documentary captures the transformational story of how idealistic college students and Black activists came together in Oxford, Ohio, to find their humanity and the common ground to fight as one in the freedom struggle that would define a nation and alter the course of history. 

Tuesday, February 15

The Civilian Climate Corps - How We Bring Good Green Jobs to NH – 6 PM to 7 PM. Hosted by Rights & Democracy, 350NH and NH Youth Movement. Join NHYM, RAD, 350, and others to learn more about how a New Hampshire Civilian Climate Corps could bring good paying jobs to New Hampshire, and what you can do right now to support legislation to make it happen.

Tuesdays Phonebanks for Justice! – 5 PM to 7:30 PM. Hosted by RAD. Join Rights & Democracy for our weekly phone banks! Every Tuesday, we're making calls to move our supporters to action, build a stronger progressive movement in New Hampshire, and put pressure on our elected officials to advance the policies our people and planet need. We are organizing for change across many critical issues, including climate, racial, healthcare, housing and economic justice. Jump in and join us to make calls on the issues that matter most to you, for as long as you can! RSVP for one or more sessions—we'll be meeting on Zoom to create the connection that we all need in these times of social distancing.

Wednesday, February 16

New Hampshire Healthcare Justice Meeting – 6 PM to 7 PM. Hosted by Rights & Democracy. Every member of our communities deserves good quality, affordable and timely care - and we are fighting to make this a reality. We are up against many obstacles, from the greed of big pharma and insurance providers, to the continued fallout of the so-called "War on Drugs," to elected leaders uninterested in changing the status quo. To change the narrative and win the changes that benefit us all, we need YOU to join us. If you want to get involved in the work for healthcare justice in New Hampshire, these monthly meetings are a great place to start! Rights & Democracy's Healthcare Justice Committee will share information about the current healthcare campaigns we are working on, and ways that you can take action. RSVP to join us! 

Love & Letters to #FreeBernina – 6:30 PM to 8 PM. Hosted by AFSC. Join our effort to #FreeBernina and take action to help support her clemency campaign. We'll share updates about the status of Bernina's clemency petition, hear the latest from her 'Freedom Team' about what's coming up next, and have time to write letters of support for and cards directly to Bernina. We hope to see you there virtually! Bernina Mata is a 51-year-old Latinx lesbian, and a queer criminalized survivor, who has been imprisoned for 23 years. She was convicted of capital murder, based on a fiercely racist, homophobic prosecution that ignored her extensive history of sexual and physical abuse, and sentenced to die in 1999. In 2003, her death sentence was commuted to life in prison as part of a successful clemency campaign that commuted all death sentences in Illinois. If prosecutors had not sought the death penalty, she would likely be free today. For more information, visit www.FreeBernina.com

Thursday, February 17

Climate Action Community Conversation Series Kick-Off – 6 PM. Hosted by Climate Action NH. Happening monthly, this series aims to strengthen our connections to each other and to nature by facilitating learning and discussion in a safe and inclusive space. Join us as we explore topics that will provide insight into the impacts activism can have on our health and wellness and how we can provide support to ourselves and others in uncertain times.This part in the series will feature speakers: Meghan Hoskins, Field Organizer with Climate Action New Hampshire; Marla Baldassare, Owner of We Fill Good in Kittery, ME; Alexis Clarke and Nicole Rocha, Owners of The Terracotta Room in Manchester.

2022 Barrington Candidates Forum – 6 PM. Hosted by Barrington, NH Town Government. The Barrington Candidate Forum is being held virtually again this year! Join Town Moderator, Ron St. Jean and the candidates for Town and School positions on Thursday, February 17 at 6 PM. Town Candidates are scheduled 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM and School Candidates 7:30 PM to 9 PM. The forum will be held online through Microsoft Teams. Visit this site to access the event and for links to additional information about Town Meeting.

Film: Hunger Ward – 7 PM. Hosted by the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Join us for a showing of the film Hunger Ward about the effects of the ongoing Saudi-led war in Yemen which is being supported by the U.S. military. FCNL is working with local Advocacy Teams to lobby our members of Congress on repealing U.S. military support in Yemen. Click the link for more information, to view a trailer and to sign up to attend this showing.  

Friday, February 18

A Reckoning in Boston – 6 PM. Hosted by the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough, NH. In this film, a white filmmaker sets out to document the impact of the Clemente Course in the Humanities on low-income students of color in Dorchester. Instead, he gains an education himself about the impact of racism and gentrification in Boston and awakens to some of his own racist assumptions. Evolving into a collaborative vision between director James Rutenbeck and students Kafi Dixon and Carl Chandler, A Reckoning in Boston weaves a mesmerizing story of dreams and systemic dismissal, punctuated with resonating voices from American history and letters. Facilitated conversation to follow, with Mariposa founder David Blair, Director Karla Hostetler, and Oak Bluffs coordinator (and Clemente Course participant) Susi Ryan. Masks and proof of vaccination are required to attend.

Saturday, February 19

Let’s Talk Dream Jobs – 2 PM to 5 PM. Millyard Museum, 200 Bedford Street, Suite 103, Manchester. Hosted by Manchester Community Action Coalition and the Millyard Museum. Join us for this community event to share career information, network with diverse professionals from the Greater Manchester area and learn more ways to stay connected with other BIPOC and Queer youth.

Sunday, February 20

The Myth of The Model Minority – 2 PM to 3:30 PM. Hosted by Black Heritage Trail of NH at the  Portsmouth Middle School, 155 Parrott Avenue. The mass shooting in Atlanta last year and the rise in anti-Asian attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic have brought to the forefront the long history of discrimination and injustice toward Asian Americans. Since the end of World War II, the perceived success of Asian Americans—who have been wrongly portrayed as a monolithic group—has led white apologists to cast this group as the “model minority.” This panel will address how this idea has been used to drive a racial wedge between Asian Americans and African Americans, and to allow some white Americans to continue to ignore the ravages of racism and racist policies.

Thursday, February 24

A Flock of NH Poets – For Those Who Love Poetry and Those Who Aren’t So Sure: A Conversation with L.R. Berger – 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Hosted by Hopkinton Town Library. Local poet L.R. Berger will bring poems to share by contemporary NH poets to inspire conversation. We’ll read each poem, learn a bit about each poet and discover what moves or puzzles or delights us. All are welcome. RSVP – 603-746-3663 or info@hopkintontownlibrary.org

Virtual Lecture: “New Hampshire Abolitionist Nathaniel Peabody Rogers” – 7 PM. Hosted by New Hampshire Historical Society. Historian Rebecca Noel tells the story of Nathaniel Peabody Rogers, the feisty Granite State native—one of the so-called New Hampshire Radicals—who devoted himself to the cause of abolitionism in the mid-19th century and became the editor of antislavery newspaper, the Herald of Freedom. Rogers worked with the leading figures of the abolitionism movement in the United States, including William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass. He sheltered fugitive slaves, co-founded the integrated Noyes Academy in Canaan, and wrote passionate, searing essays against slavery and racism. Henry David Thoreau admired Rogers' political zeal, and abolitionist poet John Pierpont called Rogers the best newspaper writer in the United States. Rogers’ story shines a light on this lively reform era, and his contributions to the crusade for social justice still resonate today.

Friday, February 25

Know Your Rights When Dealing with Police – 6 PM. Hosted by Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, Black Lives Matter Twin Cities Metro. Learn about your rights when dealing with police and how to safely assert them. The Know Your Rights training session will be followed by a session on how to train others in this vital information. You can attend both sessions or simply leave the Zoom after the first session. Both sessions are free and open to the public, but you'll need to register to attend.

Saturday, February 26

Liberation Forum: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Fascism – 6 PM. Hosted by Party for Socialism and Liberation, Southern NH. Join PSL-SNH for February’s liberation forum! We will take a deep dive to define fascism as well as the strategies and tactics necessary to not only fight back but to win. We will spend time clarifying the core features of fascism as a historic process, it’s ties to capitalism and the history of the struggle against it. The anti-fascist struggle in the US is necessarily Black and Indigenous led. The Black Panther Party, The American Indian Movement and their praxis shows us that Black and Indigenous history in the US is also the history of the anti-fascist struggle.

Sunday, February 27

The Lingual Divide: ¿Y Tu Abuela Donde Esta? – 2 PM to 3:30 PM. Hosted by Black Heritage Trail of NH at Portsmouth Public Library, Levenson Room, 175 Parrott Avenue. Traditionally, Black and Brown American populations have seen themselves in a natural alliance in a country historically dominated by whites—an alliance of mostly poorer, darker-skinned minorities whose struggles are similar. However, in recent times the Black/Brown coalition has grown more and more strained with the influx of immigrants into neighborhoods that were, in many cases, previously dominated by Blacks. Many Blacks resent what is seen as Hispanics leapfrogging them up the socioeconomic ladder and point to the strong skin-color prejudices and colorism that divides the two communities. “¿Y Tu Abuela Donde Esta?” (Where is Your Grandmother?) by the Puerto Rican poet Fortunato Vizcarrondo explores this tension within the Black/Brown community. This panel will explore the issues of colorism, for people within this vast group of ethnicities that although joined together by a common language and culture, experience racism within their own group.

Beyond Roe: A Reproductive Justice Primer – 4 PM. Hosted by Granite State Progress and the Reproductive Freedom Fund of NH. As the 49th and potentially final anniversary of Roe v. Wade passes, Granite State Progress and the Reproductive Freedom Fund of New Hampshire are presenting a collaborative teach-in about the future of abortion justice and how to talk about reproductive rights in a post-Roe America. This is part of a larger series that will continue until June.

Monday, February 28

Peace & Justice Conversations – This Current Moment: US Nuclear Weapon Policy and Back from the Brink – 6 PM to 7:30 PM. Hosted by NH Peace Action. Please join NH Peace Action for a discussion about the danger this current moment presents with regard to nuclear weapons, and the ways in which Back from the Brink serves as a vehicle for effective grassroots organizing to eliminate the threat that they pose, with Michael Klare and Denise Duffield.

Seacoast Outright Volunteer Facilitator Training – 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. Hosted by Seacoast Outright. We are looking for support for our Tuesday Game Nights (currently held on Zoom) and Friday Support Group (held at Portsmouth's South Church). The next two-part facilitator training will be held via Zoom on Monday, February 28 & Monday, March 7. Sign up for the training here. Contact Roula at roula@seacoastoutright.org with any questions!

Saturday, March 5

Punishment is not Accountability: Quakers exploring police, prison abolition, and futures of justice – 3 PM to 5 PM. Hosted by Beacon Hill Friends House. Join us on Saturday March 5, March 19 and April 2 for a three-part workshop series. In this series, participants will explore the spiritual dimensions of police and prison abolition, the carceral system, and healing-focused visions of justice. Through three workshops, an online community, and opportunities to interact in between sessions, participants will be given space to connect to abolitionist frameworks and movements, with a goal of collectively generating movement and next steps together in this work.

Sunday, March 6

Conflicted by Race: Family Structures & Racial Identities – 2 PM to 3:30 PM. Levenson Room, Portsmouth Public Library. Hosted by the Black Heritage Trail of NH. According to the 2020 Census, the fastest-growing group in the United States is the multiracial community, and nationwide studies show that 44% of adoptions in America are transracial. Coming from households reflecting more than one race or ethnicity, these individuals face a variety of stresses that demonstrate how far we are as a nation from embracing multi-culturalism. This panel will address the issues facing transracial adoptees and mixed-race Americans and explore how their circumstances help us to understand the social construction of race and what it is like to discover, cope with, and overcome barriers to developing a strong sense of one’s self and one’s cultural identity/identities.

With best wishes,

Maggie Fogarty, Grace Kindeke and Anne Saunders

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.

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. Anne Saunders is AFSC’s State House Watch researcher and co-writer.

“State House Watch" is made possible in part by a grant from the Anne Slade Frey Charitable Trust. 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!

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