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State House Watch: June 19, 2021

Greetings, State House Watchers.

We begin with news of a heartbreaking loss. Susan Bruce, our State House Watch researcher, writer, friend and co-conspirator, has died. We are in shock, and not prepared for a proper tribute, but we will find our words in the next few days. For now, we can say that New Hampshire has lost a gifted and spirited activist and a passionate feminist. She spoke her truth, often with a wicked sense of humor; she loved people and she had a heart for the underdog. She called out foolishness and she was a steadfast companion to many activists. She loved New Hampshire and she wanted us to be better. The loss of her mighty voice at this critical time in our politics will have to be rectified by hundreds more of us showing up—in person, in writing and on the airwaves—to protect our basic rights and resources.

 

Juneteenth!

On Thursday, President Biden signed legislation to establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday, in recognition of the day—June 19th—in 1865 when news of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was finally shared with the enslaved peoples of Texas, nearly 2 ½ years after the proclamation was issued. Opal Lee, an activist from Texas who brought attention to the campaign for a federal holiday by walking from her home state to Washington, D.C. at the age of 89, was at his side. Juneteenth is the first new federal holiday since the recognition, in 1983, of Martin Luther King’s birthday. We honor this important commemoration with celebrations of liberation and with a renewed commitment to reparations, truth-telling and justice. Here is some good reading for your Juneteenth weekend:

Juneteenth – Emancipation Day: “Very often Juneteenth is presented as a story of ‘news’ of the Emancipation Proclamation ‘traveling slowly’ to the Deep South and Texas, but it was really a story of power traveling slowly, and of freedom being seized. Due to the telegraph, newspapers and the United States Army spread out all across the country to put down the slaveholders’ rebellion, word of Lincoln’s order spread all over the South immediately after it was announced in September 1862 and took effect in January 1863.” – Christopher Wilson, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, for the Zinn Education Project 

Juneteenth Reminds Us That Reparations Are Due: “Acknowledgments and paid holidays … do not fix the problems caused by White supremacy in this country. ‘It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned,’ King said in 1963. ‘Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.’ Juneteenth should be a day of celebration, reflection, and education, but it should also be a reminder that the bill is long overdue.” – Kevin L. Matthews II, YES Magazine

Why Juneteenth Matters for White People, Too: “The literal chains that bound Black bodies always, metaphorically, bound us as well: to a mindset of human inequality, the perpetuation of unspeakable horror, and the numbing of one’s conscience necessary to make that horror acceptable . . . By embracing the liberation struggle and each of its signal events, of which Juneteenth is one, Whites can begin to reconnect with that humanity whose forfeiture was the price of our ticket.” – Tim Wise, YES Magazine

 

The Affordable Care Act Lives!

Health care access for 31 million people—including nearly 105,000 Granite Staters—was preserved this week in a 7-2 vote by the US Supreme Court. This was the third time that the fate of the health care law, also known as Obamacare, was taken up by the nation’s highest court. The State of New Hampshire had filed a ‘friend of the court’ briefing in support of the ACA. We breathe a sigh of relief at this outcome, and we thank all who have fought for more than a decade to protect the essential provisions of the law, including coverage for preexisting conditions and preventive care, and so much more. Get the full story at Scotus Blog.

Father’s Day!

Our friend and Black Lives Matter Seacoast executive director, Clifton West, has an important message for our elected officials, For Father’s Day Honor Dads With What They Really Need – Paid Family Leave: “[Paid parental leave is] correlated with physical and mental health benefits, for newborn children and for both parents. Paid leave for men leads to greater financial security for the whole family and makes it easier for mothers to return to the workforce. Fathers who take more than two weeks of parental leave are also more likely to share an equitable division of household responsibilities, and probably not coincidentally, are more likely to enjoy stable marriages.” - (InDepthNH)

We agree! While we hope that this federal advocacy priority advances in Congress, we also urge our governor and state legislature to enact this common-sense, family-friendly policy at the state level as well.

NH Deserves a Better Budget

State House Watchers know that this past week was the time for Committees of Conference (CoC) to meet with the intention of reconciling the differences between versions of bills that passed both bodies, including HB 1 and HB 2, the two budget bills.

The Committee of Conference (CoC) for HB 1 readily agreed to the Senate spending and expenditure levels, including tax cuts for the wealthiest Granite Staters, cuts in funding for the Department of Health and Human Services, and the creation of educational vouchers which will do great harm to public school funding. One bright spot—an investment of $25 million for the state’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund which, combined with $10 million in proceeds from the real estate transfer tax dedicated to the Fund for the biennium, is a significant step forward to respond to the state’s acute housing affordability crisis.

The CoC for HB 2 readily approved the 24-week abortion ban, with mandatory ultrasounds,as well as the Senate’s incoherent, contradictory and dangerous language prohibiting teaching about institutional oppression. They wrestled a bit about the governor’s family and medical leave insurance program (it’s in there), and some limitations on the governor’s authority to sustain a state of emergency, reaching a compromise that the majority hopes will win the support of the House Freedom Caucus.

We await the upcoming summary and analysis from the NH Fiscal Policy Institute, but in the meantime we recommend their briefing on the Senate’s version of the budget which was approved on a party-line vote last week. For those who want a line-by-line report of the CoC for HB 2, you’ll find it here. And for all state budget documents, see the General Court website’s budget page.

In summary, for all of us who want a state budget that generates fair and adequate revenue, invests in healthy communities, and avoids toxic ideological policy proposals, this is a horrible budget. Because of this, we feel obligated to raise our voices in opposition, even as the House and Senate are poised to approve it and the governor has indicated that he plans to sign it. Please join AFSC and the many partners of the Grassroots Campaign for a People’s Budget on Thursday, June 24 at 10 AM at the State House for a rally, “A Better NH is Possible: United for a People’s Budget”.

Truth > Fear

As the well-funded campaign against truth-telling continues to sweep the country, we applaud the many New Hampshire people who are raising their voices in clear and compelling ways. Some recent highlights:

Young activists from the Seacoast, including We Speak and Project Dream, supported by the Seacoast NAACP and the Black Heritage Trail of NH, led a “We Can Stand the Truth” rally last Saturday at Henry Law Park in Dover. Emily Jackman, a junior at Oyster River High School, wrote the story for InDepthNH.

In Portsmouth, educators gathered in Prescott Park as part of the Zinn Education Project’s “Teach the Truth” campaign. Event organizer Whitney Howarth emphasized the vital role that educators can play in dismantling oppression: “What will teaching the truth do?  It will make us all accountable. It will require lawmakers and citizens alike to do better—to make services more equitable—to make programs more inclusive—to promote justice for more people. It will require us to be aware and change the status quo . . . If we deny students access to this information, this is deception, not education!”

And 200 people gathered in Concord on the same day as part of the Courage not Censorship rally, co-hosted by AFSC and many partners. The Union Leader has the story. AFSC’s Lidia Yen was one of the speakers: “Students need to learn about how power, race, and oppression intersect to be prepared to take on challenges now and in the future. By censoring discussion about these so-called divisive concepts, we are literally being divisive and denying history. We’re shutting down the voices of marginalized identities and we are going back in time instead of moving forward.”

We were also delighted to see this important op-ed by our colleague James McKim from the Greater Manchester NAACP, Celebrate Black achievement by not falling for misinformation.

Pathway to Citizenship for All!

More than 100 people gathered at Dover Friends Meeting on June 13 to honor the stories and struggles of undocumented immigrants who have experienced the harms of our immigration detention and deportation systems. AFSC’s Grace Kindeke, teaching artist for the Familias Separadas project worked with two African immigrants from the Seacoast to illustrate their experiences in artistic renderings on two large banners. She spoke to her own experience growing up undocumented in New Hampshire: “We hid in plain sight. We knew to be afraid and to hide in the shadows. Now I feel safe enough to speak." Foster’s Daily Democrat and NHPR covered the story. The banners will be displayed at the Dover meetinghouse until November 5; all are welcome to visit them.

Please take action to call upon our Members of Congress to create a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants. We can end the nightmare that so many of our community members have endured despite decades of promises.

And please join the NH Immigrant Solidarity Network in Manchester on Tuesday, June 22 at 9 AM for an interfaith vigil and march, in solidarity with all who continue to face the threat of detention and deportation, and to demand a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants.

World Fellowship!

Are you looking for a summer of inspiration and renewal? Be sure to consider a stay at the World Fellowship Center in Albany, New Hampshire!  Everyone deserves some social justice education with good company and the beauty of nature. See you there!

Last Week in the House and Senate: Committees of Conference

45 Committees of Conference met this past week to seek agreement on final versions of bills that passed both bodies but with differences. Six of these committees were unable to reach agreement and so those bills are defeated for this year. They could return as new legislation in the 2022 session if legislators wish to sponsor them. 39 CoCs reached agreement and their reports will be voted on next week when the full House and the full Senate meet on June 24.

Here’s a report on the bills we’ve been tracking:

HB 1 Making appropriations for the expenses of certain departments of the state for fiscal years ending June 30, 2022 and June 30, 2023. The House acceded to the Senate version of HB 1.

HB 2 Relative to state fees, funds, revenues, and expenditures. Also called the ‘budget trailer bill,’ HB 2 typically contains policy changes required to enact the revenue and spending described in HB 1. This year, HB 2 also contains some of the most contentious and ideologically-driven policy proposals of the entire session.

HB 25 Making appropriations for capital improvements. The Senate version deleted several projects worth $25 million that had been in the House version, on the grounds that these projects could be paid for with either American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds or other federal funds. House conferees acceded to the Senate version with a few adjustments, including a requirement that the Division of Adult Services give a quarterly report to the General Court on the progress of capital projects funded through the ARPA.

HB 108 Relative to minutes and decisions in nonpublic sessions; an exemption for items falling within the attorney-client privilege or the attorney work product doctrine under the right-to-know law; and remote access to public meetings under the right-to-know law. The Committee of Conference adopted the House position amending the Right-to-Know law, requiring public bodies to maintain a list of minutes from non-public sessions and making the list available for public disclosure as soon as practicable. In response to a recent New Hampshire Supreme Court decision, the Committee of Conference adopted the Senate amendment exempting communications which fall within the attorney-client privilege. Finally, the committee removed a Senate amendment which would have continued remote meetings as held under the state of emergency orders but replaced it with a joint legislative study committee.

HB 180 Increasing the penalty for buyers under the law regarding trafficking in persons. The House bill increased the penalty for a person who pays to engage in sexual contact with a person under the age of 18 who is a victim of human trafficking. The Senate amended it to stipulate that the victim be under the age of 16. The House conferees receded from their position of nonconcurrence with the Senate amendment and concurred with the Senate amendment and agreed to further amendment. The bill as amended by the Senate changes the penalty for a person who pays to engage in sexual contact with another person under the age of 18 who is a victim of human trafficking to a class B felony from a class A felony, and a class A felony if the victim is under the age of 16. The further amendment incorporates a sentence prohibiting an actor from claiming a lack of knowledge of the victim’s age or consent as a defense when the victim is under the age of 16. This defense is already unavailable when the victim is under the age of 18.

HB 235 Addressing impacts to other water users from new sources of water for community water systems and relative to PFAS fund and programs. The Senate acceded to the House position in the committee of conference.

HB 242 Relative to the content of an adequate education. The House conferees agreed to the Senate position, with further amendment. The conference report amends three criteria of an adequate education to include: environmental sciences that investigate the complex interaction of physical, chemical, and biological processes that take place on earth; outdoor recreation; and skills to enable students to learn, work, communicate, and participate effectively in a changing society and environment. The bill as amended further states that the cost of fiscal capacity disparity is a separate grant from adequacy which includes base cost and differentiated aid.

HB 271 Relative to standards for per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water and ambient groundwater. The House version of the bill directs the Department of Environmental Services to set maximum contaminant limits for per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The Senate attached an unrelated amendment that clarified the administration of the PFAS Remediation Fund and enabled DES to make grants and loans to eligible municipalities and drinking water and wastewater systems to address PFAS contamination. The House non-concurred and requested a committee of conference with the goal being to establish the recognition, in statute, of the need for remediation of PFAS contamination for private well users for whom other forms of remediation (such as pipeline extensions) would not be feasible. The Senate recognized the need expressed by the House and the department rewrote the amendment to clarify the intent to provide remediation to affected private well users and provide a pathway to affect such remediation. That pathway includes municipalities securing funds from the department for disbursement to those well users. The salient points in the amendment include: “the department shall provide low-interest loans and grants for the purpose of addressing exceedances of PFAS drinking water standards to municipalities for use in assisting private well users including funds necessary to address the reasonable administrative costs of the municipality.” Also, in another section: “municipalities may assist private well users impacted by PFAS contamination in a manner consistent with this chapter, may accept and expend grants and loans provided by the department … and may apply for and receive funds from the department necessary to cover reasonable administrative costs related to implementation…” The portion of the bill consisting of the House version was unaffected by the committee of conference recommendation.

HB 278 Relative to the use of unused district facilities by chartered public schools. This bill would require a school district to develop a plan for the future use of an unused facility. It would require the school district to offer an unused facility to a charter school for purchase or lease and require the charter school be given the first right of refusal. The House conferees agreed to the Senate position with further amendment. As amended, “unused facility” means a school building owned by a school which is not used for academic purposes, extracurricular activities, administrative school functions, or sports. On January 1, 2022 and on July 1 every year following, the district superintendent shall report to the Department of Education each unused facility owned by the school district. If the district board offers the unused facility for purchase or lease, a New Hampshire charter school is provided the right of first refusal.

HB 315 Relative to the aggregation of electric customers and municipal host customer generators serving political subdivisions. The House receded from its nonconcurrence position and acceded to the changes made by the Senate. Those changes included the addition of the language of SB 109 that provides for the addition of municipal hosts to the net metering statute and allowing such hosts to receive credit on up to five megawatts of generation. The members of the group hosted by such generators must be other accounts in the same municipality. For example, a solar installation at a town’s wastewater treatment plant could supply power to the town’s safety complex and library. The town would be credited for this group-supplied power at above-market rates, which, together with the need to purchase less electricity from a utility, will lower the town’s overall electricity costs.

HB 326 Requiring town and city clerks to make electronic lists of persons who have applied for absentee ballots available to candidates upon request. The conferees agreed that the bill requiring clerks to provide absentee ballot request lists in electronic format could be improved with small changes. A word was changed from “may” to “shall” and it was clarified that electronic copies need to be provided, instead of paper, in those communities that had the electronic capability to do so. Finally, language related to fees was simplified by referenced to the existing law of RSA 91-A which addresses those fees.

HB 334 Relative to prohibitions on carrying a loaded firearm on an OHRV or snowmobile and relative to the procedure for conducting firearm background checks. The Senate added the amendment about conducting firearm background checks. The House conferees receded from their position of nonconcurrence with the Senate amendment and concurred with the Senate amendment and agreed to further amendment. The Senate’s amendment added a section mirroring SB 141 terminating the New Hampshire Gunline. The House voted OTP in support of SB 141. Therefore, supporting the Senate’s amendment did not go against the House’s position. The further amendment reduced the state general funding appropriation for the New Hampshire Gunline by $401,650.00 for the biennium ending on June 30, 2023.

HB 542 Relative to the protection of religious liberty. The bill would allow churches to stay open during a state of emergency, as an essential service. The Senate amended the bill to remove the aspects that would allow for discrimination on religious grounds. From the CoC report: “The bill’s primary intention was to ensure that religious practice is not held in a subordinate position to other essential activities such as the acquisition of food, clothing, or shelter . . . [The final version] preserves all the protections for religious organizations that were established in the final House version. It removes the waiver of sovereign, governmental, and qualified immunities, while retaining explicit language allowing a religious organization to assert a claim against the state government if the provisions of the law are violated. It further maintains that any religious organization that successfully asserts a claim or defense under the law may recover appropriate relief including, but not limited to, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, compensatory damages, and costs and attorney’s fees.”

HB 610 Requiring certain licensing and reporting functions be conducted through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry, relative to background investigations of trust officers, to certain filing fees, assessments and interest rates and to the transmission of consumer complaints by the banking department, requiring employers to provide certain workplace accommodations for employees, establishing the New Hampshire housing and conservation planning program, and relative to the collaborative care model service delivery method. This began as a banking bill; the workplace accommodations, NH housing and conservation program, and collaborative care service model delivery were added in Senate amendments. The House position was to remove all four of the Senate amendments, and the Senate ultimately agreed.

SB 31 Relative to voter checklists and modifying the absentee ballot affidavit. The House amendment re-modified the absentee ballot envelope. The Committee of Conference on Senate Bill 31 integrated the contents of HB 555 into Senate Bill 31. This process ensured the established House position was enacted without change to other changes already adopted by both bodies. The change provided that a legal basis for absentee ballot use, incarceration, became an option on the request form. This was necessary because of the adoption of other bills with conflicting language and neither adds nor subtracts to bills passed by the House this year.

SB 40 Relative to informed consent to search a motor vehicle and amending the statutory requirements for a search warrant. The House amendment stipulates that the operator of a motor vehicle cannot be further detained for solely refusing to consent to a search. The Senate and House conferees met on June 15, 2021 at which point the Senate conferees suggested an amendment that exempted state and county correctional facilities from language relative to informed consent to search a motor vehicle while on the grounds of such correctional facility. The House conferees agreed to the amendment and further agreed to withdraw the House amendment that inserted the word “solely” in RSA 595-A:10.

SB 91 Adopting omnibus legislation on renewable energy and utilities. The Committee of Conference adopted compromise language to the House amended version of this bill. The new language in Part II, section 2 acknowledges the benefits of net metering while instructing the public utilities commission (PUC) to minimize any cost shifts to non-net metering customers. The amendment also instructs the PUC to adjudicate the question of whether load reduction should be an accountable entity, and it further adds language to make municipal group net metering hosts (as established in the amended version of HB 315) operable under net metering tariffs in place as of 2017, with the option for voluntary movement to any new tariff that becomes available. Finally, the amendment performed some technical cleanup to existing statutory language and added a Senate member to the SB 91 Part IV study committee as well as instruction for that committee to study the question of the extent of avoided transmission charges.

SB 103 Relative to nexus provisions for certain disaster related or emergency related work performed in the state and prohibiting the siting of a landfill near a state park. The House added the non-germane amendment prohibiting the siting of a landfill near a state park. The House conferees acceded to the Senate version of the bill. The House had amended the bill by adding HB 177 as an amendment. HB 177 was known as the landfill bill. The conferees agreed this amendment should be removed from SB 103 and submitted as a separate bill in the next session so a modified version of it could be considered for passage.

SB 134 Adopting omnibus legislation relative to civil actions and criminal liability. This bill contains several important, but unrelated provisions. The conferees adopted the House position with two exceptions: one involving the definition of electronic signature as used for remote notarization; and involving the use of laser pointing devices on government buildings. The conferees also agreed to remove from the bill a provision allowing for early petitions for suspended sentences. Of particular interest and importance is the inclusion of the provision added by the House which provides for supported decision-making for citizens with disabilities.

SB 146 Adopting omnibus legislation relative to the environment. The bill had seven unrelated parts. Part III, relative to the prevention of zoonotic disease transmission, was the purpose for the committee of conference. In response to late concerns expressed by the Department of Agriculture, section 3 concerning live animal markets, was removed. The statutory provision remaining in Part III will be as follows: “The fish and game department shall monitor available information on animals and fish, not currently restricted under state and federal wildlife trafficking laws, that if transported into the state, will risk zoonotic disease transmission. The department may consult as needed with the department of health and human services, the state veterinarian, and scientific and educational institutions. The department shall make recommendation to the legislature on any legislation or rules needed for import or other restrictions on identified species, and to the governor if an executive order is deemed necessary.” The remaining six parts of the omnibus SB 146, including establishing the coastal program administered by the department of environmental services, establishing a surcharge on certain saltwater licenses, and establishing a fund for derelict fishing gear and coastal cleanup, and extending the deadline for the PFAS firefighting foam take-back program were unaffected by the actions of the committee of conference.

SB 154 Prohibiting the state from enforcing any federal statute, regulation, or Presidential Executive Order that restricts the right of the people to keep and bear arms. House and Senate conferees agreed to an amendment that would prohibit New Hampshire from enforcing any federal firearm laws that take effect after January 20, 2021.

Committees of Conference Failed to Reach Agreement…

HB 291 Relative to the analysis of requests for absentee ballot information by the attorney general. This bill would require the Attorney General to analyze absentee ballot information requests for evidence of misuse. This bill addresses the production and analysis of absentee ballot request information. While all conferees agreed that the intended result was desired, they also agreed the bill needed more work than was possible in the Committee of Conference process.

HB 296 Establishing the crime of an unsolicited disclosure of an intimate image. The House and Senate failed to reach an agreement. The underlying bill was found to have unintended consequences of reducing certain penalties against sending an intimate image to a child. An agreement was not reached as to how to amend the bill; some conferees preferred to investigate the matter further with the intention of bringing a bill to the next session.

HB 417 Relative to the powers of the governor during a declared state of emergency. The Senate offered an amendment that made several changes to this bill, and the committee quickly agreed on language for the financial oversight section and other details. The change from the House position that the legislature must approve any extension of a state of emergency to the Senate position that the legislature may terminate an emergency was not accepted. Several amendments were discussed during three meetings, with the House conferees offering to only require such approval if an emergency lasted as long as 90 days, but the Senate was unwilling to accept that. The House was unwilling to extend a state of emergency beyond that point without legislative authorization, so the conferees were unable to agree. Note that even though this particular bill was defeated for lack of agreement in the CoC, the substance of the bill was addressed in an amendment to HB 2.

HB 485 Relative to informed consent to search a motor vehicle and amending the statutory requirements for a search warrant; relative to prohibiting certain uses of laser pointing devices, and relative to various civil actions and criminal liability. The Senate amended the bill to add the parts about the laser pointers and civil actions and criminal liability. The House and Senate failed to reach an agreement. Although the underlying bill passed the House on consent, it was amended by the Senate basically turning the bill into an omnibus bill. The original version of HB 485 is similar to SB 40 that passed, and an agreement was reached in a Committee of Conference the previous day. Many of the omnibus provisions added to HB 485 have either been addressed by other bills or were against the House’s position. Therefore, no agreement was reached on HB 485.

Coming Up in the House and Senate

On Thursday, June 24, the House will be in session at the NH Sportsplex facility in Bedford, and the Senate will be in session at the State House. Legislators will be acting on all Committee of Conference (CoC) reports.

Remember: Advocates for a People’s Budget will gather at the State House for a rally at 10 AM.

State House Watch radio on WNHN 94.7 FM

Tune in on Monday for State House Watch radio! Maggie and Grace interview Phil Sletten, Policy Analyst for the NH Fiscal Policy Institute and Rev. Jason Wells, Executive Director of the NH Council of Churches. “State House Watch” radio airs Mondays at 5 PM and rebroadcasts Tuesdays at 8 AM at WNHN-LP, 94.7 FM in Concord and at www.wnhnfm.org. Recordings of past shows are here.

Upcoming Events

Monday, June 21 

Peace & Justice Conversations: Palestine Education Network – 7 PM. Hosted by NH Peace Action. Two peace activists, Will Thomas and Sandra Yarne, who have visited Palestine and Israel will discuss how the United States supports the oppression of Palestinians by aligning itself with the Israeli settlement-colonization project which is usually referred to as the "conflict". Topics covered will include occupation, settlements, the wall and checkpoints, demolition of houses, theft of water, destruction of olive trees, and the arresting of children. These topics are not adequately reported in the mainstream US press leaving most US citizens unaware of the scale of the crisis and our county's complicity in the crisis. What you can do about this human rights crisis will also be addressed. 

Tuesday, June 22 

Interfaith Vigil and March for Citizenship - #WeAreHome – 9 AM. Norris Cotton Federal Building, Manchester. Co-hosted by AFSC, NH Alliance for Immigrants & Refugees, the NH Council of Churches, Granite State Organizing Project and the NH Immigrant Solidarity Network. Join us for a vigil and march to show solidarity with all who continue to face the threat of detention, deportation and family separation. After a brief vigil, we will walk to the offices of Senators Shaheen and Hassan and Congressman Pappas to deliver an urgent message, that every person without permanent immigration status deserves a lasting solution to keep families and communities together. 

Thursday, June 24 

A Better NH is Possible: United for a People's Budget – 10 AM. State House, Concord. Hosted by the Grassroots Coalition for a NH People’s Budget. Join us for a rally to demand a state budget that strengthens our communities with good investments, and to oppose the harmful provisions that have been approved by the state legislature. New Hampshire people deserve a state budget that invests in our communities’ health, education, recovery, opportunity, and vitality. In order to achieve this, we also need fair and adequate taxation that invites all of us to contribute to the common good, in accordance with our ability to pay. 

Saturday, June 26

Wake + Create with Granite State Progress – 10 AM. Hosted by Granite State Progress. Join Granite State Progress and fellow activists on Saturday mornings for lively conversation and creative ideas on how to hold politicians' feet to the fire and engage our community around issues of immediate state and local concern. Working together, we create digital and popular education tools to help people understand what is happening at the NH State House and the policies, personalities, and decisions affecting our health and our environment.

Active Bystander Training for Advocates – 11 AM to 12:30 PM. NH Council on Developmental Disabilities. Sometimes people are quick to express anger and more likely to be angry at people "not like them." This interactive training will give you tools and insights to use when responding effectively when witnessing this behavior.

NH Peace Action Annual Meeting with Combatants For Peace – 12 PM to 2 PM. Hosted by NH Peace Action. Join us for the 2021 NH Peace Action Annual Meeting featuring speakers from Combatants for Peace, Palestinians and Israelis who work together for nonviolent solutions to the conflict around them. At noon, there is a Business Meeting where we will recap the past year, elect officers for the next year and review finances. At 1:00 PM we will live stream with Osama Elewat and Elie Avidor, former combatants from each side of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict now working for peace. Each will share the story of their own journey and give an update on the recent violence. This is your opportunity to hear from and ask questions of our fellow peace activists living and working in one of the world's most bitter and protracted conflicts. 

Sunday, June 27

For the People – 3 PM. Market Square, Portsmouth. Hosted by Occupy New Hampshire. Our Democracy should work for all the people and achieve all of we the people's progressive priorities. Join us to kick off the For the People Campaign that will go from the 28th thru July 10th.

Tuesday, June 29 

Defund Hate Community Call – 3 PM. Co-hosted by AFSC. Right now, Congress is figuring out how to fund the government, determining how much money different agencies, including ICE and CBP will get for next year. Join the Defund Hate Coalition to get campaign updates and learn about opportunities for engagement. 

Monday, July 19 

Peace & Justice Conversations: The Power of Stories: Immigrants' Journeys to Find Home – 7 PM. Hosted by NH Peace Action. Since 2012, photographer Becky Field has photographed the lives of immigrants and refugees in New Hampshire. Her project, "Different Roots, Common Dreams," shows that while we have different cultural roots, we have the same dreams for a good life. Becky will talk about her recent work, showing her photographs and sharing stories from several NH immigrants. In 2018 "Antony" (not his real name) fled persecution and war in his country in Africa, crossed into the US at the southern border, and asked for asylum. Although seeking asylum is legal by U.S. and international immigration law, Antony was shackled and jailed for two years in several detention centers. He expresses these difficult experiences through his poetry and art. When COVID-19 struck in the centers, he was released to the care of a community group in 2020. He is now staying in a NH home, still shackled with an ankle monitor. Recently, Becky and Antony have partnered to document his life in detention using her photographs and his writing and art. Antony will share his story about leaving his country and living in detention. 

With best wishes, 

Maggie Fogarty, Grace Kindeke and the amazing Susan Bruce

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, 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.  Susan Bruce is our State House Watch researcher and 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. Donate now to support the work of the AFSC’s New Hampshire Program. Thank you!

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