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State House Watch: March 5, 2022


Photo: Cheryl Senter/AFSC

“What would you do to make a butterfly feel safe in your palm? Love the whole world like that. Especially you.” – Jaiya John

March 5, 2022

Dear State House Watchers,

Violence continues to devastate Ukraine, forcing one million people to flee as refugees while many others remain in immediate danger as Russian tanks and artillery shatter civilian centers and infrastructure, including a nuclear power plant. The accounts are frightening and heartbreaking.

Our hope for peace is nurtured by countless examples of resistance to militarized violence, particularly the courage, creativity and persistence of unarmed people, insisting upon their right to live with dignity and peace. Daniel Hunter explains how this form of power is often overlooked and underestimated: “Social media reports are showing collective ... noncooperation. In shared videos, unarmed communities are facing down Russian tanks with apparent success. In this dramatic recorded confrontation, for example, community members walk slowly towards the tanks, open handed, and mostly without any words. The tank driver either does not have authorization or interest in opening fire. They choose retreat. This is being repeated in small towns across Ukraine.” (Ukraine’s secret weapon may prove to be civilian resistance, Waging Nonviolence)

We also find hope in the growing anti-war protests in Russia, and we honor the courage of those who face dangerous consequences for speaking truth to power in opposition to the invasion. Read more here.

As we offer prayers, attend vigils and send money for humanitarian assistance, let us also commit ourselves, once and for all, to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Frida Berrigan urges us to take up this work closer to home, “Those are our tax dollars at work, and if we have any hopes of shifting that inconceivably large tranche of money from preparation for global destruction to climate change mitigation, green energy and a new transportation infrastructure for the post-fossil fuel era, we had better get moving.” (Worried about nuclear war? You can actually do something to prevent it, Waging Nonviolence).

One more observation about how the crisis in Ukraine has lessons for us: We see reports that African migrants – many of them students at Ukrainian universities—are being turned away at the Polish-Ukraine border crossings as they attempt to flee the violence (read more here and here). The African Union released a statement on Monday: “[A]ll people have the right to cross international borders during conflict, and as such, should enjoy the same rights to cross to safety from the conflict in Ukraine, notwithstanding their nationality or racial identity.”

The human rights of all refugees must be respected and protected. As we seek Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukrainians in the US, let us be sure to include TPS for Cameroon, and an end to deportations of Haitians seeking asylum at our own border.

 

State of the Union

On Tuesday, President Biden spoke for a little over an hour on the State of the Union. We applaud the President’s support for voting rights and reproductive rights, and to reforming the tax system so that wealthy Americans and corporations pay their fair share. We are frustrated and disappointed, however, that he offered only a meager reference to immigration issues—tired phrases and no plan for actually delivering on decades of promises for real relief—and a robust call to increase funding for law enforcement despite clear evidence that increased funding for police does not increase community safety.

Throughout the week, advocates and activists gathered in DC to call on Congress and the Biden administration to put an end to the ongoing attacks on voting rights and push through a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people. Contrary to his campaign promises to create a “fair and humane immigration system,” the Biden administration has deported and expelled over 1.8 million people, and continued Trump-era anti-immigrant policies, including the harmful “Remain in Mexico” MPP program and Title 42 border closure and expulsions. Faith in Action brought faith communities from across the country together to amplify the moral imperative for just policies. Across the country, communities held rallies for the Communities Not Cages day of action. Activists called attention to the $23 billion that the federal government gives every year to fund ICE and CBP. Organizers and directly affected communities used their voices to call for the closure of inhumane detention centers and an end to private and municipal contracts that profit from putting people in cages and tearing families apart.

We note some late-breaking (good) news with regard to Title 42 here.

 

Oath Keepers in New Hampshire

This week, NHPR reported that a database containing the names of alleged members of the Oath Keepers—a far-right anti-government militia—had been leaked to the public. The list contains almost 300 New Hampshire residents, including members of law enforcement, former lawmakers and elected officials. “For activist Grace Kindeke with the American Friends Service Committee … participation in a group like the Oath Keepers by members of law enforcement further erodes trust in communities who have been harmed by racial bias. ‘It speaks to a level of hypocrisy because I do not think it is possible to serve the community and uphold the law…if you are specifically working with people who are subverting that, who do not believe that the law applies to them.’”

 

Representative Renny Cushing Takes Leave of Absence

Our friend Representative Renny Cushing has announced that he is taking a leave of absence, effective immediately, from his duties as House Minority Leader: "’With great reluctance, I am following the advice of my doctors and will be taking a medical leave of absence from the position of House Democratic Leader,’ Cushing said in a statement read to the Democratic Caucus by his daughter, Marie. ‘I have fought my entire life for the people of New Hampshire and served in the legislature for more than 30 years - but for now, I need to focus on another fight. During my leave of absence, Deputy Leader David Cote will assume the duties of Democratic Leader, and longtime legislative leader Representative Mary Jane Wallner will step in as the Deputy Democratic Leader.’" We send sincere best wishes for Renny’s strength, peace and healing. We hold him and his dear family in the Light.

 

New Report on Tax Credit Benefits

The NH Fiscal Policy Institute (NHFPI) has released a new report analyzing the benefits of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in New Hampshire. “These tax credits provide key assistance to individuals and families earning low-to-moderate incomes. Both the EITC and CTC offer support through tax credits and relief, so that people have more money in their pockets to meet everyday household expenses. The EITC and CTC effectively reduce poverty, improve economic stability and mobility, support the health and overall outcomes of children and, for the state, provide meaningful economic stimulus.Read it here.

 

NH Gets Sackler Family Money

New Hampshire is set to receive a share of funds from a recent settlement with Purdu Pharma and the Sackler family for their role in the opioid crisis. As reported by InDepthNH, “under New Hampshire law, all funds received from this settlement will be used for opioid abatement purposes, with 85% of those funds being deposited into a dedicated opioid abatement trust fund. The remaining 15% will be distributed to those counties, cities and towns that brought their own opioid lawsuits prior to September 1, 2019.” While no amount of money can erase the devastation caused by their greed, this settlement is a measure of accountability for the extraordinary human cost of the opioid crisis.

 

Durham Residents Vote on Tuesday

As people gather for town meetings throughout the state this coming week, Durham residents will decide the fate of the Mill Pond dam. A ‘no’ vote on Question 2 would authorize the removal of the dam, allowing the Oyster River to flow freely. Read more here and here. We’ll circle back next week with the outcome, and highlights from other town meetings as well.

 

In This Issue

 

Last Week in the House

The Senate was on break last week, and House committees were busy with executive sessions in preparation for several upcoming session days – March 10, 15, 16, 17 and 31.

In executive session last week, the House Transportation Committee voted along party lines to recommend defeat for three bills (HB 1093, HB 1666 and HB 1463) that would expand access to driver licenses for non-citizens. The majority relied on misinformation and anti-immigrant sentiment to justify their positions. And the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, also along party lines, voted to amend and pass HB 1266, which will prohibit local communities from limiting police cooperation with ICE detainers. None of these committee reports are on the agenda for Thursday’s House session, so there is still time for us to let our Representatives know that we support the driver license bills and oppose the anti-immigrant bill. 

We also note with dismay that the House Municipal and County Government Committee recommended ‘ought to pass’ for HB 1393, which would enable communities to cap school budgets (read more here), and the House Science and Technology Committee recommended defeat for HB 1250, which would require consideration of climate impacts when setting electrical rates (read more here). These votes were also along party lines.

Trying to make sense of the 30+ bills related to our state’s public health infrastructure including vaccines?  We recommend that you bookmark New Futures’ Campaign for a Health NH and follow their action alerts. And tune in to State House Watch radio next week when Maggie and Grace interview Kate Frey about some of the key bills.

Speaking of public health, we appreciate Garry Rayno’s take on the governor’s recent actions regarding mask mandates in public schools, There’s a rabbit hole in NH.

 

House Session on March 10

The full House will meet in Representatives Hall on Thursday, March 10 starting at 9 AM.

On the consent calendar

CHILDREN & FAMILY LAW
HB 1651-FN, adding sexual reassignment to the definition of child abuse. Recommended ITL by a vote of 8-0. From the committee report: The committee believes this is a decision between the parents, child, doctor and mental health professionals. The legislature should not be making already difficult and trying times in a child’s life even more difficult.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE & PUBLIC SAFETY
HB 1025-FN, relative to impeding, provoking, or harassing law enforcement officers. Recommended ITL by a vote of 19-0. The prime sponsor of the bill asked to find the bill inexpedient to legislate before it was even introduced because it was agreed that the bill was unnecessary and obstructing a police officer from carrying out their official duty is already a crime.
HB 1027-FN, establishing the crime of undermining legislative process by false claim of emergency. Recommended ITL by a vote of 19-0.
HB 1232-FN, reducing the penalty for first offense drug possession and repealing certain mandatory minimum sentences. Recommended for IS by a vote of 17-1.
HB 1577-FN, relative to exemptions from prosecution for victims of human trafficking. Recommended OTP by a vote of 20-0.

ELECTION LAW
CACR 22, relating to elections. Providing that all elections in New Hampshire shall be by ranked-choice voting. Recommended ITL by a vote of 20-0.
HB 1010-FN, requiring municipal voter history to be made accessible in the statewide centralized voter registration database. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 20-0.
HB 1157, relative to electronic ballot counting devices. Recommended OTP by a vote of 20-0.
According to the committee, this proposes to put in law what is current practice. It amends RSA 656:42 to prohibit electronic ballot devices from being connected to the internet.
HB 1174, relative to election challengers. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 20-0. According to the committee, this bill provides for qualified election observers to observe the process of tabulating the votes from a distance of not more than six feet.

HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES & ELDERLY AFFAIRS
HB 1003, prohibiting health care providers from refusing to provide care or services based on patient vaccination status. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 21-0.
HB 1099, prohibiting the department of health and human services from requiring vaccine passports for services. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 21-0.

JUDICIARY
HB 1147, relative to governmental records available upon request. Recommended ITL by a vote of 21-0.
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. Recommended for IS by a vote of 18-1.
HB 1195, relative to public comment periods at public meetings. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 21-0. According to the committee, the bill requires a public comment period at the beginning of each public meeting of a school board or school administrative unit (SAU) board. The period would need to be no longer than necessary to hear all those who wish to speak.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES
HB 1124, requiring businesses to use the federal E-Verify system of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Recommended ITL by a vote of 20-1. According to the committee, the majority found the E-Verify system for determining an employment candidate’s eligibility to work in NH is unreliable and an unnecessary mandate on employers.

RESOURCES, RECREATION & DEVELOPMENT
HB 1167, establishing a maximum contaminant level for perfluorinated chemicals in surface water. Recommended for IS by a vote of 21-0.
HB 1185, relative to treatment of water contaminated with perfluorinated chemicals. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 21-0. According to the committee, this allows plants to test for PFAS – and reject PFAS-contaminated wastewater -- prior to accepting industrial or commercial waste so taxpayers aren’t stuck with the treatment costs.
HB 1602-FN, relative to perfluorinated chemicals in drinking water. Recommended for IS by a vote of 21-0. This bill would require testing for PFAS in drinking water of childcare facilities and schools.

TRANSPORTATION
HB 1447, prohibiting state agencies from using face recognition technology. Recommended for IS by a vote of 19-0. More on the flaws in this technology here.

On the Regular Calendar

CRIMINAL JUSTICE & PUBLIC SAFETY
HB 1151-FN, prohibiting the display of a deadly weapon at a parade, funeral procession, picket line, march, rally, vigil, or demonstration. Recommended ITL by a vote of 13-6. The bill would ban the open carry of firearms within 100 feet of a protest, rally, march, or any First Amendment-related activity on public property. According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project—a group that collects data and reports on political violence worldwide—armed demonstrations are 6.5 times more likely to turn violent or destructive than demonstrations where no firearms are present.
HB 1175, relative to recording interactions with public officials. Recommended ITL by a vote of 17-3.
HB 1483, relative to the use of physical force by a law enforcement officer. Recommended ITL by a vote of 14-3.
HB 1636, relative to prohibitions on carrying a loaded firearm on an OHRV or snowmobile. Recommended OTP by a vote of 11-6.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS & ADMINISTRATION
HB 1159, recognizing November 7 as Victims of Communism Memorial Day. Recommended ITL by a vote of 12-5.
HB 1257-FN, requiring the retirement system to divest from investment in companies located in China. Recommended ITL by a vote of 12-3.

HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES & ELDERLY AFFAIRS
HB 1126, permitting minors over the age of 16 to obtain a vaccination without parental consent. Recommended ITL by a vote of 12-7.
HB 1021, prohibiting regulation of religious land use based on the religious nature of the assembly or speech taking place on the land or in the structure. Recommended OTP by a vote of 14-7. According to the committee, the bill requires that land use laws be applied equally to all permitted uses without additional requirements based on religious use of the property.
HB 1216-FN, repealing the housing appeals board. Recommended ITL by a vote of 17-3.
According to the committee, in the past 2 ½ years the board has accomplished exactly what the legislature hoped it would. It has heard cases in a timely way and reached fair and balanced decisions.
HB 1254, relative to the housing appeals board. Recommended ITL by a vote of 18-3.
HB 1260, making immunization status a protected class. Recommended ITL by a vote of 17-4. This bill would allow citizens to file a civil rights complaint with the NH Human Rights Commission if they were denied a job, housing, or entrance to public accommodation sectors, based on immunization status, which, according to the committee would place a heavy burden on the Human Rights Commission.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL & REHABILITATIVE SERVICES
CACR 14, relating to unions. Recommended ITL by a vote of 12-9.
HB 1385, prohibiting the use of credit history in employment decisions. Recommended ITL by a vote of 17-4.

STATE-FEDERAL RELATIONS & VETERANS AFFAIRS
CACR 32, relating to independence. Providing that the state peaceably declares independence from the United States and proceeds as a sovereign nation. Recommended ITL by a vote of 21-0.
HB 1411-FN, relative to transparency of federal agency operations within New Hampshire. Recommended OTP/A by a vote of 14-7.

 

Coming Up in House and Senate Committees

Coming Up in House Committees

Monday, March 7

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS & ADMINISTRATION, Room 302-304, LOB
11:50 AM Executive Session on HB 1135, requiring a performance audit of the department of education, education freedom account program; HB 1173, proclaiming August 9 as Indigenous People’s Day; and other bills.

HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES & ELDERLY AFFAIRS, Room 210-211, LOB
9:30 AM Executive Session on HB 1022, permitting pharmacists to dispense the drug ivermectin by means of a standing order; HB 1035, relative to exemptions from school vaccine mandates (New Futures opposes); HB 1045, requiring legislative oversight over the emergency powers of the department of health and human services; HB 1077, repealing the prohibition on conversion therapy for minors; HB 1080, relative to the rights of conscience for medical professionals; HB 1271, limiting the authority of the department of health and human services to mandate vaccinations; and relative to quarantine costs; HB 1379, relative to the department of health and human services’ rulemaking authority regarding immunization requirements; HB 1409, relative to the age at which a minor may receive mental health treatment without parental consent; HB 1455, relative to state enforcement of federal vaccination mandates; HB 1481, repealing the statute relative to medical freedom in immunizations; HB 1487, relative to the procedure for withdrawal from the vaccine registry; HB 1488, expanding the prohibition against discrimination based on an individual’s election not to participate in the state vaccine registry; HB 1495-FN, relative to vaccine mandates for government contractors; HB 1606, making the state vaccine registry an opt-in program (New Futures opposes); HB 1633-FN, relative to requiring COVID-19 vaccination for school attendance.

Tuesday, March 8

FINANCE, Room 210-211, LOB
10:00 AM Executive Session on HB 103-FN, establishing a dental benefit under the state Medicaid program; HB 1677-FN, relative to the administration and settlement of claims of abuse at the youth development center and making an appropriation therefor.

1:00 PM Public hearing on non-germane amendment #2022-0875h, to HB 1627-FN-A, relative to establishing an education freedom account program administrator in the department of education and making an appropriation therefor. The amendment requires the department of education to seek participation in the Medicaid direct certification methodology for school meals program. Copies of the amendment are available in the Sergeant-at-Arms office, Room 318, State House.

Wednesday, March 9

ELECTION LAW, Room 306-308, LOB
10:00 AM Executive Session on HB 1473-FN, authorizing a forensic audit of the November 3, 2020 election results in Merrimack county for president, governor, and United States senate races; HB 1522-FN, requiring the use of ballots with embedded security and relative to chain of custody of absentee ballots; HB 1527-FN, relative to the storage of total vote counts produced by electronic ballot counting devices; HB 1470-FN, requiring that all ballot counting devices show the number of overvotes for each race on the ballot; HB 1457-FN, relative to chain of custody of ballot boxes after an election; HB 1163, relative to over voted ballots; HB 1064-FN, requiring the use of hand-marked, durable paper ballots in elections; HB 1247, relative to folded ballots; HB 1467-FN, requiring partial audits of additional offices on ballots involved in recounts; HB 1485-FN, relative to direct recall elections; HB 1203-FN, relative to domicile residency, voter registration, and investigation of voter verification letters, and relative to the terms “resident,” “inhabitant,” “residence,” and “residency.”; HB 1542-FN, relative to documentation required to prove a voter’s eligibility to vote; HB 1543-FN, relative to the voter registration process; CACR 15, relating to elections, providing that the age to vote in the primary election be reduced to 17 for those who will be 18 by the general election; HB 1567-FN, relative to the removal of election officials from office; HB 1383, relative to electronic copies of absentee ballot lists.

LABOR, INDUSTRIAL & REHABILITATIVE SERVICES, Room 305-307, LOB
10:00 AM Executive Session on HB 1165, repealing the Granite State paid family leave plan; HB 1210, relative to exemptions from vaccine mandates (New Futures opposes); HB 1337, relative to the duration of unemployment benefits; HB 1352-FN, relative to eligibility for workers’ compensation for an adverse reaction to a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination; HB 1529-FN, requiring prospective employees and volunteers of public libraries to obtain a background check prior to commencing employment or volunteer service; and other bills.

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 202-204, LOB
10:00 AM Executive Session on HB 1097, relative to taxation of income of New Hampshire residents when working remotely for an out of state employer; HB 1221-FN, relative to the rates of the business profits tax and the business enterprise tax; HB 1524-FN, establishing a national service alumni attraction and retention fund; HB 1565-FN, relative to the opioid abatement trust fund.

Coming Up in Senate Committees

Monday, March 7

ELECTION LAW & MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS, Room 100, SH
1:00 PM HB 87, relative to the definition of electioneering.
1:15 PM HB 144, relative to absentee ballot request forms.
1:30 PM HB 514, relative to ballot column rotation.

Tuesday, March 8

COMMERCE, Room 100, SH
9:15 AM HB 589-FN, requiring workers’ compensation to cover prophylactic treatment for critical exposure.

EDUCATION, Room 101, LOB
9:15 AM HB 1218-FN, relative to the merger of Granite State college with the University of New Hampshire.
9:45 AM. HB 1575-FN, relative to waiver of tuition in the university system and community college system.

JUDICIARY, Room 100, SH
2:00 PM HB 579, requiring notice to the public before immigration checkpoints are conducted. AFSC-NH supports strongly. Please let the committee know if you support this bill!

Wednesday, March 9

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS & ADMINISTRATION, Room 103, SH
9:30 AM HB 84, declaring May 21, 2022 as Ona Judge Staines Day.
10:15 AM HB 1586-FN-A, relative to a likeness of Wentworth Cheswill at the State House.

WAYS AND MEANS, Room 100, SH
9:10 AM HB 355, relative to Keno.

 

State House Watch on the Radio

Join us for State House Watch Radio on Monday, March 7! Maggie and Grace speak with Kate Frey from New Futures about the Campaign for a Healthy NH and the many vaccine-related bills they are closely tracking. 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. You can find podcasts of our past shows here, including last week’s show which featured a re-broadcast of Episode Two of Arnie Arnesen's monthly "Race Class" program with Boston University Professor Jonathan Feingold, plus some great music handpicked by our wonderful producer, Fred Portnoy.

 

Recording

AFSC Livestream: Advocating for a Community-Centered Budget – The U.S. government continues to operate under last year's budget while they negotiate this year's spending levels, and President Biden is about to release his proposal for FY’23 spending. These bills include massive amounts of money for bad things like immigration detention, war, and incarceration—often while underfunding things we need like health care, housing, and education. Staff from AFSC’s Office of Public Policy and Advocacy underscore the need to divest from militarism and invest in our communities instead.

 

Upcoming Events and Programs

Building Community Alternatives to Police Response – Every other Saturday, March 12 to June 18. 1 PM to 3 PM. Hosted by AFSC. Join our new Study into Action Group. In this 8-week virtual participatory workshop, we will develop an understanding of current community-based responses to emergencies in communities across the country; do an assessment of the assets and needs for emergency response in our own community; receive concrete training in de-escalation and mental health crisis response; and develop a plan to take concrete action toward building community alternatives to police response.

IMPORTANT: Please sign up for this workshop series with a partner from your community (i.e., your school, neighborhood, workplace, congregation, family, etc.). This will help you to bring the knowledge gained in this workshop into concrete action!

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 1 PM ET. 

“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 PM to 6 PM ET. 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.

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.

Virtual 2022 School Board and Exeter Candidate Forum – 5 PM to 7 PM. Hosted by Exeter TV. The Exeter GFWC and NH Listens host Exeter and SAU16 candidates for the 2022 Town Election. Join us on Zoom to listen and submit questions using the Q&A feature or watch on Exeter TV Channel 98, YouTube, or Facebook Live.

Monday, March 7

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). Sign up for the training here. Contact Roula at roula@seacoastoutright.org with any questions!

Manchester Housing Alliance Meeting – 6 PM to 7 PM. Hosted by Rights & Democracy. This Meeting we will be discussing the upcoming Code-Palooza being put on by the city on March 7 and 8. This will be a great opportunity to give public input on how the city will be shaped in the coming years.

Powerbuilders: Effective Meetings and Agendas – 6 PM to 7:30 PM. Hosted by Rights & Democracy. How many of us have been a part of, or even responsible for, a BAD meeting? While meetings should be a space of collaboration, shared accountability, and a useful tool to move a group of people forward for collective action, too often meetings fall short of those goals. When we effectively plan and execute the time we spend together in meetings, we can more effectively build power together to win the change we need for our communities. This training, part of our ongoing Powerbuilders series, is for leaders to gain the tools necessary to run effective meetings which create mutual trust, responsibility, and accountability for collective action.

Love Knows No Borders – 7:30 PM to 9 PM. Hosted by Pendle Hill and AFSC. The U.S. southern border region is one of the most diverse, economically vibrant, and safest areas of the country, home to about 15 million people. Yet the border region is commonly portrayed as a place that is out of control and lawless. AFSC’s Pedro Rios will explore how his lifelong work and time with the American Friends Service Committee is dedicated to upholding the dignity of border residents and migrants who cross through the region, as well as the ways this work challenges the troublesome border narrative used to create detrimental public policy. He will highlight how problematic immigration enforcement practices have harmed both border residents and migrants, address common misconceptions about the border region, and underscore the importance of nonviolent direct action in amplifying voices from the region. Finally, Pedro will share personal stories that have guided his journey as a human rights defender and how these are connected to his commitment to a vision where the power of love overcomes borders.

Thursday, March 10

Women's Work: The Legacy of Women in America's Oldest Bird Conservation Organization – 5:30 PM. Hosted by Harris Center for Conservation Education. In 1896, 25 years before women had the right to vote in the United States, Minna Hall and Harriet Hemenway organized to end the wholesale slaughter of birds for feathers used in the fashion trade, founding the Massachusetts Audubon Society for the Protection of Birds in the process. Hall and Hemenway not only saved millions of birds, they also launched the world into a whole new conservation ethic. Join Joan Walsh, Gerard Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Field Ornithology at Mass Audubon, for a special Women's History Month talk on the enduring legacy of women in America's oldest bird conservation organization—from the founding mothers to modern-day scientists, activists, and educators. For more information, contact Brett Amy Thelen.

Sunday, March 13

Shades of Black: Connected by Color, Culture & Community – 2 PM to 3:30 PM. Levenson Room, Portsmouth Public Library. Hosted by the Black Heritage Trail of NH. Black folk in predominantly white environments have often found it “exhausting” to continually describe for others the negative impact of racism on them. They have also felt it a burden to serve in the position of “teacher” representing the wider Black community, instead of being viewed as individuals with their own unique stories and needs. For this panel, Black Americans from diverse backgrounds will share their stories on what it means to live in and love their own skin.

Rally for Renewables – 1 PM. Virtual and in person at the NH State House, Concord. Hosted by 350NH, Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook People, Community Action Works and Rights & Democracy. Join us to demand renewable energy and a livable future now! We need to shut down the coal plant in Bow, NH and end the pollution of our communities. We need to invest in solar energy and wind energy to bring good jobs to NH! We need a just transition to renewable energy now, and we're going to be in Concord and online to make sure our legislators hear us.

Monday, March 14

Peace & Justice Conversations: Mobilizing Youth for Peace with Friends Forever – 7 PM to 8 PM. Hosted by NH Peace Action and Friends Forever International. Friends Forever International works with communities around the globe to build the leadership abilities of their youth from diverse backgrounds to tackle local and global issues. Our speaker will be Úna from County Armagh in Northern Ireland. She first joined Friends Forever in 2017 and has stayed involved, feeling honored to help empower and encourage young people from all over the world. 

Tuesday, March 15

No Coal No Gas Campaign Onboarding & Info Session – 7 PM. Hosted by 350 NH & No Coal No Gas. Join us for an Orientation/Loop-in Session where you can learn more about the No Coal No Gas campaign! This is a great chance for people who are new to the campaign OR folks who have been involved in the past and are looking to plug back in to learn what’s been going on lately and explore upcoming opportunities to get involved—from Nonviolent Direct Action to FERC comments periods to showing up for court support! Whether you are new to No Coal No Gas or looking to plug back in—this is a space for you!

Tuesday, March 22

Beyond Roe: Black Abortion & Maternal Health Experiences – 7 PM to 8:30 PM. Hosted by the Reproductive Freedom Fund of NH and BLM Seacoast. A panel discussion and Q+A with BIPOC leaders working around reproductive and maternal health—register here. 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, March 28

Peace & Justice Conversations: Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis – 7 PM to 8 PM. Hosted by NH Peace Action and the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL). Come learn more about the situation in Yemen and how you can join in the lobbying campaign. With critical support from the United States, the Saudi-led coalition’s war and blockade in Yemen have helped create the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, pushing over 16 million people to the brink of famine. On February 4, 2021, President Biden announced that the United States would end its support for the coalition’s offensive operations in Yemen, but important aspects of U.S. complicity remain. Our speaker, Hassan El-Tayyab, is FCNL’s legislative director for Middle East policy. His passion for foreign affairs is rooted in his desire to make life better for people in the Middle East, including his extended family in Jordan, and for peace and stability worldwide.

Tuesday, April 5

Native Americans in NH – 7 PM to 8 PM. Hosted by Exeter TV & Exeter Historical Society. Event is in person at the Exeter Town Hall, 9 Front Street, Exeter, and can also be watched on Channel 98 or through our Facebook page. Every town and watershed in New Hampshire has ancient and continuing Native American history. From the recent, late 20th century explosion of local Native population in New Hampshire back to the era of early settlement and the colonial wars, John and Donna Moody explore the history of New Hampshire's Abenaki and Penacook peoples with a focus on your local community. This program is generously sponsored by the New Hampshire Humanities and co-hosted by Exeter TV and is free and open to the public. 

Friday, April 11

Peace & Justice Conversations: 350NH Climate Justice Activists Report – 7 PM to 8 PM. Hosted by NH Peace Action. Militarism and climate disruption are deeply linked. In January, Marcy Winograd helped us more clearly see those connections. NH Peace Action has supported 350NH since its inception and welcomes Jen and Wren, Climate Justice Organizers with 350 New Hampshire, for a conversation about their goals for a more just, sustainable world. They will speak about their coalitional work to stop the burning of coal, the systems of power that suppress our agency, their vision of a better future, and the work that seeks to connect these things.

Monday, April 14

Open Democracy Book Club: How Democracies Die – 7 PM to 8:30 PM. Hosted by Open Democracy. Since the days of ancient Athens, democracies have arisen and disappeared, often suffering violent deaths. In How Democracies Die, Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblat teach us that democracy no longer ends in a shower of bullets but with the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions and the erosion of long-standing political norms. The culprits are not wild-eyed revolutionaries or foreign adversaries, they are us, or at least a sub-set of us. They give us clear examples of how some democracies have died in the last century, and invite us to consider what lessons these fates offer for our own country. This is the way democracy ends, not with bang but a whimper.

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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