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State House Watch: May 22, 2022


Photo: Cheryl Senter/AFSC

“I’ve had enough of someone else’s propaganda… I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” – Malcolm X

May 22, 2022

Hello State House Watchers,

On May 14, another instance of white male supremacist violence took the lives of 10 people and wounded three in Buffalo, NY.

From AFSC: “These horrifying acts of racist violence compound the ongoing trauma caused by relentless anti-Blackness espoused not only by individuals like the man who carried out this attack, but also in all sectors of the country. We are holding in the Light our staff, volunteers, and community members who are particularly impacted by these attacks and the ideology behind them, and we deepen our commitments to work for a world without racism and violence…This means being honest and accountable to our history and our present. This means we must embrace a trauma informed approach to community care; believe and support victims and survivors; and above all, make every effort to prevent such violence by eradicating its very root.”

This is an important reminder that the outbursts of white supremacist violence are not isolated incidents, but a symptom of the poison that is cultivated in our systems when elected and corporate leaders prioritize discriminatory policies that dehumanize and disproportionately harm Black and Brown people; when we amplify and normalize white nationalist ideology; when we suppress and legislate into silence teaching the truth of our nation’s history of oppression, and refuse to make the necessary reparations to reverse its ongoing impact.

From Democracy Now: “India Walton, longtime Buffalo community activist [said], ‘I want to see action. I want to see legislation. I want to see investments made in communities, so that every person is allowed to be self-determined. I want to see employers like Tops pay their employees a living wage, so people are not in desparate poverty. I want to see Black communities actually protected and valued. I want to see banks lend mortgages to families of color and give business financing so that we don’t have to depend on a single corporation for all of our needs in our community. I want to see solutions.’”

 

Defend the Right to Asylum

A federal judge has blocked the Biden administration from lifting the Title 42 policy a few days shy of its May 23 expiration date. From the Washington Post: “U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays issued a preliminary injunction that stopped the administration’s plan to terminate … Title 42, which has led to the swift expulsion of most unauthorized border crossers since the earliest days of the pandemic. The judge sided with states that argued that the expected border influx would impose costs on them for services for the newcomers, such as health care and education, that the government should have considered. 'The ruling is wrong, and we assume and expect the administration to take immediate action to undo the injunction,' said ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt. 'The states that brought the lawsuit are hypocritically only concerned with COVID restrictions when it comes to asylum seekers.'”

We recommend this quick summary of the decision from Aaron Reichlin-Melnik.

We are deeply frustrated and saddened that an order that has already expelled almost two million people and has caused such harm is being forced to continue. The U.S. must meet its international responsibility to respect the asylum rights of all people, regardless of where they were born, the color of their skin, their culture or religious affiliation. We continue to urge Senator Hassan and Congressman Pappas to withdraw their support for the Title 42 extension, as do other New Hampshire advocates for immigrant rights. From NHPR: “Carlos Cardona is another Latino who resigned from his post as chair of the Laconia Democrats ... The support for Title 42 is the cherry on top of what he says is a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment …'To instill fear in the Latino and immigrant community in a state where we know racism and white supremacy are alive and well is enhancing and further promoting it,’ Cardona said.”

Please add your name to this AFSC petition to call on the Biden administration to challenge the decision, and to invest in the supports needed to ensure a fair and humane process for all asylum seekers and migrants.

 

Protect Public Education

HB 1431, deceptively identified as a ‘Parental Bill of Rights,’ was taken up in Committee of Conference twice last week. After the first committee failed to reach consensus on Tuesday, the bill was revived after two members were replaced and the committee met again on Thursday and pushed through an agreement. Senator Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton), one of the lawmakers removed from the committee for her objections, explained her opposition to the bill: “The exclusion of any children's rights is going to elevate parental rights over that of children and I find that so sad and so problematic.” Read more in NHPR.

Linds Jakows, advocate for LGBTQ+ rights in New Hampshire, shared their own story of the harm this bill would cause: “My public high school was my one refuge, and if school had stopped being a safe space for me, I know I would have fallen into an even deeper depression… Yes, parents do have rights, but kids have rights too, including the right to decide when and how to come out to their parents.” Read more at the NH Bulletin.

Governor Sununu released a statement promising to veto the measure. Read more here. Now is the time to urge your Representatives and Senators to defeat the Committee of Conference report when the legislature meets to vote on May 26.

 

Update on Abortion Access

HB 1625, which would repeal the buffer zone around reproductive health clinics, has passed both the House and the Senate and makes its way to the governor. For more updates on the state of reproductive access in NH, listen to the NHPR weekly recap. We also recommend this opinion piece by Kayla Montgomery, Dalia Vidunas and Dr. Joshua Nathan: Our Deepest Fears Are Coming True. They write: “The truth is, most Granite Staters and most Americans support access to safe, legal abortion. If someone has decided to have an abortion, more than 8 in 10 respondents want the experience to be affordable, safe, supportive, and nonjudgmental, without added burdens or protesters. Unfortunately, increasingly gerrymandered districts mean the will of the New Hampshire people is not always carried out by the Legislature.”

 

Updates on Redistricting

We are keeping a close watch as new voting district maps are being decided, as well as challenged in the courts. Read on for updates on the current state of the four voting district maps. For more history and context on redistricting in the state, read this description of the past thirty years in the Concord Monitor.

The Committee of Conference came to agreement on a Congressional district map in the form of SB 200. Among the changes, this map places the state’s three largest cities—Manchester, Nashua, and Concord—into the 2nd District, once again putting Representatives Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas into the same district. It remains to be seen if the courts will release their own “least change” map or if the governor will veto the lawmakers’ proposal even though it is very similar to the previous versions he has disapproved of and doesn't maintain two competitive districts. You can read the Fair Maps Coalition analysis on the map here.

The lawsuit Brown v. SOS Scanlon, which challenges the newly passed district maps for the NH Senate and Executive Council (SB 240 and SB 241), will be heard in the Hillsborough Superior Court. The court date has not yet been set. Plaintiffs argue that the maps create a Republican stronghold in four out of five Executive Council districts and would give Republicans a veto-proof majority in the NH Senate.

The lawsuit Dover v. SOS Scanlon filed by the City of Dover against the gerrymandered House redistricting map was denied this week by the Supreme Court. The court stated that it wasn't their jurisdiction until a lower court has had a chance to hear the case. Plaintiffs now have the option to re-file the lawsuit in a lower court.

 

Action Alerts

We are in the home stretch as the House and Senate are poised to vote on the final Committees of Conference reports when they meet on May 26. We urge our readers to take action and contact your Representatives and your Senators to vote down these harmful bills.

It’s also not too early to contact Governor Sununu and urge him to veto these bills by calling (603-271-2121), emailing (governorsununu@nh.gov) or tweeting @GovChrisSununu.

HB 1476 was approved by the CoC after members agreed to an amendment. Read the report here. This legislation purposely delays the release on bail of those accused, but not convicted, of certain crimes by requiring the involvement of a judge, instead of a readily available bail commissioner. Bail reform is working; this bill will expand incarceration, racial disparities, and the criminalization of poverty.

HB 1431, a bill that removes protections for children in public education, undermines public trust and poses a direct danger to LGBTQ+ young people, requiring school officials to ‘out’ them to unsupportive parents or guardians. We urge Governor Sununu to keep his promise to veto this bill.

SB 418, the unconstitutional and unnecessary measure that will create provisional ballots in New Hampshire, endanger the ballots of military service members serving abroad and unnecessarily overhaul NH’s voting system, is on its way to the Governor’s desk. Take action by tweeting and urge him to veto this bill. Here’s a toolkit with resources for your own messages. And please join advocates in front of the State House on Monday, May 23 at 11 AM for a press conference featuring veterans, military families, and town clerks demanding Governor Sununu veto this harmful bill.

 

In This Issue:

 

Last Week in Committees of Conference

Committees of Conference met, in some cases multiple times, to reach agreement and file a report in time for the deadline of 4 PM on May 19. The resulting compromises will get a final vote on May 26 and must be approved in their entirety, without amendment, if they are to advance to the governor.

As noted last week, some bills blend language from earlier bills, most notably HB 1661, a career and technical education bill which was amended to include funding to lay the groundwork for a new parking garage for House members, as well as workforce housing legislation (SB 400), and health and human services needs that were a priority for the Senate. In the Committee of Conference, an added anti-bail reform component was dropped after the two bodies reached agreement in a separate committee on HB 1476. For anyone with an interest in health and human services, it is worth reading the HB 1661 committee report because it covers a lot of ground!

You can see the status and read the full reports filed by the Committees of Conference here.

 

Coming Up in the House and Senate

The House and Senate meet on May 26 at 10 AM to vote on the Committee of Conference reports listed below. The House Calendar presents the bills in the order they expect to vote on them. Here are the bills, with brief summaries as well as links to the CoC reports. 

On the Consent Calendar

SB 302-FN, establishing the personal privacy protection act. The Senate acceded to the House position. The underlying bill prohibits public agencies from disclosing or releasing the names of members, supporters, volunteers, or donors of tax-exempt charitable organizations.

SB 200, apportioning congressional districts. The conferees recommend that the House adopt this bill as amended by the conferees. The Senate receded from its position of nonconcurrence with the House amendment and the Senate and House both adopted the bill as amended.

SB 238, relative to special education services in chartered public schools. Conferees blended language from both the House and Senate versions. This bill requires that a MOU (memorandum of understanding) be established between a charter public school and a school district regarding how the school district proposed to provide special education services and support to students with disabilities at the charter school. The House recedes from its position of nonconcurrence while supporting the new amendment establishing the timeframe in which the MOU must be developed.

SB 271, relative to the Burgess BioPower facility. House and Senate conferees made a further amendment to SB 271 to add to the list of dockets that the public utilities commission must consider when implementing the provisions of the bill. The newly added docket concerns cost recovery by Eversource.

SB 366-FN, requiring an audit of ballots cast in the 2022 primary and general election. The bill provides that the Secretary of State (SoS) shall conduct, at random locations, audits of the ballot counting machines used in the 2022 primary and general elections. Senate position that a minimum number of devices were to be audited in the general election. In the interest of having an audit done, and given the training representations made by the SoS, the House and Senate conferees agreed to the amended Senate version of the bill.

SB 381-FN-A, establishing an office of the advocate for special education. The Senate acceded to the House version to establish an office of the Advocate for Special Education, which shall be an independent agency, administratively attached to the Department of Administrative Services, under the direction of the Advocate for Special Education.

SB 401-FN, making appropriations to the department of transportation for local highway aid and to the body-worn and dashboard camera fund, permitting the department of transportation to operate dash cameras in fleet vehicles, and relative to the duration of unemployment benefits. The members of the House Committee of Conference acceded to the Senate.

SB 420-FN-A-L, establishing an extraordinary need grant for schools and relative to eligibility for the education tax credit. House and Senate conferees concurred with the House version as amended in conference. The bill establishes an extraordinary need grant based upon equalized valuation per pupil eligible to receive a free or reduced meal for qualifying schools in addition to regular adequate education grants and relief grants. Amending language developed in the conference requires receiving districts to develop and submit an accountability plan to the department outlining how the district intends to use grant award funds to improve the education achievement and growth of students. The plan must generate data using either the statewide assessment or a locally determined accountability assessment that measures student learning in reading, language arts and/or mathematics at the grade levels funds will be used. The education tax credit amendment to increase the level of eligibility from 300% (or $83,250) to 500% (or $138,750) was removed.

SB 445-FN, relative to the broadband matching grant initiative. The chair of the committee introduced an amendment that deleted selection 1 of the bill and added a new paragraph that requires the Commissioner of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs to report quarterly, beginning July 1, 2022, to the Fiscal Committee of the General Court concerning broadband grants, applications and result and any other federal coronavirus capital funds or any other funds authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The balance of the bill remained as passed by the House except for renumbering the sections.

HB 230-FN, relative to child day care monitoring visits and the appeals process for child day care providers. The House conferees acceded to three of the Senate changes to the bill. The Senate agreed to reinstate a House amendment requiring the department to accept and investigate complaints from applicants, licensees, or permittees who believe that the department’s actions regarding licensure or permit status, or the findings of a monitoring visit, were retaliatory in nature.

HB 1011-FN, relative to criminal mischief. HB 1011 originally changed the penalty for defacing or destroying public monuments from a violation to a class A misdemeanor so that restitution would be made under threat of jail time. Senate agreed to restore language so that those convicted of such criminal mischief could be ordered to pay restitution.

On the Regular Calendar

HB 103-FN, establishing a dental benefit under the state Medicaid program. House conferees acquired additional information which persuaded them that concurring with the Senate amendment was the best course of action.

HB 1106, establishing a commission to study recruiting members of the armed forces and the commission on demographic trends. The House conferees support the Senate amendment to re-establish the commission on demographic trends.

HB 1221-FN, relative to the rate of the business profits tax, and relative to payment by the state to political subdivisions of an amount equal to a portion of retirement system contributions of political subdivision employers. The House version of the bill called for the reduction of the business profits tax from 7.6% to 7.5% for the tax years on or after December 31, 2023. The Senate added to the bill a onetime payment by the state of an amount equal to 7.5% of required political subdivision employer contributions made to the state retirement system for group I teachers and group II members. This payment that equals approximately $28 million will be paid for by the revenue surplus seen in FY 2022. The House acceded to the Senate position.

HB 1256-FN, relative to positions within the department of military affairs and veterans’ services, making an appropriation to the state regenerative manufacturing workforce development fund, and adjusting and making an appropriation relative to the Medicaid reimbursement rates for ambulance services. The House conferees agreed with the Senate amendment on raising the Medicaid rates for the first time in 16 years in order to be competitive and maintain workforce EMTs.

HB 1421-FN, relative to lead in school drinking water. The House concurs with the Senate version, with further amendment in conference. The bill as amended requires public and private schools and licensed childcare facilities to install water bottle filling stations or test and remediate all water outlets at the facility. Analysis and costs for testing for lead in water are made available through federal grant funds/DES. As further amended, water from other outlets available to children including classroom and bathroom sinks and water outlets used for food preparation shall be tested and remediated if necessary. The sum of $7.76 million for the biennium ending June 30, 2023, is appropriated to match with the Supplemental Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and Clean Water State Revolving Fund authorized by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

HB 1431-FN-L, establishing the parental bill of rights. The House conferees acceded to the Senate position on HB 1431 with an additional amendment. The amendment contains language to address concerns relative to protective orders. The amendment also contains a severability clause that will allow the law to remain in the event a provision is declared invalid or unenforceable by the courts.

HB 1466, relative to the off-label use of prescription drugs and relative to pharmacy prescriptions. Adds a requirement for a form documenting informed consent for the unusual or controversial off-label use of medicine that addresses the burdens, risks and expected benefits of all options, including forgoing treatment. A separate form in the medical record can be transmitted to the filling pharmacist.

HB 1476-FN, relative to release of a defendant pending trial. The bill requires people accused of certain violent crimes to be detained and brought before a judge for an arraignment and bail hearing as opposed to a more readily available bail commissioner. It would also impact cases where the same person is arrested repeatedly while on bail. This could significantly delay release of people who have yet to be convicted of any crime.

HB 1487, relative to the procedure for withdrawal from the vaccine registry. Includes a requirement that patients withdrawing from the registry sign a form which includes information and consequences of withdrawing from the registry. The form can either be signed by any health care provider or have the signature of the patient or the patient’s parent or guardian notarized.

HB 1503-FN, adopting the Uniform Commercial Code relative to controllable electronic records, relative to exempting the developer, seller, or facilitator of the exchange of an open blockchain token from certain securities laws and establishing state procurement policies intended to promote the use of American materials. The amendment changes the steel fabrication to “strong consideration shall be given for iron or steel fabricated in the United States. If the competitive bidding process results in all qualifying factors being equal, the contract shall be awarded to the contractor offering steel fabricated in the United States. In instances where qualifying factors are equal, absent of low price, and using domesticated structural steel, the state may reserve the option to purchase steel fabricated in the United States.”

HB 1547-FN, relative to perfluorinated chemical remediation in soil and procedures for certain hazardous waste generators. The House conferees acceded to the Senate position.

HB 1567-FN, relative to consequences resulting from election official misconduct. The Senate receded from its position in adopting an amendment on the bill. The bill now provides agreed-upon direction as to how the political subdivision could contest the assessment of penalties and the process to appeal any finding of negligence by the attorney general.

HB 1627-FN-A, establishing an education freedom account program administrator in the department of education and making an appropriation therefor. The Senate agreed to concur with the House version of 1627, amended further in conference. The amendment establishes a new department position, Education Freedom Accounts Administrator. The classified employee shall coordinate and provide technical assistance to guide students, parents, and the scholarships organizations responsible for dispensing the education freedom accounts (EFAs). The position shall further implement policies and procedures as the department related to the education freedom account program, and serve as a resource for administrators, educators, families, scholarship organizations, and policymakers across the state.

HB 1661-FN-L, relative to regional career technical education agreements, an appropriation for preliminary work for a new legislative parking garage, health, and human services, establishing an extraordinary need grant for schools, the release of a defendant pending trial, training and procedures for zoning and planning boards, and financial investments and incentives for affordable housing development. The House accedes to the Senate version of HB 1661 as amended further by committee conferees: that the sum of $9,350,000 for fiscal year ending June 30, 2022 is appropriated for the purpose of preliminary design, engineering, and site work for a new legislative parking garage on the site of the department of justice building; that the bill now addresses and supports a wide variety of health and human service needs, including providing some fee revenue for a special fund for opioid treatment programs; that the bill includes some language regarding workforce housing, providing for land use boards to receive training, requiring land use board to provide their reasoning in writing for denying a permit, and providing that if a municipality allows an increased density, reduced lot size, expedited approval, or other dimensional or procedural incentive under land use planning or regulatory zoning powers, for the development of housing for older persons, it may allow the same incentive for the development of workforce housing.

HB 2022, relative to the 10-year transportation plan. The Senate version of HB 2022 eliminated the proposed transfer of a section of Continental Boulevard to the Town of Merrimack and added a section on electric vehicle infrastructure funding. The Senate agreed to drop the section on EV funding. The House agreed to the Senate regarding Continental Boulevard.

In addition to the above, the General Court website indicates that a report is awaiting signature, but it has not yet been posted:

HB 1099-FN, relative to medical freedom in immunizations, re-establishing the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program, establishing an association health plan pilot program, and relative to expanding Medicaid to include certain postpartum health care services and making an appropriation therefor.

HB 1586-FN-A, relative to a likeness of Wentworth Cheswill at the State House.

Committees of Conference where no report has been filed (i.e., no agreement was reached.)

SB 301-FN-L, establishing the office of the right to know ombudsman and making an appropriation therefor.
SB 358, relative to the joint legislative committee on administrative rules.
SB 458-FN, relative to the Sununu youth services center and operation of a replacement secure facility. The House came up from its position of 6 to 12 beds, but the Senate would not come down to 12 beds from 18.
HB 292, relative to the absentee ballot application process.
HB 307, relative to the state preemption of the regulation of firearms and ammunition.
HB 624-FN, relative to site evaluation committee monitoring and enforcement responsibilities, and relative to net energy metering by hydroelectric generators.
HB 1639, relative to the youth risk behavior survey in schools.
HB 1662-FN, relative to the privacy obligations of the department of health and human services, an appropriation for housing expenses for homeless people and parameters thereof, electronic wage payments, and requiring online marketplaces to disclose certain information to consumers.

 

State House Watch on the Radio

Join us for State House Watch radio on Monday, May 23, hosted by Richard Gulla from the State Employees Union. The program 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 hosted by Lidia Yen and Steven Kidder of Change for Concord featuring interviews with Olivia Zink of Open Democracy and Henry Klementowicz of ACLU-NH.

 

Upcoming Events and Programs

New Hampshire Special Committee on Voter Confidence Public listening sessions in Derry, Portsmouth, and Laconia: May 24 at the Derry Town Hall at 1 PM; June 7 in Portsmouth (location to be determined); and July 12 at Laconia Public Library at 1 PM.  Read more here. To stay informed of the committee’s work, bookmark this page at the NH Secretary of State website.

Free Them All – May Days of Action  AFSC’s Free Them All campaign is celebrating May with a month full of activities across the country in solidarity with all who are incarcerated in jails, prisons, and detention centers. You can support this work by signing our petition to governors, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Bureau of Prisons: Protect incarcerated people from COVID-19 in prisons, jails, and detention centers!

Continuing Revolution 2022: Experiments in Spiritually Grounded Abolition June 3-7: On-campus and Zoom. Continuing Revolution is a space of collective exploration and learning for spiritually curious young adults who are striving to live in ways that reflect their values. We welcome those who are seeking to examine the connections between their spiritual, political, and interpersonal lives. Young adult Friends and seekers (ages 18-35) will gather both online and at Pendle Hill to build community with others exploring abolition. Together we will experiment with seeds of alternative systems as we strive to live in integrity with our core values.

Monday, May 23

Peace & Justice Conversations: Moving Towards an Internationalist Future – 7 PM. With the crisis continuing to unfold in Ukraine, and ongoing violence and suffering in Yemen and Iran, join speaker Khury Petersen-Smith, the Michael Ratner Fellow for Middle East Policy at the Institute for Policy Studies, for an update on the world's hot spots and how we might shape a U.S. foreign Policy for the safety and security of all. Khury Petersen-Smith is the Michael Ratner Middle East Fellow at IPS. He researches U.S. empire, borders, and migration. Khury graduated from the Clark University Graduate School of Geography in Massachusetts, after completing a dissertation that focused on militarization and sovereignty. He is one of the co-authors and organizers of the 2015 Black Solidarity with Palestine statement, which was signed by over 1,100 Black activists, artists, and scholars. Free and open to the public.

Tuesday, May 24

Tracked and Trapped: Experiences from ICE Digital Prisons 2 PM. Join us for a virtual town hall organized by over a dozen organizations across the country that are fighting back against ICE’s digital prisons. The event will feature testimonies from people who are tracked and trapped in ICE’s electronic monitoring program and comments from Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib on what communities and Congress can do to challenge this rapidly expanding program. Learn about forthcoming findings and calls to action from communities organizing on the ground.

Games, Gains, and Gratitude! 6 PM to 8 PM. Saltonstall Farm  61 Stratham Heights Road, Stratham. Hosted by 350NH. Join us to celebrate 350NH's amazing volunteers and all the wins we've had over the last two years. Welcome Lisa as Co-Director and wish Lila farewell! Since April 2020 we stopped the Granite Bridge pipeline, launched NH Renews, elected climate champions, and more—so now we're throwing a party to thank all of you—our amazing volunteers and community members who made this possible. Come by for some fun games, music, and food; stay to chat with fellow volunteers and the 350NH team.

Troubled Minds in Troubling Times: Coping with Global Anxiety 6 PM. Hosted by Community Church of Durham, UCC & Oyster River Community Reads, with Moderator Pastor Dave Grishaw-Jones (Community Church of Durham) and Panelists, Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman (Temple Israel, Portsmouth), Professor Paul McNamara (UNH Philosophy Department), Alexandra Shaker, Ph.D. (author and clinical psychologist), John Mince, Ph.D. (Marriage and Family therapist).

Thursday, May 26

Lifting Up LGBTQIA+ Youth 6:30 PM. Hosted by Rye Public Library. Emme is a queer, non-binary music therapist who works with young people and support systems. This presentation and discussion will include the basics of the LGBTQIA+ community, identity development, youth mental health, and the importance of cultivating affirming relationships with ample time for conversation, exploration, and community learning. Resources for upcoming Pride events, queer community, and further engagement will be provided. Adults and youth welcome. No registration required.

Saturday, May 28

Liberation Forum: Growing the Union Movement 2 PM to 4 PM. Hosted by Party for Socialism and Liberation  Southern NH. Join the Southern New Hampshire branch of the PSL for a discussion of the history of union struggles and recent successes in the labor movement in our area with a speaker from the newly formed MIT Graduate Students Union. We ask that everyone wear a mask and test prior to attending if possible. We will have extra masks on hand. For those who cannot make it in person, we will have a zoom in option. Please register here.

Thirst for Freedom: From NH’s Slave Trade to its Civil Rights Movement 2 PM to 3:30 PM. 222 Court Street, Portsmouth. Hosted by Black Heritage Trail of NH. Colonial Portsmouth newspapers testify to the local slave trade, runaways, abolitionists, and anti-abolitionist activities, followed by conflicting opinions of the Civil War. In the 20th century, the legacy of that early history was reflected in news about de facto segregation in housing and public places. This guided walking tour includes many of those historic landmarks from the early nineteenth through the twentieth centuries.

Sunday, May 29

Race Class Academy: A Guided Discussion Series (4 Parts) 1 PM to 3 PM. Hosted by Rights & Democracy. Race-Class Academy is a 12-video introduction to how we can beat dog whistle politics by building cross-racial and cross-class solidarity. This workshop series is open to anyone who wants to better understand the importance of using race-class messaging as a strategy to overcome efforts to divide us, change the narrative and win the changes that benefit us all. With so much at stake for our communities, this is a highly recommended series for all leaders, organizers and people considering running for office! We ask that participants commit to all four workshop sessions.

Meet Jack Stains, a “Black Jack” in Old Portsmouth: A Living History Tour 2 PM to 3:30 PM. 222 Court Street, Portsmouth. Hosted by Black Heritage Trail of NH. Seafaring was one of the most significant occupations among both enslaved and free Black men between 1740 and 1865. Black seamen sailed on whalers, warships, and privateers. Some were enslaved and forced to work at sea, but by 1800 most seamen were free to seek adventure and economic opportunity aboard ship. On this tour, you will meet Jack Staines, husband to Ona Judge Staines, the President, and Martha Washington’s escaped slave, and experience Portsmouth through the life of one of its Black seamen.

Wednesday, June 1

GSOP Tenant Clinic (for NH Residents) 2 PM to 4 PM. 1045 Elm Street, Suite 201, Manchester. Hosted by Granite State Organizing Project. From answering questions about eviction diversion, renters’ rights to emergency rental assistance and living conditions. All NH renters are welcome to reach out for all of their tenancy concerns and questions.

Saturday, June 4

Port of Entry: Boys and Girls for Sale 2 PM to 3:30 PM. 222 Court Street, Portsmouth. Hosted by Black Heritage Trail of NH. Local newspapers carried merchants’ ads for ships returning to the port of Portsmouth laden with cargo from trade ports on the West Coast of Africa, the West Indies, and the middle Atlantic coastal cities of Colonial America. Visit local wharves and auction sites related to the Atlantic Slave Trade, where a captive could be exchanged for “cash or good lumber” to serve in the master’s house or work on the docks or aboard a ship. See how slavery in the North compared to the South.

Sunday, June 5

The Lies We Were Taught: The Black Family 2 PM to 3:30 PM. 222 Court Street, Portsmouth. Hosted by Black Heritage Trail of NH. At the turn of the 19th century, Black abolitionists are changing public attitudes about slavery and challenging racial bias in the courts. In Portsmouth, never enslaved and newly freed Black adults share households with still enslaved children and elders. It is a time of possibilities, hope, and tension. True stories about these families will describe how a community of African refugees were claiming their place as Americans.

Thursday, June 9

Film discussion: The Boys Who Said No! – 7 PM. 2022 marks the 40th Anniversary of NH Peace Action!  We will be doing a series of events throughout the year to mark the occasion. This is the first of those events. Drawing on original interviews with more than thirty male and female nonviolent activists and historians, The Boys Who Said No! is the first documentary film to profile the young men and women who actively opposed the military draft in order to end the Vietnam War. The film shows how their personal and collective acts of nonviolent resistance, risking arrest and imprisonment for up to 5 years, were a critical part of the antiwar movement, intensifying opposition to the war and eventually forcing an end to both conscription and the war. Please use the link you will receive after registration to view the film ahead of time, then join us for a discussion with Dr. Michael Ferber, a draft resister, one of "the Boston Five" and a long time NHPA board member who is interviewed in the film, and Emma Shapiro-Weiss, Co-Executive Director of 350NH, who was arrested last year for her resistance to the Bow Coal plant, for a discussion of the centrality of nonviolent direct action in struggles then and now. You can watch the trailer here. The link to the film will be emailed to you around June 7. It will be live on June 8 and will stay active for 72 hours for you to watch the film at your convenience and then join us for the panel and discussion on June 9. There is a suggested donation of $10 to $50 to cover the costs of the film and to help fund NH Peace Action's nonviolence work for another 40 years! Full details and tickets here.

Save the dates! Juneteenth Celebration 2022 hosted by the Black Heritage Trail of NH.

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
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