HB 478 would update New Hampshire’s existing nondiscrimination laws—which currently protect people from discrimination at work, in housing, and in places open to the public—to also protect people who are transgender. This is important because right now there are no express protections in New Hampshire to prevent a transgender person from being fired from their job, denied an apartment or denied service in a restaurant, and otherwise discriminated against simply because of who they are. No one should have to live in fear that they will be unfairly fired, evicted from their home, or refused service at a public place simply because of who they are. Learn more here and take action.
State Budget – HB 1 and HB 2
The House Finance Committee is hosting public hearings on the state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019. Governor Sununu released his version of the budget earlier this year. The House is taking public testimony and revising it in HB 1 and HB 2, and will send it over to the Senate by early April. The next statewide public hearing is on Monday, March 13th at 3:00 PM at the NH State House – Representatives Hall, 107 N. Main Street, Concord. Can’t make it to a public hearing? Click here to call the Finance Committee members or contact Granite State Progress to learn how to submit written testimony or to be connected with a specific call to action around the budget.
Voting Rights Under Attack – SB 3
The Senate finally released its rumored bill to attack voting rights, and it’s as bad as we expected – right down to creating a poll tax to vote by requiring you to register your car in New Hampshire and sending police to your door if you don’t return verification paperwork within 10 days. (We wonder if all those Republican Senators with overdue tax bills would be okay with the same process for their late paperwork?) This bill is nothing more than a thinly veiled and poorly worded attack on voting rights, during the same session that politicians turned down opportunities to strengthen voter participation. Granite State Progress and the Campaign for Voting Rights coalition need your help to defeat it. Learn more here and take action.
Governor Sununu’s pick for NH Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut is unfit for the job. He has no formal background or training in education. He has never once served on a local school board. He home schooled his own seven children but has no experience with public schools, which the majority of our state’s children attend. The state law is very clear: the commissioner must be qualified “by reason of education and experience.” Edelblut fails to pass the test on both counts. His only real experience with public education includes voting to divert taxpayer dollars to private and religious schools, opposing full-day kindergarten, and allowing parents and guardians to opt their students out of the statewide assessment test. But Edelblut’s lack of qualifications aren’t the only reason he is unfit for the job — as Commissioner of Education, Frank Edelblut would be responsible for the adequate education and safety of all of our school children. That’s why his track record on matters related to parental rights over a child’s right to an adequate education, and his opposition to LGBTQ inclusion and fact-based science are so concerning. Learn more here and take action.
The State Senate and House fast-tracked this bill which will repeal the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver and allow dangerous individuals to legally carry a hidden, loaded weapon. New Hampshire law currently allows anyone to open carry a weapon so long as they are not prohibited from owning a firearm, but to conceal carry you must have a license issued by local police or officials. New Hampshire does not require applicants to have a specific reason for conceal carry –self-protection, the protection of property, or target practice are all considered proper purposes – but our law does require that the applicant is a suitable person to be licensed. If SB 12 becomes law, New Hampshire will allow dangerous individuals to legally carry hidden, loaded weapons. The NH Police Chiefs Association stated this could make it legal for minors, sex offenders, and stalkers to legally conceal carry. This bill is a top priority for the gun lobby in the legislature and Governor Chris Sununu (R) is poised to sign it – unless we can stop him. Take Action: Urge Governor Sununu to veto SB 12
Last year, New Hampshire conducted over 165,000 background checks to keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and other prohibited persons. But guns sold in New Hampshire through private sales at gun shows, online, or the classifieds do not currently require a background check. Under HB 201, commercially advertised gun sales – a sale, transfer, or exchange of a firearm that takes place at, or on the curtilage of, a gun show or pursuant to an offer to sell or buy a firearm from an advertisement, posting, listing, or display – would require a criminal background check through a federally licensed dealer using the same background check system already used in all dealer sales. Take Action: Send a letter to your State Representatives on HB 201
Recognizing that guns have no place in our nation’s schools, the federal government has taken steps to make our elementary and secondary schools safer from gun violence by adopting: 1) The Gun-Free School Zones Act; and 2) The Gun-Free Schools Act. Establishing gun-free school zones – that prohibit possession of a gun within a school, on school property, or within a set distance of school property – helps to secure schools from gun-related violence and crime. Currently, only adults with valid concealed carry licenses may carry within a school in New Hampshire. New Hampshire, however, has no such state law limiting firearms within schools, open or concealed carry, and during the last election state officials made it known they could not enforce laws to keep firearms out of polling locations located in schools – some of which are open on Election Day. HB 350 would prohibit firearms in polling locations and provide New Hampshire with jurisdiction to enforce that law. Take Action: Send a letter to your State Representatives on HB 350
While the majority of New Hampshire House Democrats support common sense gun violence prevention, not all of them do. We were very disappointed to see three Democrats on the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee – including the House Minority Leader’s appointed ranking Democrat on the committee – vote against closing the background checks loopholes. These same legislators did stand with us on the concealed carry law – which requires both a background check and that an individual be a suitable person – so why the difference in votes? It all comes down to caucus priorities. The House Democratic Caucus has routinely considered background checks a “vote of conscience.” Take Action: Call on House Democratic Leadership to Make Background Checks a Caucus Priority
There are other firearms related bills in the State Senate and State House. To learn more about these other bills or get more involved, contact Granite State Progress. As always, thank you for all you do to keep New Hampshire moving forward.
Granite State Progress
4 Park Street, Suite 207
Concord, NH 03301