“No Soup for SNAP” Actions Call on Congressional Delegation, Governor Sununu to Protect Food Access as Committee of Conference Meets to Determine Fate of Food Stamps

Cross-posted with Granite State Progress Education Fund

Nashua, NH – As a Congressional committee of conference met for the first time yesterday to discuss the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as “SNAP” or food stamps, Granite State advocates kicked-off a series of events in local communities to highlight the importance of the hunger prevention program for Granite State families.

“SNAP has been called ‘the cornerstone of the nation’s nutrition safety net’ and is one of the most important programs in place to prevent hunger and food insecurity in the United States,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress Education Fund. “SNAP increases food security for 88,692 Granite State adults and children, but new proposed barriers within the House farm bill would limit access for those individuals who rely on the program to feed their families. We call on our Congressional delegation to continue to speak out in support of SNAP, and for Governor Sununu to raise his voice as well in support of the much better Senate version. No Granite Stater should go hungry.”

According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the House farm bill completely eliminates or reduces SNAP benefits for more than 2 million people, particularly low-income working families with children. Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster rejected the damaging House version of the bill; Kuster serves on the committee of conference between the House and Senate to determine the final structure of SNAP benefits going forward.

Local leaders familiar with SNAP and its benefits spoke during the event about the importance of protecting the program:

Michael Reinke, Executive Director, Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter: “We are here because 11 percent of Hillsborough County is living in poverty today. We know that 40% of the kids in Nashua Public Schools, or 4,000 children, receive free or reduced lunch. We know according to Feed America that 10 percent of seniors in Nashua are food insecure. Providing access to food really is a measure of our society. We are about making sure our society comes together to help people who are the most vulnerable or the most at risk. And when our society comes together to support one another, we are stronger. Part of the way we can support each other is to make sure people have access to the food they need to make them healthy and strong.”

Lisa Beaudoin, Executive Director, ABLE New Hampshire: “People with disabilities experience disproportionately higher rates of poverty, hunger and food insecurity in our nation and right here in New Hampshire. Nearly 47% of low income households with a member unable to work due to disability participate in SNAP. SNAP is a critical lifesaver to people with disabilities. Ill-defined work requirements on people with disabilities who already face cruel barriers to employment perpetuates the cycles of poverty, hunger, and food insecurity.”

Kimmie Dettore, Manager, Revive Recovery Center: “There are barriers already in place when you’re a person in recovery. What they consider early recovery is the first year. You are discharged from a hospital, from a behavioral health center or a rehabilitation program after anywhere from a week to 3 months. And you’re sent out and you haven’t been working. You don’t have the same job, you no longer live in the same location, and you’ve got to rebuild your foundation to have success as a citizen and as an individual. To know where your community is at and where you fit in. But what platform do you have without your health? How can you make any of that progress without your physical health? You need food to survive. We all need food to survive.”

Advocates note that Granite Staters working in jobs with low-wages, irregular schedules, or a lack of key benefits such as paid sick leave or family and medical leave insurance are also more likely to experience food insecurity. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, SNAP kept 8.4 million people out of poverty in 2015, including 3.8 million children.

The “No Soup for SNAP” action included a small art installation of 88 empty soup cans, each can representing 1,000 Granite Staters who utilize SNAP, on display in front of City Hall in Nashua, where organizers collected petitions and heard personal stories from Nashua residents impacted by SNAP. The petitions are being collected in major cities and online over the next two weeks.

The next No Soup for SNAP action is scheduled for Portsmouth’s Market Square on Friday, September 7th at 11:15 AM.

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SNAP to Health, https://www.snaptohealth.org/snap/the-real-benefits-of-the-snap-program/

Granite State Progress Statement on SCOTUS Decision on Janus

CONCORD, NH – Granite State Progress issues the following statement on the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME):

“The Janus decision harms every hard-working Granite Stater striving for the America Dream. Corporate special interests want to tilt the scale ever more in their favor by undermining the ability for workers to collectively organize for better wages and benefits, equality in the workplace, or for critical public services. In New Hampshire, the NH AFL-CIO advocates for a higher minimum wage for working people and quality, affordable health care coverage for every family. Educators from NEA and AFT stand up for a quality, public education so that every child has the opportunity to succeed. IBEW provides apprenticeship programs that move workers to steady jobs with good pay and benefits. Just yesterday, Governor Sununu signed a bill members of the State Employees Association, SEIU Local 1984 initiated to improve New Hampshire’s ability to help our vulnerable children in need of protective services. Time and again, union members step forward to use their collective voice to strengthen working families and protect critical public services, and that is exactly why special interests are so determined to destroy them.”

“Today’s shameful Supreme Court decision undermines decades of precedence and further rigs our economy in favor of corporate special interests. But this ruling will not deter the fight for working people to have a fair shake in our country. Granite State Progress is proud to stand with our union sisters and brothers as we work to ensure economic security for every family.”

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Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

 

Granite State Progress Releases State Senate and House Reports Cards on Gun Violence Prevention Votes

How did your State Senators and Representatives vote on firearms related legislation?

CONCORD, NH – Granite State Progress is releasing State Senate and House Report Cards on gun violence prevention votes from the 2017-2018 session. Constituents can learn how their elected officials voted on important firearms related legislation.

“We need to rally, and we need to hold our elected officials accountable,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “Governor Sununu and Senate Republicans have spent their time in Concord parroting gun lobby talking points instead of standing up for the safety of students and families. Meanwhile, other elected officials are working hard to advance common sense gun violence prevention measures. Constituents are encouraged to use the GSP Report Cards to learn how State Senators and Representatives voted.”

GSP Report Card: How Did Your State Senator and Reps Vote on Gun Violence Prevention?

House bills selected include votes on closing background check loopholes; prohibiting firearms at polling locations like schools and churches; banning bump stocks and raising the age of firearms purchase to 21 years old; forcing colleges to allow guns on campus; and repealing concealed carry license requirements which allows dangerous people to legally carry hidden, loaded weapons. Senate bills selected include votes on repealing concealed carry license requirements which allows dangerous people to legally carry hidden, loaded weapons; banning bump stocks; and clarifying that local school districts can establish gun free schools. The report cards also remind constituents that the very first bill Governor Chris Sununu ever signed into law allows dangerous individuals to legally carry hidden, loaded weapons.

The report cards are organized by county and formatted to 1 to 4 pages in length, depending on the size of the county, so that constituents can easily download and distribute them in their communities or at events with legislators. The report cards were distributed at several of the March for Our Lives events over the weekend.

“Just days before thousands of students and community members took to the streets in New Hampshire, Governor Sununu stood idly by while Senate Republicans blocked legislation on gun free schools despite hundreds of calls from students, parents, educators, and school administrators. It is clear that some politicians are more interested in representing the reckless gun lobby than they are in representing their constituents,” Rice Hawkins said. “We hope Granite Staters use our report cards to thank elected officials or hold accountable shameful politicians.”

The GSP Report Card on Gun Violence Prevention is the first in a series of issue-specific report cards Granite State Progress will issue over the coming months.

House Citations: HB 201, Roll Call #35, 2/16/17; HB 350, Roll Call #24, 2/15/17; Rules, Roll Call #72, 3/6/18; SB 12, Roll Call #21, 2/9/17; HB 1542, Roll Call #63 2/22/2018

Senate Citations: SB 12, Roll Call #21, 2/9/17; SB 492, Roll Call #36, 2/1/18; SB 357, Roll Call #131, 3/21/18

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Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Since 2009, Granite State Progress has tracked and weighed in on firearms policy at the state and federal level, and convenes the New Hampshire Gun Violence Prevention Coalition.

GSP Video – Notter’s Notions: Anti-Choice State Representative Makes Outrageous Claim in Committee Hearing (Again)

Leading anti-choice politician Jeanine Notter is at it again, this time claiming that she saw kidney bean size fetus “running up the uterine wall, playing” in sonogram; will Governor Sununu and other politicians side with Notter’s Notions or women’s health?

CONCORD, NH – Granite State Progress is releasing a video of State Representative Jeanine Notter (R-Merrimack) making outrageous claims in committee again, this time seeking to restrict abortion after 8 weeks by claiming she saw a tiny fetus running up a uterine wall in a sonogram. Notter was featured in a previous Granite State Progress video claiming that birth control causes prostate cancer.

Transcript Minute 0:48 as Rep. Notter holds fingers inch apart: “I saw a video of a tiny, tiny, little baby, tiny little baby, running up the uterine wall, playing.”

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: “The anti-choice lobby in New Hampshire has introduced numerous bills that seek to block access to contraception and abortion and shame and demean women who seek them. Much like Notter’s statements, this legislation is not based in medical science but will restrict women’s access to health care. Governor Sununu and state lawmakers have a responsibility to publicly denounce this legislation and make it clear they will not support attacks on women’s reproductive rights. Governor Sununu either stands with extreme politicians like Jeanine Notter, or he stands with Granite State women.”

Background

The Trump Administration and Congress, along with State Representative Jeanine Notter and others, are targeting access to quality, affordable health care, especially women’s health. The Trump Administration recently established a new ‘conscience and religious freedom’ division at HHS that ABC News reported “will likely pave the way for health care workers to refuse specific types of care, like birth control or abortion, based on their religious or conscience objections.”

NH’s HB 1787 would also allow health care providers from a physician to a nurse or even pharmacy employee to reject providing women contraception or abortion care. The bill will have a full House vote next week along with HB 1707, mandatory 24-hour waiting period on women seeking abortion services; HB 1721 which would label women seeking an abortion as ‘vulnerable’ and restrict her access; and HB 1680 which would prohibit abortions after viability – the decision of which would be made solely by the treating physician and without any basis in medical standards.

Rep. Notter is a sponsor of all four bills. Notter’s remarks on video were in support of an amendment she was seeking on another bill to establish viability at 8 weeks – a time at which a fetus is still the size of a kidney bean. Also, it’s unclear how she had five pregnancies without learning anything about development. More information and a petition to Governor Sununu and state legislators is available at www.GraniteStateProgressEducation.org.

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