The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to protect the civil liberties guaranteed to all Granite Staters by the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

New Hampshire's 2023 legislative session is officially underway. Each year, the ACLU of New Hampshire reviews over 1,200 bills introduced in the New Hampshire Legislature for civil liberties implications, identifying those bills that we are going to advocate for or against and developing strategies accordingly. View our 2023 pre-session report to read more about our legislative priorities this year.

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Legislative Priorities

bold text reading: build a society where "we the people" means everyone

Invest in Communities and People. All New Hampshire residents should ensure basic needs and provide life affirming services, including a living wage; safe, decent, and sanitary housing; adequate nutrition; comprehensive health care and mental health services; and a high-quality education.

  • Support
    • Protect Access to Safe, Legal Abortion: Legislators must support legislation that would enshrine abortion rights into state law. This legislation would ensure that, regardless of what happens in the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion will remain safe, legal, and accessible in the Granite State.
      • READ THE FACTS HB 224
      • Update: The NH Senate voted against these two bills on April 13, 2023. Stay tuned for a way to contact your lawmakers and make your voice heard!
    • Expand New Hampshire’s Harm Reduction Strategy: Lawmakers must provide additional evidence-based harm reduction tools, including allowing the establishment of overdose prevention centers, which are a data-driven approach to saving lives and reducing harm.
  • Oppose
    • Prevent the Government from Controlling Private Healthcare Decisions: Legislators must oppose efforts to further restrict abortions, whether it be through near-total bans restricting abortions after 6-weeks of pregnancy, or mandatory waiting-periods that demean patients. 
    • Stop Harmful “Born Alive” Legislation from Controlling Private Healthcare Decisions: “Born Alive” legislation reinforces a false and unsubstantiated myth by requiring that a fetus born alive must receive life-preserving care. Legislators must ensure that everyone can make the best decision for themselves and their family without undue political interference.
    • Protect the Privacy of Granite Staters’ Health Care Decisions: Legislators must oppose efforts to single out abortion as the only medical procedure designated for data collection by the Division of Vital Records Administration and/or would require healthcare providers to submit to the state detailed, individualized (as opposed to aggregate) reports on each patient’s abortion procedure.
    • Protect the Safety of LGBTQ+ Students: Legislators must oppose efforts to interfere with the ability of school staff to do their job, including attempts to require school staff “out” a transgender student to their parents, potentially before the student is ready to share or who may face an unsafe home environment. 
    • Maintain the Prohibition on Conversion Therapy: Legislators must maintain the ban on conversion therapy, a widely discredited practice that seeks to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Conversion therapy has been debunked by every major medical association in the country. Studies show that LGBTQ+ people who are exposed to conversion therapy are a shocking 92 percent more likely to attempt suicide.
    • Support Trans Youth: Legislators must oppose efforts to ban young trans athletes from participating in athletic activities or ban the use of the bathroom consistent with their gender.
    • Prevent Restrictions on and Protect Medical Care for Transgender Youth: Lawmakers must oppose legislation that would prohibit transgender people under 18 from receiving essential medical care. Affirming a young person’s gender through social transition and gender affirming care - including medical care - saves lives. Passage of such a policy could also negatively impact recruitment and retention of highly qualified medical professionals who would not want to live and work in a state that prohibits necessary medical care to saving lives and reducing harm.

Bold text reading: eliminate harmful and racist policing and punishments

Prioritize Public Safety. Implement harm reduction strategies in response to community issues, including substance use disorders, homelessness, and mental illness, and rein in other abusive police strategies. 

  • Support
    • Protect Civil Rights in the State Budget: Legislators must ensure that the state budget addresses the real needs of New Hampshire communities and that proposals that would harm civil liberties stay out of the budget. 
    • End New Hampshire's War on Marijuana: Legislators must legalize the possession of marijuana by adults with racial equity at the foundation of this reform. New Hampshire’s marijuana laws needlessly ensnare thousands of people -- disproportionately Black people -- in its criminal justice system every year. The war on marijuana does not make us safe. It wastes taxpayer dollars and it ruins lives.
    • Defelonize the Possession of Drugs: Legislators must stop saddling thousands of people -- disproportionately Black people -- with felony records each year for possession of controlled drugs.

Ensure Police are Accountable. Hold police accountable when they abuse their power, including rolling back police immunity protections, requiring standardized data collection, and strengthening open government laws.

  • Support
    • Hold Law Enforcement Accountable: Legislators must end qualified immunity to ensure that victims of police misconduct can access justice and the police who violate civil rights are held accountable.
    • Racial Profiling Data Collection: Legislators must analyze all aspects of our current justice system as there is a gross overrepresentation of Black and Brown people currently incarcerated. The only way to study a system is by looking at data. Therefore, it is extremely important we gather facts and data around all points of our justice system – from arrest to sentencing.

End Policing for Profit. Focus police on the fair administration of justice, not collecting revenue or meeting quotas, including eliminating civil asset forfeiture, prohibiting expenditures beyond what is explicitly allocated to the department via the budgeting process.

  • Support
    • Rein in Policing for Profit: Legislators must continue to move toward the elimination of civil asset forfeiture, including by eliminating loopholes that allow state and local law enforcement agencies use of federal forfeiture laws that permit law enforcement to take and keep property without even charging the property owner with a crime.

Eliminate Inhumane and Counterproductive Punishment. Eliminate the inhumane, unnecessary, and expensive incarceration of people in jails and prisons, including by ending parole, repealing mandatory minimum laws, ending cruel and unusual conditions of confinement, and prioritizing non-carceral approaches to public safety, including restorative and transformative justice.

  • Support
    • Parole Reform/Sentencing Reform: Legislators must move New Hampshire out of its archaic and “punishment only” mindset. Repealing Truth In Sentencing would create a behavioral based incentive for incarcerated individuals to take control of their lives, consciously pursue a rehabilitative pathway, and have the best chance of success upon their reentry to our communities.
  • Oppose
    • Stop Prison Expansion: Granite Staters cannot afford the costs of building a new prison nor should we place the economic burden on our community members when data shows a consistent decline in the state’s prison population. It is financially irresponsible to build a new prison, and historically speaking, the construction of new prison facilities always contributes to mass incarceration as a new prison means more cells that must be filled.

Bold text reading: ensure integrity of the courts.

End Two-Tiered Justice. Ensure that guilt and punishment are determined by facts rather than the wealth of the defendant.

  • Support
    • Eliminate Wealth-Based Driver's License Suspensions: Legislators must eliminate the suspension of driver’s licenses for unpaid court fines and fees. Wealth-based driver’s license suspensions have no public safety justification, place unnecessary hurdles in front of people seeking to support their families, and perpetuate New Hampshire’s two-tiered justice system.
    • Strengthen Bail Reform: Legislators must strengthen New Hampshire’s existing bail system to ensure that trained judges make all decisions surrounding bail. This can be accomplished by simply replacing bail commissioners with magistrate judges.
  • Oppose