It has been a fast-paced start to the 2023 legislative session, with committee hearings happening five days a week. This week we will see both committee and full House and Senate votes on a number of ACLU-NH priorities, including:
- End New Hampshire's war on marijuana: HB 639, which would legalize the possession of marijuana by adults, is before the House Ways and Means Committee. 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. Take action now!
- Don’t single out transgender youth for a special tier of surveillance in schools: This week the House will vote on HB 10, which would, under the guise of “parents’ rights,” require schools to reveal a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity to their parents even if this information could case hostility, rejection, and even violence at home. For LGBTQ+ youth, especially those who cannot be safe at home, school may be one of the few places to be themselves. Our schools should protect all students, including LGBTQ+ students, so they can learn and thrive in a safe environment as their most authentic selves. Take action now!
- Protect reforms to New Hampshire's bail system: Legislators must oppose SB 249 and SB 252, which are efforts to revert to a bail system that needlessly incarcerated thousands of Granite Staters at a staggering financial cost to taxpayers. SB 249 and SB 252 will be on the Senate floor this Thursday. These bills are based in fear, not evidence. In fact, crime rates in NH have decreased over 18 percent since the implementation of bail reform. Current law already allows the court to detain individuals pretrial if they are a flight risk or danger to the community and the courts should retain that discretion. Take action now!
- Expand New Hampshire’s harm reduction strategy: This week the House will vote on HB 287, would remove drug testing equipment, including fentanyl test strips, from the definition of drug paraphernalia. Major governmental and non-governmental medical and public health agencies and organizations support access to fentanyl test strips and other drug-checking supplies as a harm reduction tool. Drug testing kits are a data-driven approach to saving lives and reducing harm in New Hampshire. Take action now!
- Prevent the government from controlling private healthcare decisions: Legislators must oppose multiple bills on the House floor this week that would further restrict abortions, including a near-total abortion ban (HB 591), mandatory waiting-periods (HB 562), singling out abortion for unnecessary data collection (HB 582), and legislation that reinforces a false and unsubstantiated myth by requiring that a fetus born alive must receive life-preserving care (HB 346). Take action now!
- Protect access to safe, legal abortion: Legislators must support multiple bills on the House floor this week that would protect abortion access, including legislation to enshrine abortion rights into the state constitution (CACR 2), repeal the abortion ban (HB 271), and repeal the criminal penalties section of the abortion ban (HB 224). Our legislators must ensure that regardless of what happens at the federal level, abortion remains safe, legal, and accessible in the Granite State. Take action now!
- Protect voting rights: This week, the House will vote on HB 460, which would add burdensome new and completely unnecessary requirements when registering to vote and could result in people being turned away at the polls. Currently, voters who do not have, or forget, their identity and citizenship documents are still able to register and cast their ballot on Election Day through a sworn document process. But this bill would change that, and make it impossible for these qualified voters to actually vote. Take action now!
Our legislators are accountable to the people, and your voice can make a difference. Thank you for taking action!
Want to learn more about the ACLU of New Hampshire’s 2023 legislative priorities? Check out our legislative page here.