With just over a week until the New Hampshire House reaches its crossover deadline (April 6), and a few days away from the New Hampshire Senate’s crossover deadline (March 30), we have a flurry of activity at the Statehouse. And, civil liberties are front and center.
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: After a major win last week when the full House voted to table HB 10, which would have, under the guise of “parents’ rights,” required schools to reveal a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity to their parents even if this information could cause hostility, rejection, and even violence at home. This week the House Education Committee will hear testimony on the equally harmful SB 272 – the Senate’s similar version. 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!
- Don’t fund harm. This week the House Finance Committee will vote on HB 2, the policy side of the State’s proposed budget. Buried in this 200+ page bill are a number of concerning policy proposals, including:
- A $50 million “deposit” on the construction of a new prison without first studying what the future of incarceration in the Granite State should look like (the total cost is estimated to be up to $500 million). Since 2014, New Hampshire’s prison population has declined 35 percent and crime has decreased over 31 percent, showing that we can safely reduce our reliance on incarceration. We must first discuss what the future of incarceration should look like (including how we can continue to reduce our need for incarceration while increasing community safety) before even considering spending possibly half a billion dollars on a new state prison.
- Under the guise of an alleged northern border crisis, appropriate $1.4 million to establish a “Northern Border Alliance Program.” Unfortunately, history has already taught us what this is really about – using immigration as an excuse to expand government surveillance and policing near the border. A few years back, we heard similar justifications to support the use of so-called “immigration checkpoints,” which a New Hampshire court later found to be used to circumvent the New Hampshire Constitution to go Granite Staters for low-level drug possession.
- Email the Finance Committee and urge them to oppose these two provisions of the budget. You can email the whole committee at this address: HouseFinanceCommittee@leg.state.nh.us.
- Don’t further erode trust between our communities and law enforcement: This Thursday the Senate will vote on SB 132, which would require New Hampshire law enforcement to comply with requests by the federal government to hold people believed that a single federal agent believes to be undocumented. That’s right – if passed, this law would require NH law enforcement to cage people without any due process. When local police detain individuals simply due to their alleged undocumented status, they create an environment where these individuals—including victims of domestic violence—are afraid to call for help and report crimes. This makes our communities less safe. 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.