Crossover means a busy week at the Statehouse. Read more about priority issues being considered this week.

This Thursday the New Hampshire House reaches its crossover deadline (April 6), while the New Hampshire Senate reached its crossover deadline last week (March 30). With the budget and other major policy issues like marijuana legalization still in need of action on the House floor before crossover, and the Senate scheduled to take up abortion legislation, it is going to be anything but a quiet week.  

Let’s put the pressure on to protect and advance civil liberties!  

Here's what is at stake this week:   

  • Marijuana legalization: HB 639, which would legalize the possession of marijuana by adults, is on the House floor this Thursday. While far from perfect, this bill would end the needless ensnarement of thousands of people -- disproportionately Black people -- in NH’s criminal justice system every year. Take action now - urge your represenative(s) to support HN 639 as amended!
  • Using the state budget to fund harm. This week the House will vote on HB 2, the policy side of the State’s proposed budget. Buried in this 200+ page bill, under the guise of a manufactured northern border “crisis”, is a $1.4 million appropriation 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.  Contact your Representative(s) and urge them to strip this harmful funding from the budget- Take Action Now! 
  • Prison expansion. Fortunately, $40 million of the proposed $50 million “deposit” on the construction of a new prison has been pulled from the House version of HB 2. This is good news, and we urge House members to oppose any effort to reinstate the money on the House floor. 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. While there are serious and horrific physical conditions of confinement that need separate and immediate action, we must not allow this to serve as justification for the construction of a possibly up to half-a-billion-dollar facility without a clear understanding of the future of incarceration in NH, including how we can continue to reduce our need for incarceration while increasing community safety. Click here to find and contact your Representative(s) and urge them to keep this money out of the budget. 
  • Protect access to safe, legal abortion: On Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee will take public testimony on two important abortion bills that have already passed the House. HB 88 would enshrine abortion rights into the state law and HB 224 would repeal the criminal penalties section of the abortion ban. We urge Senators to follow the lead of their House colleagues and ensure that regardless of what happens at the federal level, abortion remains safe, legal, and accessible in the Granite State. Take action now!
  • There are two opportunities to help strengthen reforms to New Hampshire's bail system 
    • The House will take its final vote on HB 46, which would set up a study committee to look at how the use of court magistrates throughout the state court system could supplement or replace the current bail commissioner positions. Despite the rhetoric from opponents of bail reform, 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. This bill will enable the state to better understand how we can strengthen this system without any needless incarceration. Take action now!
    • HB 2 includes a new provision that would appropriate $1 million to develop a real time system to ensure that individuals making bail determinations know whether an individual seeking bail is currently on release for another alleged offense. Unlike the one-size-fits-all SB 252 and SB 249, which have passed the Senate and would lead to the needless, mandatory incarceration of thousands of Granite Staters each year, this funding is a targeted approach to ensure that people are not granted bail without the court first knowing whether the individual is on release for another alleged offense. Click here to find and contact your Representative(s) and urge them to keep this money in the budget. 

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