CONCORD, N.H. – On Wednesday, July 17, 2019, Governor Chris Sununu signed Senate Bill 263 into law, which fills in a gap in our state law by providing students with comprehensive state-level non-discrimination protections on the bases of age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, marital status, familial status, physical or mental disability, religion, or national origin. The Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion, launched in December 2017 by Executive Order, spent time conducting listening sessions to hear directly from Granite Staters. SB 263 is a direct result of what the Council learned and responds to the Council’s 2018 legislative recommendations.
“Until now, New Hampshire’s students have gone to school every day without comprehensive non-discrimination protections. Thanks to the Governor, his Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion, and dedicated legislators, that will soon change,” said Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the ACLU of New Hampshire. “Our state is making a concerted effort to promote diversity and inclusion. Protecting our communities, particularly our young people, from discrimination is paramount in this endeavor.”
Rogers Johnson, President of the Seacoast NAACP and Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion, said, “This legislation, now law, was a direct response to concerns raised by Granite Staters. The fact that the legislation was first recommended in December and is already now law is a credit to our state’s true commitment to improving diversity and inclusion. The people of New Hampshire should be proud of what the Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion has been able to accomplish in such a short period of time, in no small part because of our attentive and dedicated Governor.”
Dottie Morris, Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at Keene State College and a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion, said, “Over the past year and a half, the Governor’s Advisory Council heard numerous stories about young people facing discrimination in our schools. While we have much work to do, this bill is a critical step to ending discrimination and making our schools and communities welcoming to all. I applaud the Governor, his Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion, and the many legislators who came together in solidarity with our young people to enact this critical legislation.”
Allyson Ryder, Director of Programs at UNH in the Office of Community Equity and Diversity and a public member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion, said, “Events over the past few years have demonstrated how our young people are on the frontlines of New Hampshire’s efforts to overcome racism and to promote diversity and inclusion. Our state is working to move quality of life from “better” to “good” for underrepresented populations, especially for children. This is why this measure was the Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion’s number one legislative recommendation. The successful enactment of SB263 is a testament to the Governor, and to the many students, activists, and legislators who responded to the Advisory Council’s recommendation with urgency and resolve.”