Both ballot questions passed, amending the State Constitution

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The two constitutional amendments on the November 6 ballot passed easily with more than the two-thirds required to become part of the State Constitution.

State Representative Bob Backus of Manchester (D-12) supported both amendments and was a sponsor for the first amendment. At the Democratic watch party the night of the election, he said, “I’m very excited and pleased that both constitutional questions won.”

The first amendment allows taxpayers to sue the government for what they considered to be unlawful spending, even if they themselves were not harmed.

The public also has a right to an orderly, lawful, and accountable government. Therefore, any individual taxpayer eligible to vote in the State shall have standing to petition the Superior Court to declare whether the State or political subdivision in which the taxpayer resides has spent, or has approved spending, public funds in violation of a law, ordinance, or constitutional provision.  In such a case, the taxpayer shall not have to demonstrate that his or her personal rights were impaired or prejudiced beyond his or her status as a taxpayer.  However, this right shall not apply when the challenged governmental action is the subject of a judicial or administrative decision from which there is a right of appeal by statute or otherwise by the parties to that proceeding.

Gilles Bissonnette, Legal Director of the ACLU of New Hampshire (ACLU-NH), stated, “Government accountability goes to the heart of our democracy, and taxpayer standing is a key mechanism for citizens to challenge unconstitutional government action in courts. The ACLU-NH disagreed with the NH Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate statutory taxpayer standing in 2014, and today, applauds Granite Staters for strengthening this key accountability mechanism by adding it to our state constitution.”

The second amendment  provides a right to privacy free of government intrusion.

An individual’s right to live free from governmental intrusion in private or personal information is natural, essential, and inherent.

Jeanne Hruska, ALCU-NH Policy Director, stated, “On a partisan day, Granite Staters came together to add an explicit right to privacy to our state constitution. Our state’s founders could not have fathomed DNA harvesting, facial recognition, or iris scans. In this daunting era of increasingly invasive technology, we need our right to privacy for personal information to be just as robust as our tech. New Hampshire has demonstrated again why it is a national leader on privacy.”