NH House votes on abortion, slavery, Granite State independence and more

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9:55 am on Feb. 1, 2024 at Representatives Hall. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

Welcome to a live blog of the February 1, 2024 House of Representatives Session Day, the third session day for 2024 where the latest bills coming out of committees throughout the New Hampshire House of Representatives will get a look by all 400 (or however many show up) state representatives. This article will be updated throughout the day. An excel sheet with links to dockets of all bills can be found here.

Video of the session began at 10:09 a.m. The next expected session day is Thursday, Feb. 8.


A quick glossary:

  • OTP – Ought to Pass
  • OTPA – Ought to Pass with Amendment
  • ITL – Inexpedient to Legislate
  • Table – A tabling motion, this allows the bill to be taken up later.
  • Reconsider – Bringing a bill off the table or asking for another vote. Can only be asked by someone who voted on the winning side of the original vote.
  • Voice vote – A vote without recorded numbers for or against.
  • Division – A vote with recorded numbers for or against, but without specification of who voted which way. Any member can ask for this.
  • Roll call – A vote with recorded numbers for or against, and with specification of who voted which way. Requires ten state reps.
  • Consent calendar: uncontroversial bills. Other bills go on the regular calendar.
  • Indefinitely postpone: The bill cannot be brought back up for the rest of the year.

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee National Press Secretary Sam Paisley issued the following statement on the entire day.

“From a 15-day abortion ban to anti-trans legislation to a proposal to secede from the U.S., Granite State Republican extremism was on full display today. Today’s wishlist of fringe Republican ideas represents unconscionable attacks on fundamental freedoms. Every Republican who voted in favor of today’s extreme proposals voted to legislate New Hampshire backward, and they must be held accountable in November Targeting both chambers in New Hampshire and breaking the GOP trifecta is a top priority for the DLCC in November. The only way to stop these dangerous proposals in their tracks is to elect more Democrats. The DLCC is laser-focused on breaking this trifecta because everything is on the line.” 

Regular Calendar

HB 1199

HB 1199

10:29 a.m. A motion to table this bill failed by division, 187-188. The OTP motion was adopted by voice vote.

HB 1588

HB 1588

10:30 a.m. – Adopted, voice vote.

HB 1598

HB 1598

10:31 a.m. – Adopted, voice vote.

HB 1237

HB 1237

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Allisandra Murray (D-Manchester) on Feb. 1, 2024. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

10:42 a.m. – Division, 162-213. Amendment 0345h, adopted by voice vote. OTPA, adopted by voice vote.

Allisandra Murray (D-Manchester) said that 17 other states and Washington, D.C. already have a law to this end. They said it would also reduce traffic accidents and encourage safe driving. Murray also said it does not impact undercover officers investigating non-traffic related crimes.

In parliamentary inquiry, David Meuse (D-Portsmouth) said that this would also help with motorists fearing that they are being pursued by fake police vehicles and it would not impact budgets until 2025.

Matt Stone (R-Claremont) said that this would micromanage municipalities, could endanger federal funding, would tie the hands of law enforcement during emergencies, and people should follow the law anyway.

Terry Roy (R-Deerfield) said in parliamentary inquiry that muncipalities are planning for 2025 budgets now and that state police have spoken against this bill.

The amendment, introduced by Murray, allows a carveout for situations of immediate threats to public safety, unexpected traffic violations and DUI violations.

HB 396: Title: (New Title) permitting classification of individuals based on biological sex under certain limited circumstances.

10:48 a.m. – This bill received an OTPA on Jan. 3, with Michael Cahill (D-Newmarket) making a motion to reconsider.

This bill addresses biological genders on birth records and driver’s licenses

Bob Lynn (R-Windham) said that nothing had changed since that time. Lucy Weber (D-Walpole) said that many representatives did not understand the first vote.

A division failed, 187-190.

LGBTQ+ rights advocates reacted to today’s vote:

Linds Jakows, Founder of 603 Equality, said, “Today’s narrow vote is a sharp departure from the NH Legislature’s long history of saying transgender people should live free in our state, and it sends a message to all transgender Granite Staters and our loved ones that some think we do not have the right to participate fully in public life. Now, everyone who loves and cares for transgender people must raise our voices to dispel the misinformation and fearmongering that lead to today’s sad and harmful vote.”

Courtney Reed, Policy Advocate at the ACLU of New Hampshire, said, “Today is another grim day in New Hampshire: one where, instead of listening to transgender Granite Staters, the medical community, educators, child welfare advocates, and civil rights advocates, New Hampshire lawmakers voted against the rights of trans and nonbinary people. This bill undermines the right to equal protection under the law for transgender people – and we urge all State Senators to oppose this dangerous bill. Our state has made clear time and again that LGBTQ+ people belong, and after these shameful votes, it’s more important than ever to make the message louder and more clear than before that the Granite State respects the rights of LGBTQ+ people–and that our rights are not up for debate.”

Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath, Executive Director, Seacoast Outright, said, “We are gravely disappointed at today’s vote. In a time of ever increasing attacks on LGBTQ+ youth, particularly transgender youth, we need our legislative body to stand strongly, and firmly on the side of equal protection under the law for this vulnerable population. Seacoast Outright will continue to serve, support, and advocate for LGBTQ+ youth across the state of NH. We stand strongly committed to a Granite State where our motto of You Be You is fully lived out in the halls of government and our communities. The worth and dignity of LGBTQ+ youth (and adults) is not up for debate. We encourage the Senate to make this clear, and oppose further dangerous legislation.”

Grace Murray, Political Director, NH Youth Movement, said, “It’s extremely disappointing to see the result of today’s “reconsideration” vote. The House of Representatives failed the LGBTQ+ community, specifically the trans community, by voting again for HB396. This is a ridiculous step backward for New Hampshire motivated by the personal political agendas of a handful of politicians, not by data or the needs of New Hampshire residents. NH deserves leaders who understand that attacks against the trans community are attacks against all of us. We’re deeply grateful for the lawmakers who worked with us in the lead-up to this vote, the people who showed up for our visibility, and the hundreds more who signed in or reached out to their legislator about this vote. We will not stop fighting for a New Hampshire that is a safe and accepting place for all of its residents and we urge lawmakers to do the same.”

Chris Erchull, Attorney, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), “All New Hampshire residents—including transgender Granite Staters—deserve lives that are free from discrimination, harassment and violence, which is why they are protected under existing state and federal laws. Today’s vote is a betrayal of both the law and New Hampshire’s bedrock values of freedom and fairness. It does nothing but divide our communities by singling out our transgender friends, family, children, students, and co-workers for unfair treatment.”

Sarah Robinson, Education Justice Campaign Director, Granite State Progress, said, “Today’s vote is one of many attacks on honesty and inclusion for transgender young people in public schools, and transgender adults in broader public life. It is now up to all of us to have brave conversations with the legislators who do not yet understand transgender people and who have given in to misinformation and fearmongering.”

HB 1372

HB 1372

10:52 a.m. – Adopted by roll call, 139-56.

HB 1068

hb 1068

11 a.m. – OTP adopted, 189-190. Speaker Sherm Packard (R-Londonderry) did vote. ITL adopted by voice vote.

Bill King (R-Milford) said this would put undue burden on childcare centers and a similar bill was already vetoed by Governor Sununu.

Lucy Weber (D-Walpole) said that this would just add one line to documents that childcare centers already have to complete.

HB 1520

HB 1520

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Leah Cushman (R-Weare) on Feb. 1, 2024. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

11:02 a.m. – Leah Cushman (R-Weare) said that there is already a similar program. There are also concerns with payments, maintenance and fraud. She added that this can be done by the private sector.

Joe Schapiro (D-Keene) said that support is needed for people on TANF as cars are required for employment in most parts of the state.

An OTP motion failed 184-193. An ITL motion was adopted by voice vote.

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Joe Schapiro (D-Keene) on Feb. 1, 2024. Photo/Andrew Sylvia.

CACR 23

CACR23

 

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Amanda Tolle (D-Keene) on Feb. 2, 2024. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

11:16 a.m. – Amanda Tolle (D-Keene) gave birth last week and brought her infant to the well, stating she was appreciative to have had access to an abortion earlier in her life so she could give birth when she was ready. However, she noted that 20 states have instituted bans after the repeal.

Marjorie Smith (D-Durham) said that this would impact everyone.

“400 of us cannot fit into a doctor’s room, we should not be there.”

Caitlyn Kuttab (R-Windham) expressed concerns over the wording of the bill, asking if it would allow men to force their female partners to get an abortion against their will. She also expressed concern that this would give the right to abortion to people who cannot physically get pregnant, making a quandary for healthcare providers, and that abortion is already legal up to 24 weeks.

Bob Lynn (R-Windham) reiterated Kuttab’s points during parliamentary inquiry and Eric Turer (D-Brentwood) echoed Smith and Tolle’s comments.

After and during Tolle’s comments, Assistant Speaker Steven Smith (R-Charlestown) chastised members for being too loud and applauding.

An OTP motion failed 193-184, as it required a 2/3rds majority.

Later, House Majority Leader Jason Osborn (R-Auburn) released the following statement.

“It is unfortunate that Democrats are holding on to their radical position of on-demand abortion up to birth. While it is easy for extremist Democrats to use heated rhetoric to try to advance their agenda, the fact of the matter is that public opinion is not on their side. Republicans acknowledge the truth that Granite Staters identify as pro-choice, but also know that over two-thirds of Granite Staters support some restrictions on abortion. Our current law satisfies and represents the majority of Granite Stater’s views on abortion. Today’s votes prove the Republicans are not the extremists on this issue.”

Kayla Montgomery, Vice President of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund, released the following statement responding to today’s vote

“It’s encouraging to see so many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle support our ability to live freely and support bodily autonomy. We know that the vast majority of Granite Staters want their state lawmakers to protect abortion rights, and we appreciate the bipartisan effort in the House today.  Unfortunately, CACR 23 fell short of the 60% bar needed to move forward, despite strong bipartisan support for abortion rights across New Hampshire. Without explicit protections in state law or the state constitution, Granite Staters face perpetual and unnecessary uncertainty when it comes to their reproductive rights, and New Hampshire remains just one election away from a total abortion ban. Make no mistake: even without this constitutional amendment, abortion will still be on the ballot this November as voters choose candidates up and down the ballot, from State House to the Oval Office, based on who will fight for their reproductive freedom.”

Former Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig made the following statement on this bill along with HB 1248 and HB 1541.

“Republican attacks on reproductive health care won’t stop until we codify Roe v. Wade in New Hampshire, Democrats in the legislature, medical providers, and reproductive rights advocates were able to stop extreme abortion bans today, but Republicans have shown us they won’t stop until they further restrict our rights. No matter what extreme bills Republicans try to send my way, Granite Staters can trust I will veto any attempt to limit reproductive freedom.”

Executive Councillor Cinde Warmington released the following statement.

“Granite Staters overwhelmingly support access to abortion. It is disgraceful that Republican politicians refuse to give voters the opportunity to make their voices heard on an amendment enshrining protections of our fundamental rights into the state constitution, New Hampshire is the only state in New England that does not currently protect abortion rights. If radical Republicans take control of the corner office, there’s no doubt anti-abortion activists will move quickly to enact their extreme agenda and endanger women across our state. Everyone should have the freedom to make their own reproductive health care decisions, and that includes accessing affordable, safe, and legal abortion care and contraception without government interference.”

HB 1002

HB 1002

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Bill O’Brien (D-Nashua) on Feb. 1, 2024. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

11:38 a.m. – William Dolan (D-Nashua) noted that in a recent study, New Hampshire ranked 49th out of 50 in terms of public transparency.

Louise Andrus (R-Salisbury) noted that most requests come from commercial entities and would harm individuals with smaller requests that could not pay.

Bill O’Brien (D-Nashua) said that many municipalities already have records available online.

Bob Lynn (R-Windham) said that this would curb excessive requests and bad actors, municipalities are not required to adopt it, and that while people are required to certain documents, they are not entitled to them for free.

He also noted that 37 other states have similar laws.

During parliamentary inquiry, Marjorie Smith (D-Durham)  said this would significantly harm public transparency, much of the issue is with poor record keeping and there were no targeted alternatives.

Jim Maggiore (D-North Hampton) said that bad faith requests hamstrings public employees and that this would prevent surprise fees for those with large requests.

An OTPA motion was adopted, 193-179. House is in recess until 1:30 p.m.

Gilles Bissonnette, Legal Director of the ACLU of New Hampshire, said, “This bill would decrease government accountability and transparency. Under our current transparency law, we have made clear that an open government is an accountable government – and HB 1002 would dismantle that value and provide avenues for abuse and obstruction by government agencies. We urge all state representatives to vote against this bill tomorrow.”

Greg Moore, Regional Director, AFP, said, “New Hampshire is one of the least corrupt states in America precisely because of the transparency and openness in government.  HB 1002 undercuts that transparency by raising an inappropriate barrier to access government records.  The amount of bad government behavior that has been exposed due to 91-A requests is undeniable. If we want to retaining accountability in government, the House should defeat this bill and send a clear message to public officials that they remain under the watchful eye of their citizens.”

Gregory V. Sullivan, President of the New England First Amendment Coalition, said, “House Bill 1002 is a monumental step in the wrong direction. If enacted, it will discourage and prevent the citizenry of New Hampshire from gaining access to public records. The purpose of our Right to Know Law is to provide those in New Hampshire with the greatest possible public access to the work of our government and to help us keep those in government accountable for their actions. This bill would ensure the opposite result.”

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Louise Andrus (R-Salisbury) on Feb. 1, 2024. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

HB 1005

HB 1005

1:45 p.m. = Amendment 0193h and the OTPA motion were adopted by voice vote.

HB 1248

 

HB 1248

1:50 p.m. – Shaun Filiault (I-Keene) requested a indefinite postponement (killing the bill for the rest of the term). That motion passed by roll call, 363-11.

HB 1230

HB 1230

1:58 p.m. – Tony Caplan (D-Henniker) said that most people cannot afford homes and this bill would alleviate that problem.

Michael Moffett (R-Epsom) said that the committee created by this bill would not be able to solve the problems it wants to solve since larger groups could not. He also said it would harm rate-payers, something Michael Vose (R-Epping) echoed later.

An ITL motion was adopted by division, 240-133.

HB 1398

HB 1398

2:03 p.m. – A motion to refer this bill for interim study was adopted by voice vote.

HB 1499

HB 1499

2:03 p.m. – An OTPA motion was adopted by voice vote.

CACR 13

CACR13

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Jonah Wheeler (D-Peterborough) on Feb. 1, 2024. Photo/Andrew

2:10 p.m.  – J.D. Bernardy (R-South Hampton) presented an amendment to this bill (0385h) that would change the language of the bill to copy the language of the 13th amendment to the U.S. Bill of Rights. He said that amendment had served the country well and that there were concerns in recent years during debates about abortion that parents could be seen as indentured servants to their children. He said that he opposes all slavery and indentured servitude.

Jonah Wheeler (D-Peterborough) stated there are over a million people still enslaved today, that the Department of Corrections supported the original bill and the language of the amendment leaves an excuse for slavery for prisoners.

He also noted there is a broad coalition supporting this bill.

Charlotte DiLorenzo (D-Newmarket) echoed that in parliamentary inquiry, also noting that the committee report supported this bill 20-0.

The motion for the amendment failed on a roll call, 168-201. An OTP motion on the original bill passed the 2/3rd threshold, 366-5.

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Charlotte DiLorenzo (D-Newmarket) on Feb. 1, 2024. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

HB 1179

HB 1179

2:21 p.m. – This OTPA was adopted by voice vote.

HB 1338

HR 21

3:02 p.m. – Tom Mannion (R-Pelham) said that stopping this bill would facilitate a draft for a unnecessary future war, most likely in Iran.

Linda Massimilla (D-Littleton) said that this bill could cause problems for New Hampshire residents seeking jobs in the executive branch of the federal government and also jeopardize federal funding to NH.

An ITL motion was adopted, 266-177.

HR 21

HR 21

2:42 p.m. – Mike Belcher (R-Wakefield) said that the state constitution establishes the New Hampshire militia, but feared that the federal government may exert control over it, now known as the National Guard. Belcher cited the current standoff between state and federal governments in Texas regarding their national guard.

Christine Seibert (D-Manchester) said that the bill has no impact on anything and thus is not needed.

An ITL motion was adopted, 226-138.

HB 1391

HB 1391
3:02 p.m. – Matt Coker (D-Meredith) said that yearly inspections are not necessary since there are very few cars that fail inspection each year. He also said that Connecticut has every-other-year inspections as well.

George Sykes (D-Lebanon) said that inspections can often help motorists see potential problems with their cars before they occur. He added that there would also be a problem with inspection stickers on license plates as this bill would make it difficult to see non-inspected cars at a glance.

An OTP motion on this bill was adopted, 241-123.


Taken off Consent Calendar

CACR 20

CACR 20

3:08 p.m. – Matthew Santonastaso (R-Rindge) said that the federal government can no longer be trusted and that there are also efforts in Texas to break away from the federal government.

Joe Sweeney (R-Salem) said that this bill would be unenforceable if it passed.

An indefinite postponement motion was adopted, 341-24.

HB 1447

HB 1447

3:26 p.m. – Lucius Parshall (D-Marlborough) said that the federal government did not enforce laws regarding these devices and this bill would help local law enforcement crackdown on these devices.

Nick Germana (D-Keene) said that more debate is needed.

Thomas Walsh (R-Hooksett) noted that the committee was unanimous in their opposition here as these devices are already outlawed under state law.

An ITL motion was adopted, 308-46.


Consent Calendar

HB 1438

HB 1438

HB 1003

HB 1003

HB 1004

HB 1004

HB 1008

HB 1008

HB 1009

HB 1009

HB 1011

HB 1011

HB 1017

HB 1017

HB 1019

HB 1019

HB 1022

HB 1022

HB 1026

HB 1026

HB 1031

HB 1031

HB 1032

HB 1032

HB 1035

HB 1035

HB 1047

HB 1047

HB 1060

HB 1060

HB 1064

HB 1064

HB 1073

HB 1073

HB 1130

HB 1130

HB 1160

HB 1160

HB 1163

HB 1163

HB 1164

HB 1164

HB 1167

HB 1167

HB 1233

HB 1233

HB 1238

HB 1238

HB 1251

 

HB 1251HB 1274

 

HB 1274HB 1278

 

HB 1278HB 1289

 

HB 1289HB 1355

 

HB 1355HB 1401

 

HB 1401HB 1404

 

HB 1404HB 1438

HB 1447HB 1455

 

HB 1455

HB 1489

 

HB 1489HB 1535

 

HB 1535HB 1541

 

HB 1541HB 1546

 

HB 1546HB 1587

 

HB 1587HB 1599

 

HB 1599HB 1612

 

HB 1612HB 1617

 

HB 1617HB 1619

 

HB 1619HB 1626

 

HB 1626HB 1627

 

HB 1627HB 1707

 

HB 1707HB 1710

 

HB 1710HCR 10

 

HCR 10HR 20

HR 20

About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.