CONCORD, NH – One of the key Republican legislative priorities this session has been indefinitely postponed following Thursday’s legislative session.
SB 272, titled as parents’ bill of rights in education was touted by supporters as a way to ensure accountability within public schools. Opponents saw it as a way to intimidate transgender students by removing safeguards that allow students to speak confidentially with school staff on certain matters.
Several votes on earlier bills made it clear that Democrats had an attendance advantage on Tuesday, with Democratic House Leader Matt Wilhelm (D-Manchester) requesting indefinite postponement on the bill.
House Speaker Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry) told Wilhelm that the motion had to wait until several floor amendments to the bill were taken up. The amendments were uniformly supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans, with Bob Lynn (R-Windham) referring to one amendment that would remove several sections of the bill as a poison pill.
A motion to table the bill by Joe Sweeney (R-Salem) failed, with Wilhelm’s indefinite postponement vote passing, 195-190.
After the vote, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley released the following statement
“Today, we breathe a sigh of relief as New Hampshire House Democrats defeated SB 272, a bill poised to threaten and marginalize our transgender youth. This victory signals our unwavering commitment to inclusivity, respect, and equality, and our resolve to protect all students in New Hampshire. However, this struggle shows the extreme legislative efforts of the New Hampshire Republicans who have ceaselessly championed this divisive bill. We must remember this episode in November and to hold these extreme legislators accountable for their attempts to sow seeds of division and fear. Even as we remain vigilant against future threats to the rights of our LGBTQ+ community, our resolve is stronger than ever. New Hampshire Democrats will continue to stand in solidarity with all who contributed to this victory. Let this be a message that New Hampshire will always strive to uphold the rights and dignity of all its citizens.”
Packard released the following statement.
“I am disheartened House Democrats chose institutions over NH parents today. They chose secrets over parent-involved solutions. They chose to ignore the majority of NH parents who made it clear they were looking for legislative support to help protect their rights and their children. House Republicans do not answer to outside influences, only to those who voted us into office to represent their best interests. Today, NH Republicans proved we will continue to be the voice of reason, and we will always advocate for the well-being of NH parents and their children.”
Republican House Leader Jason Osborne (R-Auburn) released the following statement.
“For the next two years, parents will have to continue to accept that school is a mysterious and secretive black box where they deposit their children. Who knows what happens inside that box, and who knows what comes out the other side. By indefinitely postponing this bill, parents will have no choice but to avail themselves of the wildly successful education freedom account program, which we thankfully expanded this year to service even more children than ever before.”