Faced with a deadline for vacating its borrowed venue, the New Hampshire House ended crossover day by effectively tabling a number of bills including HB 430, buffer zone repeal.
The House met on April 7, 8, and 9 at NH Sportsplex in Bedford, allowing for seating spaced according to current COVID protocols. Friday the 9th was crossover day, the deadline for all bills originating in the House this year to be disposed of one way or another. Leaders in both parties knew in advance that the Sportsplex needed the House to adjourn by early Friday evening in order to accommodate other users of the facility.
The deadline came, with many bills still unaddressed. Result: in the absence of a vote, the unaddressed bills – including buffer zone repeal – will not advance in 2021.
At this writing, the docket for HB 430 lists its status as “miscellaneous.” That’s one way to put it.
Update on HB 430: the New Hampshire House will vote on buffer zone repeal at its next session, on a date to be announced soon. HB 430 was one of 17 calendared bills left hanging when the House ran up against a hard deadline at its borrowed venue in Bedford.
There’s no word yet on when the House will once again meet in Representatives Hall at the State House. Thus far in 2020, the House has met at University of New Hampshire facilities and, most recently, at the Bedford Sportsplex, in order to observe COVID precautions including social distancing.
The New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee frowned on the life-issue bills that come before it last week. The full House will meet on Wednesday, February 24 and Thursday, February 25 to vote on the committee’s “Inexpedient to Legislate” (ITL) recommendations.
On three of the bills, the votes were 11-10 on ITL motions, with Republican committee chairman Edward “Ned” Gordon joining the committee’s ten Democrats in the majority.
Usually, overturning a committee report on the House floor is challenging. Most House members don’t have time to research every bill, and so they lean heavily on the brief committee reports printed in the House calendar.
They also lean on two other things: recommendations from party leadership, and messages from constituents. Most of us can’t control the former. You can definitely influence the latter.
“Safety and balance.” That has been the cry parroted by supporters of New Hampshire’s unenforced and unenforceable buffer zone law ever since its introduction and passage in 2014. Keeping people safe means keeping people silent: that’s some screwy balance. No wonder the law has never been used.
It’s time for the Sidewalk Free Speech Act, HB 430, which will have its hearing tomorrow, February 9, at 2 p.m. It will repeal the buffer zone law, if passed.
Four times, efforts to repeal that law have failed. It’s imperative to keep trying. It’s time to erase a blot on New Hampshire’s statutes by getting rid of the buffer zone law. See the end of this post for details on how you can let legislators know that.
HB 430 ought to pass with an overwhelming majority. Anyone who values the First Amendment will support it. Abortion will be unaffected when HB 430 passes, but First Amendment rights will be reaffirmed.
Two bills to change New Hampshire’s policy of unrestricted abortion, along with bills to repeal the buffer zone law, bar public funding of abortion, and protect children born alive after attempted abortion, will be heard in the New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee on February 9 and 10.
These measures respecting human life and conscience may be voted on by the committee at any time after the hearings, without a separately-scheduled session.
To me, some of these bills clearly show better legislative preparation than others. Some show more broad-based support than others. Read them for yourself – then act.
The committee will accept testimony remotely. There is no public access to the Legislative Office Building. You can sign in electronically anytime before the hearings to register your opinion. In an earlier post, I summarized the new testimony and sign-in procedures. Here’s a quick review, followed by details of the hearings and links to the bills.
Continue reading “N.H. House Judiciary life-issue hearings next week”