NH House Rep. Sponsors Constitutional Amendment to Guarantee “Community Rights”

by Steve MacDonald

New Hampshire Map - Cropped

Newmarket, NH Democrat Ellen Read has proposed we add a ‘Community Rights Amendment’ to the New Hampshire State Constitution. What is that, you ask? According to its proponents it, “…would guarantee local communities the authority to protect the health, safety, and welfare of individuals, communities, and nature.”

Authority to protect Nature?

Danger Will Robinson, Danger!!!

My journey started with an opinion news brief at InDepthNH where the article’s author claims,

The legislation grew out of the frustration of many New Hampshire residents who have been thwarted in their efforts to protect their local identity, ecosystems, unalienable rights and individual property rights. Towns are preempted by state and federal governments, in partnership with corporate special interests, without Towns’ consent and with no regard for their welfare.

Local identity? Individual and property rights? It almost sounds like a libertarian or conservative pitching local control. But Ellen Read, the sponsor, is neither. The Newmarket Democrat has a NHHRA score of 12% and a Liberty Rating of D-.

And when has a progressive left-wing movement of any sort ever been interested in your personal property rights? Never. You don’t have any. Anything you do or have is at the pleasure of the state.

 

Nationally

The Out of state group behind all of this is called the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF).

CELDF likes to get involved with slowing or stopping energy projects; fracking, pipelines, energy transportation corridors like Northern Pass, even mining. They also oppose Corporate farms and the expansion of large retail chains like Wal-Mart. Each and every one is an opportunity to list build and train progressive activists.

To that end, there is a lot of corporatist collusion in their messaging. Evil corporations, with more rights than you or your community. It frames towns and cities as a victim class whose oppressed “rights” need a champion.

The CELDF has a training template, and offers legal support to local activists but does not, so far as I can tell, object to invasive energy infrastructure if it is a wind farm or a solar array, even though these can create similar problems and hazards to “the health, safety, and welfare of individuals, communities, and nature.”

I guess some rights are less equal than others.

 

Locally

Read’s LSR is 2018-2547:“relating to right to govern. Providing that the people of the state may enact local laws that protect health, safety, and welfare.”

The language we expect to see comes courtesy of CELDF (no doubt) through a local chapter called the New Hampshire Community Rights Network (NHCRN). The CELDF got that foot in the door organizing around developments like the Kinder-Morgan pipeline, Northern Pass, and the Coakley Landfill Superfund Site. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are list building off the Saint Gobain PFOA water problems in Merrimack and Bedford. The idea is to mobilize communities toward a form of hyper-local control.

The goal and the purpose behind LSR 2018-2547 is the promotion of Community Rights, Community Rights ordinances, and to enshrine these ‘rights’ in the New Hampshire State Constitution. Why aim so high? Because of failures in other states where CELDF sponsored local ordinances were overturned because they violated the state law or the state constitution.

As a Dillons Rule state New Hampshire municipalities have no rulemaking authority not granted them by the State legislature. This is (suddenly) a crime against humanity and the founder’s true wishes, so CELDF via the NHCRN is here to save us and nature. To do that they need to promote and enshrine ‘Community Rights.’

Community Rights include environmental rights, such as the right to clean air, pure water, and healthy soil; worker rights, such as the right to living wages and equal pay for equal work; rights of nature, such as the right of ecosystems to flourish and evolve; and democratic rights, such as the right of local community self-government, and the right to free and fair elections.

That sounds a lot like every other left-wing narrative, comrade. So where do we form the mob?

It just so happens that there is a meeting on Sunday, Oct 22nd, at the Stone Church, 5 Granite Street, in Newmarket (From 11am to 2 pm ET). The NHCRN is hosting a CELDF workshop where you can learn about how to stop evil corporations from robbing you of property rights that progressives don’t honestly believe you possess in the first place.

With the added but excluded detail that the only way the rights of nature will ever be safe is when those rights are made safe from you and your ideas about property.

Also, keep in mind that there is no constitutional support for the idea that local communities can be sovereign and independent of their states in the capacity that the NHCRN and CELDF propose. Such insular and tribal associations would be inimical to the interests of the state, those of neighboring communities, and even the community itself.

The movement as a whole is about using local activists as disruptors to get the end game. Rights of nature before the rights of man.

 

Update: Added the time of the event in Newmarket.

Leave a Comment

  • Rick

    Sounds like it could also include Sanctuary status.

    • Bryan W

      Just thinking the same thing.

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