If there’s reporting on this, I can’t find it, so I guess this is breaking news. Newfields, New Hampshire, where Republican Governor Chris Sununu lives, has passed an ordinance that makes it illegal to protest outside residential homes, including his.
It was proposed on 12/8 by Newfields Chief Liebenow after weekly protests outside the governor’s home. One participant at the meeting claimed that “the protesters are harassing the neighbors with rude, obnoxious behavior, shouting obscenities and are now blocking the path to the country store.”
With promises that these protests would continue until the Emergency orders had been lifted. The town took up -or was encouraged to take up – the issue.
Selectboard members Chris Hutchins, Michael Sununu (related), and Jamie Thompson (PDF of the minutes)
Chris [Hutchins] called the meeting to order and opened the meeting by welcoming those attending in person and virtually. He continued, explaining the two ordinance items on the agenda. One is specific to an addendum to the Noise by-Laws; the other pertaining to residential picketing. He explained that they will do a first of three readings of the ordinances, with the second and third readings taking place on December 15th & 22nd
Others in attendance include (from the 12/8 meeting minutes): Jeff Buxton & Jeff Feenstra.
Virtual Attendees: Matthew Broadhead – NH AG’s Office; Colonel Nate Noyes – Division of State Policy & Dept. of Safety & Director Bob Quinn – Dept. of Safety
Virtual Attendees: Jeff Couture, Drew Fessenden, Chris Griffith, Jai Kells, Bobby Kelly, Kelly & Shawn McGowan, Kathleen O’Brien, Debby Pawlendzio, Lesley Steinhauser & Keith Walker & two others not identified
There is some minimal back and forth, but everyone is on board. The local chief and state police want this. They all seem to believe it is constitutional to prohibit political protest outside a residence. The only question is the speed at which passage is desired.
Everyone wants it passed ASAP, but the process of allowing public input through multiple readings of the ordinance is, for lack of a better word, tradition (Michael Sununu is concerned about maintaining decorums). In the end, the process wins, and the ordinance proceeds as usual to become law on 12/22/20.
The protests are scheduled to continue and the State and local police, based on the 12/8/20 minutes, are eager to enforce the new restrictions.
From late November, when these began, GraniteGrok has opposed residential protests at the governor’s home.
People are free to protest, and they have that right. But we’ve dropped more than a few lines about Leftists marching up to people’s private residences, intimidating neighbors, and without exception, we agree on the principles that motivate them but oppose protest at people’s homes.
Their spouses and children and neighbors are not on the hook for the elected official’s policy decisions.
We won’t be showing up or covering protests at people’s homes unless they are our own. That’s not an invitation, but we will take pictures and shoot videos and thank you for the free content if you show up.
While we object, at least as a matter of effect, to the protests outside Gov. Sununu’s home in Newfileds, NH, we more rigorously protest laws that prohibit peaceful political protest.
And while we will have said we will not be covering these events, we highly recommend that these protesters have multiple recordings from several individuals not directly involved to ensure they have a complete record of their interactions with police.
They will be warned and fined. I’d expect a few arrests.
The media may have ignored the process of implementing the ordinance, but they will be all over the police fining or possibly arresting protesters. Someone from the State will have called them to document the enforcement.
I’d suggest the protester bring a few Black Lives Matter signs with them for the cameras. To make the media try to ignore them, and BLM to deny any involvement.
That will be fun. And a nice contrast to all the glowing coverage of peaceful residential BLM protests over the summer.
And for the record, by quietly passes the ordinance, I mean little to no media coverage. As noted in the opening, I have not found any yet.