Civil Liberties Are In Danger After Senate Committee Strips Meat Out of Freedom Bill - Granite Grok

Civil Liberties Are In Danger After Senate Committee Strips Meat Out of Freedom Bill

Rebuild NH

As the Legislative Session for 2022 starts to heat up, we bring you a matter of pressing concern that is top of our agenda for the upcoming Legislative session. We hope you join us by supporting our effort to pass the House language to HB 440 and several other important measures this year.

Rep. Jim Kofalt proposed HB 440 in 2021 in response to the governor’s abuse of New Hampshire’s emergency power laws and interpretations by state courts that said the governor can suspend civil liberties during a State of Emergency. His bill passed the House in April in a form that we fully support. Sadly, the bill was retained in the Senate over the summer and fall and now a Senate Committee has proposed stripping out key sections of the bill that would render it practically useless. Here is the Senate Committee’s proposed amendment.

In an executive session on Dec. 14, the Senate Judiciary Committee took up the bill and stripped out its core legal substance. The committee then sent the eviscerated remains of the bill to the Senate floor, where the Senate will likely hold a full vote on Jan. 5. It’s important that we act now and call on our senators to restore the original substance of HB 440; namely, sections four through seven, through a floor amendment.

We’d prefer, of course, the entire House bill to be passed as is; namely sections one through eight, and that can be accomplished if the Senate simply rejects the committee amendment and passes the underlying bill.


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Cornerstone‘s Attorney and Policy Director Ian Huyett has been instrumental in assisting Rep. Kofalt with the legal construction of his bill as well as its promotion through the Legislature. Please consider his opinion on the matter published last week in the NH Journal.

Following your research, please EMAIL THE SENATORS and ask them to pass the House version of HB 440, or at least Sections 4-7 (ATTENTION! please copy and paste these emails into the BCC field of your email client. Clicking on the email link WILL NOT WORK for some people):

 

Erin.Hennessey@leg.state.nh.us, Bob.Giuda@leg.state.nh.us, Jeb.Bradley@leg.state.nh.us, David.Watters@leg.state.nh.us, Suzanne.Prentiss@leg.state.nh.us, James.Gray@leg.state.nh.us, Harold.French@leg.state.nh.us, Ruth.Ward@leg.state.nh.us, Denise.Ricciardi@leg.state.nh.us, Jay.Kahn@leg.state.nh.us, Gary.Daniels@leg.state.nh.us, Kevin.Avard@leg.state.nh.us, Cindy.Rosenwald@leg.state.nh.us, Sharon.Carson@leg.state.nh.us, Becky.Whitley@leg.state.nh.us, Kevin.Cavanaugh@leg.state.nh.us, John.Reagan111@gmail.com, Donna.Soucy@leg.state.nh.us, Regina.Birdsell@leg.state.nh.us, Lou.Dallesandro@leg.state.nh.us, Rebecca.PerkinsKwoka@leg.state.nh.us, Chuck.Morse@leg.state.nh.us, William.Gannon@leg.state.nh.us, Tom.Sherman@leg.state.nh.us

 

Here’s a sample email to give you an idea on how to begin your letter to the Senators:

Dear Senators,

It is unconscionable that in 2020 state courts interpreted New Hampshire’s emergency powers laws as allowing the governor to suspend the NH Constitution and civil liberties during a state of emergency. As the most powerful branch of government, it is necessary for the Legislature to strongly rebuke this misinterpretation by the court and to decisively and thoroughly clarify the law. HB 440 as passed by the House does these things, but the Senate judiciary committee’s amendments have neutered the effort to protect future infringement of our rights. Please restore and pass the language of HB 440 that was passed by the House.

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