Upcoming Hearings and Votes (Week of 3/11/24)

Upcoming Hearings and Votes (Week of 3/11/24)

Welcome back to another edition of our weekly Upcoming Hearings and Votes email! This week, we’re focusing our advocacy efforts on a public hearing on a recovery housing bill and an upcoming work session on the only bill seeking to legalize recreational cannabis this year. We’re also recapping last week, which saw many full body votes on our priority bills - read on to learn more about the outcomes and implications!

Learn more and take action below:

Upcoming Public Hearings - Monday, March 11

10:00 AM: HB 1521 - Supporting the Development of Recovery Housing (House Executive Departments and Administration Committee, LOB Room 302)

A bill amended by the House (Amendment 0902h to HB 1521) would expand access to recovery housing in New Hampshire by helping cities and towns develop recovery housing resources. Learn more about this legislation.

SIGN IN TO SUPPORT (until Midnight on Monday, 3/11)

Upcoming Executive Sessions

The House Finance Committee will hold a work session on HB 1633, which looks to legalize recreational cannabis in New Hampshire. While the bill meets many of New Futures’ Principles for Responsible Cannabis Policy, it does not direct enough revenue toward substance use and mental health prevention, treatment, and recovery. Email the Committee to urge them to prioritize funding to reduce the harms of legalizing another addictive product.

Upcoming House Votes

The House of Representatives will vote on HB 1312, which would ban schools from establishing any policies to prohibit school personnel from answering questions from a parent about his or her student's mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being, sexuality, or a change in related services or monitoring. This would mean that teachers may have to answer questions from parents about a student’s mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being, sexuality, and other related questions. This prioritizes the rights of parents above children's, discourages young people from finding support from a trusted adult, and can have serious implications for a child’s well-being.

Recapping Last Week

Senate Votes

Last week, the New Hampshire Senate voted on one New Futures’ priority bill, voting to pass SB 559 with an amendment. SB 559 ensures access to RSV immunization for New Hampshire children. This bill does not make the immunization mandatory, it simply removes financial barriers for families who choose to get it. The bill will now advance to the Senate Finance Committee for further consideration.

The Senate was scheduled to vote on two additional priority bills, but the following bills were pushed to the Senate’s next session on March 21st due to time constraints:

Alcohol Advertising: SB 335 would add responsible labeling and product placement restrictions to current alcohol advertising laws, limiting advertising to NH youth and helping to prevent underage drinking. Specifically, it would prohibit labels and advertisements that are marketed towards minors and other products that mimic commercially available non-alcoholic products. Email your Senator to urge them to support this bill.

Mandatory Outing in Schools: SB 341 would require school employees to disclose the gender identity or sexual orientation of students to parents. Requiring teachers to share sensitive information with parents before the student is ready removes the students' opportunity to feel supported by a trusted adult. Additionally, outing a student to unsupportive parents can threaten their physical and mental health. Email your Senator to urge them to defeat this harmful bill.

House Votes

Social-Emotional Learning: The House voted to reject HB 1473, which was an attempt to ban social-emotional learning in schools. This bill will not advance this session.

Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills: Disappointingly, the House of Representatives voted 193-169 to pass HB 1660, which would ban Medicaid insurance plans from covering some gender-affirming medical procedures for transgender youth. Gender-affirming care is evidence-based and supported by medical authorities like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association. Medical decisions should rest solely with doctors, parents, and the patient - not lawmakers. HB 1660 will now advance to the House Finance Committee for further review. Email the Committee to urge them to oppose this harmful bill.

Executive Sessions

The House Education Committee was scheduled to vote on a recommendation for HB 1205, the bill that bans transgender girls from playing school sports or using female locker rooms. However, the vote was pushed to the next Committee session on Monday, March 18. There’s still time to email the committee to urge them to oppose the bill.

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