Senate and House Republicans Approve Final Version of House Bill 2 in Committee of Conference
Contact Name: Marina Altschiller
Phone: (603) 271-3207
CONCORD – Today, Senate and House Finance Committee members met in Committee of Conference to come to an agreement on the various changes between the two bodies’ positions on House Bill 2. Ultimately, Republicans from both bodies voted to approve the final version of House Bill 2.
After the vote, Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy (D-Manchester), Deputy Senate Democratic Leader Cindy Rosenwald (D-Nashua), and Senator Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester) issued the following statement:
“This afternoon, our House and Senate Republican colleagues came to an agreement on a budget that not only fails to meet the needs of the vast majority of hardworking Granite Staters, but it is also being used as a vehicle for an extremist policy agenda that we should all find alarming.”
Anti-Choice, Anti-Women Agenda
“This budget contains the first-ever abortion ban in New Hampshire history, codifying in statute Republicans’ commitment to stripping women of their right to make their own health care decisions based on what's best for them and their families. By arbitrarily restricting abortions after 24 weeks, Republicans fail to appreciate the fact that every pregnancy is unique and one-size-fits-all policy is entirely inappropriate. There are no exceptions for fatal fetal diagnoses or reasonable exceptions for maternal health. Women who get a devastating diagnosis later in their pregnancy will have no options, even if it means carrying a dead fetus to term. Republicans are committed to keeping New Hampshire the Live Free or Die State—unless you happen to be a woman.”
School Voucher Program
“As a result of policy contained in this budget, public taxpayer dollars will now be used for “education freedom accounts,” also known as school vouchers. During the Senate’s public hearing on the budget, citizen opposition to a school voucher program was among the most discussed items in the budget. This new program ignores the glaring existing inequities in school funding in New Hampshire and diverts public taxpayer dollars away from the public school system to subsidize private, for-profit programs. As a result, hardworking Granite Staters will now be footing the bill for a small group of students to get a private or religious education. Homeschool families can also get a state handout. It takes much-needed dollars away from our already underfunded public school system. This is one more step in the Republican agenda of giving handouts to the wealthy and while ignoring the vast majority of Granite Staters.”
Divisive Concepts, Rebranded
“The divisive concepts language from House Bill 544, which has been rebranded as being “anti-discrimination” language by Senate Republicans, is still hugely problematic. Despite suggestions to the contrary, discrimination is already illegal in New Hampshire, in both public and private sectors. This language has been rejected and publicly opposed by the business sector, including the BIA and the NH Minority Business Owners Coalition, the faith community, educators, law enforcement, and even the Human Rights Commission, among others. This anti-American language amounts to a state-ordered gag order on free speech, specifically targeting some of the most urgent and evolving issues in our society today. By adopting this language, our Republican colleagues have chosen to bury their heads in the sand and block these important conversations. With this vote, they not only abdicated their role as state leaders, but they are also stunting the growth of our state and the education of our children. Inclusion of this alarming language will have a chilling effect on the progress of our state, and has no place in the state budget, or anywhere in New Hampshire.
Irresponsible Tax Cuts
“The drastic tax cuts contained in this budget disproportionately benefit the wealthy, leaving the vast majority of hardworking Granite Staters in the lurch. This kind of policy making is a classic bait-and-switch, the effects of which will not kick in until later. They will make a lot of state programming unsustainable in future budgets and will inevitably lead to property tax increases in years to come along with cuts to important state programs.”