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Senate Democrats Fight Against Republican Gag Rule

Contact Name: Marina Altschiller

Phone: (603) 271-3375

CONCORD – Yesterday, Senator Kahn introduced SB 304, relative to discrimination in public workplaces and education. The bill removes the Republican banned concepts statute inserted into the last state budget and clarifies the authority of public schools and public employers concerning discrimination.

Prime sponsor, Senator Jay Kahn (D-Keene) and Senate Judiciary member Senator Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton) issued the following statements after the hearing:

Senator Jay Kahn (D-Keene), stated, "The consequences of the divisive concepts legislation passed last year by Governor Sununu and the Republican legislature, whether consciously or unconsciously, are having a chilling effect on teachers and public employers, interfering with the education of students and improvement of public services, and represent another loss of local control.

We don’t need an ambiguous law that threatens teachers and public employees and drags NH through the press as a hyper-fearful state where bounties are placed on teachers that could lead to their dismissal. That won’t fix our teacher shortage problems nor any of the state’s workforce shortages. There’s a lot of ground to be gained by repealing the anti-discrimination/divisive concepts statutes and starting over with a dialogue about ways to address current issues of bias, and how to become more inclusive and accepting of differences. Considering the overwhelming testimony in support SB304, I hope our Republican colleagues will take this opportunity to join with Democrats to undo the damage done by their divisive concepts legislation."

Senator Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton) added, “The Republican banned concepts statute has muzzled and chilled critical discussions about systemic racism, gender inequality, and other important aspects of our country under the guise of neutrality and equality. It perpetuates, and legislatively enforces, a culture where our educators are silenced and threatened, and further divides our state by allowing toxic political motivations to guide our state. The "Live Free or Die" State should not be in the business of policing speech. I am extremely grateful for every single Granite Stater who has spoken up against the Republican banned concepts statute and I am proud to co-sponsor SB 304 so that our state might begin to move forward.”



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