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Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans Double Down on Gag Rule

Contact Name: Marina Altschiller

Phone: (603) 568-9357

CONCORD – Yesterday, the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to kill two bills seeking to address the Republican-passed gag rule on free speech.

SB 298, prime sponsored by Senator David Watters (D-Dover) would have repealed the law relative to certain discrimination in public workplaces and education. SB 304, prime sponsored by Senator Jay Kahn (D-Keene) would have repealed the Republican banned concepts statute inserted into the last state budget and clarified the authority of public schools and public employers concerning discrimination. The bills will next go before the Senate for a full vote.

After the hearing, prime sponsors Senator David Watters (D-Dover) and Senator Jay Kahn (D-Keene) issued the following statements:

Senator Jay Kahn (D-Keene) stated, “We don’t need an ambiguous law that threatens teachers and public employees and drags New Hampshire through the press as a hyper-fearful state where bounties are placed on successful complaints against teachers leading to their dismissal. We received an incredible amount of testimony in support of SB 304 with 1,403 people registering their support for repealing prohibitions on teaching discrimination, 3 times the number of those in opposition to the repeal. We know from testimony that the gag rule inserted into our state budget has already created confusion, halted classroom conversations and local government training, interfered with student critical thinking assignments and vilified educators generally with no evidence that they’re teaching divisive concepts. Here’s the opportunity to vote on the need to prohibit teaching and training on discrimination without the need to bargain for budget votes. I’m disappointed that my Republican colleagues continue to support the prohibitions.” Senator David Watters (D-Dover) added, “New Hampshire is currently facing an educational recruitment crisis. Across the state, our schools are struggling to not only hire new talent, but many districts have faced an exodus of their teachers and staff. During my time as a college professor, I was always happy to encourage future teachers to stay and work in New Hampshire as a safe and supportive state. Sadly, I could not make those same arguments today. I am disappointed that rather than leading by example and bringing this state to a better, more equitable future, my Republican colleagues have chosen to lead in fear of a problem that does not exist in New Hampshire.”



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