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NHPA 2021 Legislation Watchlist

Updated 2/22


Monitoring. HB 453 –  AN ACT shielding journalists from mandatory disclosure of sources by subpoena.

Hearing Scheduled 02/26/2021 at 9:30 AM


Strongly oppose. HB 584, relative to guilt by association and defamation by media outlets.

This is a dressed-up version of Flanagan’s HB 1157 from last session that we strongly opposed and testified against.

Hearing Scheduled 02/26/2021 at 10:00 AM 

 


Monitoring. HB 133 – creating a cause of action for censorship by social media websites.

Would not affect NH media sites – Pertains to sites with 75 million members.

Hearing Scheduled 02/26/2021 at 10:00 AM 


Support. HB 232 – relative to nonpublic sessions under the right to know law.

General discussions of whether to proceed with the acquisition, sale, or lease of real or personal property would now be made public. Non-public sessions would still be allowed for consideration of the amount paid, offered, or accepted for the sale or lease of property

Status: Heard by House Judiciary Committee 1/26 – NHPA written testimony submitted. Read here.

Committee hearing video.

 


Support. HB 206 – relative to collective bargaining agreement strategy discussions under the right-to-know law.

Would place tighter restrictions on what bargaining sessions can be exempt from the right to know law.

Heard 02/19/2021 at 09:30 AM


Monitoring. HB 406 – relative to the ability of the public to observe the processing and counting of absentee ballots.

Adds to election law: “Members of the public shall be permitted to observe the processing and counting of absentee ballots without obstruction and from a distance of 6 feet from such processing and counting.”

Status: Awaiting hearing


Support. HB 108 – relative to minutes and decisions in nonpublic sessions under the right-to-know law.

Public bodies would have to provide a list of minutes or decisions made during non-public sessions where the minutes or decisions were determined to not be subject to full public disclosure. The list shall be promptly made available for public disclosure.

Heard: 02/19/2021  Read NHPA testimony here.


Oppose.  HB 216 and HB 630 – relative to public notice of and access to meetings under the right to know law.

These bills essentially makes permanent the loosened rules regarding public meeting procedures and attendance temporarily in place because of the pandemic. 

Heard: 02/19/2021  Read NHPA testimony here.


Support. HB 481 – establishing the office of the right-to-know ombudsman and making an appropriation therefor.

This might be the year.

Status: Heard by House Judiciary Committee 1/26. NHPA written testimony submitted. Read here. 

Committee hearing video.

 


Monitoring. HB 566, relative to sealing records in nonpublic session under the right-to-know law.

This bill requires that sealed minutes in nonpublic sessions under the right-to-know law may be unsealed if in the opinion of a majority of members voting in nonpublic session determine that circumstances have changed. The minutes sealed pursuant to RSA 91-A:3, II(d) would become public after one year. – (Paragraph II(d) refers to discussions regarding the purchase of property.

 Status: Heard by House Judiciary Committee 1/26. No NHPA testimony.

Committee hearing video.


On the radar: HB 480 relative to verification of ballots cast in an election

Statement of Purpose.  The state of New Hampshire recognizes that the fundamental right to vote includes the right for voters to have their votes counted and reported accurately, as provided in part I, articles 1, 2, 7, 8, and 11 and part II, articles 5, 32, 41, and 84 of the state constitution.  Therefore, registered New Hampshire voters who were not candidates on election ballots they ask to review may view cast ballots after the recount period is over to ensure accuracy of the vote count and evaluate the performance of election officials.  Review of ballots shall be in a manner that is least restrictive to the public and that is efficient and least cumbersome to the ballot custodian or designee.

Status: Awaiting hearing


Support HB471 relative to police disciplinary hearings.

This is the same as SB 41 except that it has a little stronger language. 

Status: Hearing scheduled Tuesday, Feb. 9, 1:30.   We submitted the same written testimony as for SB 41


Strongly Oppose. SB 39 exempting information and records contained in law enforcement personnel files from disclosure under the right-to-know law.

Status: Heard by Senate Judiciary 01/19/2021. Oral testimony by Rick Gagliuso. NHPA written testimony submitted. Read here.

Committee hearing video.


Support. SB 41 relative to police disciplinary hearings.

Status: Heard by Senate Judiciary 01/19/2021. NHPA written testimony submitted. Read here.

Committee hearing video.