New Hampshire Non-Discrimination Bill Advances to the House with Recommendation from the Judiciary Committee

By Shane Stahl • February 27, 2018 • 12:48 pm

It’s a big day for New Hampshire, as HB 1319, legislation that would update the state’s laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and public spaces to explicitly include transgender residents, was recommended as ‘Ought to Pass’ by a vote of the House Judiciary Committee by a bipartisan 10-8 vote.

This is a major burst of momentum as HB 1319 heads for a full House vote next week, which right now is expected to be Wednesday, March 7 or Thursday, March 8.

Linds Jakows, Freedom New Hampshire’s campaign manager, highlighted this momentum after the vote:

“The momentum is undeniable—the Judiciary Committee just voted to move New Hampshire forward by updating our state’s laws to protect transgender people from discrimination,” they said. “Transgender constituents and their families, businesses, faith leaders, and law enforcement officers from communities across the state made their voices heard, and we are so proud to earn the bipartisan recommendation from the Judiciary Committee.”

Two House committees have now have affirmed what HB 1319’s strongest backers have known all along: the Granite State will be stronger and safer if transgender people are free to live their lives without fear of discrimination.

In 2017, the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee recommended the bill 15-2. Since then, support inside and outside the legislature has grown dramatically.

HB 1319 now has 12 Republican cosponsors from throughout the state. This year, it has racked up new endorsements from the bipartisan Children’s Caucus and the Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative, demonstrating that those who care about our state’s youth know protection from discrimination makes families stronger.

The House Libertarian Caucus also endorsed HB 1319 during its first Judiciary Committee hearing of 2018, with Rep. Brandon Phinney (L-Rochester) saying directly to his fellow legislators, “This bill affirms the rights of those in our communities who deserve to be protected. We are all human beings. We need pass to pass this bill now.”

During the two-part Judiciary Committee hearing, hundreds testified in support of HB 1319, providing over seven hours of testimony. Fewer than 10 people testified against the bill.

Other endorsers include law enforcement organizations and individuals like the New Hampshire Chiefs of Police, Dover Police Chief Anthony Colarusso and Cheshire County Sheriff Eli Rivera; businesses and business groups like Eastern Bank and the Business and Industry Association; and civil rights and public safety groups like the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation, the New Hampshire Human Commission on Human Rights, and New Hampshire Legal Assistance.

Jakows attributes this growth in support to a greater awareness among Granite Staters about the challenges their transgender neighbors face due to discrimination.

“Over the past several years, Granite Staters from all walks of life have had the opportunity to meet their transgender neighbors and understand that HB 1319 is about making sure that everyone has the opportunity to truly live free from discrimination,” they said.

For further information, visit Freedom New Hampshire, the campaign to win equal protections for transgender people in the Granite State.

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