Update: abortion stats bill retained

New Hampshire House Bill 471, abortion statistics, has been retained in committee and will not get a vote in the full House until 2018.  This is a step sideways, but it keeps the bill alive.


A subcommittee is likely to work on the bill between now and January. I’ll watch for those work session dates.

This is 2015 all over again, when the last statistics bill (HB 629) was retained. A subcommittee assigned to work on the bill had six work sessions between May and October 2015. They produced what I thought was an improved bill that enjoyed bipartisan support. The full House passed the resulting version of HB 629 on a voice vote in January 2016.

Then the state Department of Health and Human Services got a new commissioner, who yanked the Department’s participation in crafting the bill. Planned Parenthood, whose representative had attended the work sessions (I know because I attended them as well), refused to support the amended bill. That was enough to prompt a pair of Republican senators to join ten Democrats in voting against HB 629. That tied the vote at 12-12 in the Senate in May 2016, and the bill then died after being tabled. 

That was then; this is now. Under House rules for retained bills, HB 471 must come back for a House vote next year. Last time around, the House did its job: careful study with involvement from a variety of stakeholders, yielding a bipartisan bill so strong it passed without debate. I expect no less from them this time with HB 471. The Senate will then have a chance to redeem itself from 2016’s fiasco.

2 thoughts on “Update: abortion stats bill retained”

  1. Ellen,
    Does this mean the workshops are open to the public? Who is actually on the committee that will be working on the bill? Is this something that when passed by House & Senate next year that Sununo could possibly veto?

    1. Dianne, if workshops are scheduled, they are open to the public as far as I know. I know that on the last stats bill, when I was no longer a lobbyist for a group supporting the bill, the subcommittee chairman welcomed me anyway. The subcommittee for this year’s bill has not been named yet, to the best of my knowledge. If the resulting language is passed by House and Senate next year, it would go to the Governor’s desk. I’d like to believe a veto is unthinkable.

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