Legislative action suspended over COVID-19 concerns

The New Hampshire House and Senate have suspended all activity from March 16 until at least April 10, responding to public health concerns raised by the COVID-19 virus. The virus was declared a pandemic on March 11 by the World Health Organization. Governor Chris Sununu declared a state of emergency on March 13. Since that date, public gatherings have been discouraged to prevent community transmission of the virus.

From the General Court website: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, out of an abundance of caution the General Court has suspended all legislative activities through April 10. During this time, the State House will be closed to legislative members, legislative staff, and visitors.”

In the March 20 House Journal, House Speaker Stephen Shurtleff wrote “[T]he Senate President and I have made the historic decision to suspend all legislative activities. At this point in time, we are uncertain when we will resume legislative business. We will continue to govern with the best interests of our citizens in mind. I thank you again for your patience and understanding as we move forward.”

All remaining bills for the 2020 legislative session are in limbo, unable to advance while the legislature is suspended.

Author: Ellen Kolb

New Hampshire-based writer, pro-life activist, hiker.

2 thoughts on “Legislative action suspended over COVID-19 concerns”

  1. HI Ellen, Seems to me the NH committee members are all resistant to life issues despite our emails etc esp Mr Watters. Who appoints this group? The Republican Governor? We’ve got to move this group.
    Thank you
    Donna Stiles
    dsmilkandhoney@gmail.com

    1. Thank you for asking, Donna. I hope you’ll forgive the long answer. I get worked up about this, too. This probably ought to be a post rather than an answer to a comment.

      Members of each legislative committee are named by the Speaker of the House (for House committees) and President of the Senate (for Senate committees) in consultation with the Minority Leaders of the respective chambers. Membership is proportional to the party division, so since the House is about 60% Democrats this session, about 12 members on every 20-member committee are Democrats.

      You’re absolutely right about the hostility to the right to life among the current House/Senate majority. Keep the courteous emails and calls going anyway, when appropriate. Otherwise the hostility goes unchallenged.

      We’re going to be on the defensive until legislative leaders run out of abortion advocates to appoint. It comes down to electing people who are either committed to the right to life, or at least open to it.

      People who are registered with a party need to be as bold as abortion advocates. Make it clear that there will be NO financial support from you to a party that helps EVEN ONE abortion advocate get elected. I recommend targeting all political donations and volunteer work to specific pro-life candidates. I say this as someone who has worked on statewide campaigns for a particular party, and then spent the next two years seeing one anti-life vote after another by some of the people I helped elect.

      Sometimes I do what I call defensive voting, where I’ll vote for an unfamiliar or even wishy-washy candidate if the opponent is a hard-line abortion absolutist. Such reps need to lose their seats before they accumulate more seniority and eventually become committee chairs.

      As for the Governor’s role, there is none. Like the rest of us, he has to deal with whatever leadership the House & Senate choose.

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