top of page

Press Releases & News


Blueprint for a Stronger New Hampshire
.pdf
Download PDF • 9.59MB


CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, House Democrats unveiled their Blueprint For a Stronger New Hampshire, a plan detailing the caucus’s legislative priorities for the 2023-2024 biennium. House Democratic Leader Rep. Matt Wilhelm (D-Manchester) offered the following statement:

“After thousands of conversations on our neighbors’ doorsteps last fall, we’ve heard the call from our communities, and stand ready to address their concerns. Across the state, our neighbors are struggling to afford the high cost of energy, rent, and childcare, with many working multiple jobs to make ends meet.

All the while, we know that Republicans have vowed to limit the reproductive freedom of Granite Staters, give big corporations a tax cut for the 10th time in less than a decade, continue to siphon tax dollars for private schools, and oppose real property tax relief for our municipalities.

With our Democratic blueprint as a guide for our legislative work, we know that we can lower costs for Granite State households, grow our economy, protect individual rights and freedoms, maintain healthy and safe communities, and properly fund our public schools for a stronger New Hampshire.”


Legislation would protect taxpayers by limiting program to ‘school choice’


CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, the House Education Committee heard testimony on HB 430, which would re-focus the Education Freedom Account program to “school choice” for students struggling in public school. The EFA program is currently open to both public school students and students who are already in private education. Representative David Luneau (D-Hopkinton), prime sponsor of the bill, released the following statement:


“The EFA voucher program was touted as an opportunity for students who are not succeeding in public school, at a substantial savings to property taxpayers. But that is not how the program was written. Instead of simply providing options to public school students and reducing taxpayer obligation in the process, New Hampshire’s EFA program was opened to those already in private education, who had previously cost the state nothing.


In just two years, the EFA voucher program has increased spending over $23 million, with more than 75% of those funds going to households already in private education. This legislation seeks to re-focus the program to its intended purpose – ‘school choice,’ and end the unsustainable subsidies for those who already made the decision to attend and pay for private school.


The NH Department of Education projects EFA’s will cost New Hampshire $60 million in 2023-2024. When people can barely afford to buy eggs for their family, they certainly do not have extra money to help other people pay for private school. This bill will preserve ‘school choice’ for those who need it, does not affect any current participant in the program, and will save Granite Staters millions of dollars over the next two years. I strongly encourage my colleagues on the Education Committee to support this legislation.”


###

This week, House Democrats have filed several pieces of legislation to reduce gun violence in the Granite State. House Democratic Leader Rep. David Cote (D-Nashua) applauded the filings, saying:


“While House Democrats have been championing gun violence prevention policies for years, it is more urgent now than ever to push these over the finish line as gun deaths in NH have risen almost 40% under Republican leadership since 2011. It is critical that we undo the dangerous policies enacted by an extreme Republican majority and work to make gun safety a priority across the state. I am proud of this package of bills that will do just that.”


  • Rep. Paul Berch (D-Westmoreland) sponsor of an LSR titled “Making Our Communities Safe Act,” which repeals HB 1178, an extreme law enacted by Governor Sununu this year prohibiting NH law enforcement from cooperating with federal agencies and laws regarding firearms, commented:


“At the request of state and local law enforcement, school students, teachers and administrators, victims of domestic violence and citizens across the State, I have filed a bill to repeal HB 1178, an ill-conceived, poorly crafted, and confusing law that hampers New Hampshire police officers and makes our citizens less safe. Even noting that guidance from the Attorney General finally arrived last week, months after the bill’s enactment, major confusion and grey areas remain for law enforcement as to what constitutes the “enforcement” of federal firearms laws.”


  • Rep. Amy Bradley (D-Manchester) sponsor of an LSR which establishes a procedure to protect against persons who pose an immediate risk of harm to themselves or others, commented:


“Tragically in recent years death by suicide with a firearm in New Hampshire has increased 60% compared to a 12% increase nationwide. It is critical that we provide a means to protect people in crisis from harming themselves with the most lethal means imaginable, a firearm.”


  • Rep. Marjorie Smith (D-Durham) sponsor of an LSR which closes loopholes in the firearm background check law to prevent criminals and abusers from purchasing guns, stated:

“Right now, in New Hampshire, convicted domestic abusers and violent criminals can purchase a gun online, at flea markets, in private sales and at gun shows without any restrictions. An overwhelming number of New Hampshire citizens, including gun owners, favor responsible gun purchasing and use. It is so far past time that we ensure guns only enter the hands of responsible users and I’m happy to pick up the torch where the fearless Rep. Kathi Rogers left off in championing this issue.”


  • Rep. Chuck Grassie (D-Rochester), sponsor of an LSR which implements a 3-day waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a firearm, commented:


“Suicide affects more and more Granite State families every year, now the second leading cause of death among young people in our state. Experts from the NH Medical Society and National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI-NH) have for years testified to how valuable waiting periods can be in preventing people contemplating suicide or other violent impulsivities from following through with the act.”


  • Rep. Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook), sponsor of an LSR which codifies the Federal Gun Free School Zones act in New Hampshire, commented:


“The rates of increasing gun violence in our schools across the country is disturbing, made even more so by laws like HB 1178 which prevent NH law enforcement from cooperating with federal gun safety protections if they are not codified in NH statute. Prohibiting guns on school grounds, except those in the possession of authorized individuals, allows law enforcement to better identify when entering a school with a firearm constitutes a threat and act accordingly. We cannot wait until a tragedy occurs to make our schools as safe as they can be.”


  • Rep. David Meuse (D-Portsmouth), sponsor of an LSR titled the “Protect the Kids Act” which establishes new requirements for safe firearms storage and transfers to protect child safety as well as toughen our state’s negligent firearms storage law, commented:

“Requiring responsible firearm storage practices saves lives and protects our children and other innocent people from unintentional harm. Nationally 90% of shootings by kids are a result of access to unlocked firearms stored at home, an easily preventable statistic. It is time that New Hampshire, a state with many gun owners, take action to promote safe firearm storage and ensure greater consequences for negligence.”


  • Rep. Dick Ames (D-Jaffrey), sponsor of an LSR asking Congress to pass an Assault Weapons Ban, commented:


“President Biden has made a commitment to reinstate the Assault Weapons ban passed in 1994 to decrease the shocking rate of mass gun violence with semi-automatic weapons. The US House passed such a renewed ban on July 29, 2022, but the bill is now stuck in the US Senate.


For too many years, America has been plagued with mass shootings in our schools, grocery stores, churches, and at concerts, almost all of which have been carried out with semi-automatic weapons capable of causing mass casualty in a mere matter of minutes. These are weapons of war. They must be kept off our streets. Their gruesome contribution to the epidemic of gun violence sweeping across America must be stopped. This resolution urges members of Congress to work together to reenact a common-sense ban on assault weapons to protect American safety.”




bottom of page