We are calling for bipartisanship solidarity to recognize New Hampshire citizens’ right to self-government that CACR19 seeks to codify as it goes to New Hampshire House debate and vote this week.
Granite State citizens have asked for CACR 19 to recognize and protect in New Hampshire’s Bill of Rights the authority of New Hampshire communities to enact local laws by majority vote to ban harmful corporate projects in order to protect NH citizens and the air, water, and soil on which they depend—so long as local laws wouldn’t limit existing state and constitutional rights of natural persons.
In short, CACR 19 addresses inequality. New Hampshire citizens have neither binding voice nor equal standing against harmful corporate activities and “personhood” that consistently appeal to state preemption to remove any recourse New Hampshire citizens have to prevent their communities and ecosystems from becoming sacrifice zones to profit marketed as a “greater good”.
CACR 19′s 9 bi-partisan sponsors, including 2 Republican NRA members, understand that the language of the amendment ensures that local rights-based laws could not weaken real persons’ existing rights—including 2nd Amendment rights—under state and federal constitution and law but could be used only to expand rights. Moreover, 2008 and 2010 U.S. Supreme Court precedents declared that 2nd Amendment rights are individual constitutional rights, which are protected by CACR 19′s language.
Because rights are not gifted by but recognized and enumerated within constitutions, CACR19 is not a proposed law but a proposed constitutional amendment seeking to enumerate the right of local community self-government within New Hampshire’s Constitution the same way freed slaves’ equal rights were recognized within the U.S. Constitution.
If CACR 19 passes through both New Hampshire’s House and Senate with 3/5 votes, then New Hampshire’s people get to decide if they want the right to elevate and protect people and planet over profit. A 2/3 vote by New Hampshire citizens would codify this right in New Hampshire’s Bill of Rights.
CACR19 co-sponsor Rep. Steven Rand (D) outlines this process for legislators and citizens: “We represent constituents to create statutes, but the people represent themselves constitutionally. The constitution is higher than statutes. Giving them the chance to vote on CACR19 is the one thing we can do to support their ability to protect their health, safety, and welfare. It will help them expand, not decrease their rights.”
Rep. Ellen Read (D), CACR19′s proposer, asks her fellow Representatives to understand the worth of this expansion of rights: “I truly hope my colleagues join me in supporting CACR19 because it means doing exactly what we came to Concord to do—protect the people and ecosystems of NH. This Amendment places the power back into the hands of the governed, the very thing our Revolutionary ancestors fought for.”
The Revolutionaries of this country fought for something intangible but rich—the right to pursue a self-determined life of honesty and goodness. For our legislators to deny us an enlightened, democratic, constitutional path to access this self-determination is to admit their doubt in their constituents’ ability to understand, trust in, and make decisions in the best interest of the goodness in ourselves and in the ecosystems around us. CACR19 will secure our right to protect this goodness for a new future honoring people’s and nature’s natural right to sustainability.
CACR 19 supporter Rep. Bruce Tatro (D) believes in this constitutional path to self-determination: “CACR 19 is an amendment to a constitution that was formed by the people of the state. The people should have the opportunity to vote this amendment up or down. I’m not in favor of short-circuiting that.”
As NH Community Rights Network (NHCRN) board members, we support CACR 19′s effort to amend our NH Bill of Rights to recognize the individual and collective right of local self-governance in order to secure and protect the inherent and unalienable rights of all NH inhabitants to economic, social, and environmental justice.
This week, we hope New Hampshire representatives vote in support of CACR 19 by voting NO on the current inexpedient-to-legislate (ITL) recommendation for CACR 19. Overturning ITL on CACR 19 would give the House the chance to vote that CACR19 ought-to-pass (OTP), sending it on to the Senate, and hopefully to New Hampshire citizens.
Learn how you can support protecting people, places, and principle over profit by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.nhcommunityrights.org.
— Douglas Darrell is from Center Barnstead and Monica Christofili lives in Newmarket.