The legislative subcommittee studying CACR 19 supported (3-2) bringing this constitutional amendment to the people for a vote, but the House Municipal and County Government Committee will recommend (11-8) the House not allow us that opportunity.
I better understand how difficult our legislators’ jobs are and how little time they have to really understand complex issues. Did committee members favor the authoritarian model of government, under the influence of money and lobbyists, or moving toward a more mature (and yes, messy) democratic decision-making process that includes ordinary citizens?
The Legislature believes it is smarter than the people, Rep. Steven Rand, D-Plymouth, said, so have to make that decision for us. He disagreed. “I think the people are smart.”
Rep. Vincent Migliore, R-Bridgewater, chose not to “succumb to fear and doubt” and extensively researched to understand the proposed amendment before signing on in support. He had confidence citizens can do the same.
However, Chair James Belanger, Vice Chairman Frank Sterling and Rep. Frank McCarthy evidently see their job as stopping democratic decision-making at the local level because they don’t trust it: Anarchy, “damage beyond realization,” “devastate,” “abomination,” “234 separate city states.”
What would this amendment do? It codifies the constitutional right we already have to protect the health, safety and welfare of our communities against corporate harms and their court-bestowed personhood “rights.” Under the current interpretation of courts, those rights trump the civil and political rights of real people trying to protect our communities. That is not what my 12 Revolutionary War ancestors fought for and it is not what our elected officials take an oath to protect.
A sincere thank you to Rep. Bruce Tatro from Swanzey and Rep. David Meader from Keene, who listened to their constituents as well as the two opposing views.
I hope more citizens will do their own research. Why were the gun lobby and Americans for Prosperity (funded by the Koch brothers) opposed? Why did 600 New Hampshire citizens sign a petition supporting it and so many of us travel to Concord more than once to watch “our” government at work?
Contact www.nhcommunityrights.org to begin educating yourselves and become part of the conversation at the local level.