NH Council of Churches - Public Policy Update & Gambling Alert, 23 March 2010


NH Senate Considers
 17,000 Slot machines
+ 900 table games in NH

Contact Senators Today!
A bill to permit six casinos (1 in Hudson, 3 at the tracks, 1 each in Coos and Grafton Counties) and a total of 17,000 slot machines in New Hampshire will be voted on by the NH Senate this Wednesday. 

By a vote of 4-2, the Senate Finance Committee recommended the bill ought to pass and it moves on to the full Senate for their vote.

If passed, SB489 would make NH second in slots per capita only behind Nevada. The bill would also permit up to 900 tables of table gambling among the 6 casinos.
Against the backdrop of a down economy, a critical shortage of revenue to fund the state budget, and a reluctance by policy-makers to examine other significant sources of revenue to prevent cuts to critical services and infrastructure, expanded gambling this year may prove irresistible.

If stopping expanded gambling is a priority for your denomination and congregation, please contact your State Senators about SB489 (see list of Senate members and contact info).
Need further info? See, download and share 23 Reasons to Oppose Expanded Gambling. New information is available at the Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling website. You can also view materials at the NH Gaming Study Commission website.

And from elsewhere: Tampa Tribune in Florida reports "The state pays millions to probe the thoughts and habits of potential lottery players. Consultants ask what they buy at convenience stores, whether they rent videos, go to theme parks, even how they feel about owning things and belonging to a group."


Governor's Commission on Expanded Gambling
Public Hearings April 6

As it nears its May 25 deadline for reporting to the governor on the expansion of gambling in NH, the NH Gaming Study Commission will hold simultaneous public hearings April 6 in Manchester and Conway from 6-8 pm.

Locations are:
Granite State College
Technology Village
Community Room 211-212
53 Technology Lane

Auditorium, 3rd Floor
400 Commercial Street

Testimony will be held to 2-3 minutes to allow as many speakers as possible. Plan to arrive early to sign in and fill out a speaker's card if you would like to speak. If you prefer, you may submit your testimony to the Commission in writing at this hearing.


Denominational and Congregational Leaders: Sign on to End the Death Penalty

Religious leaders are encouraged to sign on to a letter supporting the abolition of the death penalty, which will be submitted to the Commission to Study the Death Penalty in NH (formed per passage of last year's HB 520). Deadline is noon, Monday, April 5. Early denominational signers include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, United Methodist Church, The Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ, Episcopal Church, Roman Catholic Church, and the Unitarian Universalist Church. For more information or to receive the letter click here.

Commission to Study NH Death Penalty Hears From Churches May 14

The Commission to Study the Death Penalty in NH will next study whether the death penalty is a deterrent to further crime at its April 9 meeting. It will then consider whether the death penalty comports with evolving moral standards at its May 14 meeting. NH Council of Churches and denominational leaders have been invited to testify at the May 14 meeting.

The Commission's final report is due Dec. 1, 2010. Information about the Commission, including Commission members, meeting transcripts and more is at the Commission's website.

Links to information about the most recent hearing is available at the NH Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty website.  Visitors to their website can also sign up for alerts and further information about the Study Commission and any other efforts to abolish the death penalty.

Meanwhile, SB472, a bill that would expand the death penalty, was referred for interim study, a move that should prevent this bill from moving forward this legislative session.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops offers a DVD (online and available on disc) and study guide entitled "A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death." It is a call for the nation to abandon the use of the death penalty and move one step closer to building a culture of life. People like Bud Welch whose daughter died in the Oklahoma City bombing and David Kaczynski, brother of the Unibomber, are some of the voices that have joined with the bishops in this campaign to end the use of death penalty. Click here for more information and to order.

The Diocese of Manchester offers a Parish Program to provide Catholics and others with an overview of Catholic teaching on the death penalty as well as information about the use and effects of capital punishment in the United States. Contact Diane Quinlan, Chancellor, at dquinlan@rcbm.org or 603-669-3100 for further information about this program.

FYI - Exoneree Featured on WBZ
Randy Steidl, a death penalty exoneree from Illinois, shares his story in an interview on WBZ before his recent talk at Hesser College.


UPDATE: House Rejects Bill to Open Records on Nonprofits

Voting to reject a Committee recommendation by a wide margin, the NH House last week voted down HB1356. This bill would have subject many nonprofits to the state's Right-to-Know law, forcing private, nonprofit operations to turn over internal records, meeting documents, board documents, etc. upon demand.

Interfaith Power & Light
Seeks Members

New Hampshire Interfaith Power and Light (NHIPL) supports faith communities in reducing the harmful effects of global climate change through energy conservation, energy efficiency, and use of renewable energy to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are rapidly leading to a climate crisis. This commitment honors our belief that Earth and Creation are sacred and precious.
NHIPL seeks congregational and individual members willing to engage in ongoing environmental stewardship education, energy audits, efficiency improvements, green power installations, supporting policies and NHIPL in general. For more info and member forms, contact Mardy High at info.nhipl@gmail.com or 603 632 7073 home/603 667 0449 cell.


APRIL 2, Noon -3 PM
The Cross of Nonviolent Love: An Ecumenical Good Friday Worship Gathering, South Congregational Church, 27 Pleasant St., Concord
Cosponsored by NH Conference UCC Peace with Justice Task Force and Pace E Bene Nonviolence Service NE. More info: LR Berger,  NE Associate, Pace E Bene, 603-496-1056.

APRIL 8, 7 pm
Annual Meeting NH Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
Planned presentations from a death row exoneree, a murder victim family member, and a personal greeting from Sr. Helen Prejean.
Info from Katherine Cooper at kcooper@nodeathpenaltynh.org or 674-4885.

APRIL 22, 9 am, Grace Capital Church
Community and Faith-Based Leadership Summit. Briefing on need and opportunities for collaboration in current economy. Speakers include NH DHHS Commissioner Nick Toumpas, DCYF Director Maggie Bishop, CFBI Board Chair Keith Marsh, Jan Lessard of Bethany Christian Services and others. Sponsored by DHHS/DCYF and NH Community & Faith-Based Initiative. More info by emailing Keith Marsh.


Quick Takes:

  • Find New Hampshire legislation proposed in 2010.
  • Find NH state legislators' contact information here.
  • Reach your Congressman or Senator by calling the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121. Or, type in your ZIP code here to link to both NH Senators and your Congressperson's pages.