Legislative group changes its name to better reflect its intentions at the State House

CONCORD, N.H.―In order to relieve confusion about the meaning of the word “caucus,” board members of the “Natural Rights Caucus” have agreed to change their name to the “Natural Rights Council.”

The Natural Rights Council, made up of a six-member board of New Hampshire representatives and at least 30 legislative members from both political parties, will continue its original mission to build a working group of effective lawmakers who will advance legislation protecting equal treatment under the law and the natural rights to life, liberty and property, among others. While the council will take positions on bills from time to time, the council does not expect to agree on all legislation. Instead, the council will encourage lawmakers to defend the bills they support with Part 1, Article 2 of the New Hampshire Constitution.

“For a group so focused on principled arguments in defense of its positions on bills, it was important for the Natural Rights Council to get its name right,” said Rep. Andrew J. Manuse, co-chairman of the Natural Rights Council. “Changing our name doesn’t change the priorities of the group, and the new name continues to reflect our commitment to the fundamental rights of all New Hampshire citizens.”

The Natural Rights Council decided to reconsider its name after the House Speaker’s office alerted members to a problem with using the word “caucus.” The Natural Rights Council was not the only group affected by this notice, since several House groups were incorrectly using the word.

As it is legally understood at the State House, a caucus is a meeting of a political party’s elected members to discuss legislative business, floor strategies, partisan issues and similar issues. Such a group is also exempt from the state’s Right to Know Law. “Caucus” just wasn’t the right name for the Natural Rights Council.

When considering its name change, “council” was the word that made the most sense. The Natural Rights Council meets regularly for mutual consultation or advice on pending bills, on good legislative practices and on building coalitions and consensus to advance the rights articulated in Part 1, Article 2. The council will also continue its ongoing legislator development training meetings, which are designed to quickly elevate freshmen legislators to the effectiveness of their more experienced colleagues.

Part 1, Article 2 reads: “All men have certain natural, essential and inherent rights, among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; and in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of race, creed, color, sex or national origin.”

The Natural Rights Council is led by co-chairmen Reps. Andrew J. Manuse (Derry), Seth Cohn (Canterbury) and Mark Warden (Goffstown). Reps. George Lambert (Litchfield), J.R. Hoell (Dunbarton) and Daniel Tamburello (Londonderry) are acting board members and former Rep. Don Gorman is an ex-officio member of the council, serving as its legislative mentor.

For more information on becoming a member, e-mail members@naturalrightscouncil.org or visit www.naturalrightscouncil.org.


About The Natural Rights Council

The Natural Rights Council, formed in 2010, is a bipartisan, principle-driven coalition within the New Hampshire Legislature committed to supporting bills that adhere to the state constitution, defend individual rights to life, liberty and property, and ensure equal treatment under the law.