MANCHESTER, N.H.—In an effort to successfully advance unfinished business and build on the successes of the past Legislative session, Cornerstone Action today is releasing its 2013-2014 Families First Legislative Agenda (PDF), which is based on the goals identified earlier this year by Cornerstone’s Families First Pledge for candidates.
“Today, as the filing period for incumbent candidates opens, we are identifying the types of bills we’d like to see lawmakers introduce as part of our 2013-2014 Families First Legislative Agenda, and these bill ideas are directly based on the goals identified in our Families First Pledge,” said Shannon McGinley, Cornerstone’s acting executive director. “We fully expect our pledge signers to introduce the bills identified in our agenda, and we intend to help those legislators advance these bills through the N.H. House and Senate and beyond the governor’s desk into the state’s law books.”
Cornerstone’s Families First Pledge secured the promise of more than 85 candidates for state offices to advance citizens’ rights of conscience and religion, protect innocent human life, defend the natural family and traditional marriage, restore the natural rights of parents to raise, educate and care for their own children, and enact free market economic policies to ensure prosperity in New Hampshire. Cornerstone’s 2013-2014 Families First Legislative Agenda uses each pledge goal as the basis for a list of bill ideas that conceptually align with each theme.
Today begins an eight-day bill filing period for incumbent legislators who were nominated by their party to run for a seat in the New Hampshire House and Senate. The filing period runs from Sept. 17 to Sept. 26, and then closes until after the general election on Nov. 6. Then, both incumbent and non-incumbent candidates will have another window between Nov. 13 and Dec. 7 to file additional bills. By the end of the second filing period, the bills that have not yet been filed from Cornerstone’s Legislative Agenda will be reserved for filing in the second year of the biennial legislative session.
“With the release of our Families First Pledge, Cornerstone articulated a high-level set of principles that candidates could align with prior to their election to office,” McGinley said. “Now that we’re getting closer to the time that these candidates take their seats in the Legislature, Cornerstone wants to make it clear what signing the pledge actually means in practice.”
The three bill ideas under the right of conscience goal would codify the N.H. Constitution’s Article 4 “right of conscience” so citizens could live their lives, conduct their business and spend their money only in a way that aligns with their own moral conscience.
“It is intrinsically evil to force someone to pay for something he or she morally objects to, such as an abortion,” McGinley said. “And no one should ever have to provide a service to someone involved in a practice that he or she finds offensive.”
Cornerstone is advancing eight bill ideas under its goal of protecting innocent human life, some of which have already had their first exposure in the Legislature and others that the organization is advancing for the first time in New Hampshire.
“Some of these ideas are simply common sense, such as the Women’s Right to Know Act, which requires abortion doctors to tell a woman about the child who’s life she’s about to end and the associated risks of the procedure she’s about to undergo,” McGinley said. “Other ideas in this category recognize in state law as much as legally possible that life begins when a baby is conceived.”
While at least one bill idea under the category concerning the natural family and traditional marriage would make another attempt at restoring the traditional definition of marriage in state law, the three other points focus on keeping families together and promoting natural family unity as the fundamental building block of society, McGinley said.
Likewise, the next category concerning parental rights recognizes that natural parents almost always know best how to raise, educate and care for their own children.
"Parents should be given the benefit of the doubt unless they do something obvious to forfeit their natural rights," McGinley said.
Lastly, Cornerstone has identified six important free-market efforts that will ensure that families have the greatest opportunity to pursue their personal goals and achieve whatever they work for.
"Inherent in these ideas is a balanced budget that reduces government spending on unnecessary bureaucracy and enables tax and fee reductions," McKinley said. "These bills will also ensure that government is lean, affordable and transparent to families all across New Hampshire."
Cornerstone Action’s 2013-2014 Families First Legislative Agenda
Preserve the right of conscience for all citizens, including their freedom to practice the tenets of their faith.
- Pass the “Health Insurance Freedom of Conscience Act,” which creates a conscientious exemption to any mandate incorporated into a private health insurance policy for purchasers of a health insurance policy.
- Create a religious exemption to contraceptive coverage as part of any private health insurance policy.
- Protect the right of businesses to deny service to potential customers when it would violate the owner’s religious beliefs to serve them.
Protect innocent human life from conception to natural death.
- Require abortion clinics and hospitals to report abortion statistics, adding New Hampshire to the list of 46 other states that currently require such reporting.
- Pass the “Fetal Homicide Act,” which defines “fetal homicide” as criminal assaults on a pregnant woman that result in miscarriage, stillbirth or “damage to a pregnancy” as an enhanced offense for sentencing purposes.
- Pass the Women’s Right to Know Act, which requires physicians to provide a woman considering the procedure with medically accurate information about her child and the abortion method that would be used as well as the long-term risks of having an abortion and alternatives to having an abortion.
- Pass the “Rights of Motherhood Act,” which bans coerced abortions.
- Pass the “Abortion Drug Safety Act,” and add N.H. to the list of 40 other states that require a prescription for drugs such as RU-486.
- Pass “The Heartbeat Act,” which protects unborn children who have a detectable heartbeat.
- Continue to prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortions.
- Ensure that surgical abortions are performed by a licensed physician (as they are in 43 other states) and that abortion clinics are regulated under the same standards as other ambulatory centers or health clinics.
Defend the natural family and traditional marriage, the foundational building blocks of society.
- Pass a law that repeals gay “marriage” and either restores civil unions for homosexuals or restores the pre-civil union law in New Hampshire.
- Improve parental oversight and control over public school classroom content.
- Encourage policies that favor keeping families together when welfare dollars are at stake.
- Eliminate no-fault divorce for parents of children.
Restore the natural right of parents to determine the best way to educate, raise and care for their children.
- Pass a constitutional amendment that protects the natural rights of parents to control the health, education and welfare of their children.
- Pass a constitutional amendment that removes “magistrates’” (judges’) involvement in educational funding and protects local control of education.
- Create legal safeguards to ensure that both parents’ rights are protected in the case of divorce.
- Require legal safeguards to ensure that parents’ due process rights are protected in cases involving their children and the Division of Children, Youth and Families.
- Pass a bill that rejects the national Common Core Standards.
Enact free market economic policies that empower New Hampshire families to achieve their highest potential.
- Pass a balanced state budget that cuts unnecessary spending and reduces taxes and fees.
- Pass Right to Work legislation that makes it optional for all employees, public sector and private sector, to join a labor union and pay agency fees.
- Repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to lower families’ energy costs.
- Pass a bill that phases-in a 401(k)-style pension plan to ensure a government that families can afford.
- Pass bills to prevent welfare fraud and abuse of EBT cards, reduce the number of welfare recipients and require recipients of taxpayer dollars to look for work.
- Pass comprehensive health insurance deregulation to reduce the cost of private health insurance.
About Cornerstone Action
Cornerstone-Action and Cornerstone Policy Research are non-partisan, non-profit organizations dedicated to preserving New Hampshire’s traditional values, limited government, and free markets through education, information and advocacy. Our vision is to create an environment in which strong families—the foundation of our society—can lead New Hampshire into a new era of prosperity and strength. For more information, please visit nhcornerstone.org.