Cornerstone - Mass. taxpayers hit with buffer zone costs; is NH next?

Cornerstone Action

Cornerstone remarks on Massachusetts buffer zone settlement

A settlement in federal court this month has proven that the Massachusetts "buffer zone" law was not only unconstitutional but is also bad news for taxpayers. The state of Massachusetts has agreed to pay $1.2 million to attorneys for the plaintiffs in the McCullen v. Coakley case. We trust that New Hampshire legislators will take the lesson to heart.

New Hampshire legislators are already signing on to a legislative service request for a bill to repeal our state's so-called "buffer zone" law, signed in June by Governor Hassan. This ill-advised law seeks to ban peaceful pro-life witness outside abortion facilities. The law was modeled on the Massachusetts law that was thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court in June in the McCullen case. 

The $1.2 million Massachusetts settlement could be a sign of things to come for New Hampshire taxpayers. Currently, the New Hampshire "buffer zone" law is not being enforced as seven New Hampshire residents fight it in court. The state of New Hampshire is a defendant to the suit. According to Cornerstone Executive Director Bryan McCormack, "The choice by the Governor and Attorney General to defend this law will leave New Hampshire taxpayers on the hook. This is further proof that Governor Hassan is not only partisan but that she clearly does not have the interest of New Hampshire citizens at heart."

New Hampshire legislators can eliminate this threat to taxpayers by repealing the "buffer zone" law. Constitutionally and fiscally, it's the right thing to do.