N.H. House defeats "parental bill of rights"

·1 min read

May 26—The N.H. House narrowly defeated a so-called "parental bill of rights," on Thursday amid civil rights concerns from the Attorney General's Office and opposition from educators, social workers and health associations.

House Bill 1431 failed on a 176-171 roll call vote. Most of the Republicans who participated in the vote were in favor of the measure and all Democrats were against. Thirteen Republicans joined with Democrats to scuttle the measure.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu had vowed to veto the bill if it passed.

Separate versions of the bill previously passed the N.H. House and Senate, so the measure was sent to a conference committee to work out the differences.

N.H. Assistant Attorney General Sean Locke, who directs the Civil Rights Unit at the AG's office, said in conference committee testimony on the bill last week that it could conflict with state and federal laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation. The bill included a provision that would require, in some cases, that parents be notified of a child's gender expression or identity.

Locke said this could be construed as a required for school staff to "out" students against students' wishes.

Opponents said the bill was potentially harmful to children, overly vague and could lead to lawsuits, while hampering the operation of schools. Backers said the measure included important provisions to ensure parents are kept advised on what goes on with their children at school.

Rick Green can be reached at RGreen@KeeneSentinel.com or 603-355-8567