Our community of endorsers was out in full force during last week’s Judiciary Committee meeting on HB 1319. Here are some highlights from their testimony:
Two of our most prominent business endorsers, the Business and Industry Association and Eastern Bank, had a singular message for Committee members: The business community wants clarity and consistency from New Hampshire’s non-discrimination law, and HB 1319 provides that.
BIA Senior Vice President of Public Policy Dave Juvet said that “Businesses ask for two things: fairness & clarity. HB 1319 provides both,” a sentiment echoed by Eastern Bank’s EVP of Human Resources & Charitable Giving, Nancy Stager:
“Businesses crave certainty from government. HB 1319 provides certainty.”
The fact that HB 1319 would add clarity to the law was underscored by the legal organizations that testified.
New Hampshire Legal Assistance’s Fair Housing Project Co-Director Victoria Horrock noted gaps in the current law, saying that without HB 1319, her organization has “limited options” to help transgender clients:
“Despite NHLA’s considerable expertise in fair housing law, we have limited options to help people who face housing discrimination because of their gender identity [because] no state or federal laws explicitly prohibit such discrimination in private housing.” – Victoria Horrock, Fair Housing Project Co-Director, NH Legal Assistance
Outgoing chair of the Commission on Human Rights Paul Phillips also used his testimony to address these gaps.
Both Dover Police Chief Anthony Colarusso and the NH Women’s Foundation underscored in their testimony that public safety concerns surrounding HB 1319 are wholly unfounded — and amount to nothing more than fearmongering.
Chief Colarusso spoke in his role as a servant of public safety but also as a parent and grandparent:
“You cannot go into a bathroom to invade someone’s privacy. That law is on the books. I have no fear that this bill will make my children or my grandchild less safe.” — Dover Police Chief Anthony Colarusso
And NH Women’s Foundation Director of Policy Sarah Mattson Dustin made clear that 18 state and more than 200 municipalities have non-discrimination laws protecting transgender people, and have not seen any increase in public safety concerns.
Individuals and religious leaders also spoke on how their faith informs their support for HB 1319.
Rev. Elsa Worth of St. James Episcopal Church spoke about losing her transgender daughter to suicide, and how event informed her advocacy for #TransBillNH:
“We are all created in God’s image in our amazing and beautiful diversity, including transgender people. I honor Emilia’s life by doing what I can to make sure New Hampshire is a place where our vulnerable transgender teens know that we have their backs, and that they are celebrated and valued for exactly who they are.” — Rev. Elsa Worth of St. James Episcopal Church
And Rev. Jay MacCleod of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in New London spoke about his niece, saying to the Committee, “I pray you will pass HB 1319 to make our state safe and secure for people like my niece.”
The Judiciary Committee’s conclusive hearing on HB 1319 will be Tuesday, February 13th at 10 AM, and we need to bring this same amount of expertise and energy. Let us know if you plan to be there and we’ll be in touch with more details.