With Overwhelming Bipartisan Support, HHS Committee Recommends #TranBillNH for Full House Vote February 22, 2017

#TransBillNH passed a major milestone today. This afternoon, the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee (HHS) recommended that the full House of Representatives “ought to pass” non-discrimination protections for transgender Granites Staters.

The 15-2 vote was a resounding endorsement of transgender non-discrimination protections. It came less than 24 hours after nearly 100 supporters packed an HHS hearing on the bill, outnumbering opponents by a 7-1 margin. Supporters contacted HHS committee members more than 1,500 times in advance of today’s decision, in addition to the dozens who gave testimony yesterday.

The bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Ed Butler, D-Harts Location, said he was pleased with how the decision came down—especially the bipartisan cooperation shown by lawmakers.

“The fact that Republicans and Democrats came together to vote in overwhelming favor of this measure shows individual freedom and opportunity are values that all we Granite Staters can agree upon.”

Other supporters and testifiers included the Business and Industry Association of NH, the NH Association of Chiefs of Police, the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, as well as countless transgender Granite Staters, their families and friends.

One of the people who testified at yesterday’s HHS Committee hearing was Kenzo Morris of Gilmanton. He described in an emotional testimony how, a few years ago, he was denied a driver’s license by the state’s Dept. of Motor Vehicles—despite fulfilling all legal requirements—and was publicly ridiculed by DMV staff because he is transgender.

“Laws matter, and, like it or not, they do affect the general public opinion and determine how people act. When I am fully protected against discrimination in public places, then everyone will see that it is not okay to treat me badly just because they don’t like me or don’t understand me.”

Freedom New Hampshire campaign manager Linds Jakows said it was thanks to this dedicated group that lawmakers gave their positive recommendation today.  

“Lawmakers were touched by the broad coalition of Republicans and Democrats, business and faith leaders, health professionals, educators, public safety officials, advocates for victims of sexual and domestic violence, members of the transgender community and allies, who came together in support of House Bill 478.”

Now, the bill moves to the House of Representatives for a full vote, which could happen within a couple of weeks. #TransBillNH needs a majority support from the full House to advance to the Senate.

It’s important now that we show our representatives that the committee’s recommendation has strong backing from constituents statewide. Rush a message to your representatives now urging them to stand with you and support #TransBillNH to protect transgender Granite States from discrimination once and for all!