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Contact Your Legislators Today about Fetal Homicide and Marijuana Bills

May 30, 2017

StateHouse440New Hampshire lawmakers will meet this week to vote on a number of measures as the session winds down, and the state budget will be a priority. But your voice is needed on two votes this week – to support a bill that will recognize the loss of preborn child to a violent crime and to oppose a measure seeking to study the legalization of marijuana.

Tomorrow, the Senate will vote on HB 215, a bill proposing to study the legalization of marijuana. And on Thursday, the House will vote on SB 66 to include unborn children in current homicide laws. I have included background information and talking points below on both of these bills. If you have not already contacted your legislators on these bills, your voice can make a difference today on these important votes.

Meredith CookGrateful for all you do,
Meredith Cook


Fetal Homicide Vote Expected on June 1

Background

In 2009, the New Hampshire Supreme Court heard the Lamy case, a criminal case concerning an intoxicated driver who struck a taxi driven by a woman who was pregnant. The child was delivered prematurely and died two weeks later as a result of injuries sustained in the collision. The Court overturned the conviction of the driver for causing the death of the child because current New Hampshire law does not support a conviction for the child’s death. In the Lamy decision, Justice James Duggan wrote, “Should the legislature find this result in this case as unfortunate as we do, it should follow the lead of many other states and revisit the homicide statutes as they pertain to the fetus.” SB 66 was introduced to include preborn children at 20 weeks of gestation or more in current state homicide laws.

The vote in the House on Thursday is expected to be close. Opponents of SB 66 claim that the bill would harm women’s “reproductive rights.” However, the plain text of the bill provides that the law will not apply to an act committed by a pregnant woman or an act at the request or direction or for the benefit of a pregnant woman. And a minority of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee may propose an alternative version of the bill that increases the penalties when an unborn child is lost due to a violent act, but this amendment takes away from prosecutors the option to bring a homicide charge against the person who caused the violence such as drunk drivers and those who have killed unborn children in acts of domestic violence. Your voice is needed today and can make a difference in passing this important bill.

How to Take Action

Contact your representatives today and ask them to vote yes on the Committee majority amendment. Given that the vote is this week, phone calls to representatives are best.

Find your members of the House of Representatives here. 

Talking Points

  • The New Hampshire Supreme Court expressed that it found the decision in the Lamy case unfortunate and invited the Legislature to revisit these laws to include unborn children.
  • Passing this bill will recognize there are two victims when a pregnant woman loses her child due to a violent act, and the House can honor both victims by passing SB 66.
  • The provisions of this bill will address the death of a preborn child caused by a violent act, and the House should give prosecutors the option to charge the person who causes that violence with homicide in those circumstances.

Bill to Study Marijuana Legalization Expected May 31

Background

As you may have seen in the news, several bills to decriminalize, legalize, and regulate marijuana were introduced this session. Unfortunately, the House passed HB 640 to decriminalize marijuana, and the Senate passed an amended version.

On Thursday, the Senate will vote on HB 215, a bill proposing to study the legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana. While this bill proposes to study the impact of treating marijuana in a manner similar to the way the State “deals with alcohol,” scientific evidence links marijuana to long-term, damaging effects on brain development. The goals of this bill begin to take New Hampshire down a dangerous path that seeks to raise income through the legalization of a drug that represents a significant part of substance abuse in the United States. While some may argue there is no harm in studying the legalization of marijuana, passing this bill would send the message that New Hampshire is interested in pursuing the legalization of marijuana, and this drug has devastating effects we all should be seeking to prevent.

How to Take Action

HB 215 passed the House, and the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-1 to recommend the full Senate pass this bill. The Senate will vote on HB 215 tomorrow, so call today and ask your senator to oppose HB 215. Given that the vote is tomorrow, phone calls to senators are best.

Find the contact information for your senator here. 

Talking Points

  • Passing this bill sends the message that New Hampshire is interested in pursuing the legalization of marijuana, and this is a drug with devastating effects we should be seeking to prevent, not legalize.
  • The goals of this bill seek to raise income through the legalization of a drug that represents a significant part of substance abuse in the United States – we can do better for our children, families, and communities.
  • HB 215 proposes to study the impact of treating marijuana in a manner similar to the way the State “deals with alcohol,” but scientific evidence links marijuana to long-term, damaging effects on brain development. Why study the legalization of a drug with such devastating impacts on young people?

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