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2024's legislative graveyard: bills that have been killed this year

Statehouse, house boat, ultrasound, and self-driving car bills
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Every year, New Hampshire legislators consider around 1,000 bills. About two thirds of them don’t survive long enough to make it to the governor’s desk. There are plenty of reasons for this—lawmakers may feel the proposed law would have unintended consequences, or that the proposal needs to be given more thought, or there might just be a clash of party ideals. As we approach the halfway point of this legislative session, let’s pause to remember some of the bills that have been killed this year.

CACR 20—Seceding from the union

New Hampshire won’t be seceding from the union this year. CACR 20 was a constitutional amendment that would have seen New Hampshire exit the union if the national debt reaches $40 trillion (right now it is over $34 trillion). New Hampshire would then proceed as a sovereign nation. The House committee that considered the bill gave it a unanimous thumbs down in January, saying that secession is not a solution to the struggles we face. 341 representatives went on to vote against the bill (while 24 voted in favor).

HB 1022—Decriminalizing prostitution

A bill to decriminalize prostitution in New Hampshire was defeated this year. It was intended to reduce penalties faced by sex workers, but detractors feared the legislation would make New Hampshire a haven for child sex traffickers. While there were no active sex workers present at the hearing, one member who claimed to have spoken with several Manchester sex workers said they were against the bill.

HB 1027—Child support for unborn children

A bill to allow courts to order child support for a fetus was struck down in February. The bill text stated: “Child support may be ordered to include the period of time of pregnancy, starting at conception. Support may include obligations for the typical costs of pregnancy including medical care. Notwithstanding any other law, the child support order can apply retroactively to include the period of pregnancy.” Opponents worried that this could open the door to abortion restrictions in the state, maybe even limiting the right of sexual assault victims to get an abortion.

HB 1049—Mooring houseboats overnight

HB 1049 would have repealed a prohibition against mooring houseboats overnight in areas not owned or leased by the boat owner. An overnight boat would need to have sleeping facilities and sanitation that could be pumped or dumped on land. The committee felt the bill was too broad and could open inland waterways to houseboats parked indefinitely as housing, short term rentals, or commercial enterprises. (This one was surprisingly controversial – Rep. Candace Gibbons reported hundreds of emails on this bill.)

HB 1599—Self-defense via autonomous machines

The House also killed a bill to allow the use of artificial intelligence in self-defense. While it sounds like something out of science fiction, proponents argued that the Department of Defense is hard at work developing this technology, and therefore New Hampshire should clarify its laws on the matter. Opponents included the New Hampshire State Police, who expressed concerns over determining culpability if an autonomous machine uses force against a human being. The committee considering the bill acknowledged there may come a time when it is safe and reasonable for private owners to deploy such devices for self-defense, but the possible unintended consequences of such a law were too great right now.

Other bills killed this year

Some other interesting bills that won’t be getting signed into law this year include:

  • HB 113 – getting rid of state fitness standards for police, killed in the House
  • HB 434 – allowing drones in state parks for $25 fee, killed in the House
  • HB 1324 – permitting green burials, sent to interim study
  • SB 194 – letting under-age college students taste wine in class, killed in the Senate

What do you think?

While these bills are done with for 2024, any of them could come back to life in the coming years! Do you have an opinion on any of these proposals? Learn how to make your voice heard in the State Legislature using our advocacy toolkit.


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