Vetoes Upheld on Two Parents’ Rights Bills

Earlier this week the NH House of Representatives failed to overturn vetoes of two important parents’ rights bills, HB 332 and HB 603.

House Bill 332 was a bill that sought to address a gap in RSA 186:11 IX-c  by requiring parents be given  two weeks advanced notice and access to classroom materials for subjects pertaining to human sexuality. Representative Victoria Sullivan spoke on behalf of her bill on the House floor. Rep Ralph Boehm made closing remarks in support of the bill. In her veto message, Governor Hassan falsely claimed that the bill would interfere with the use of Mark Twain and Shakespeare in the classroom.

The veto effort was a roll call vote, and was sustained 226 to 148. This bill also had roll calls earlier in the year, in both the House and Senate. We expect a similar bill to be introduced in 2016, so please stay tuned as this develops. For more information about HB 332, read A Parent’s Right to Opt-Out.

The other bill that failed was House Bill 603 which would have explicitly given parents the right to refuse their child’s participation in statewide assessments. As the state Department of Education and superintendents are increasingly harassing parents who exercise their right to direct their children’s education, this was a very critical bill. Several false statements were given in the House discussion. Rep Mel Myler erroneously said that a federal law requires all students to participate in statewide assessments. This is incorrect. The NCLB/ESEA waiver and NH state statute require all districts to administer an assessment, but they do not require students to participate. Other representatives also perpetuated the misunderstanding that federal funds are jeopardized if participation rates are less than 95%. Although final participation rates are not yet published on the NH DOE’s website, it is already clear that Nashua and Manchester fell short of this federally mandated participation rate, yet they will not be sanctioned. Representatives Ralph Boehm and Victoria Sullivan did an admirable job advocating on behalf of parents.

The veto override was a roll call vote, and was upheld 211 to 141. HB 603 also had a vote in the senate back in May.

We have written about this bill extensively over the last few months. More can be read at Overturn the Governor’s Veto of HB 603 — Respect Parents’ Rights, Demand Parents’ Rights — Overturn Hassan’s Veto on HB 603, and Starting the Year Right.

We wish to thank all the concerned citizens and parents who contributed to our advocacy efforts these past several months. Without question, the grassroots involvement has been the major difference in our ability to deter efforts to deny parents’ rights and insert more federal reforms in our schools. We heard that the legislature was flooded with emails on HB 603, so your message was definitely noticed. However, another important part of our efforts will be holding our elected official accountable for their votes. Votes in Concord should have consequences. We will continue to advocate for educational options and parents’ rights to direct their children’s education, and we thank you for all your encouragement and support.