The NH Community Rights Amendment seeks to become Article 40. Right of Local, Community Self Government of our NH Bill of Rights.
This press release on the New Hampshire Community Rights Amendments (CACR19) appeared on the New Hampshire Community Rights Network’s (NCRN) website, March 16th, 2018.
- Recognize, secure and protect the individual and political right of people in municipalities across New Hampshire to adopt local rights-based laws, free from preemption and corporate personhood.
- Recognize that people, communities, and natural environments have rights to health, safety, and welfare, and the authority to prohibit corporate activities that violate those rights.
- Ensure that local rights-based laws can only be used to expand rights and protections for people, communities, and natural environments. Any efforts to restrict fundamental rights under the Amendment would not be recognized.
Although it is disappointing that the resulting vote of the NH House denied a People’s vote on the NH Community Rights Amendment – CACR19, Community Rights supporters are encouraged by the strong advocacy the amendment received from Representative Ellen Read and her colleagues, and that 1/3 of the House supported elevating the right of NH people to use their local governing process to pass local laws protecting health, safety, and welfare of individuals, their communities, and natural environments above corporate activities that harm them.
CACR19 received first-in-the-nation support from a legislative subcommittee with a recommendation of OTP, and in spite of the committee chair ignoring that recommendation and allowing a motion of ITL to stand and move to the House floor, 112 Representatives heard the need for rights-based local decision-making authority in the Granite State.
As New Hampshire communities are continually forced to host special interest projects such as Northern Pass, oil and gas infrastructure, water withdrawals for resale, landfills, and other harms, they face a structure of government and law that allows corporations to force these harmful projects into NH communities against the will of the people due to corporate claimed “rights” and state preemption.
In response to these democratic and environmental injustices, a growing number of NH communities are adopting local rights-based ordinances (RBOs). The RBOs elevate communities’ rights to clean air, water, and self-determination above corporate claimed “rights.” CACR19 would have provided protection for local RBOs.
Nearly a dozen NH communities have adopted RBOs over the past decade because the right of local, community self-determination is an inherent and unalienable right, not because they were expecting the Legislature to agree with them.
We know from prior people’s movements that fundamental change comes from persistent, unrelenting pressure. As corporate threats grow in the Granite State, more communities are inspired to join the NH Community Rights Movement. The NH Community Rights Amendment will be reintroduced in the future because our quality of life, indeed our very lives and those of our children and future generations, depend on it.