Gov. Chris Sununu has signed HB 440, the 2022 Civil Liberties Protection Act, into law (PDF). This is a MAJOR VICTORY for liberty in New Hamsphire! This act prohibits governors from suspending civil liberties during a declared State of Emergency.
“We are grateful for the representatives and senators who supported this effort, but most of all, to all of RebuildNH’s many activists who helped encourage their lawmakers to support this bill through their tireless activism,” said Andrew J. Manuse, chairman of RebuildNH. “We are also pleased that Gov. Sununu decided to sign this law and recognize the value of liberty, even during crisis.”
HB 440 is one of four priority efforts that RebuildNH has supported to ensure that the heinous government overreach of 2020-2021—it’s gross overreaction to COVID-19—never happens again. RebuildNH also made major improvements to State of Emergency law by passing the budget (HB 2) last year, and HB 275, which is still pending action in the Senate, is the completion of that effort. On top of these three legislative efforts, our activism last year directly led to New Hampshire becoming one of the first states in the country to end the State of Emergency.
HB 275 would clarify that a Constitutional Republic is the natural condition of government that ought to be protected no matter what emergency faces the state. The bill has finally been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate. HB 275 contains the language that we facilitated in an agreement between the House Freedom Caucus, Senators and the Governor in order to support the budget last year in HB 2. The Senate and Governor agreed to this language in order to garner budget support from Freedom Caucus members.
Here is the text of the new chaptered law:
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
11:1 Definitions. In this act:
I. “Civil liberties” encompass any guarantee or protection against state action by a governmental entity or agent enumerated in the New Hampshire Constitution or the United States Constitution.
II. “Suspension” refers to a time period or condition in which courts of law do not or are not required to subject government action to standard tiers of judicial review.
11:2 Civil Liberties Protected. No power delegated or otherwise granted by any statute or act of this general court to the governor or any of the governor’s subordinates, whether before or after the date of this act, shall be construed to suspend or permit the suspension of civil liberties by the governor or other executive branch official.
11:3 New Paragraph; State of Emergency; Powers of the Governor. Amend RSA 4:45 by inserting after paragraph III the following new paragraph:
III-a. Notwithstanding the foregoing enumerated powers, civil liberties shall on no account be suspended, nor shall the United States Constitution or the New Hampshire Constitution be suspended.
11:4 Emergency Management Powers. Amend RSA 4:47, III to read as follows:
III. The power to make, amend, suspend and rescind necessary orders, rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this subdivision in the event of a disaster beyond local control; provided that civil liberties shall on no account be suspended, nor shall the United States Constitution or the New Hampshire Constitution be suspended.
11:5 Effective Date. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
Approved: April 04, 2022
Effective Date: April 04, 2022