Twenty-seven NHGOP legislators earned top marks Tuesday from conservative advocacy group Cornerstone Action in their biennial report card. For the 100 percent top score, the legislators had to vote in agreement with Cornerstone’s position on each bill and have a 100 percent attendance record.
Cornerstone’s mission statement reads: “We honor God and are dedicated to serving our beautiful state and its people,” advocates on behalf of their key issues, which include: life, marriage and family, parental rights, education, religious freedom and gender.
Of the 21 bills used to score legislators, 10 focused on life issues, particularly abortion; five centered on education freedom; four on gender issues; and two on health.
Jeanine Notter, deputy Republican floor leader from Merrimack, serving her fifth term in the House, says: “Cornerstone does important work fighting for the unborn in New Hampshire, which has some of the least restrictive abortion laws in the country.” Notter was one of the 27 who received the top score this session and “looks forward to continuing to supporting their efforts to protect innocent life.”
New Hampshire does not keep statistics on how many abortions are performed each year. Cornerstone has repeatedly lobbied legislators to approve measures to track abortions in the Granite State.
“As a mother, how could I not vote to protect babies?” asked Kim Rice, Republican policy leader. Rice has seven children, and she also Cornerstone’s positions on each of the 21 bills.
All but 16 Republicans scored at least 80% on the report for this session, while the top-scoring Democrat only voted 50 percent in alignment with the pro-life organization.
Notably, Erin Hennessy (R-Grafton), recently endorsed by Gov. Chris Sununu in a primary challenge against first-term Sen. David Starr (District 1) received a 69 rating from Cornerstone. Hennessy’s score was marked down for voting against religious freedom in public schools, voting to allow birth record amendments for transgendered persons, voting against keeping abortion statistics, and voting against a ban on abortions for sex-selection and genetic defects, according to the Cornerstone scorecard.
Forty-three Republicans scores went down with their vote on HB481, a bill to legalize marijuana in New Hampshire. The 43 voted for the measure along with 155 Democrats, advancing the bill to the Senate, where it was referred for ‘interim study’ (a polite death in Concord political speak.)
Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont have legalized recreational use of marijuana. In recent years, New Hampshire has taken steps to decriminalize specific quantities of marijuana and has also approved annulments for the now decriminalized portions. This step has allowed many to “scrub” their criminal history for what is no longer a crime.
Ross Connolly, deputy director for Americans for Prosperity New Hampshire, says about recent successes that “decriminalizing possession of 3/4 of an ounce of cannabis was an important step towards aligning New Hampshire’s Justice system to that of its creed of ‘Live Free or Die.'”
“New Hampshire is an island of prohibition, surrounded on all sides by places that have legalized cannabis for adult use,” Connolly added. “Annulment and decriminalization gave much-needed relief from the collateral consequences of prohibition for some. Still, many Granite Staters have been left behind. It’s time for New Hampshire to legalize cannabis for adults.”