New Hampshire House of Representatives Passes Anti-Sanctuary Bill
FAIR Take | March 2022
Legislation to ban dangerous sanctuary policies in New Hampshire has been introduced since at least 2008. It recently took its biggest step forward to date, passing the House of Representatives on March 15.
House Bill (HB) 1266 was introduced by Representative Tony Piemonte (R-Sandown) on January 5. It was heard before the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on January 21, where FAIR Director of State and Local Engagement Shari Rendall and others testified in support of it. In 2018, FAIR identified six localities in New Hampshire with sanctuary policies, and several others have since adopted them.
On March 9, HB 1266 was reported favorably out of Committee along party lines. Six days later it passed the full House 172-162. The New Hampshire House is the largest state legislative chamber in the country with 400 members. There are currently six vacancies and there were 60 representatives who abstained. Republicans control the House, with 207 members to the Democrats’ 185, plus two Independents.
Anti-sanctuary bills have previously passed both House and Senate committees in previous years, however, this is the first session anti-sanctuary legislation has made it through either legislative chamber.
Now, the bill moves to the much smaller New Hampshire Senate, also controlled by Republicans. There are 14 Republican senators and 10 Democrat ones. The Senate has not yet referred HB 1266 to a committee. Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem) appears likely to support it boosting its chances to pass the upper chamber. He has repeatedly made statements stressing the importance of immigration enforcement.
The legislature is not scheduled to adjourn until June 30, giving the Senate plenty of time to pass the bill. While Governor Chris Sununu (R) has not taken an official position on HB 1266, in the past he has made remarks opposing sanctuary policies. He has also publicly opposed the Biden border crisis. For these reasons, it is likely that he would sign the bill.