After being retained from last year’s session, the ‘Defend The Guard’ legislation finally had its public hearing in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. On Wednesday, legislators and members of the public packed the room to testify before the House Committee on State-Federal Relations & Veterans’ Affairs on House Bill 229. Nearly everyone in the room was in support of the bill, which simply called for an end to the deployment of New Hampshire Guard members to fight foreign wars without a congressional declaration of war. For over two and a half hours, Granite Staters urged the Representatives to recommend passing the bill when it reaches the House floor later this session. The bill was proposed by five legislators, four of which are military veterans.

“As before, the amount of those speaking against was fewer than those speaking in support, and towards the end I ask the room to raise their hand if they supported the bill. The response was a sea of raised hands,” Mannion, one of the bill’s sponsors remarked on his website.

After an amendment to mildly water down the bill failed by a narrow vote of the Committee, the chairman called for a vote on whether to support the bill. In a rare occurrence, the Committee vote was deadlocked at 10-10. While nearly every bill comes to the floor with a recommendation by a majority of the committee to either pass or kill a bill, this one will officially come to the floor with ‘no recommendation’. The bill will likely continue to be very controversial and close in the full House vote. 

Update 1/4/24: HB229 has passed the NH House, making it the fourth chamber in the union to ever pass the bill. It will now head to the NH Senate. 24 Democrats joined Republicans to support the bill:

SPONSORS: Rep. Potucek, Rock. 13; Rep. Adjutant, Graf. 16; Rep. Santonastaso, Ches. 18; Rep. Granger, Straf. 2; Rep. T. Mannion, Hills. 1

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