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National Community Rights Network endorses proposed New Hampshire state constitutional amendment

Contact: Tom Groover



January 5, 2016


NHCRN Proposed State Constitutional Amendment Would Guarantee the Right of Local Community Self-Government

The National Community Rights Network (NCRN) has endorsed the New Hampshire Community Rights Network’s (NHCRN) proposed State Constitutional Amendment (CACR14) which would guarantee local communities the authority to protect their environment, community and individual rights, free from state preemption and corporate interference.

Language for the state constitutional amendment has been introduced to the New Hampshire Legislature by House Representative Susan Emerson (R-Cheshire, District 11) for the 2016 legislative session.

Through its Town Meetings, New Hampshire has a strong tradition of local government, but the right of citizens to decide matters where they live is routinely threatened by corporate-driven agendas, very often empowered by legal advantages granted to them at the State and Federal levels. Communities have been threatened by a litany of corporate harms, including water mining, fossil fuel pipelines, high voltage transmission lines, and industrial wind turbines, to name a few.

Michelle Sanborn, CELDF Community Rights Organizer, said, “This amendment would recognize the authority of communities to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents and their natural environments by prohibiting activities that would threaten those rights.”

Rep. Emerson said, “Too often the interests of big corporations are considered, and the rights of our constituents are ignored, when we in the legislature enact preemptions that forbid local lawmaking. And too often wealthy corporations threaten to bankrupt towns that stand up to them. This amendment will put self-government at the local level back into the hands of the people.”

Pete Martin, NCRN board member from New Hampshire, added, “NHCRN understands it is not enough to only change law at the local level, as that change protects and empowers only one community at a time. Therefore, NHCRN is calling for changes at the state level that would unburden every community from the oppression of assumed corporate “rights” and the exercise of state, federal, or international preemptions on behalf of corporations, that override local authority and deny people’s fundamental rights.”

NCRN Secretary Susie Beiersdorfer said, “There is bipartisan support for this bill in both the house and senate, and if passed, the New Hampshire constitutional amendment could be the first of its kind to come before voters in any state and we believe it would inspire many others.”

The NCRN consists of seven statewide networks that have grown out of the grassroots organizing of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), which has assisted communities to advance Community Rights at the local level for nearly 20 years.

Our mission is to assist our state Community Rights Networks to educate people across the country on local, community self-governance and community rights; secure the inalienable rights of all people, communities, and ecosystems through local self-governance; assert community rights to empower and liberate communities from state preemption and corporate harm; and advance those efforts toward state and federal constitutional change.

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