Measure would secure the right of local community self-government
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Michelle Sanborn, New Hampshire Community Organizer
Concord, NH: As communities across the country face growing efforts by state governments to block residents from governing themselves, New Hampshire residents are advancing a state constitutional amendment to secure that unalienable right.
The proposed New Hampshire Community Rights Amendment, or CACR19, would guarantee the people in towns throughout New Hampshire the authority to enact local laws to protect community and individual rights – including the right to protect the environment, free from state preemption and corporate interference. Towns would not be able to enact any local laws that restricted or weakened existing rights.
The New Hampshire Community Rights Network (NHCRN) drafted the amendment with the assistance of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). The amendment was introduced to the New Hampshire legislature by Representative Ellen Read of District 17, Rockingham County, and is headed for a public committee hearing in February.
Representative Read said, “The Community Rights Amendment restores power to townspeople to decide what they want and need in their own communities. The largest stakeholders in any situation are those in the local community. This amendment recognizes that townspeople have more rights than out-of-state interests trying to make money off of our water, our forests, and our people.”
For over a decade, Towns across the state have worked with CELDF to protect themselves from out-of-state interests by drafting rights-based ordinances. Today, the ordinances establish the right to local community self-government, and protect Towns from harmful corporate projects, such as water mining, high voltage transmission lines, industrial wind turbines, and unsustainable fossil fuel-based energy distribution corridors.
“The people of the Granite State are not asking the New Hampshire Legislature to vote to enact the New Hampshire Community Rights Amendment. Rather, we are insisting they place CACR19 on the November ballot for a people’s vote,” said Michelle Sanborn, CELDF Community Rights Organizer and the NHCRN’s Coordinator. “The New Hampshire State Constitution belongs to the people and it is theirs to amend.”
New Hampshire joins state Community Rights Networks in Oregon, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, where residents are advancing similar state constitutional amendments.
New Hampshire Part of Growing Movement
New Hampshire residents are advancing Community Rights as part of the broader Community Rights movement building across the U.S. Local communities and state Community Rights Networks are partnering with CELDF to advance and protect fundamental democratic and environmental rights. They are working with CELDF to establish Community Rights and the Rights of Nature in law, and prohibit extraction, fracking, factory farming, water privatization, and other industrial activities as violations of those rights. Communities are joining together within and across states, working with CELDF to advance systemic change – recognizing our existing system of law and governance as inherently undemocratic and unsustainable.
For additional information regarding Community Rights, contact CELDF at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn about the New Hampshire Community Rights Network, visit www.nhcommunityrights.org. Select Boards and citizens interested in supporting the New Hampshire Community Rights Amendment may contact Michelle Sanborn at email@example.com.
About CELDF — Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit, public interest law firm providing free and affordable legal services to communities facing threats to their local environment, local agriculture, local economy, and quality of life. Its mission is to build sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature.