Granite Staters calling for state constitutional change to secure communities’ local self-governing rights.



Michelle Sanborn, New England Community Organizer

CONCORD, NH: This week, State House Representative Ellen Read of Rockingham District 17 reintroduced a rights-based state constitutional amendment. CACR 8 guarantees the authority of people in towns throughout New Hampshire to enact local laws protecting individual rights, communities, and the natural environment, free from state and corporate interference that would diminish those rights.

The NH Community Rights Amendment in 2018
The 2018 New Hampshire House debated and voted on the NH Community Rights Amendment, which received one-third of the legislators’ support. This was the first Community Rights state constitutional amendment considered by a state legislature, signifying the growing support for Community Rights that is building across the U.S.

Growing Momentum for Community Rights
Growing numbers of communities, organizations, and statewide networks are advancing similar democratic and environmental rights with the support of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). Communities in New Hampshire, Oregon, Ohio, and beyond are facing increasing threats to health, safety, and welfare from harms such as industrial wind projects, fracking, and others. In response, they are leveraging their inalienable right to govern themselves to advance local and state-level legislation codifying their rights. This includes the right to stop the harmful activity.

In New Hampshire, nearly a dozen local Community Rights laws (also known as “right-based ordinances” or RBOs), have been adopted by residents at Town Meeting. Granite Staters have stopped water mining, fossil fuel pipelines, high voltage transmission lines, industrial wind turbines, and unsustainable fossil fuel-based energy distribution corridors.

That momentum led the New Hampshire Community Rights Network (NHCRN) to advance a state constitutional amendment drafted with assistance from CELDF. This year’s amendment has bi-partisan support, and is co-sponsored by Representatives Vincent Paul Migliore, Janice Schmidt, William Pearson, Joshua Adjutant, Skip Cleaver, Nancey Murphy, Kathryn Stack, Wendy Thomas, and David Meuse.

Prime sponsor of the amendment, Representative Read said, “I am reintroducing this people’s state constitutional amendment because as representatives, we are their servants and at all times accountable to them. It is our job to place this amendment on the ballot and let the people decide if they want the secured right to protect themselves from corporate activities that harm them.”

Additional Information

For additional information regarding Community Rights, contact CELDF at To learn about the New Hampshire Community Rights Network, visit Select Boards and citizens interested in supporting the New Hampshire Community Rights Amendment may contact Michelle Sanborn at

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.


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