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Provision To Bar Funding For Teaching About Systemic Racism Clears Vote In N.H. House

Josh Rogers/NHPR

The New Hampshire House passed a state budget along party lines Wednesday, but the sharpest debate, and closest vote, of the day came on part of the budget unrelated to finances.

At issue was a provision that would bar tax money from flowing to entities that teach race or sex makes people inherently oppressive or victimized. Democrats fought to strip the language from the budget. But Republicans, such as Windham Rep Bob Lynn, former chief justice of the state’s highest court, argued the ban is warranted to achieve what Lynn called a “colorblind society.”

“They can say that white people are inherently racist if they want to or that hard work is a terribly racist thing, and that nobody should aspire to that,” Lynn said. “They can do that on their own time, but what they can’t do is teach people to believe that, for example, in our schools.”

Several lawmakers of color took to the floor to fight the provision.

“It doesn’t belong in a budget, and these bills let people discriminate against people like me,” said Rep. Maria Perez of Milford.

“Anyone in this room who lived one day in my life would understand why educating people about racism is vital,” said Rep. Jean Jeudy of Manchester.

The effort to remove the language from the budget fell seven votes short in a vote of the full House. But this debate will certainly continue as the budget moves to the Senate.

Gov. Chris Sununu has said the policy doesn’t belong in a spending plan and has threatened to veto a separate standalone version of the bill.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.
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