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N.H. House Passes Bills Aiming To Protect Civil Liberties In States Of Emergency

N.H. General Court
Lawmakers gather during the House session at a sportsplex in Bedford, Friday, April 9, 2021.

The New Hampshire House has voted for two bills that aim to guarantee that houses of worship can remain open during states of emergence.

One bill would expressly prohibit the suspension of civil liberties during a state of emergency.

The other would prohibit emergency powers from being used to close churches.

Rep Keith Ammon, a Republican from new Boston, said the bill still allows the state to require worshipers to wear masks or keep social distancing. But it recognizes that the work of houses of worship of any faith should be considered essential.

"Churches will have to remain open as long as things like hospital grocery stores liquor stores and target, Walmart remain open,” Ammon said.

These bills were among several passed by the House this week to limit the emergency powers of New Hampshire governors. Another bill would require a governor to seek legislative approval to extend states of emergency past 30 days.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.
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