House representative David Bickford of New Durham (R), representing Strafford, District 3 has sponsored the bill, HB 654 that aims to eliminate the sole source of funding for domestic violence services; a portion of marriage license fees.
Action needed now! A hearing on this bill is to be held on February 2nd at the Legislative Office Building in Concord, as explained below, can you make the hearing to testify against this bill?
Can you call Mr. Bickford and the members of the committee hearing and considering this bill? Information on David Bickford:
Strafford- District 03
183 Brackett Road
New Durham, NH 03855-2329
Currently the bill is in the house finance committee, please see the list of committee members at the bottom of this post, please contact them all by phone or email and tell them to stop this attack on domestic violence funding. New Hampshire always works to find inventive ways to fund programs, the use of a small amount from the marriage license fee makes complete sense, takes from no one and works as a means to preserve healthy marriages and families in New Hampshire.
As explained below in a plea for action from the public, this bill would effectively starve the only source of steady funding that any domestic violence services have in the state. As we outlined previously in our post Domestic Violence Top Killer in New Hampshire, the lives of women and children hang in the balance when it comes to reaching them in time. Making services such as educational outreach, court advocacy , crisis outreach via phone and then shelters saves lives. Representative Bickford’s thinking behind this bill defy the imagination; as explained even in the text of the bill, only $38 is taken out of the marriage license fee and appropriated to the domestic violence fund. Bickford proposes instead to put these funds directly to the state general fund. What has to wonder, does Bickford not value the lives of women and children? Does the general fund need that $38 more than a woman or child needs a safe way out of violence?
We’ll let the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic Violence speak further on this:
HB654 redirects a dedicated fund for domestic violence to the General Fund
For Immediate Release
January 30, 2015
Contact: Amanda Grady Sexton -603-548-9377,
(Concord, NH) On Monday February 2nd at 11:15 in LOB 210-211 there is a critical hearing taking place for a bill that threatens to take away the sole source of state funding for domestic violence services in New Hampshire. The Domestic Violence Prevention Program (DVPP) is mainly funded through a portion of the state marriage license fees. ($38 of each $45 license.) Sponsored by Representative David Bickford, HB654 would redirect DVPP money to the general fund. (http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2015/HB0654.pdf)
If passed this measure would be devastating for the state’s 14 crisis centers that have been struggling to provide services over the last several years due to funding reductions. In 2013 these crisis centers managed to serve over 15,000 people, and these funds could mean the difference between life and death.
Last year members of this legislature passed an unprecedented number of domestic violence bills including Joshua’s Law which is considered model legislation by the rest of the country. The Coalition is concerned that without adequate funding for victim services these laws will not be effective.
Survivors, as well as members of the Coalition, law enforcement, and other legislatures are expected to testify at the hearing. Please contact Amanda Grady Sexton at the Coalition for more information.
This bill will be considered by the house finance committee. The finance committee is a Standing Committee, that is it is one that is essential to basic functions of the house, considers most bills and always exists. It is an important committee and thus is also very large. Because Republicans hold the majority in the house, it is currently majority Republican.
Also, because its large, we will simply provide a link to the page that lists all the members and information about the committee. The members’ names are linked to their respective house information listing, with phone numbers and email addresses. We recommend also that you make sure you contact the committee chair, Neal Kurk a longtime Republican representative.
We’ll leave you with this video on domestic violence, One Voice, A 15 Minute Short Film on Domestic Violence: