Dozens of New Hampshire Businesses Fight Bill Banning Critical Race Theory in Public Curricula

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About 80 New Hampshire businesses and other organizations are seeking to block a bill that would ban public schools and other entities from teaching that America is a fundamentally racist nation, warning the measure would be bad for business in the state.

The coalition sent a letter to Gov. Chris Sununu (R) and lawmakers, stating the bill would “have a chilling impact on our workplaces and on the business climate in New Hampshire,” reported New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR), which further noted the letter warned the measure, “would not only harm the ability of New Hampshire businesses to be competitive, it would severely harm the state’s image as business-friendly, since it stifles the ability of organizations who do business with the state to foster diverse workforces as they see fit.”

The bill, HB 544, says any entities that have entered into a contract with the state of New Hampshire would be prohibited from propagating the following concepts, which are incorporated in critical race theory:

(a) One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;

(b) The state of New Hampshire or the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist;

(c) An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously;

(d) An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex;

(e) Members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex;

(f) An individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex;

(g) An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;

(h) Any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; or

(i) Meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.

The legislation was approved by a state House committee, 10-9, and will be debated by the full House this week.

Businesses and other organizations opposed to the bill include ReVision Energy, W.S. Badger Company, the University of New Hampshire, and Southern New Hampshire University, reported NHPR.

Dan Weeks, a director at ReVision Energy, wrote at NH Business Review Tuesday the bill would continue the “whitewash” of New Hampshire and U.S. history.

Weeks observed slavery existed in 1645 before the “Live Free or Die” state was even an independent colony.

“From the founding of our state until the 20th century, New Hampshire’s economy benefited handsomely from the enslavement and legal subjugation of human beings,” Weeks continued, adding that he never learned in school about his state’s “’shadow’ history of enslavement and segregation.”

“If House Bill 544 becomes law, their teaching as ‘divisive concepts’ which point to systemic racism would become illegal in New Hampshire schools, universities, state agencies, and any private business or nonprofit that does work on behalf of the state,” he wrote.

Weeks attacked what he referred to as former President Donald Trump’s “dangerous attempts to further supplant honest inquiry with a whitewashed ‘patriotic history’ of the United States.”

HB 544, he claimed, “would ban any training or curriculum which accurately illuminates the role that people of European descent like me have played in creating and maintaining structures of racial inequity that persists in the present day.”

Gov. Sununu expressed opposition to the bill, arguing it violates constitutional protections for free speech. The NH Journal reported the governor’s comments:

“Look, you don’t have to like certain things that are taught or said or promoted in your school, but that’s the beauty of New Hampshire. You have a very strong voice at the local level,” Sununu said. “So, go to town meeting or to your school board and express yourself, vote for the right people, use that power at the local level. But bills that start restricting free speech? No.”

Supporters of the legislation, however, received a boost several weeks ago from former New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Lynn, now a Republican state representative, who released an opinion stating HB 544 is constitutional.

As the NH Journal reported, Lynn wrote to House Majority Leader Jason Osborne (R):

It is important to understand that, both as applied to governmental employees and to those performing under contract with the government, the speech that the bill regulates is speech of persons acting under the aegis of the government while engaged in their official duties. The law is settled that when the government chooses to pursue policy objectives it may compel its employees to speak in support of those objectives as a condition of their employment.

The New Hampshire American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) actually agreed with Lynn, admitting that banning the concepts named in the legislation would in fact “prohibit … trainings meant to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion” and would also “halt all diversity training” by entities acting on behalf of the government or having contracts with the state.

“I don’t blame the Governor for being dismissive of HB 544 if all he is hearing is false propaganda coming from the left,” said Majority Leader Osborne. “Once he reads the bill for himself, he will realize it is essential for protecting our state employees from being forced to pledge fealty to insidious and divisive ideologies seeking to undermine the very fabric of our civilization.”


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