Cornerstone Action has announced its opposition to H B 1 6 6 1, which would prevent Conversion Therapy for minors dealing with homosexual orientation. Cornerstone is urging those concerned about religious liberty and patient and parental rights to oppose the bill.
Among the concerns expressed, Cornerstone said the language is so broad, pastors and priests could find themselves penalized under the law. Saying that the right of clients to choose their own therapy goals is a “civil right,” Cornerstone argued that parents will be denied the right to seek a counselor for their children that suits the child’s needs and aligns with their values and spiritual beliefs on sexuality.
Cornerstone asserted that counseling is both “medical conduct” and “protected speech” and that banning the therapy amounted to “viewpoint discrimination,” a violation of the First Amendment.
Of grave concern is the ability to treat children who are molested and develop same sex attraction as a result. Cornerstone warns that if the bill becomes law, those children will be deprived of access to highly qualified, professional counselors who are trained to treat such trauma and help patients resolve the resultant same sex attraction, which they note makes them more likely to be victims of further sexual abuse. We’ve linked to Cornerstone’s legislative alert so you can get all the details. The bill goes to the House Floor tomorrow.
Cornerstone, by the way, is backing H B 6 2 9, which would require abortion reporting statistics throughout the state of New Hampshire. Currently, New Hampshire is just one of four states without the mandatory reporting of any abortion stats.
The Bedford Police Department will host a community event entitled “Substance Abuse, From the Border to Our Corner” this Thursday evening from 6 to 9 at the Southeastern Regional Education Service Center (SERESC). This forum will discuss the growing opioid crisis and feature the F B I/D E A film, “Chasing the Dragon,” followed by a panel discussion. Senator Kelly Ayotte will be among the panelists. Various Bedford community leaders are expected to be in attendance as will the newly formed Bedford Building Our Lives Drug Free (BeBOLD). BeBOLD founder Joy Monfried will be our guest on this show tomorrow morning.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen held a special meeting in City Hall last night. As requested by Mayor Ted Gatsas, four groups of Manchester departments gave strategic planning presentations. Gatsas formed four work-groups in the areas that he outlined in his fourth term inaugural address: Customer Service, Municipal Infrastructure, Economic Development and Public Safety.
The Customer Service Work-group suggested putting managers and trainers through customer service training programs so they can better train their employees. They also recommended the installation of credit card devices to enable residents to pay their bills with their debit or credit cards. While the city can take credit cards for some payments, it has to obtain new devices to be compatible with the new credit card chip technology.
The Municipal Infrastructure Work-group said that after looking at Manchester’s assets, it decided there needed a more deliberate asset management plan. It recommended the city start a budget line to address preventative and deferred maintenance and purchase new equipment. While work-group members already practice asset management within their departments, there is no citywide asset management plan. Another recommendation made was to develop a Digital City Plan where assets such as traffic lights, park lights and buildings will be remotely monitored and connected.
The Economic Development Work-group focused on developing downtown to increase tourism. encourage residential living and expand the use of the Merrimack River. Presenters said the downtown needed more residential spaces, better retail shopping offerings and additional parking. The work-group expressed concerns about the negative perceptions of the city’s schools, which brought Ward Nine Alderman Barbara Shaw, a retired teacher, to their defense saying quote: “We have great kids and teachers are teaching and our kids are learning.”
The Public Safety Work-group reported three goals: Improving communication, tackling the opioid epidemic and enhancing community preparedness for emergencies.
Fire Chief James Burkush said station repairs were needed, especially at the Calef Road and Amory Street stations, and said they needed sixteen more firefighters on staff.
Police Chief Nick Willard said that they have been using predictive policing to place more officers on the ground during certain times. As a result, the chief said crime is down by eleven percent over the past three years and down this year by 28 percent. Willard said he’s been working to establish both a drug court and a Veterans Court and that he believes every dealer should be put in jail.
Willard gave props to Governor Margaret Wood Hassan whom he said “hit a home run” in announcing the appointment of Assistant Attorney General James Vara as the state’s new Drug Czar yesterday. He said Vara was quote “the absolute best person to appoint.”
Manchester Health Officer Tim Soucy clarified that his recommendation to put Narcan in city schools was not because of students overdosing, though he predicted it will happen, but because parents have shown up to school high. He said he wasn’t concerned about elementary schools kids shooting up.
We’ve linked to Melanie Friese’s Live Blog Forum of the presentations, which should soon be available on the city’s Web site.
That’s news from our own backyard. Girard at Large hour ___ is next!