During the summer of 2000, a New Hampshire Legislative Committee to Study the Status of Men was created in response to a variety of concerns over the rapidly deteriorating status of men and boys in New Hampshire.
The Committee was enabled by passage of HB 553 (Chapter 272, Laws of 2000), effective June 12, 2000.
Membership consisted of three members from the House of Representatives and two members of the public appointed by the Speaker of the House:
- Representative David A. Bickford, Chair
- Representative William R. Zolla
- Representative Gary R. Gilmore
- George V. Alexander
- Michael J. Geanoulis, Sr.
This document highlighted the need for a state commission on the status of men, which was later established in the summer of 2002. We encourage everyone to download, read, and redistribute this report as far and as wide as possible. It can be downloaded in PDF format here.
After this report was completed, efforts were underway to pass bill HB 587-FN-A, which would establish a New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Men (CSM). After a long struggle, the bill was finally passed in late Spring of 2002. The commission consists of seven members and was denied state funding.
Unfortunately, the appointment process to put members on this commission was fraught with as many problems and delays as its legislation. Former Governor Jeanne Shaheen dragged out the nomination process and tried to appoint people to the commission who were not committed to its cause, or even hostile to it. By the end of her term, three seats were still empty. New Hampshire’s next governor, Craig Benson, also delayed the final nominations for several months after coming to office due to a budget crisis battle. Finally, in mid-August 2003, all members to the commission had been appointed and were able to hold their first meeting.
We encourage people in other states to look at the wording of HB 587-FN-A and consider trying to pass a similar bill in their own states. HB 587-FN-A was specifically written to mimic the legislation which established the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Women. Given the success of this approach, we encourage other activists to look at what resources their state has for women and to draft bills which would do the same for men. This makes equal protection purposes as clear as possible.