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ICYMI - Sununu Recklessly Lifts Mask Mandate After Caving to Far-Right Members of his Party

In Case You Missed It, the NH Journal reported that Governor Sununu recklessly lifted the mask mandate after caving to “pressure from members of the conservative wing of the state GOP” who “threatened” Sununu with the state budget, which they loaded with controversial and unpopular GOP-backed measures. The report comes amidst widespread condemnation of Sununu’s “impetuous” decision to lift the mask mandate from doctors, public health experts, and local leaders. Key points:

  • “Governor Chris Sununu’s announcement that he’s ending the state’s mask mandate is a result of pressure from members of the conservative wing of the state GOP who are threatening the budget over hot button issues, like banning the teaching of critical race theory, according to Rep. Ken Weyler.”

  • “Weyler, a Kingston Republican and House Finance Chair, said he recently met with Sununu and warned him that the final version of the state budget needs to include controversial amendments added by Republican House members if the bill is going to pass.”

  • “He said ‘This is all going to go away in a few days’ Weyler said.”

  • “Sununu has been critical of the House budget, which includes a provision to ban the teaching of critical race theory in New Hampshire schools, as well as measures to curb Sununu’s emergency powers. Many New Hampshire Republicans have objected to Sununu’s mask mandate and other emergency measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

NH Journal: NH’s Mask Mandate Partly Done in Over Critical Race Theory By Michael Graham Governor Chris Sununu’s announcement that he’s ending the state’s mask mandate is a result of pressure from members of the conservative wing of the state GOP who are threatening the budget over hot button issues, like banning the teaching of critical race theory, according to Rep. Ken Weyler. Weyler, a Kingston Republican and House Finance Chair, said he recently met with Sununu and warned him that the final version of the state budget needs to include controversial amendments added by Republican House members if the bill is going to pass. “He said ‘This is all going to go away in a few days’,” Weyler said. Sununu’s staff did not respond to a request for comment. Sununu has been critical of the House budget, which includes a provision to ban the teaching of critical race theory in New Hampshire schools, as well as measures to curb Sununu’s emergency powers. Many New Hampshire Republicans have objected to Sununu’s mask mandate and other emergency measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. Sununu called the House budget “off the rails” and said he would veto the critical race theory ban on free speech grounds. Sununu is opposed to critical race theory. HB 544, the bill to ban “divisive concepts” on race and gender from being taught in school, was laid on the table last week, putting the bill on hold. It was instead added to HB 2 as an amendment. Rep. Jason Osbourne, a sponsor of the bill, said pushing the ban is a priority for Republicans. “We have no intention of allowing this priority issue to die." The budget is currently in the hands of the Senate, where many thought Sununu would work to remove the more controversial elements added by the House. However, Weyler warned the Senate this week that if it wants Republican votes in the House, the bill must include the critical race theory ban. He said there is a contingent of 40 to 50 GOP members willing to spike the budget over those issues. “It isn’t irresponsible when you have to pass a budget,” Weyler said. Weyler said he does not have a big enough majority to ignore the 40 to 50 members who want the critical race theory ban. He also supports banning concepts like critical race theory from being taught in New Hampshire, calling it a “Marxist, anti-American, anti-White” program. According to Weyler, the country’s current problems with race stem from former President Barack Obama manipulating African Americans. Before that, America was making steady progress on race, he said. “This country was doing fine on race until Obama got elected,” Tyler said. [...] Nashua Democrat Michael O’Brien said watching the GOP hold the budget hostage over culture war talking points is disappointing. O’Brien watched his efforts to change the state’s pension program to help alleviate local property taxes get sidelined, while the GOP is making demands about critical race theory and mask mandates. “It’s very funny watching it from my seat,” he said. [...]

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