By the authority vested in me, pursuant to part II, Article 44 of the New Hampshire Constitution, on July 13, 2011, I vetoed HB 380, which would have exempted the Commission on the Status of Men from repeal on June 30, 2011.
The Commission on the Status of Men was established by the New Hampshire Legislature in 2002, with a mission to examine cultural biases and stereotyping affecting men, men's physical and mental health problems, and promote policies, initiatives and programs to improve the ability of men to be productive and responsible citizens and fathers.
The New Hampshire Legislature established the Commission on the Status of Women in 1969 with a mission to identify and seek to remedy historical and institutional discrimination against women; to enhance women's opportunities in education and training, business and employment; and to honor women for their contributions to the state and the nation.
The impetus to create a Commission on the Status of Men was driven at least in part by a perception by some that issues impacting men were deserving of commission level status and review that had been afforded to women.
To help make state government more efficient, reduce cost, and eliminate waste and duplication, the Legislature in 2009 established a process to review and sunset certain non-regulatory boards and commissions. As a result of that process, dozens of boards and commissions were recommended for repeal, including both the Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on the Status of Men.
With the enactment of HB 390, the Commission on the Status of Women has ceased its existence as a state entity. Its work and mission will be merged with and carried on by a private non-profit organization.
At the same time the Legislature repealed the existence of the Commission on the Status of Women, it also passed HB 380, which extended the life of the Commission on the Status of Men by two years, added two new members appointed by the Legislature, and expanded the mission of the Commission to include studying the economic and social costs of the absence of fathers from the home.
People may in good conscience disagree and debate the relative merits of the two commissions. But there can be little disagreement that eliminating the Commission on the Status of Women while extending the Commission on the Status of Men makes little sense. If the Commission on the Status of Men wishes to continue its work and mission, it should do so in the same way as the Commission on the Status of Women, as part of private or non-profit organization.
For these reasons, I am vetoing HB 380.