New Hampshire residents: make your voice heard on January 11th
New Hampshire residents and those in surrounding areas, now's your chance to support a new piece of free software legislation, which will be introduced in the New Hampshire state legislature on Tuesday, January 11th at 10:30 a.m. EST.
If passed, House Bill (HB) 1273, otherwise known as the "Securing Our Freedom to Write and Read Everything" (SOFTWARE) Act, would be a tremendous step forward for software freedom in state government. It proposes to help protect the user freedom of New Hampshire residents in a number of important ways, among which are:
Prohibiting the state government from requiring New Hampshire residents to use proprietary software, whether in remote court appearances, tax filings, standardized test-taking, coursework in public schools, or matters relating to any state benefits;
Forbidding employers in the state of New Hampshire from using noncompete clauses to prevent their employees from contributing to free software;
Prohibiting New Hampshire law enforcement from participating in the investigation or prosecution of copyright claims brought by proprietary software developers against free software developers;
Forming a state commission to promote the use of free software in state agencies.
What you can do
To show your support for the bill, and software freedom in New Hampshire, you must testify in person at the New Hampshire Legislative Office building at 33 N. State St. in Concord, NH at 10:30 AM. For more information, such as where to park at the Legislative Office Building, and any COVID-related precautions to take, please refer to this Nitter thread written by HB 1273's sponsor, NH state representative Eric Gallager.
As it is likely that representatives of proprietary software companies will be giving testimonies of their own, it is imperative that the free software community in New Hampshire and surrounding states give a strong show of support to computer user freedom.
When giving your testimony, it is important that you keep your comments concise and accessible to a nontechnical audience. It would also be helpful to prepare a rebuttal of common false claims.
If you can't make it to the hearing, please be sure to spread the message on social media, perhaps by using the #userfreedom or #SOFTWAREAct hashtags. And if you do plan on attending the hearing, try and bring a friend!
Let's show the New Hampshire state government that individuals like you and me are behind this bill. The more support we show to the user freedom of New Hampshire residents, the higher the chances of seeing bills like this arise in other states, and around the world.