New Hampshire residents: Support another software freedom initiative on Tuesday, February 21
Hot on the heels of HB 617, New Hampshire residents and those in surrounding areas have another chance to support software freedom on the legislative level. New Hampshire representative Eric Gallager will introduce a new piece of free software legislation into the New Hampshire state legislature on Tuesday, February 21 at 9:00 EST.
You might remember Gallager from his efforts on House Bill (HB) 1273 and 617. Following HB 1273's failure to pass, Gallager split the substance of that bill into smaller pieces of legislation that may pass more easily, but HB 556-FN won't pass without your help. We need free software supporters in and around New Hampshire to testify in support of the bill at the Legislative Office Building in Concord, NH.
If passed, HB 556-FN would make it a duty of the New Hampshire information technology council to advise the Department of Information Technology commissioner on various aspects of software freedom, including the potential cost of replacing all nonfree software used by state agencies with free software, advisement on copyleft licenses, and how best to study New Hampshire's ability to reduce mandatory use of nonfree software by the citizenry. Given the vital importance of software freedom, this aligns perfectly with the purpose of the Department. Moreover, New Hampshire's taking the lead on this matter shows other state and local governments that it can be done. New Hampshire has the opportunity to lead the way when it comes to free software legislation in the United States. We hope you can attend the hearing or share your support of the bill online.
What you can do
To show your support for the bill, and software freedom in New Hampshire, you have to testify in person at the New Hampshire Legislative Office building at 33 N. State St. in Concord, NH at 9:00 EST on Tuesday, February 21. A livestream link will be made available in advance of the proceedings. As it's usually streamed over YouTube, we recommend watching it via an Invidious instance.
It is possible that representatives of proprietary software companies will be giving testimonies of their own, so it is imperative that the free software community, especially those in New Hampshire and surrounding states, give a strong show of support to computer user freedom.
If you can't make it to the hearing, please be sure to spread the message. And if you do plan on attending the hearing, try to bring a friend! There's strength in numbers.