Bill Text - HB1533 (2012)

Prohibiting bullying in the state house and legislative office building.

Revision: Dec. 22, 2011, midnight






AN ACT prohibiting bullying in the state house and legislative office building.

SPONSORS: Rep. Emerson, Ches 7; Rep. Pepino, Hills 11; Rep. Rosenwald, Hills 22; Rep. Pantelakos, Rock 16; Rep. Grassie, Straf 1; Rep. A. Perkins, Rock 14; Rep. Shurtleff, Merr 10; Rep. Weber, Ches 2; Rep. J. Brown, Straf 1; Rep. Matt Quandt, Rock 13

COMMITTEE: Constitutional Review and Statutory Recodification


This bill establishes a policy against bullying of any member of the general court. Under this bill, the attorney general is to investigate any violation of this law and shall bring a civil action if necessary.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twelve

AN ACT prohibiting bullying in the state house and legislative office building.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 Statement of Intent. The general court recognizes that legislative members should conduct themselves in a respectful manner and should treat fellow legislative members with respect and courtesy. The general court hereby establishes that it will not tolerate bullying of any member of the general court in any manner.

2 New Section; General Court Policy Against Bullying. Amend RSA 14-A by inserting after section 6 the following new section:

14-A:7 General Court Policy Against Bullying.

I. In this section:

(a)(1) “Bullying” means a single significant incident or a pattern of incidents involving a written, verbal, or electronic communication, or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, directed at another member which:

(A) Physically harms a member;

(B) Causes emotional distress to a member;

(C) Interferes with a member’s legislative opportunities;

(D) Creates a hostile environment; or

(E) Substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the general court.

(2) “Bullying” shall include actions motivated by an imbalance of power based on a member’s actual or perceived personal characteristics, behaviors, or beliefs, or motivated by the member’s association with another person and based on the other person’s characteristics, behaviors, or beliefs.

(b) “Cyberbullying” means conduct defined in subparagraph I(a) of this section undertaken through the use of electronic devices.

(c) “Electronic devices” include, but are not limited to, telephones, cellular phones, computers, pagers, electronic mail, instant messaging, text messaging, and websites.

(d) “Legislative property” means the state house and the legislative office building and all real property used for legislative purposes.

(e) “Member” means any member of the general court.

(f) “Perpetrator” means a member who engages in bullying or cyberbullying.

(g) “Victim” means a member against whom bullying or cyberbullying has been perpetrated.

II. Bullying or cyberbullying shall occur when an action or communication as defined in subparagraphs I(a) or (b):

(a) Occurs on legislative property or at a legislative-sponsored activity or event on or off legislative property; or

(b) Occurs off of legislative property or outside of a legislative-sponsored activity or event, if the conduct interferes with a member’s legislative opportunities or substantially disrupts the orderly operations of the legislative-sponsored activity or event.

III. The member shall file any complaints under this section with the attorney general’s office. The attorney general shall investigate complaints under this section. If the attorney general finds that a person has violated or is violating the provisions of this section, the attorney general may bring a civil action in superior court against the person. Any person found to be in violation of the provisions of this section shall be assessed a fine of not less than $2,500 for each violation. Each violation shall constitute a separate civil offense.

3 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2013.