Privacy Protected for More Americans as New Hampshire Enacts Donor Privacy Law

July 28, 2022

On July 25, 2022, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R) signed Senate Bill 302 into law, establishing the “Personal Privacy Protection Act” (PPPA). Introduced with eight bipartisan co-sponsors, the Prime Sponsor of the legislation, Senator Regina Birdsell (R) was a strong champion of the measure. The passage of this law in New Hampshire marks the fourth victory for donor privacy in the states this year, after Kansas, Virginia, and Missouri, and the 14th state overall.

“A simple, commonsense measure, the Personal Privacy Protection Act builds upon a broadly supported 2018 constitutional amendment to incorporate a right to privacy in the New Hampshire state constitution and will further protect residents from government or private action to expose their support for causes they believe in,” said Heather Lauer, Executive Director of People United for Privacy.

Senate Bill 302 received bipartisan support in both chambers of the New Hampshire General Court. The final version of the bill passed both chambers by voice vote. The legislation was supported at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing by nonprofit causes across the spectrum, including People United for Privacy, ACLU of New Hampshire, Americans for Prosperity – New Hampshire, National Federation of Independent Businesses, New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and Philanthropy Roundtable.

Citing the 1958 NAACP v. Alabama and 2021 AFPF v. Bonta U.S. Supreme Court decisions, Senator William Gannon (R) explained the need for Senate Bill 302 at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in April. Noting that “donors may wish to remain anonymous due to religious beliefs, a desire to avoid unwanted solicitation, an inclination to keep the spotlight off themselves, or fear of reprisals for giving to certain groups,” Gannon stated the PPPA will “ensure that individual donors to nonprofit organizations have the right to [give] anonymously.” Senator Gannon added that he wanted to ensure that New Hampshire doesn’t “find itself in the same situation as California” did in AFPF and “dealing with an expensive seven-year lawsuit” that ultimately ends in failure.

Greg Moore of Americans for Prosperity – New Hampshire testified that “codifying [the PPPA] into statute makes it clearer to future general attorney generals and state agencies that donor information is going to be protected.” Moore continued and added, “By giving a cause of action, this makes it clear to any public entities how seriously the legislature takes” the protection of citizen privacy.

“Without this measure, nonprofits would be at the risk of forced disclosure of information, resulting in many who prefer to remain out of the public eye choosing not to give in the state,” testified Elizabeth McGuigan, Director of Policy for the Philanthropy Roundtable.

Under the PPPA, residents of the Granite State will be able to privately support the causes they believe in – and the nonprofits advancing those causes – without fear of their personal information being disclosed to state officials or being targeted and harassed for their beliefs. People United for Privacy applauds Governor Sununu, Senator Birdsell, and all members of the General Court for their leadership in protecting the First Amendment rights of all New Hampshirites.

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