The two vaccine-related contracts that led protesters to shut down the last Executive Council meeting remain on the agenda for this week’s meeting. But the new location suggests that safety will be more of a priority.
The council is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at the Police Training and Standards Council on the NHTI campus in Concord, which serves as a training center for all state law enforcement agencies. Gov. Chris Sununu said following the abrupt cancellation of the September 29 meeting that the council would seek a safer setting for its next meeting.
â€œWe have an open and accessible process in New Hampshire,â€ he said at the time. â€œWe are not going to tolerate the idea that (the protesters) can somehow stop our process. I really don’t know what’s going to happen with the contracts, but there is a process here. It is a fair process. It is good government.
Sununu spokesman Ben Vihstadt said the site was “chosen because of its accessibility, security and size of its location, allowing public access while ensuring a safe democratic process and ordered”.
The two federal contracts, worth $ 27 million, would allow the state Department of Health and Human Services to hire 13 temporary workers for immunization awareness. Department officials said the additional staff were key to boosting the state’s vaccination rate, which has been stuck at around 61% of all eligible residents since July.
The contracts require approval from the Executive Council and the Joint Legislative Tax Committee, but both have tabled them under pressure from those who oppose the vaccine itself and / or the new federal mandate on vaccines. The chairman of the tax committee resigned last week after sharing conspiratorial information about the COVID-19 vaccine.
The attorney general’s office tried to allay legal concerns raised by some opponents on Friday when it released a statement saying nothing in the contracts obliges the state to track all federal responses to COVID-19, including the federal vaccine mandate. Opponents were not convinced.
It is not known if and when either group will accept the contracts. The tax committee is due to meet on October 22 but has not published its agenda. Executive advisers will only review them on Wednesday if they agree to remove them first.