Testimony on HB628 (family and medical leave insurance)

Testimony on HB 628, relative to a family and medical leave insurance program
to the House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee

“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:7).

As the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Council of Churches, I have heard from many pastors and families of many denominations across the Granite State. While this is not an official position of any denomination or of the Council, hearing testimony from them about the impact of HB628 is important.

They echo to me what others will testify to you today: that HB628 will contribute to the peace and prosperity, security and stability of New Hampshire families. Why is this important to our Christian churches and indeed to all faith communities? I have heard testimony from families and pastors in three broad categories:

First, it is the Biblical and natural role of parents to educate their children and to pass on their faith and values (Exodus 12:26, Deuteronomy 6:3, Psalm 78:4). When families experience the kind of peace and stability that HB628 brings, then they can engage this role with greater dedication.

Second, when families of all kinds are free from anxiety and worry about leave time or the well-being of those they love, they can grow spiritually and participate fully in their churches and faith communities. The familiar concept of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs expresses that our basic material needs must first be met in order to achieve spiritual health and well-being.

Finally, when families prosper in the ways in which HB628 provides, then their engagement in their churches and faith communities leads to the use of free time and free funds for charitable giving and volunteer engagement. Supporting families in this way unlocks individuals to be giving, to be generous and to be more kind in their local communities.

Please support HB628, for when we work for the “peace and prosperity” of others, we find that all across New Hampshire will benefit. Thank you.

Author: Jason

Rev. Jason Wells is the executive director of the New Hampshire Council of Churches. Prior to this position he served Episcopal congregations in New Hampshire for 13 years after his ordination in 2004. Jason is also a board member of the ACLU-NH. He is a former president of the Greater Concord Interfaith Council and has served on the Episcopal Church's committee on ecumenical and interfaith relationships. Jason received a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and also holds bachelors degrees in computer science and mathematics from Southern Methodist University.