On Wednesday, September 16th, the NH House of Representatives gathered at the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore Center for Veto Day – a session that was scheduled to take up 17 bills that Governor Sununu had vetoed in recent months. Action on all vetoes required a roll call vote, and the NH Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of members present and voting to override a veto.
Up to 340 members of the 400-member House voted on the veto overrides. Depending on how many members were in their seats voting on the veto overrides, up to 225 “yea” votes were required to override the veto. “Yea” votes on veto overrides ranged from 182 (on HB 687, relative to extreme risk protection orders) to 207 (on SB 159 relative to net energy metering limits for customer generators).
Among the bills which the Governor vetoed and the House failed to override were the following:
- Paid Medical Family Leave (HB 712).
- Minimum Wage: a bill that would have raised New Hampshire’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $12 an hour over three years (HB 731).
- Creating an independent redistricting commission (HB 1665).
- No-excuse absentee voting (HB 1672).
- A bill that would allow towns and other larger, but small producers, to sell their excess power to utilities (HB 466).
- A program that would establish a program using federal CARES Act money for long-term care facilities. A vast majority of the people killed by the virus in NH have been in long-term care facilities (HB 1246).
- A bill that would have established an adult dental coverage program under Medicaid. The program currently covers children, but not adults (HB 250).
- A bill that would have allowed protective orders for senior citizens who are being exploited, abused or neglected (HB 1660).
The House also took up the Governor’s veto of HB 1234 which sought to enact a number of bipartisan statutory changes necessary to the administration of state government. Nearly every provision of the bill initially passed the House with unanimous support. The Governor’s veto message contained no policy-based opposition to HB 1234. The bill contained a provision that may have been of interest to Nashua voters: current NH state law allows for up to ten Sports Book (Betting) Retail Locations in the state, provided local voters approve the operation of a sports book retail location within the municipality. The vote must be taken at a municipal election. NH towns have annual town elections. Most NH cities have biennial elections (every two years). This bill included a provision that would have allowed cities to hold a vote during the state primary elections, relative to allowing the operation of a sports book retail location within the city – thus giving cities the same opportunity for a vote on this issue during even-numbered years that the towns have. Since the bill was vetoed, Nashua’s plans to hold that vote during the September 2020 State Primary Election were scuttled.
Also on September 16th, the NH Senate met in Representatives Hall to take up four bills that the Governor had vetoed. Those bills would have been taken up by the House if the Senate first overrode the Governor’s Vetoes. They were not. Among those four bills were the following:
- SB 7 which would have allowed NH citizens to begin the voter registration process, or update address information on their voter registration records, when they went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to register their cars or obtain/renew their driver licenses.
- SB 19 which would have protected the personal information of employees from being released to outside individuals or groups.
In total, during the 2019 and 2020 Legislative sessions, Sununu vetoed 79 bills, making him the highest veto-issuing NH Governor in modern times.
See is a link to the NHPR Graph on “Recent NH Veto History” that appears above: https://e.infogram.com/0920888d-8c2f-4ec9-88ed-aae4102b6b9a?parent_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nhpr.org%2Fpost%2Fupdated-nh-veto-tracker-sununu-rejecting-record-number-bills&src=embed#