NH lawmakers fail to override more than 20 Sununu vetoes

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 6:10 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2020 at 6:12 PM EDT
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CONCORD, NH (WCAX) - It was a busy day for lawmakers in New Hampshire with more than 20 bills up for a re-vote after being vetoed by Governor Chris Sununu.

Wednesday was veto override day in New Hampshire. It’s a day where lawmakers try to muster enough votes to bypass the governor. On a typical year, those votes would take place at the Statehouse, but this is not a typical year.

Tombstones of dozens of bills Governor Chris Sununu has vetoed over the past couple of sessions lined the Statehouse walkway. Democrats are highlighting the vetoes at events across the state, including Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes, the Democrat running to unseat Sununu in November. “And a lot of these bills are bipartisan. Let’s remember that,” Feltes said.

One of those bills, paid family and medical leave, is a hot button issue on the campaign trail. Sununu calls it an income tax. His veto was sustained Wednesday, along with more than 20 others, as Democrats fell short of the two-thirds majority they needed.

Because of the pandemic, senators were at the Statehouse while House members cast their votes at the hockey arena at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Lawmakers in New Hampshire are up for re-election every two years, so everyone is in campaign mode.

“Sununu is trying to maintain the New Hampshire advantage,” said Bill Gannon of Sandown. The former Republican state senator is trying to win back his seat, but says he breaks with his party a bit when it comes to raising New Hampshire’s minimum wage. “I had a minimum wage bill, but it was a gradual one that the business industry accepted. It was a dollar one year and two dollars the next year. The Democrats will only live with $15."

in a message to lawmakers, Sununu thanked them for sustaining his veto of the “job-killing" legislation. "This bill would have meant fewer jobs and fewer available hours for our workers who are unemployed or underemployed,” he said

A net metering bill that aimed to expand renewable energy also fell short.

“It hurts our climate, and it particularly hurts our economy because we can’t benefit from the clean economy jobs that those bills would produce,” said Sen. David Watters, D-Dover.

“These issues will define the election, they have to define the election. Because it’s what’s going on in people’s lives right now,” Feltes said.

And while the issues may define the upcoming election, it will be up to the individual candidates to make their pitch to voters who head to the polls in just seven weeks.

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