NH lawmakers fail to override key Sununu vetoes

CONCORD, N.H. (WCAX) After two days of voting, New Hampshire lawmakers couldn't get the majorities they needed to override vetoes on several high profile bills.

On Thursday, day two of the New Hampshire legislature's special session, it was state senators' turn to get a two-thirds majority to overturn Sununu's vetoes. The governor says the bills, including paid family leave and establishing a higher minimum wage, were too extreme. Many of his republican colleagues agreed.

"I voted with the best understanding on all of this legislation, not because I was told to do so but because the legislation made sense to me," said Rep. Werner Horn, R-Franklin.

The House took their crack at the vetoed legislation a day earlier, though lawmakers only got the votes to override one bill -- allowing medical marijuana users to grow their own pot.

"House bills that were submitted for override were not extreme bills but common sense needed legislation for this state and our citizens," said Rep. George Sykes, D-Lebanon.

Three high-profile gun control bills failed to get the needed majority. The bills would have established a waiting period to buy a gun, closed loopholes around background checks and allowed school districts to create gun-free zones.

"We already live in the safest state in the nation and we have some of the best common sense gun laws in the country. So, why are we tinkering with it unless it is to gain political points," Rep. Horn said.

"The majority of the people in New Hampshire are interested in common sense gun legislation, and it didn't happen and that is really unfortunate," Rep. Sykes said.

However, not all the legislation was voted on along party lines, including a bill to subsidize the state's biomass industry. Horn says he supported that override. "The biomass is not only about energy generation, the biomass is also about proper timbering," he said.

But, like dozens of other bills, the veto was sustained. Democrats, who control the majority in both bodies, say a lot of the legislation is not dead forever. "Undoubtedly, a lot of the bills will be tweaked and re-introduced," Sykes said.

The veto votes come as New Hampshire lawmakers continue to battle over the budget, however both sides say they are closer to making a deal.