New Hampshire's Virtual Town Hall
Legislation passed by both the House and Senate is starting to make its way to the desk of Gov. John Lynch as the legislative session grinds to a close on July 1.
Lynch is in his last term as governor, having decided not to run for re-election. He can veto a bill, sign a bill, or let it pass into law without his veto or signature.
This week he vetoed HB 1549 that would prohibit New Hampshire motor vehicle records from being used in any federal identification database.
He said in his veto message that the bill “would prohibit the federal government from maintaining information from New Hampshire motor vehicle records for lawful public safety purposes.”
He’s considering a bill that sets guidelines for what school athletic officials are supposed to do in the event of a concussion injury to a school athlete.
His press spokesman said he has “real concerns” about a bill that’s likely to reach him soon: A bill to give business owners a tax credit for making donations to a scholarship for a private school education.
One big piece of news in these waning days of the session was word on Friday that House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt is resigning and will not seek re-election.
The Salem Republican is starting a new job as as Executive Director of the New Hampshire Legal Rights Foundation, a organization founded by House Speaker Bill O’Brien. Bettencourt said that the job will be in conflict with his role at the State House, so he will resign on June 6.
As the days count down toward adjournment, both the House and Senate were busy this week, as they were last week.
The Senate killed some House-passed bills, including:
There are some 60 bills in conference committees where House and Senate negotiators are seeking consensus, including:
A big piece of legislation that’s being negotiated by House and Senate conferees is CACR 12: the education funding constitutional amendment.
If passed and signed by the governor, it would be put before voters for their approval on the November ballot.
The governor’s Executive Council this week confirmed the nomination of Jim Bassett as a justice on the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
A conservative group tied to House Speaker William O’Brien opposed the choice. He was confirmed on a 4-1 vote among the all-Republican council.
House election filing period
The filing period for House candidates will proceed as scheduled, despite an attempt to delay it because of court challenges to the redistricting plan.
Several towns and individual groups had sued against implementation of the GOP-controlled redistricting plan that was passed by the Legislature. Lynch had vetoed the plan, saying it disenfranchised certain wards and district, but lawmakers overrode his veto.
The separate suits will likely be consolidated for consideration in the near future by the state Supreme Court.
Gubernatorial campaign doings
GOP gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne talked about summer jobs and wages to a group of high school students in Manchester. He proposed a lower minimum wage for summer jobs.
The U.S. Dept. of Labor establishes the minimum wage at $7.25 per hour. States can choose to enact legislation to make it higher than that. The minimum wage here is $7.25.
Federal law also allows for lower wages for young, entry-level workers and for students, something Democratic gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan pointed out in answer to Lamontagne’s comments.
Check out our Facebook discussion on the issue.
Enjoy the holiday weekend. Remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we could enjoy the freedoms we tend to take for granted every day. See you back here next week.