Good Morning, Bedford!
Veto Day. For those of you who are new to watching state politics, it goes like this:
A bill must be passed by both the New Hampshire House and Senate to get to the Governor. Once on the Governor's desk, he/she can either sign it into law, let it become law without a signature or veto it. This year Governor Sununu vetoed 55 bills, many of which had been passed by the other bodies with bipartisan support. HB 365 relative to net metering limits, HB 198 clarifying the prohibition against the use of mobile electronic devices while driving, and HB 664 relative to vehicle repair standards are examples of bills that fell into that category. They had strong bipartisan support when they were voted on originally, but the Governor vetoed them.
In order to override the Governor's veto, both the House and the Senate must vote with a 2/3 majority in favor. That happened in June when the Death Penalty Repeal was vetoed. Both the House and the Senate voted by a 2/3 majority to override the Governor's veto.
This week the House met and considered 28 bills for override. Of those 28 votes, only one on SB 88 (relative to registry identification cards under the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes), resulted in the veto being overridden. One veto, HB 364 permitting patients or designated caregivers to cultivate specified quantities cannabis for therapeutic use, was overturned by the House but not by the Senate, so the veto stands.
Much has been written and said about the Governor's historic number of vetoes. I have questioned myself why he would veto a study committee (HB 183) or a commission (SB 167) intended to gather information for possible action in 2021. Most notably, I am trying to understand what happened between our original bipartisan House votes and the voting this week. I am new at this, as you all know, but I am fortunate enough to have both Republican and Democratic colleagues and friends who have walked this path longer than me. I will be seeking their insights as we move forward. As always, if you have questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you soon.
In other action, I have been appointed to serve on the Commission on Mental Health Education and Behavioral Wellness Programs (HB131). This is a robust group of legislators, state agencies and community based stakeholders who have been tasked with looking at mental health education and behavioral wellness programs for students in Grades k-12, with an eye on developing and promoting best practices across the state. Nothing makes me happier than when I am asked to serve in an area that's in my wheelhouse, so you can count on hearing about our progress as the year unfolds.
Had enough? Thanks for reading this lengthy post! I hope that everyone is able to get outside to enjoy this glorious NH weather. Before you know it, we'll be complaining about the snow...
Best to all of you, sm
Photo Credit: Allegra Boverman NHPR 5/2/2018