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New Hampshire lawmakers to take up 6 vetoed bills

January 3, 2022 GMT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire lawmakers will try this week to resurrect six bills vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu, but their chances of success appear slim based on their past votes.

Overturning a veto requires a two-thirds majority in both bodies. Some bills originally passed on voice votes, making it impossible to gauge the level of support. But among those that were passed with roll call votes, most fell short of the two-thirds threshold.

Their best shot might be a bill that would allow the nonprofit treatment centers that dispense medical cannabis to organize as for-profit business corporations and limited liability companies. The bill passed the Senate 18-6 — a veto-proof majority — though there was no roll call in the House. In his veto message, Sununu said while he supports the therapeutic cannabis program, the bill would create pre-ordained monopolies that would dominate the marketplace if recreational marijuana ever becomes legal.

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Another bill passed the Senate unanimously, but Sununu vetoed it at the urging of top prosecutors in all 10 counties. The bill was intended to expand the statute of limitations to allow for prosecution for assaults against children up until a victim turns 24, but prosecutors said the language could be interpreted as prohibiting prosecutions in cases where victims are over age 24.

Sununu also vetoed two bills that would have eliminated the state police “gun line,” and instead put the FBI solely in charge of performing background checks for firearms purchase using the National Information Criminal Background System. Neither passed the House with veto-proof majorities, garnering at most 57% support.

A vetoed bill that would add personal finance literacy, logic and other subjects to the state’s definition of an adequate education also passed with less than 60% support in the House.

Likewise, a bill to move up the date of the state primary elections from September to August had the backing of barely 51% of the House. While New Hampshire is known for its first-in-the-nation presidential primary every four years, its state primary, held the second Tuesday in September, is one of the nation’s latest.

Sununu, in his veto message, said the bill “creates more problems than it solves.”