Veto Session

Today, we had the unusual situation of Democrat Speaker Norelli calling a veto session to attempt an override of three bills vetoed by Democrat Governor Hassan. None of them succeeded. To over ride a veto, 2/3 of those present and voting must agree to make the bill law despite the Governor’s veto.

HB591- relative to an abusive work environment and the health and safety of public employees.

This bill arose from extreme morale issues in several State of NH departments.  The Chairman of the Labor Committee, Democrat Andrew White said that the bill was necessary due to the failure of the Executive Branch (Governor Hassan) to act by establishing policies on workplace bullying.  This bill initially passed the House unanimously (yes, I voted for it).  Changes made by the Senate, including exempting some state agencies, made the bill unworkable for many of us.  Our laws should apply to all groups equally.  That, coupled with general agreement with Rep. White’s statement that this an area rightfully handled by the Governor, and that she should be the one to correct her administrative failure, made the over ride attempt unsuccessful. I have pledged publicly to support a bill like this next session if Governor Hassan remains in office and continues to do nothing about workplace bullying in state agencies.  The bipartisan vote was 141-154.

HB685 – relative to state agency communications.

In a nutshell, this bill addressed severe transparency issues at some state agencies.  Both the House and Senate had subcommittees, committees of conference, and did a lot of work to get this bill right and pass it from both chambers.  The over ride failed by a handful of votes.  This is particularly disappointing since both parties seemed to agree again that the Executive Branch needs to work harder on this.  The bi-partisan vote was 190-113

HB1244 – relative to the disclosure of the names of lottery winners.

This was not political.  The question is, if you win the lottery, should you be able to keep that information private.  Some of us believed that you should, others did not.  The bi-partisan vote was 160-142.


About Rep. Steven Smith

Steven Smith is a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, serving his 7th term. Rep. Smith currently represents Charlestown, Newport, and Unity. Rep. Smith is the Deputy Speaker of the NH House.
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