Protective order, dental benefit among vetoes

Associated Press
Published: 7/29/2020 12:17:45 PM

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed three more bills Tuesday, including a catch-all measure that had combined nearly 40 separate pieces of legislation.

The stand-alone bills he vetoed would have added a dental benefit to the state’s Medicaid program and would have created a new type of protective order for adult victims of financial exploitation. Sununu said he supported the concepts behind both measures, but objected to the timing of the first and the details of the second.

“As the State of New Hampshire is facing historic revenue shortfalls, there is a fiscal necessity to bring our budget into balance and live within the means of our new revenue base,” he said in his veto message on the Medicaid bill.

Sununu had vetoed a similar bill related to protective orders last year, in part over concerns that protections available to domestic violence victims would be reduced. He and other critics said victims might mistakenly apply for the new protective order instead of the existing domestic violence restraining order, which includes additional protections such as awarding custody of children. Sununu said the new version of the bill still fell short because it would have created a worksheet for victims to fill out to determine if the order addresses their situation.

“The last thing a victim of domestic violence needs to be dealing with as they are experiencing a traumatic situation is bureaucratic paperwork,” he said.

But Sen. Shannon Chandley, D-Amherst, said the bill had been heavily vetted to ensure it did not infringe on the rights and protections of others.

“This legislation could have given our most vulnerable adult population a mechanism to adequately protect themselves; instead, they remain defenseless,” she said in a statement.

The third vetoed bill was an omnibus measure that Senate Democrats assembled from 38 bills after House Republicans refused to adjust deadlines because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sununu said he vetoed the bill because significant portions did not have public hearings in the House and because most of the bills didn’t relate to one another. But Senate President Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, said most of the measures were administrative bills essential to the continuity of government. Nearly half were sponsored by Republicans.

“Despite a global pandemic, the Legislature worked hard to complete the people’s work and to ensure public transparency throughout the entirety of our remote legislative activities. Every bill passed – including HB 1234 – was printed in the Senate calendar, had a public hearing and committee vote, and was voted on by the full Senate and House. For the governor to suggest otherwise is inaccurate and frankly offensive,” she said.




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