New Hampshire Democrats taking another swing at minimum wage, other bills vetoed by Sununu

By Sarah Downey | The Center Square

As state lawmakers went back into session this month, bills given further consideration included measures to raise the minimum wage and redraw legislative districts.

Democrat-backed measures on the same topics were vetoed last year by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.

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New Hampshire Statehouse in Concord

“I think that we have to keep working on them whether the governor is going to veto them or not,” Rep. Judith Spang, D-Durham, told New Hampshire Public Radio. The House this week also passed a bill sponsored by Spang that would let municipalities ban single use plastic items.

“I see him vetoing quite a few bills,” Deputy Republican Leader Rep. Sherman Packard told NHPR. “And on many things, it’s just going [to] be party line votes.”

New Hampshire currently defaults to the federal minimum wage of $7.25. After lawmakers last year approved raising it to $12 by 2022, Sununu vetoed it.

The House also approved a proposal to create an independent commission to help with redrawing legislative districts after the 2020 Census. Sununu, who vetoed a similar measure last year, indicated that an outside panel would conflict with the Legislature’s role.

The Senate also passed a measure that would establish an online portal for voter registration, changing one’s party affiliation, or requesting an absentee ballot.

Another election bill approved by senators would create a study to gauge the need for postelection audits of voting machines. Although some supporters had wanted audits in place by this fall, senators relegated the issue to a study committee, a signal that changing the law is not on the horizon.

Another initiative for mandatory state administered paid family leave also was put forth by House Democrats; the issue has long been debated along partisan lines. In vetoing a similar measure last year, Sununu characterized it as too close to an income tax. Instead, he has favored a program that would be voluntary.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/© Jared C. Benedict and Public domain