House leaders urge Lynch to help pass education amendment, UL, 3/17/12

posted Mar 17, 2012, 9:16 AM by Bill Duncan

New Hampshire Union Leader
Published Mar 17, 2012 at 3:00 am 

CONCORD — House Speaker William O'Brien told reporters he would like the governor's help to secure passage of a Constitutional amendment which would allow the legislature to target education aid for the most needy schools.

Admitting he does not currently have the two-thirds majority he needs in the House — 239 votes — to pass a Constitutional Amendment on education funding, O'Brien, a Republican from Mont Vernon, and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt of Salem told the press Friday it is time for Gov. John Lynch to not just speak but to act towards passage of CACR 12.

“We need to put the Claremont years behind us,” O'Brien said, referring to the Supreme Court's decision, named for the lead community in a suit, which requires the legislature to give equally to schools.


Bettencourt said he met with the governor on the issue last fall and wrote him a letter but he never heard back from him.

“What we need to be successful is the governor's advocacy,” Bettencourt stressed.

The Republicans enjoy a 3-to-1 majority of House over Democrats.

O'Brien said he has selected State Rep. Gary Richardson, a Merrimack Democrat, to serve as an alternate on the committee of conference, but noted, usually they have to have been in the majority who supported the legislation to get a seat on the committee.

Colin Manning, director of communications for Gov. Lynch said, “If the Speaker can't get the votes to pass the amendment, as the Senate did, that would be unfortunate. The Governor has been a vocal and public proponent of a constitutional amendment that would affirm the state's responsibility for education and allow the state to effectively target aid to the communities and children who need it the most. When the amendment passed the Senate, Gov. Lynch stood with a bipartisan group of senators and urged the House to pass this amendment. The Governor has been talking with both Republicans and Democrats about the amendment.”