Speaker: NH House lacks votes for school amendment, AP, 3/16/12

posted Mar 16, 2012, 1:05 PM by Bill Duncan

By Norma Love
Associated Press / March 16, 2012

CONCORD, N.H.—With a 3-1 margin of Republicans in the House, GOP Speaker William O'Brien said Friday he still doesn't have enough votes to pass a constitutional amendment to shift control over education aid to lawmakers without Democratic support.

O'Brien called on Democratic Gov. John Lynch to talk to House Democrats to try to win support for an amendment that would allow the state to target school aid. Lynch supports an amendment the Senate passed and sent to the House, but the House could only muster 54 votes to pass on Wednesday. Instead, the House voted to ask the Senate to try to negotiate a compromise.

O'Brien did not appoint any Democrats with the power to vote on a possible deal to the negotiating team, but did appoint a Democrat as an alternate. He said House rules required him to appoint people who voted for the House's original amendment.

Lynch spokesman Colin Manning said Friday that the governor has been meeting with Republicans and Democrats and will continue to do so.


A number of House Republicans object to the word "responsibility" -- a key to gaining Lynch's support. House Republican Leader D.J. Bettencourt said the House might be able to compromise at the potential cost of Republican votes.

New Hampshire governors do not have a direct role in proposed constitutional amendments by either signing or vetoing them, but Republicans want the popular Democrat's support to win voter approval at the ballot box. Bettencourt said even if Republicans muscled through an amendment without Democratic support, they would need support from more than Republicans at the polls for it to be approved.

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