Steve Winter
State Representative District 3

July 16, 2012

"Veto Overrides"

Steven Winter represents the towns of Newbury and Sutton, Merrimack District 3, in the NH House of Representatives.

Representative Winter is a member of the House Executive Department & Administration  Committee, The Special Committee on Public Employee Pension Reform and the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR).


"Every bill shall … be presented to the governor, (and) if he approves, he shall sign it but if not, he shall return it, with his objections." 
– NH Constitution Part II, Art. 44. Veto to Bills. 

On June 27th the legislature met for its last formal session of the year to fulfill its obligation in Article 44 of the NH Constitution, the process of voting to override gubernatorial vetoes. Only the opening statement of Article 44 is quoted above. It goes on to give the process which requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate, voting separately, to override a veto.

The governor vetoed 15 bills in 2012, the most vetoes for a single year anyone could remember. The House voted to override 10 of the governor’s vetoes but the Senate failed to concur on three of those votes. This resulted in seven actually becoming law, still a very high override percentage compared to past years.

I reluctantly voted to override SB 289, relative to presenting photo identification to vote in person. The committee of conference split on this one and brought in language from both bodies which would take effect at different times and which the governor vetoed. Without going into specifics, the Senate version of this bill requires that a person produce one of several ID cards when voting. If the voter cannot produce such identification, an affidavit stating legal residence must be completed under penalty of law. This portion would take effect immediately. I support voter ID generally but this bill has some problems which need to be resolved. I want voter ID to be in place for the 2012 election but also to be fixed going forward.

The House version of SB 289 added requirements that would in my opinion will be overkill, including the requirement for the voting precinct to take photographs of voters without IDs and other restrictive measures. These provisions would take effect beginning in the September, 2013 election. I agree with our moderators that this will produce a possible delay in the voting process and may, indeed, discourage voters due to fluster and distraction. I believe a better way can be found to make sure that fraudulent voting does not dilute the votes of any legal voters. I will work with moderators and members across the aisle to file legislation that satisfies our basic goal without having any confusion or delay.

SB 356 was a bill to instruct our delegates how to vote if we ever had a U.S. constitutional convention. I voted against it because I want never to have a U.S. constitutional convention or even encourage one by falsely assuming it could be limited. As a parliamentarian, I know that a convention cannot be limited, even if the call for the convention says so. That restriction could be overturned by a two-thirds vote which would open our marvelous constitution to wholesale change. I want no part of that.

Five vetoes were sustained in the Senate and I was prepared to sustain the veto on two of them.


Steve Winter, Representative, Merrimack District 3
Newbury and Sutton, New Hampshire

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Telephone:  603-271- 3125 and 271-3319

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