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Thursday, January 5, 2012

O’Brien cancels 1-day session, transit authority override vote

CONCORD – The fate of legislation to significantly reduce the powers of the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority remains on hold after House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, canceled plans to bring lawmakers back for a one-day meeting Dec. 14.

All remaining issues from 2011 presumably including this veto and one other will be taken up Jan. 4, just before the official opening of the 2012 session, O’Brien declared.

Gov. John Lynch vetoed the rail transit authority bill that supporters wanted to give the Legislature more control over whether commuter rail service gets extended from Boston through Nashua and onto Concord. The other vetoed bill still left to be determined would allow companies to raise interest rates on title loans charged to short-term borrowers.

On Wednesday, state Rep. Jack Flanagan, R-Brookline, had argued for another veto override to give parents the right to protest to curriculum material they found as “objectionable” being taught to their students (HB 542).

Rep. Mary Gorman, D-Nashua, said this could lead to a patchwork quilt of standards across the state.

“This is a grotesque burden on our teachers and school districts,” Gorman said.

The House vote for this bill was 244-130, only six votes shy of the needed two-thirds majority to overcome Lynch’s veto.

– KEVIN LANDRIGAN