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Senate overrides veto of school choice bill

CONCORD - The Senate has voted to override the governor's veto of a bill that would allow businesses to receive tax credits for donations to scholarship funds to help low- and middle-income students attend private and religious schools.

The Senate voted 16-7 on Wednesday to override the veto of Senate Bill 372 - the exact margin needed to overrule the governor.

Republican leaders in both chambers have considered the 'School Choice Scholarship Act' one of their highest priorities this session. The House will take its own override vote on the bill later Wednesday.

Democrats, including Gov. John Lynch, are roundly opposed to the bill, which they say would undermine public schools and downshift costs to local districts and property tax payers.

Democratic senators ahead of the vote also maintained that the bill violated an article of the state constitution prohibiting the use of public money to support parochial schools.

Supporters of the bill said it would give families of limited means the same opportunity wealthier families have to send their kids to private schools.

The bill would allow businesses to receive tax credits for donations to nonprofit scholarship organizations, which would distribute the scholarships for students to attend private or religious schools. The money could also be used to defray the cost of a home-school education.

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