N.H. Lawmakers Pass Bill To Fund Kindergarten With Keno

Jun 22, 2017

A Keno outlet in Massachusetts
Credit Brian Wallstin for NHPR

After a lengthy debate in both the House and the Senate, the full legislature passed a bill Thursday that funds full-day kindergarten by legalizing the electronic bingo game Keno.

The tough question was whether money from gambling should be used to pay for districts’ full-day kindergarten programs.

The debate in the statehouse was more philosophical than political.

Many opposing the plan argued that the revenue source was inappropriate. But those for it said they’d found a way for the state to pay its fair share. Here’s Republican Majority Leader in the Senate Jeb Bradley.

“It wasn’t easy – tying it to Keno was difficult for some people but I think the positives outweigh the negatives and I think the House and Senate both realized that,” Bradley said after the vote, which was 15 to 8 with some Democrats voting for along with most Republicans. 

Under the measure, schools would receive the additional funding starting in 2019.

The bill now heads to Gov. Chris Sununu who’s eager to sign it. Full-day kindergarten has been a major priority for the governor since he took office.