LACONIA — The state Senate has approved a bill which would give the panel looking to transform the Laconia State School property into multi-use development more authority over the process.

The measure to create the Lakeshore Redevelopment Planning Authority passed the Senate on a voice vote Tuesday, according to the Senate Clerk’s Office.

The legislation would transform the existing Lakeshore Redevelopment Planning Commission into an authority. That body would have the power to authorize the letting of contracts and the purchase of land connected with the development.

State Sen. Chuck Morse was the prime sponsor of a bill introduced earlier this year to establish the authority. The coronavirus pandemic, however, caused the Legislature to suspend activity for two months, creating a legislative backlog. In an effort to expedite the process, Morse’s bill was attached as an amendment to a separate bill appropriating funds for heating certain state buildings.

The bill, along with the amendments, must now be voted on by the state House, scheduled to meet Tuesday, June 30.

George Bald, chair of the Lakeshore Commission, said prior to the Senate vote that he was confident the Upper Chamber would pass the measure, particularly since a Senate committee had unanimously recommended that it should pass.

State Rep. Peter Spanos, of Laconia, who also serves on the Lakeshore Commission, and Laconia Mayor Andrew Hosmer are working to build support of the Lakeshore Authority legislation before the scheduled June 30 concurrence vote in the House.

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