How NH Legislative process works & How to get involved

 

– The NH State Legislative body includes the NH House of Representatives and the State Senate. There are 400 Representatives and 24 State Senators. 

– The State Executive body includes the Governor, the Executive Council (EC), and state agencies. The EC serves in the same capacity as a Lt Governor would. There are five EC members, and they are all elected positions. 

https://www.nh.gov/almanac/government.htm

– The legislative session runs from January to June, and in the fall legislators might do some committee work to discuss any bills that were retained (not voted on) during the winter/spring session.  

– Legislators can work on crafting potential bills all year long, but there is only a short, 1-week window in which they can be filed for the next session. In an election year, this submittal week is soon after the election. In a non-election year, this submittal week is around September for the House and October for the Senate. 

– After a bill is submitted, it will be introduced into the House or Senate in January. These bills will be assigned to specific committees, based off the subject matter. This is where testimony will be heard and anyone from the public can attend, listen in via Live Stream, register online to support/oppose a bill, or even sign up to testify in person or in writing. NOTE: You can always email your elected representatives and provide feedback on bills and other topics year round. 

– After the House and Senate each hear bills in their respective committees, the House will vote on House bills and the Senate will vote on Senate bills. Then they switch bills and work on each other’s bills. This is called “Crossover,” and this is where some of the checks and balances of government happen. Both House and Senate negotiate on bill language, and can vote down/approve a bill. 

– If both the House and Senate approve a bill, the Governor has the authority to sign it into law or veto the bill. If the Governor vetoes a bill, then that decision can only be overturned if two-thirds of the legislative body votes it down. Having enough votes to overturn a veto is called a “veto-proof majority.” 

– The NH Gen Court website contains a lot of useful information. You can search for your legislator, read the bills being considered, search the calendar to see when a bill will be heard in committee, sign in to support/oppose a bill, see how legislators voted on Roll Call votes, etc. 

https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us

 

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