How to Become Involved
We encourage everyone to contact your legislators to share your thoughts, ideas for solutions and improvements, and feedback about topics that interest and/or affect you.
2012 New Hampshire legislative contacts
- N.H. U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen
- N.H. U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte
- N.H. U.S. Representative Ann McLane Kuster (District 2)
- Who's My State/Local Legislator?
To find out who your NH legislators are, go to the NH Government website: www.nh.gov. On the right side of the Home page, select LEGISLATIVE BRANCH. In the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES window (bottom left), select FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVES. From the pull-down menu, select your Town, or select your County on the NH map.
Every NH legislator (both Representatives and Senators) is elected/re-elected every two years. The time between the November elections and the start of the legislative session in January is a great time to contact your legislators, introduce yourself, and talk with them about the issues that are important to you so that they will know who you are when you contact them on specific bills later in the session.
The NH Legislature typically considers over 1000 bills that have a wide range of effects on NH citizens, from limiting Medicaid payments to raising the fees for dog licenses. If you have an opinion on a bill, or an experience that could give insight into the potential effects of a bill, your legislators need to hear from you. Call them, e-mail them, or send them a note through snail-mail, but remember that with 1000 bills to consider, your legislators will appreciate remarks that are clear and concise.
New Hampshire residents may also participate in the legislative process by attending and/or testifying at public hearings. Every bill that comes to the General Court will be assigned to one of the Standing Committees in the House or the Senate. The Chairman of the Committee will schedule a public hearing for the purpose of gathering information and hearing opinions on all sides of each issue. Public hearings are generally held in the Legislative Office Building, across the street from the Statehouse in Concord and usually last for 1 – 2 hours. Committee Chairman are required to give 72 hours' notice to the public when scheduling a hearing. Those who attend the hearing will sign in and indicate whether they support or oppose the bill. Those who wish to testify will indicate that on the sign in sheet, or on index cards which will be delivered to the Committee Chairman. The Sign In sheets will become a part of the permanent public record of the hearing, eventually kept on file in the NH Archives. The Committee Clerk or Vice-Chairman will take notes on the public testimony which will also become a part of the permanent record; however it is also advisable for those who testify to provide written transcripts of their testimony for all Committee members for future review. Procedural issues for signing in may vary slightly in different Committees or from House to Senate, but generally the Committee Secretary or clerk is available at public hearings to give direction and answer questions.
Testimony for public hearings may also be submitted in writing, prior to the public hearing, for those unable to attend. It's best to contact the Committee Secretary or Chairman to make arrangements for this, and be sure to provide enough copies of your testimony for all Committee members.
Once the Chairman closes the public hearing, no additional public testimony will be accepted; however Granite Staters' may still contact members of the Committee to express their opinion and to encourage a vote for or against a bill. It's especially important for Committee members to hear from their own constituents, and to hear the personal stories of those who will be affected by the bill.
When the Committee has made its recommendation that the bill either OUGHT TO PASS or is INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE, people may still contact their own Legislators to encourage a vote for or against the bill, once it reaches the floor of the House of Representatives or Senate. If the bill is passed in identical form by both chambers of the Legislature, there is one more opportunity for New Hampshire residents to be involved in the process by contacting the Governor's office to encourage him to SIGN or VETO the bill.
The New Hampshire legislative process is a long and winding road! It can be very discouraging and it can be extremely gratifying, but we each have the power to make a difference in the issues that are important to us.