State officials are elected to represent you and need to hear from you to better understand issues that are important to their constituents.
Lung disease is prevalent in New Hampshire.
Advocacy is about making a positive change in your community and you can do this by sharing your story.
Step One - The Idea phase
Each change to NH law or public policy begins as an idea that presumably would make residing in this state a better experience in some way, shape, or form. While anyone can have such an idea, only a State Representative or a Senator may file a bill (a written statement that defines the idea and how it might change existing policies).
Step Two - Introducing a Bill
State Representatives and Senators first must file a bill with the Office of Legislative Services. A carefully drafted bill is signed by the Senator or Representative who is the prime sponsor (and co-sponsors if desired) and submitted to the Clerk's office. The Senate President or House Speaker, assigns the bill to the appropriate House or Senate committee for a public hearing. Bills that are introduced in the NH House's number is preceded by the letters HB (House Bill) and those introduced in the Senate begin with SB (Senate Bill).
Step Three - Public Hearing
Hearings are announced to the public at least 72 hours in advance through the House or the Senate Calendar. Anyone who is interested may attend. At the bill's public hearing, supporting and opposing testimony is heard from all interested parties. Following the public hearing (not usually the same day), the Committee members vote to pass the legislation, amend it, refer it back to the Committee for further study, or defeat the legislation. The Committee's decision then goes to the floor of the House or Senate for a vote by all its members.
Step Four - Floor Action
The bill is then placed on the House or Senate Calendar for a "floor vote," where a Committee member presents the Committee's decision. Floor debate may follow, with legislators who oppose the Committee's decision speaking alternately with legislators who support the Committee. The full Senate or House seldom overturn a Committee's decision. After debate, the full body votes on the Committee's decision. The results of the body floor action can be found in the House or Senate Journal.
Step Five - Referral to the Other Legislative Body
If the bill is defeated or is referred for study, it does not pass to the other legislative body. If the bill passes or passes with amendments, it is referred to the other house of the legislature for another committee hearing and full body vote. Crossover day is the deadline for all House bills to go to the Senate and all Senate bills to go to the House.
Step Six - To the Governor
If both the House and Senate pass a bill or agree on an amended version (every bill must be passed in identical form by the two bodies before it can be sent to the Governor), it then goes to the Governor's desk for approval. The Governor has five days to veto the bill or, if the Governor takes no action within five days, the bill passes into law.
Overriding a Veto If the bill is vetoed, it takes 2/3 of both the House and the Senate to override the Governor's action and pass the bill into law.
There are many ways to communicate with your legislators and build relationships with them. The most effective way is meet with them in person. To contact your Legislator, you may call the House Clerk's office (603) 271-2548 or the Senate Clerk's office (603) 271-3420.
Below are ways that you can get your message across effectively and some helpful tips.