How a Bill Becomes Law

The New Hampshire Legislature is made up of 400 Representatives and 24 Senators.

The Legislative Session runs from January to June each year.

An idea of a proposed bill can come from either a state resident or member of the legislature. Once drafted, the proposed bill is referred to as an LSR or Legislative Service Request.

The LSR must be filed by a legislative sponsor or sponsors.

The bill is then drafted by legislative services to ensure the appropriate language is used to meet the purpose of the LSR.

The draft must be signed off by the sponsor(s).

The bill will then be introduced, given a bill number under either the House of Representatives (HB) or Senate (SB), depending on the seat of the prime sponsor and assigned to a committee which will review it.

The committee will hold public hearings for stakeholders to present their arguments in support or opposition of the bill.

The committee will make a recommendation that the bill should or should not pass when it goes to the full house or senate.

The bill is also heard in the finance committee if there is a fiscal note attached.

If the bill passes it goes to the other body on what is referred to as Crossover Day.

After another round of hearings and meetings, the other body will vote on the bill.

If the bill passes, but has changes, which makes it different from the original bill, then a special committee is set up to work out an agreement between the house and the senate so everyone is satisfied with the changes. This is called the Committee of Conference.

Once the Committee of Conference has everything worked out, then the bill is sent back to both houses for their approval. If it is passed by both the house and the senate, it goes to the Governor for his/her signature, then it becomes law.

The Governor has 3 choices about signing a bill into law:

  • Sign the bill and it will become law;
  • Choose not to sign the bill and it will become law within 5 days w/o a signature;
  • Veto the bill. If the bill is vetoed, it will then go back to the legislature for a 2/3rd majority vote to override the Governor’s veto or the bill dies.