During the legislative session (January-June), Kent Street publishes Happenings, which is a weekly guide to relevant bills that are coming up during that week. This includes Kent Street’s analysis about whether to support or oppose a bill, plus information and links about how to contact legislators and communicate your stance on bills that interest you. Although this document can appear lengthy at first, once you have “learned the ropes,” it is easy to navigate, takes only a few minutes, and has real world impact. The material below explains the backbone of the legislative process in New Hampshire:
In NH, every bill filed must get a hearing, a committee vote and a floor vote. If it passes in one chamber, the cycle must be repeated in the other. Where a bill is in this process informs how we advocate for or against a bill.
The schedule below provides guidelines. However, remember that your legislators are there to represent YOU. Don't ever hesitate to reach out to them with questions, concerns or viewpoints about issues and bills.
Committee Hearings. Hearings are the only time when public sign-ins and testimony are taken; thus, a critical advocacy point is to reach legislators who serve on that committee before they have made a final determination and help them to gauge the public opinion. All hearings must be publicly announced ahead of time so the public can participate. Individuals can sign in remotely (or same day in-person) to register support or opposition to a bill. They can also testify either in-person or by submitting written testimony.
If a bill passes in one legislative body, it is then sent to the other, and another hearing will be held. At that time, the public will once again have an opportunity to weigh in with sign-ins and testimony.
Executive Sessions. After a hearing, every bill gets a vote in committee during an executive session. These sessions may or may not be publicly noticed ahead of time. A vote can take place at any time once a hearing has been held. Some House committees give advance notice; most Senate committees do not. A committee can recommend OTP (ought to pass, sometimes with amendment); ITL (inexpedient to legislate); or that the bill be retained for further study (usually a subtle way to kill a bill). The best way to influence executive session votes is by contacting committee members ahead of time. This is especially helpful if your own representative or senator sits on the committee.
Session Floor Votes. Once a committee makes its recommendation, a bill gets scheduled for a full floor vote during a House or Senate Session. This is the time to contact YOUR representatives or Senator urging them to support or oppose a bill.
SENATE ADVOCACY TOOLS:
Navigate Senate website
Contact your State Senator
View Senate pdf calendar or digital weekly schedule
Find a Senate bill
Sign in to support/oppose Senate legislation
Submit written testimony by emailing committee chair
Email member(s) of a Senate committee
Stream Senate committee hearings
Review member voting records
HOUSE ADVOCACY TOOLS:
Navigate House website
Contact your State Representative(s)
View House pdf calendar or digital weekly schedule
Find a House bill
Sign in to support/oppose House legislation
Submit written testimony to a House committee
Email member(s) of a House committee
Stream House committee hearings
Review member voting records