How Laws Are Made
The steps behind the process between drafting a bill and it being signed into law can take many months or even years. Below is the order in which a bill becomes law.
Bill is Drafted
A member of the House or Senate files a request for a new law with the Office of Legislative Services which then puts the request into the form of a “bill.” The bill is then submitted to the chamber of the legislature in which the sponsor is a member. The House Speaker or Senate President assigns the bill to an appropriate standing committee.
A public hearing is scheduled on all bills. The committee members then vote on whether to recommend that their legislative chamber pass the bill either in its original form or as amended, refer it back to committee for further study or defeat it.
Passes the First Vote and Moves from One Chamber to the Other
The committee recommendation is then sent to the full legislative chamber. If one chamber of the legislature passes a bill as originally drafted, or with amendments, the bill is then referred to the second chamber where the same process is followed: public hearing, committee recommendation, vote by the full chamber.
If either chamber refers a bill to a study committee or defeats it, the bill goes no further.
If either chamber disagrees with the language or provisions of a bill, a conference committee composed of members from both chambers is established to resolve the disagreement.
Passes Second Vote
If a new version of the bill is agreed upon, another vote is required, in both chambers, before going to the Governor’s desk.
The Governor has five days from the time of the bill’s arrival to veto it, sign it into law or let it go into effect without a signature. If the bill is vetoed by the Governor, a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate is required for an override. If an override vote is successful, the bill becomes law.
Each year, new laws are added by number and title to the “New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated,” the official digest of New Hampshire law, compiled by the state Office of Legislative Services. The RSAs, as they are commonly known, are also revised every year to reflect new or repealed sections of laws or language changes and other amendments made by the legislature. You can look up a law, by subject, title or number on the state website, Revised Statutes Online.