So, I hear that there is demand for a “How do I testify on a bill at a committee hearing in New Hampshire?” thread, so I will do one starting here.

Jan 8, 2022 · 3:55 AM UTC

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Step 1, before you even think of testifying, is to actually READ the legislation in question. All New Hampshire bills are posted online, and the bill search is displayed prominently on the legislature’s main page: gencourt.state.nh.us/
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Note that, as the website currently stands, the Advanced Bill Search will display in a different format than the Quick Bill Search, so if you can only get a PDF from the QBS, try the ABS if you need it in HTML: gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_st…
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Let’s decode some of the acronyms/abbreviations on the Advanced Bill Search page: “LSR” stands for “Legislative Support Request”, which is what bills start as before they become bills. To file a bill in NH, you have to ask the Office of Legislative Services (OLS) to draft it…
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…and this drafting request is what gets known as an “LSR”. The LSR number is different from the bill number, so make sure not to get the two of them mixed up! (The bill number gets assigned later, only after the legislator approves of the drafted language)
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(also, the rest of these should be more obvious, but I ought to say them anyways: “Hse” is short for “House”, “Sen” is short for “Senate”, “Comm” is short for “Committee”, and “Flr” is short for “Floor”, as in, when it’s brought before the entire body)
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So, after you have read the bill, step 2 is coming to testify. Hearings are generally held in the Legislative Office Building in Concord: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Ha… (It’s right behind the State House; the two are connected by a tunnel under State Street)
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Last year there was a remote option for testimony, but it seems doubtful that that will continue this year (blame the GOP), so it seems that testimony will need to be in person this year. Please take all precautions necessary (masking, testing, kevlar, etc.) before arriving.
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There are several parking garages in the area, but if you don’t have a car, or don’t want to drive, there is a bus station near the State House that you could take a bus into instead; Concord Coach Lines is the one that stops there the most regularly: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concor…
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So, once you’ve arrived at the Legislative Office Building, head in the State Street door. There is usually a police officer there you can ask for directions if you didn’t get the room number from the hearing notice. The elevator doors are more obvious, but there are stairs, too.
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Once you get to the room in which the hearing is being held, ask to sign in on the “blue sheet” (note: blue sheets may not actually be blue). Last year with remote testimony there were virtual “blue sheets” but this year they might be back to physical…
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The “blue sheet” ought to have a space for your name, which bill you’re there for, whether you support or oppose it, if you’d like to speak on it, and if so, for how long. Also, at this point, you can usually ask for a printed copy of the bill, too, in case you forgot it.
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So, after you’re signed in, just wait around until it’s your turn, and then state your position on the bill! A tip for testimony is that it’s often more convincing if you can say how the bill would personally affect you. Also, be prepared for committee members to ask questions.
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(I’m pretty sure you can refuse to take questions if you don’t want to, though.)
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Also, another important thing to remember about the NH Legislature is that since it’s a citizen legislature, with so many members for such a small state, you can get just random people serving, so be sure to tailor your testimony in such a way that anyone can understand it.
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And… that’s about all I can think of for now! You can also stick around for other people’s testimony, too, if you want, although it’s not necessary. Happy testifying!
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Oh, one further thing: when bills are heard before committees, there is still time to amend them! So, if you have any suggestions for how the language of a bill could be improved, you can testify to that, too, instead of limiting yourself to the "support/oppose" binary.
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Update: while remote testimony might not be back this year, remote sign-in *is* back this year! gencourt.state.nh.us/house/c… Note that you have to choose the date for the hearing from the calendar first before any of the other menu fields will become interactive.
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