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How do I request a new law or bill?

piece of legislation

Have you ever thought to yourself, “That should be a law!” (Or, maybe, “That shouldn’t be a law!”) If so, you have an idea for a bill, a proposed change to state law. Here are the steps to bring a bill to life.

Citizens cannot introduce bills all on their own, but they can ask a legislator to sponsor a bill on their behalf.

If you have an idea for a bill, the first step is to find a legislator who may support your idea. You can start with your current elected officials. You can find them on our website here, by selecting your town from the drop-down menu.

If you are sure all of your local legislators would oppose your idea, you can instead try to find a legislator from another district that might agree with your cause. Try looking for similar bills from previous years and identify the sponsors of those bills. Learn more about finding bills here. 

You can contact a legislator by phone, email, or snail-mail. Different legislators have different preferences when connecting with voters, so there is no right or wrong way to reach out. If your idea is very complex, however, it might be better to ask for a meeting to talk through your thoughts. For more guidance on contacting elected officials, read our tutorial.

Legislators can only request new bills during the Fall of each year, so if you have a big new idea, you might have to wait many months before it becomes reality.

After legislators file bill requests they work with legislative staff who draft the exact bill text. Bills are then introduced in January, at which point public hearings and votes begin.

If your idea is related to a bill that is already going through the legislative process, your legislator might be able to introduce your idea as an amendment to that bill. There are rules about bill amendments, though, so don’t expect this to happen.

If a legislator introduces your bill, you should follow its progress through the Legislature. Here is a tutorial on how to track a bill.

You can also show up at public hearings to voice support for your bill, contact your elected officials and urge them to vote for the bill, and write a letter to the editor raising awareness of your bill. The New Hampshire Legislature considers roughly 1,000 bills every year, so legislators are more likely to pay attention to a bill if voters show up and voice their support.

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