Establishes a committee to study student loan forgiveness on the basis of volunteer work, including service in the legislature.
The New Hampshire House (400) and Senate (24) make up the largest state legislature in the U.S.
Lawmakers are elected biannually and paid $100 per year, plus mileage reimbursement.
Despite the minimal pay, legislators review more than 1,000 bills every legislative session. Representatives were responsible for attending 21 legislative sessions in 2018 - and that doesn't include committee meetings and public hearings.
University of New Hampshire Associate Professor of Political Science Dante Scala said the legislature "often is made up of older residents who have the time and financial standing to serve."
"They really run because they can. Unlike in states with professional legislatures, the barriers to entry are very low in New Hampshire," Scala said.
New Hampshire's revenue constraints make it unlikely that the state will significantly increase the pay for legislators. However, the Legislature has explored decreasing the time commitment for legislators.
Click here for a primer on the state's legislative process.
PROS & CONS
NH should keep its "citizen legislature" as-is.
- Supporters of New Hampshire's "citizen legislature" argue that the large number of lay-person legislators ensures that citizens have maximum access to the legislative process.
- Ideally New Hampshire's legislative model also removes any selfish or monetary motive for running for office.
NH should make changes to its "citizen legislature."
- The low pay and significant time commitment prevents some highly qualified and good-intentioned individuals from running for the Legislature.
- The large number of legislators also results in a significant, perhaps excessive, number of bills every year. Each year, advocates for small, simple government argue that too much regulation passes through the Legislature.
Constitutional amendment giving legislators mileage compensation for travel on veto days and when voting on a budget following a continuing resolution.
Establishes a commission to study expanding public testimony opportunities to remote locations statewide.
Constitutional amendment empowering the state legislature to authorize a recall election.
Requires a per diem travel payment to legislators for travel for legislative business on non-session days. The payment would be 75% of the meals and incidentals expense standard from the U.S. Government Services Administration (USGSA) for Concord, NH. At the time of this bill's submission, that would be 75% of $66, or $49.50.
Requires the joint committee on legislative facilities to renovate the smoker's lounge in the basement of the legislative office building to be a child-friendly room.
Prohibits legislators, executive councilors, and governors from becoming lobbyists for a period of time equal to twice the total length of their current term of office. This bill also prohibits legislators from negotiating employment with a lobbyist, or a lobbyist's client, while in office.
Establishes a committee to study information technology in the legislative process.
Prohibits legislators from introducing legislation, testifying, voting, participating in, or influencing any legislative matter directly related to the legislator's employment.
Requires that any bills proposing a study committee include a cost estimate of mileage reimbursement for legislators on the committee. This bill also requires that any bills proposing a study including other officials have a fiscal note prepared by the legislative budget assistant.
Requires that the legislative ethics financial disclosure form for members and officers of the Legislature shall only be filed in January of the first year of the biennium, rather than annually.
Requires a legislator to recuse himself or herself from participation in a legislative activity when the legislator or the legislator's household member has a conflict of interest.
Establishes a committee to study the economic challenges of employed persons serving in the New Hampshire Legislature.
Establishes an independent human resources professional in the administrative office for the Legislature, responsible for handling complaints involving sexual harassment. This bill also requires the Legislative Facilities Committee to adopt a sexual harassment policy before each two-year legislative session.
Establishes a civil penalty, up to $5,000, for candidates and officials who fail to file the financial disclosure form required by state law. The financial disclosure form is a statement of financial interests intended to ensure officials do not have a conflict of interest while working for the state. The House amended the bill to instead require the Attorney General to notify anyone who fails to file a financial disclosure form, and fine the person $50 if they fail to file within 30 days of that notice.
Constitutional amendment that allows the Legislature to change their compensation with approval of the Executive Council (current pay is $200 per session).
Constitutional amendment that decreases the size of the state House of Representatives from 400 to 200.
Repeals an obsolete mileage provision for Concord legislators.
Decreases the mileage reimbursement rate for legislators, and prohibits deductions from mileage reimbursements.
Changes some of the process to call a special election to fill a vacancy in the House of Representatives.
Requires the Legislature to make a maternity room, where a member can nurse or change a baby, available to legislators on session days.
Requires a legislator to identify a private organization responsible for distributing a model act, if that act was then used by the legislator to draft proposed legislation. The bill also requires lobbyists to disclose their affiliation upon contacting a member of the Legislature.
Requires the state House of Representatives to live-stream and record every committee meeting for the public. The House amended the bill to instead establish a committee to study the issue of committee recordings.
Requires the Statehouse to provide interpreters for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing who wish to consult with their senator or representative.
Requires that legislators be paid compensation in silver dollar coins. According to the State Treasury, this would amount to roughly $2,900 for each legislator for a two-year term.
Constitutional amendment allowing the Legislature to call a recall election for an elected official.
Establishes a commission to study mileage reimbursements and compensation of legislators.
Requires legislator compensation be paid in quarterly installments, every six months.
Constitutional amendment changing the state Legislature to biennial sessions.
Revises the personal interest disclosure requirements for legislators, for example removing the requirement to disclose membership in a public body such as a planning board.
Requires that legislators be paid compensation in silver dollar coins. The State Treasury notes that although the face value of a silver coin may be one dollar, the spot value varies and was $16.47 on January 4, 2017.
Constitutional amendment that only allows the House of Representatives to draft bills related to taxes.
Constitutional amendment increasing annual compensation for state legislators from $125 to $2,500.
Provides that legislation can only be proposed in the first year of a legislative session.
Decreases the mileage reimbursement rate for state legislators.
Constitutional amendment changing the state legislature to biennial sessions.
Constitutional amendment changing the state legislature to biennial sessions.
Should NH keep its "citizen legislature" as-is?
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