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Compiling a New Hampshire Legislative History

Reviewed 3/11/2024

About Bills

A bill may go through many stages on its way to becoming law. It is important to look at the original version of a bill and any amendments, proposed or adopted, when compiling a legislative history. Sometimes the original bill will have a preamble or statement of intent that doesn't appear in the final version. 

For more about bills, see the Guide below from the Office of Legislative Services. 

Finding Bills and Bill Amendments

  • The Law Library and the State Library have limited collections of bound volumes of bills as they were first introduced.
  • Committee files should contain the first version and any amendments, proposed or accepted, of the Committee.
  • From 2013 to present, bills as introduced are accessible through the Bill Docket.
  • Amendments that make it out of Committee are in the Calendars and Journals; floor amendments are in the Journals, and, from 2011 to present, are online in the Bill Docket. 
  • After searching for a bill, find the link to the Bill Docket in the bill search results page. From the Bill Docket, you will find links to amendments.

Bill Numbers

It's unusual to refer to a New Hampshire law using the bill number though it does happen occasionally (SB 2 is an example). The bill number makes it easier to find relevant pages in the legislative journals because modern legislative journals have a bill number index (called the numerical index) with journal page references. A bill's number stays the same throughout the legislative biennium so a House bill will always be "HB" even when it moves over to the Senate and vice versa.

To find a bill number: 

  • for bills 1989 to present, go online to Advanced Bill Status Search. Enter the relevant year and chapter number and click “Search.”
  • for laws 1979 to present, the bill number appears next to the chapter number in the Laws of the State of New Hampshire.
  • for laws 1977 to present, the House and Senate Journals have chapter-to-bill tables.
  • for bills 1965 to present, use the Final Disposition of Bills and Resolutions tables (found at the State Library and the Law Library).
  • for bills from 1955 to 1967, the last volume of each Senate and House Journal has a Final Status/Disposition of Bills table
  • prior to 1955, use the subject indexes to find the page references in the Journals.