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Compiling a New Hampshire Legislative History

Updated 05/01/2021

Committee Files

Every bill introduced in the legislature is referred to a legislative committee and is given a public hearing. The name of the committee may be in the index to the legislative journals or on the journal page where the bill was introduced. For bills from 1989 to the present, the name of the committee will be in the online Bill Docket on the General Court's website. 

What you find in the Committee files varies greatly, depending on the date, the importance of the legislation, and the records made by the Secretary of the Committee. Committee files may contain transcripts of testimony from hearings, written submissions, copies of the different versions of the bill, voting records, and other information. Sometimes they contain nothing or there is no file. Committee files are available as follows:

  • Nearly all past Committee files are available in print at the State Archives. Files from a current legislative session are with their committees. House and Senate Clerks' offices keep a year or so of committee files before sending them to the State Archives, so if the bill was from the immediate past session, check there first.
  • Committee files from 1995 to the present have been digitized and are online at the General Court's website. There are several bill search options on the website. If the committee files have been scanned, you’ll see a link to Bill History in the search results. That link will lead you to the digitized files. There are many files missing, especially from House committees. 
  • Microfiche of the following committee hearings are available at both the State Library and the Law Library: House Judiciary, 1935 – 1979; Senate Judiciary, 1951 – 1979; House (all committees) 1981

Audio files of some committee hearings are online. If there are audio files, links are on the House or Senate committee web pages or in the bill search results. Very few House committees have audio; most of the links you'll see in the bill search results are to Senate committee hearings.

If a study committee was established, the study committee will usually issue a report. "Study committee" includes legislative commissions, councils and task forces established to address a specific issue. Print versions of study committee reports from 1995 to present are held by the State Library. Some study committee information is online. If there was a committee of conference appointed, current reports are online at the General Court's website and are also recorded in the Journals. Since every bill must be passed in identical form by both the House and Senate before it can be enacted into law, committees of conference may be appointed to iron out differences in each chamber's version of the bill.