The Public Hearing Process: Legislative committees do the real work of studying—and, if necessary—modifying bills. This work begins at the bill's public hearing. It is significant that the public hearing begins this process. Clear and persuasive arguments and evidence of public concern can be very effective at this early stage of the lawmaking process. Every bill introduced and referred to a committee must have a public hearing, unless the rules are suspended by two-thirds of the members present in either the House or the Senate. New Hampshire requires a public hearing on every bill. Bills receive public notice in the House or Senate Calendar before the public hearing. Hearings are held in the Legislative Office building or State House. The chairman of the committee to which a bill has been referred opens the public hearing by announcing the bill's number and title. Persons who wish to speak are asked to sign up with the committee clerk prior to the start of the hearing. When called upon to testify, a person should address the chairman and committee members, identify himself or herself and the interest he or she represents, and then proceed with his or her statement on the bill being heard. It is generally a good idea to limit one's remarks to no more than five minutes; being brief and direct is important, and a speaker should always orient his or her testimony to the subject at hand. (The chairman has the duty to call to order any speaker who does not keep his or her remarks to the point.) In order to avoid redundancy, a speaker should also tailor his or her remarks to points not already stated by previous speakers. The purpose of the public hearing is to provide committee members with testimony and information relevant to the particular bill being heard, not to argue or inquire. Only committee members may ask questions of persons testifying; speakers may not ask questions of the committee members or of other members of the public who may have submitted testimony relative to the bill which is being heard. Once all those present at the hearing who wished to speak have spoken, the chairman declares the public hearing closed.
The Public Hearing Process: Legislative committees do the real work of studying—and, if necessary—modifying bills. This work begins at the bill's public hearing. It is significant that the public hearing begins this process. Clear and persuasive arguments and evidence of public concern can be very effective at this early stage of the lawmaking process. Every bill introduced and referred to a committee must have a public hearing, unless the rules are suspended by two-thirds of the members present in either the House or the Senate. New Hampshire requires a public hearing on every bill. Bills receive public notice in the House or Senate Calendar before the public hearing. Hearings are held in the Legislative Office building or State House. The chairman of the committee to which a bill has been referred opens the public hearing by announcing the bill's number and title. Persons who wish to speak are asked to sign up with the committee clerk prior to the start of the hearing. When called upon to testify, a person should address the chairman and committee members, identify himself or herself and the interest he or she represents, and then proceed with his or her statement on the bill being heard. It is generally a good idea to limit one's remarks to no more than five minutes; being brief and direct is important, and a speaker should always orient his or her testimony to the subject at hand. (The chairman has the duty to call to order any speaker who does not keep his or her remarks to the point.) In order to avoid redundancy, a speaker should also tailor his or her remarks to points not already stated by previous speakers. The purpose of the public hearing is to provide committee members with testimony and information relevant to the particular bill being heard, not to argue or inquire. Only committee members may ask questions of persons testifying; speakers may not ask questions of the committee members or of other members of the public who may have submitted testimony relative to the bill which is being heard. Once all those present at the hearing who wished to speak have spoken, the chairman declares the public hearing closed.