New Hampshire General Court: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

General Court of New Hampshire
Coat of arms or logo.
Type Bicameral
Houses Senate
House of Representatives
President of the Senate Sylvia Larsen, (D)
since December 6, 2006
Speaker of the House Terie Norelli, (D)
since December 6, 2006
Members 424
Political groups Democratic Party
Republican Party
Last election November 4, 2008
Meeting place
New Hampshire State House

The General Court of New Hampshire is the bicameral state legislature of the U.S. state of New Hampshire. The lower house is the New Hampshire House of Representatives with 400 members. The upper house is the New Hampshire Senate with 24 members. With 424 members, the General Court is the largest state legislature in the United States and the fourth-largest English-speaking legislative body in the world, behind the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the Parliament of India, and the United States Congress[1]. The General Court has one of the greatest disparities in size between chambers of a bicameral legislature.

Following the 2006 U.S. general elections, the General Court convened its 160th session and certified the results from the state general election. The election gave Democrats majority control of both chambers for the first time since 1874, 14-10 in the Senate and 239-161 in the House. The General Court convenes in the New Hampshire State House in downtown Concord, just off U.S. Route 3.


House of Representatives

Current percent of Representatives from each party by District

The House of Representatives consists of 400 members coming from 103 districts across the state created from divisions of the state's counties each making up about 3,000 residents for every one legislator. If the same level of representation were present in Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives would have approximately 99,000 members according to current population estimates.

Unlike in many legislation halls, there is no central "aisle" to cross, instead there are five sections with aisles between them. Party seating location is not enforced as seating is often decided on the personal preference of the legislator except in the case of the sixth section, which is the speaker's seat at the head of the hall.

Historically, the House was dominated by the Republican Party, which held a 249–151 majority at the end of the 2004-6 session. However, even with this 98-vote majority, the Republicans were often divided between the more conservative Republican House Alliance and moderates known as the Main Street Republicans. The division was approximately 141 voting with along RHA lines and 110 voting along Main Street lines if the difference is considered to be the 50% line of the RHA's 2004 scorecard. However, in the 2006 election, the Democrats swept into control of the chamber and currently hold a majority of seats in the House. It is as yet unclear if divisions between the RHA and Main Street Republicans will remain while in the minority.


Composition of the House of Representatives

Affiliation Members
Voting Share
  Democratic Party 225 56%
  Republican Party 175 44%
  Independent 1 0.25%
400 100%
50 +12%

New Hampshire Senate

New Hampshire Senate Districts for the 160th Session, with Republican seats in red and Democratic seats in blue.

The New Hampshire Senate has been meeting since 1784. It consists of 24 members representing Senate districts based on population. Currently, there are 14 Democrats and 10 Republicans in the Senate. In the November 2008 general election, the New Hampshire State Senate became the first state legislative body in the United States to have more female than male members. When the new session convened in December 2008, the state senate's membership comprised 13 women and 11 men.[2] The senate positions of President, President Pro Tem, Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, and Majority Whip will each be held by women in the 2008-2009 session.[3]

Composition of the Senate

Affiliation Members
  Democratic Party 14
  Republican Party 10

Media coverage

The New Hampshire State House press covers the New Hampshire State House for newspapers, news services and other news-gathering operations. The New Hampshire General Court website has calendars and journals for both the House and the Senate.

Syndicated New Hampshire State House columnists include the widely-read Norma Love of the Associated Press and Chris Dornin, founder of Golden Dome News. Reporters Tom Fahey of the Union Leader and Kevin Landrigan of the Nashua Telegraph each run their paper's respective State House bureaus. Colin Manning resigned from his work as a State House syndicated columnist for Foster's Daily Democrat to become Governor John Lynch's press secretary. Foster's Daily Democrat also syndicates reports by Norma Love and Chris Dornin.

The Concord Monitor reports State House activities as the capital city's newspaper. Daniel Barrick, Lauren Dorgan and Margot Sanger-Katz all contribute reports after sessions of the House and Senate. Meg Heckman reports primarily on Elder issues but also reports on the State House. The "Capital Beat notebook" section of the Concord Monitor relays day-to-day coverage written by Sarah Liebowitz, Eric Moskowitz, and Chelsea Conaboy.


  • When numbered seats were installed in Representatives Hall, the number thirteen was purposely omitted in deference to triskaidekaphobia.
  • In 1819, the House of Representatives and Senate moved into their respective chambers in the State House. Both continue to meet in their original chambers, making each house have the oldest chamber in United States still in continuous legislative use.


  1. ^ - New Hampshire Almanac - State Government Overview
  2. ^ "New NH Senate is majority female." United Press International, 7 November 2008.
  3. ^ "Larsen Nominates Hassan as Senate Majority Leader.", 9 November 2008.

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