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Constitution of New Hampshire


New Hampshire capitol
New Hampshire capitol

New Hampshire’s present constitution, its second, was enacted in 1784 and is older than that of any other state except Massachusetts and even older, by five years, than the United States Constitution. Amendments to the constitution may be proposed either by a convention or by a three-fifths majority in each house of the legislature and to be adopted must be approved by two-thirds of the electorate voting on the question.

New Hampshire is the only state with neither a general sales tax nor a state income tax. When increased revenues have been needed, the state has increased specific sales taxes, such as those on rooms and meals, or taxes on business profits.

Executive power


The governor of New Hampshire is elected to two-year terms and may be reelected any number of times. The Executive Council, an institution that dates back to the colonial period and is used only by New Hampshire and Massachusetts, has veto power over the governor in most matters. The five-member council is elected by the people. The governor cannot approve expenditures or make appointments without council agreement. While most administrative leaders are appointed by the governor, subject to the council’s approval, the secretary of state and state treasurer are elected by the General Court.

Legislative power


New Hampshire’s legislature, known as the General Court, consists of a 24-member Senate and a House of Representatives of 400 members.

The 400-member house is the largest state legislative body in the Union. Both senate and house members are elected to two-year terms.

Local Government


New Hampshire has a Supreme Court consisting of a chief justice and four associate justices. The Superior Court is made up of a chief justice and associate justices. The state also has district courts and a number of municipal and probate courts. All judges are appointed by the governor.

Each of New Hampshire’s ten counties elects a sheriff, county attorney, treasurer, register of deeds, register of probate, and three commissioners, all for two-year terms. The state is also divided into cities, towns, and unincorporated places. Cities are governed under the city manager or strong mayor form of government. Most towns have annual town meetings at which selectmen are elected to manage town affairs. County government is secondary in importance to town governments.

New Hampshire sends two senators and two representatives to the Congress of the United States. This gives the state a total of four electoral votes. "New Hampshire" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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