In 1996 a small group of acupuncturists and other interested friends of acupuncture began to meet regularly to write an acupuncture licensing bill for New Hampshire. The acupuncturists, although they lived in New Hampshire, were prohibited from legally practicing in NH and were forced to travel to surrounding states to set up practice. In addition, NH residents were also forced to go outside the state for treatment by a Licensed Acupuncturist.
A legislative campaign was launched in the fall of 1996 under the initial sponsorship of State Representative Jeb Bradley. HB 378, as it was then known, was sponsored by five State Representatives and 5 State Senators. The New Hampshire patient base was mobilized and flooded the legislative committees with a flurry of letters and calls of support. The legislation passed both houses of the Legislature, and the acupuncture statute, RSA 328-G, was signed into law by Governor Jeanne Shaheen on June 30, 1997.
In September, 1997, the first members of the NH Board of Acupuncture Licensing were appointed by Governor Shaheen, and the board began work on writing administrative rules. The first board included acupuncturists, Alice Meattey, Jeanne Ann Whittington, Lisa Rothermich, Joseph Dudley, and public member, Alphonse Plourde who, sadly, died in 1997 and was succeeded by public member Sue Ducharme.
Rulewriting was a laborious and extensive project to spell out the details of licensing, renewals, hearings, ethical behavior, professional obligations, and scope of practice. All rules had to be reviewed and approved through a lengthy legislative process before licenses could be granted.
In November of 1999, the NH Board of Acupuncture Licensing granted its first licenses. Since November 1999 over 125 licenses have been granted by the board.