About State Government
Overview Of New Hampshire State Government
When you think about New Hampshire, what comes to mind? New Hampshire living offers it all … the seashore, mountains, lakes, four distinct seasons, beautiful scenery, colleges, universities and, no income tax nor sales tax. It offers the ability to be at the seashore in the morning and later in the day at the mountains. Yes, New Hampshire is all that, but it’s also the land of good government.
New Hampshire state government and its many progressive programs and technology lead the way. State government is organized into three (3) branches:
Executive: The Executive Branch administers laws passed by the New Hampshire Legislature and makes sure that state government is run efficiently and effectively. Most department and agency commissioners are appointed by and responsible to the governor with approval by the Executive Council. The Executive Council of the State of New Hampshire, more commonly known as the Governor’s Council has the authority and responsibility, together with the Governor, over the administration of the affairs of the State as defined in the New Hampshire Constitution, the New Hampshire statutes, and the advisory opinions of the New Hampshire Supreme Court and the Attorney General.
Legislative: The Legislative Branch is responsible for making new laws, changing or repealing old laws, setting a state budget and proposing changes in the state constitution and overseeing the work of state government. New Hampshire has the third largest legislative body in the English-speaking world. Only the US House of Representatives and the British Parliament have more representatives than New Hampshire. New Hampshire prides itself on its "citizens" legislature as the 400 members of our House of Representatives and the 24 Senators receive a salary of only $100.00 per year.
Judicial: The Judicial Branch is responsible for interpreting laws and deciding cases that are brought before it. This branch has the authority to decide whether laws violate the state constitution.
The Supreme Court sits in Concord and is the state’s only appellate court. The Supreme Court has discretionary jurisdiction which means, with the exception of capital murder cases, the justices decide whether or not to accept a case for appellate review.
The Superior Court has jurisdiction over a wide variety of cases, including criminal, domestic relations, and civil cases, and provides the only forum in this state for trial by jury. The Superior Court is a statewide court of general jurisdiction and provides jury trials in civil and criminal cases. There are 11 Superior Court sites in New Hampshire, one for each county and two in Hillsborough County.
The District Courts, located in 36 cities and towns across the state, are truly New Hampshire’s "community courts. Cases within the jurisdiction of the district court involve families, juveniles, small claims, landlord tenant matters, minor crimes and violations and civil cases in which the disputed amount does not exceed $25,000.
The Probate Court has jurisdiction over a variety of cases including trusts, wills and estates, adoptions, termination of parental rights, name changes, guardianship of incapacitated persons, guardianship of minors, partition of property and involuntary commitments. The work of the Probate Court centers on protecting individual rights, particularly for some of the state's most vulnerable citizens, including the mentally and physically disabled. The Probate Court also resolves issues involving families, such as adoptions and property such as wills and estates.