New Hampshire State Government
Concord is the capital of New Hampshire and the seat of state government. The Constitution of the State of New Hampshire has guided our lawmaking since 1784, guaranteeing our citizens the same essential freedoms as the U.S. Constitution—and more.
Travelers to New Hampshire are invited to learn about state history and government by visiting the New Hampshire State House and its Visitor Center
, which is open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. New Hampshire's gold-domed capitol building has the distinction of being the oldest state house in America where the legislature still meets in its original chambers. State House tours may be booked online.
Like the U.S. government, New Hampshire government has three branches: an executive branch presided over by Governor Christopher Sununu
, a judicial branch, and a legislative branch. The New Hampshire General Court
is America's largest legislature: We have 24 New Hampshire state senators and 400 members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Their salary? $100 each per year.
Which state laws should you be aware of as you're traveling in New Hampshire? Well, all of them, of course, but here are a few important things to know:
- Handheld cell-phone use is banned in New Hampshire for all drivers.
- Safety belts must be worn by all vehicle passengers under the age of 18.
- Children under 7 years old and 57 inches tall or shorter must ride in a federally approved car seat or booster seat.
- All bicycle riders ages 16 and under must wear a bicycle helmet when riding on public roads.
- Bicycle riders of all ages must wear a piece of reflective outerwear when riding anytime between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise.
- Although there’s no helmet law in New Hampshire for motorcycle riders or passengers 18 years old and over, the New Hampshire Department of Safety strongly recommends helmets for everyone who chooses to drive or ride a motorcycle.
- The legal drinking age in New Hampshire is 21.
- Possession of any amount of marijuana in the state of New Hampshire is a misdemeanor carrying a potential $2,000 fine and one year of jail time.