State Law – History

Our Right to Know is a Constitutional right.

The history of Right to Know in New Hampshire begins with the state constitution. The Right to Know in New Hampshire was established in law by the state constitution on June 2, 1784 as the first sentence of Part I Article 8:

All power residing originally in, and being derived from, the people, all the magistrates and officers of government are their substitutes and agents, and at all times accountable to them.

This article was amended in 1976 by adding the last 2 sentences that provide the right of access to governmental proceedings and records:

Government, therefore, should be open, accessible, accountable and responsive. To that end, the public’s right of access to governmental proceedings and records shall not be unreasonably restricted.

This constitutional right was not enacted into state law until August 26, 1967 as a new RSA chapter 91-A. RSA 91-A has been changed about 40 times since then, mostly to strengthen the Right to Know by providing greater access. Understanding the history is particularly important when reading older court cases, since the relevant parts of the law may have changed since then.

This table shows the changes over the years to RSA 91-A. The changes are listed by the effective date of the change. If multiple bills had the same effective date, then they are listed separately to highlight each change. Each change links to these items as of the effective date: the complete text of RSA 91-A, the edits to all affected sections, the full text of the session law, the bill number that became the session law, and individual links to each affected section of RSA 91-A. The individual section links makes it easy to see the patterns of changes or to track the changes for a specific section.

Effective Session Sections Changed (hover for title)
Year Date Changes Law Bill 1 1-a 2 2-a 2-b 3 4 5 5-a 6 7 8 9 10 11-15
2017 1 Jan 2017 Changes 2016, 322 HB-1584 5
1 Jan 2017 Changes 2016, 30 HB-1419 3
1 Jan 2017 Changes 2016, 29 HB-1418 2
2016 21 Jun 2016 Changes 2016, 283 HB-0606 4
21 Jun 2016 Changes 2016, 280 HB-0285 3
1 Jan 2016 Changes 2015, 105 SB-0243 3
1 Jan 2016 Changes 2015, 49 HB-0108 3
1 Jan 2016 Changes 2015, 19 SB-0044 3
2015 1 Sep 2015 Changes 2015, 270 HB-0142 3
2013 1 Jul 2013 Changes 2013, 261 SB-0035 5
1 Jan 2013 Changes 2012, 206 HB-1223 8
2012 1 Dec 2012 Changes 2012, 232 SB-0203 2-b
18 Jun 2012 Changes 2012, 232 SB-0203 2-b
2010 1 Nov 2010 Changes 2005, 3 HB-0041 11-15
22 Jun 2010 Changes 2010, 206 SB-0425 3
2009 29 Sep 2009 Changes 2009, 299 HB-0206 4
2008 5 Sep 2008 Changes 2008, 354 SB-0418 1-a
26 Aug 2008 Changes 2008, 278 HB-1179 1-a 2
1 Jul 2008 Changes 2008, 303 HB-1408 1-a 2 2-a 3 4 5 7 8
2007 31 Jul 2007 Changes 2007, 59 HB-0152 2
2005 3 May 2005 Changes 2005, 3 HB-0041 11-15
1 Jan 2005 Changes 2004, 42 HB-0622 3
2004 14 Aug 2004 Changes 2004, 246 HB-1295 4 5
1 Aug 2004 Changes 2004, 147 SB-0333 5
2003 18 Jul 2003 Changes 2003, 292 HB-0670 10
18 Jul 2003 Changes 2003, 287 HB-0606 2
1 Jan 2003 Changes 2002, 222 HB-1423 3 5 5-a
1 Jan 2003 Changes 2002, 175 HB-0550 9
2002 1 Jan 2002 Changes 2001, 223 HB-0499 1-a 4
2001 17 Jul 2001 Changes 2001, 289 HB-0450 8
1997 2 Aug 1997 Changes 1997, 90 HB-0624 4
1995 1 Jul 1995 Changes 1995, 260 SB-0009 1-a
1993 29 Jun 1993 Changes 1993, 335 SB-0087 3
22 Jun 1993 Changes 1993, 79 SB-0038 5
7 Jun 1993 Changes 1993, 46 HB-0562 3
1992 8 Jun 1992 Changes 1992, 34 HB-1163 3
1 Jan 1992 Changes 1991, 217 HB-0133 2 3
1990 18 Jun 1990 Changes 1990, 134 HB-1152 5
1989 27 Jul 1989 Changes 1989, 274 SB-0107 1-a
3 Jul 1989 Changes 1989, 184 HB-0036 5
1987 1 Jan 1987 Changes 1986, 83 HB-0123 1-a 2 3 4 5 8
1983 17 Aug 1983 Changes 1983, 279 HB-0477 2 4
9 Aug 1983 Changes 1983, 184 SB-0123 3
1981 1 Oct 1981 Changes 1981, 408 HB-0110 6
1 Jul 1981 Changes 1981, 576 HB-0173 6
1977 13 Sep 1977 Changes 1977, 540 HB-0845 1 1-a 2 3 7 8
1975 6 Aug 1975 Changes 1975, 383 SB-0243 2
1973 7 Jul 1973 Changes 1973, 113 HB-0323 8
1971 24 Aug 1971 Changes 1971, 327 HB-0623 1[-a] 2 3
1969 1 Sep 1969 Changes 1969, 482 HB-0566 2 3
1967 26 Aug 1967 Original 1967, 251 HB-0028 1[-a] 2 3 4 5 6 7