State Law – NH Constitution
New Hampshire is distinguished from most states because the NH Constitution has an article specifically on its citizens’ Right to Know. This article is Part I Article 8. Part I is called the Bill of Rights in the NH Constitution.
Art. 8. Accountability of Magistrates and Officers; Public’s Right to Know. 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. 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. The public also has a right to an orderly, lawful, and accountable government. Therefore, any individual taxpayer eligible to vote in the State, shall have standing to petition the Superior Court to declare whether the State or political subdivision in which the taxpayer resides has spent, or has approved spending, public funds in violation of a law, ordinance, or constitutional provision. In such a case, the taxpayer shall not have to demonstrate that his or her personal rights were impaired or prejudiced beyond his or her status as a taxpayer. However, this right shall not apply when the challenged governmental action is the subject of a judicial or administrative decision from which there is a right of appeal by statute or otherwise by the parties to that proceeding.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1976 by providing right of access to governmental proceedings and records.
Amended 2018 by providing that taxpayers have standing to bring actions against the government
Part I Article 8 dates from 1784 and is partially embodied in statute as RSA chapter 91-A.