Skip to main content

State Statutes

Organization of the Statutes

The New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated, RSA's, are the codified laws of the State of New Hampshire. They are published in hardbound volumes, plus an index volume. This page provides a description of the structure and organization of the statutes and links to the seven chapters of Title LXIV.

The New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated, RSA's, are the codified laws of the State of New Hampshire. They are published in hardbound volumes, plus an index volume. At the end of every legislative session each volume is either reprinted or updated with a supplement. Most of the supplements fit in the pocket at the back of the hardbound book, but some have grown so large that they have to stand as a separate softbound book.

The RSA's are divided into: title, chapter, subdivision, section, paragraph and subparagraphs as follows:

A title is a main grouping of chapters dealing with related subjects. For example, the first main group of chapters deals with "The State and Its Government" and consists of chapters 1 through 21-P, thus, chapters 1 through 21-P constitute Title I. Titles are almost never cited. When you see a typical citation such as "RSA 41:11", the number "41" is not the title but the chapter number. The Revised Statutes Annotated consist of 64 titles.

A chapter is the most-used division of the RSA's and is a collection of sections dealing with the same subject. Sometimes the Legislature has squeezed a chapter between two existing chapters, and it is designated by a number followed by a hyphen and a capital letter; e.g., RSA 31-A.

A subdivision is a portion of a chapter which contains sections that deal with the same general subject, i.e., a sub-heading within a chapter. A subdivision is not separately numbered and is indicated only by the presence of a bold face unnumbered line preceding the first section of the subdivision and, like titles, a subdivision is not often cited. For example, preceding RSA 31:19 is the line "Trust Funds". Since the next place in which a similar line appears is after RSA 31:38, RSA 31:19 through 31:38 consists of a subdivision of RSA 31 entitled "Trust Funds".

A section is the main division within a chapter and is indicated by the number following the colon. For example, section 2 of chapter 31 is cited RSA 31:2. When the Legislature squeezes a section between two existing sections it is designated by a number followed by a hyphen and then a lower case letter, e.g., a section in chapter 31 between sections 2 and 3 is cited as RSA 31:2-a.

The main division within a section is a paragraph, indicated by Roman numeral; e.g., the third paragraph of RSA 31:39 is cited as RSA 31:39, III. All divisions of a paragraph are referred to as subparagraphs and are indicated by a letter enclosed by parentheses: e.g., RSA 31:39, I(a). In summary, the citation RSA 676:4, I(g) means subparagraph g of paragraph I of section 4 of Chapter 676.

Land use regulation statutes are contained in Title LXIV (64) Planning and Zoning. This title is divided into 7 chapters each dealing with a particular area of land use regulation.

Chapter 672 General Provisions outlines the general purpose of planning and zoning regulations and defines word and phrases.

Chapter 673 Local Land Use Boards sets forth the establishment of land use boards; the appointment and terms of board members; general provisions for meetings, alternates, member disqualification and removal, witnesses, staffing and meeting records; and the process for the abolition of boards, a zoning ordinance or building code.

Chapter 674 Local Land Use Planning and Regulatory Power addresses the master plan; capital improvements program; official map; zoning; emergency temporary zoning and planning regulation; manufactured housing; board of adjustment and building code board of appeals; subdivision regulations; site plan review regulation; heritage commissions; historic districts; building codes; land affected by municipal boundaries; and governmental use of property.

Chapter 675 Enactment and Adoption Procedures addresses the methods and procedures for enacting land use regulations.

Chapter 676 Administrative and Enforcement Procedures deals with how the planning board, zoning board, historic district commission operate; the use of building permits; what happens when state and local regulations conflict; and various types of penalties and relief for violations.

Chapter 677 Rehearing and Appeal Procedures addresses the rehearing procedures for the board of adjustment, board of appeals and local legislative body; appeal and court review of board of adjustment, local legislative body, planning board, building code board of appeals and historic district commission decisions; and the process for a court to deal with invalid ordinances.

Finally, Chapter 678 Community Services and Care Planning Boards outlines the purpose of such boards, defines terms, sets forth how they are established, outlines the duties, lists terms of board members, how to abolish a board and what happens to the documents once a board is abolished.