School's now in session for New Hampshire's newly elected state representatives, who are spending two days touring the State House and learning the ropes of legislative procedure.
Orientation culminates Thursday in a mock session and vote in Representatives Hall. New Hampshire's 400-member House is a volunteer, citizen legislature, and more than a quarter of next session's lawmakers are first-time representatives. Many incoming lawmakers have served in local office, but others are brand new to politics. For new members, understanding the minutiae of House procedure — not to mention learning to navigate the State House — takes time.
About 240 members are incumbents and dozens of others have served before. Every lawmaker may submit legislation and, unlike most other states, all bills can be debated on the House floor.