Inside the State House

Senator Kevin Avard

The New Hampshire State House has an open-door policy. The building is part museum – and visitors are welcome to take in the living history. But some of the most interesting places are kept under lock and key.

How many retirees represent Merrimack County in the Legislature? What percentage of state reps are under the age of 35? And how does the State House's male/female ratio vary by political party?

The makeup of the New Hampshire House of Representatives has a major impact on daily life in the state. After all, these are the people who make the laws that govern us.

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

New Hampshire has the largest state legislature in the country - by a lot. The 400 members of the House of Representatives are supposed to be “citizen legislators” - people who are just like the constituents they represent. They earn $100 a year, making them essentially volunteers, albeit volunteers with major responsibility and time commitment...and volunteers who don’t always show up.

Just ask Rep. Jim Belanger, chairman of the House Municipal and County Government Committee.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

It's a rite of passage in New Hampshire -- every year, hundreds of fourth graders make a pilgrimage to Concord for a State House tour. In this audio postcard, students from Woodland Heights Elementary School in Laconia learn the basics of law making -- and how to make their voices heard.

Scroll down for a 360 degree photo of the students in the N.H. Senate chamber.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

At the New Hampshire State House, lawmakers don’t limit debate to bills and the budget. Control of square footage in the building itself can be as controversial as any partisan policy. I took a tour with a man who has a set of keys to the shared rental.

Over the new few months, NHPR is bringing you a new way to experience Granite State stories from a whole new angle — literally. With 360-degree videos like this one, we're hoping you'll be able to more closely explore the places, and meet the people, we reporting on.