THE STATE AND ITS GOVERNMENT
POWERS OF THE GOVERNOR AND COUNCIL IN CERTAIN CASES
4:45 State of Emergency Declaration; Powers.
I. The governor shall have the power to declare a state of emergency, as defined in RSA 21-P:35, VIII, by executive order if the governor finds that a natural, technological, or man-made disaster of major proportions is imminent or has occurred within this state, and that the safety and welfare of the inhabitants of this state require an invocation of the provisions of this section. As soon as practicable, the governor shall notify the speaker of the house of representatives and the senate president of the impending issuance of emergency orders under this section and provide a description of such orders. The general court shall have the same power to declare a state of emergency by concurrent resolution of the house and senate. An executive order or concurrent resolution declaring a state of emergency shall specify the:
(a) Nature of the emergency;
(b) Political subdivisions or geographic areas subject to the declaration;
(c) Conditions that have brought about the emergency; and
(d) Duration of the state of emergency, if less than 21 days.
II. (a) A state of emergency shall terminate automatically 21 days after its declaration unless it is renewed under the same procedures set forth in paragraph I of this section. The governor may, by executive order, renew a declaration of a state of emergency as many times as the governor finds is necessary to protect the safety and welfare of the inhabitants of this state.
(b) If the governor finds that maintaining the state of emergency is no longer justified, the governor shall issue an executive order terminating the state of emergency.
(c) The legislature may terminate a state of emergency or any emergency order issued thereunder by a majority vote of both the senate and the house of representatives. A majority for this vote shall consist of a majority of members present and voting in each chamber acting separately. A state of emergency shall terminate upon a majority vote of both chambers under this subparagraph; provided, however, that such vote shall not preclude the governor from declaring a new emergency for different circumstances under paragraph I of this section.
(d) Ninety days from the date of declaration of a state of emergency, and every 90 days thereafter, the governor shall call, pursuant to Part II, Article 50 of the New Hampshire constitution, and address a joint session of the general court, and shall provide a written copy of the address to all members of both chambers within 5 business days. At such joint session, the legislature shall vote on whether to terminate the state of emergency by concurrent resolution adopted by a simple majority of both chambers acting separately on the following question: "Shall the current state of emergency be terminated?" For purposes of this section, "simple majority" means a majority of members present and voting "yea" in both chambers.
III. During the existence of a state of emergency, and only for so long as such state of emergency shall exist, the governor shall have and may exercise the following additional emergency powers:
(a) To enforce all laws, rules, and regulations relating to emergency management and to assume control of any or all emergency management forces and helpers in the state.
(b) To sell, lend, lease, give, transfer, receive, or deliver materials or perform services for emergency management purposes on such terms and conditions as the governor shall prescribe and without regard to the limitations of any existing law, and to account to the state treasurer for any funds received for such property.
(c) To provide for and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area or areas within the state and to take such steps as are necessary for the receipt and care of such evacuees.
(d) Subject to the provisions of the state constitution, to remove from office any public officer having administrative responsibilities under RSA 21-P:34 through 21-P:48. Such removal shall be upon charges after service upon such person of a copy of such charges and after giving him or her an opportunity to be heard in his or her defense. Pending the preparation and disposition of charges, the governor may suspend such person for a period not exceeding 30 days. A vacancy resulting from removal or suspension pursuant to this section shall be filled by the governor until it is filled as otherwise provided by law.
(e) To perform and exercise such other functions, powers, and duties as are necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population.
(f) To declare an emergency temporary location or locations for the seat of state government at such place or places within this state as the governor may deem advisable under the circumstances and to take such action and issue such orders as may be necessary for an orderly transaction of the affairs of state government to such emergency temporary location or locations. Such emergency temporary location or locations shall remain the seat of government until the legislature shall by law establish a new location or locations or until the state of emergency is declared to be ended by the governor and the seat of government is returned to its normal location.
IV. Members of the legislature shall be exempt from any emergency orders that would infringe on their ability to travel and conduct their business as representatives of the people.
V. No federal, private, or other non-state gift, grant, or loan for purposes of emergency powers of the state which exceeds $100,000, shall be accepted until such action shall be approved by the fiscal committee of the general court according to RSA 14:30-a, VI. Under this section, the governor shall submit an item to the chairperson of the fiscal committee of the general court for consideration by the fiscal committee. If the fiscal committee of the general court does not accept or reject the item within 5 business days, the governor may accept and expend the funds without further action by the fiscal committee.
VI. Under circumstances requiring emergency action for the immediate health, safety and welfare of the citizens of New Hampshire, the governor has the sole authority to accept and expend funds hereunder. Within 24 hours of the governor's acceptance or expenditure of funds pursuant to this section, the governor shall notify the senate president, speaker of the house of representatives, and chair of the fiscal committee of the general court of the acceptance or expenditure of such funds.
Source. 2002, 257:4, eff. July 1, 2002. 2021, 91:459, 460, eff. June 25, 2021.