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The RSA is a set of law books published by Thomson West. The work of updating the previous codification, the Revised Laws (RL) of 1942, was authorized by law in 1953 and was "not intended to change the meaning of the law as it existed on December 31, 1954." The work was done by a New Hampshire Revision Commission, which describes what it did at the start of each volume of the RSA, and was ratified in 1955 by statute.
A predecessor of Thomson West acquired the business of publishing the RSA from Equity Publishing Corp., founded by former governor Meldrim Thomson, Jr. It was a sore spot with some lawyers that, to purchase law books, they had to do business with the arch-conservative Thomson.
The RSA endeavors to collect all the current laws "of a public and general nature" in a single, numbered set. The United States Constitution and of the New Hampshire Constitution are included in the RSA.
The RSA is structured as follows:
Each section of the RSA includes annotations, such as a summary of court cases that were decided based on that section, a list of other cases that cited the section, cross-references to other parts of the RSA, and references to relevant legal publications.
The printed books are reissued occasionally. After each legislative session, pamphlets with cumulative changes to a given volume are issued, to be inserted in a pocket at the rear of the volume. A reissued volume incorporates all such changes.
Disposition tables appear in the printed set and in each set of pamphlets. They let the reader determine the disposition of the previous codification (the RL) and of each enactment of the New Hampshire legislature: where that text was placed in the RSA. In cases where source text was omitted from the RSA (for example, a law that is now obsolete or superseded by another), the disposition tables give the rationale.
The numbering of laws becomes obsolete through subsequent work of the legislature. New chapters of law may be added; a new chapter to be located between Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 is called Chapter 1-A. Repealed chapters are shown without their former text but with a note that they were repealed. Their chapter numbers will not be reused until the next complete recodification.
In some cases (see the list below), an entire title has been recodified. The chapters of the old title are repealed and new chapters are added at the end as a new title. Single chapters are often recodified and given a number with a suffix such as -A. They replace the entire old chapter. Either recodification technique makes it easier to see the current law in one place, without requiring recodification of parts of the RSA that are changed less frequently.
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