Policy Setting Process

NHMA's legislative policies originate with its members and its legislative policy committees. These committees consist of elected and appointed local officials who represent all regions of the state, and all sizes of towns and cities.

In the spring before each new legislative biennium, NHMA solicits legislative policy proposals from member municipalities. The three policy committees review these proposals and make recommendations to NHMA's Legislative Policy Conference, held during the fall of the same year. The governing body of any member municipality may also submit a floor policy for consideration at the conference.

The Legislative Policy Conference is held in September of even-numbered years at the NHMA offices (25 Triangle Park Drive, Concord). Every NHMA member, regardless of size, is entitled to one vote at the conference.

Legislative Policies adopted at the Conference guide the actions of the Government Affairs staff in addressing legislation during the ensuing legislative biennium. For the highest-priority policies—identified by the Legislative Policy Conference as action policies—the Government Affairs staff will draft legislation to implement the policies, identify and work with sponsors to introduce the bills, and support them through the legislative process.

NHMA also uses a set of guiding Legislative Principles, which are reviewed and reaffirmed as appropriate by the Legislative Policy Conference, to develop positions on legislation that has not been expressly addressed in the adopted Policy Positions. Examples of legislative principles include: opposing unfunded mandates; working to maintain existing revenue streams to municipalities; and advocating to maintain existing local authority.

During the legislative session, the Government Affairs staff regularly reports to the NHMA Board on legislative developments. During any legislative session, new issues may arise which were not contemplated by the current Policy Positions. The Board has the authority to establish legislative policy positions between Legislative Policy Conferences, in order to provide timely, continuing guidance to the Government Affairs staff.

Get Involved in NHMA’s Legislative Policy Process - Now Looking for Member Volunteers!

NHMA’s biennial legislative policy process is getting underway.  As a first step, we are recruiting volunteers to serve on our three legislative policy committees. These committees will review legislative policy proposals submitted by local officials and NHMA affiliate groups and make recommendations on those policies, which will go to the NHMA Legislative Policy Conference in September.

If you are a local official in an NHMA member municipality and are interested in serving on one of the policy committees, please contact the Government Affairs staff at 800-852-3358, ext. 3408, or governmentaffairs@nhmunicipal.org.

Each of the committees deals with a different set of municipal issues. The committees and their subject areas are as follows:

  • Finance and Revenue – budgeting, revenue, tax exemptions, current use, assessing, tax collection, retirement issues, education funding.
  • General Administration and Governance – elections, Right-to-Know Law, labor, town meeting, charters, welfare, public safety.
  • Infrastructure, Development, and Land Use – solid/hazardous waste, transportation, land use, environmental regulation, housing, utilities, technology, code enforcement, economic development.

When you contact us, please indicate your first and second choices for a committee assignment. We will do our best to accommodate everyone’s first choice, but we do need to achieve approximately equal membership among the committees. We hope to have 15-20 members on each committee.

The first meeting of the committees will be on Friday, April 3, 2020, at the NHMA offices; this will serve as an orientation and an opportunity to coordinate future meeting dates.  Meeting rooms have been reserved every Monday and Friday from April 6 through May 22, which is the date by which the policy committees must complete their work.  Officials from member municipalities will be invited to submit policy suggestions to be reviewed by the committees, with a deadline of Friday, April 17, for submitting policy proposals (see more below).

The policy committees will review policy proposals submitted by local officials and affiliate group members, as well as proposals generated by committee members.  The committee process will allow for in-depth review and discussion of policy suggestions in order that all aspects of the proposal, both positive and negative, will be examined.

Each committee should approve two or three “Action Recommendation” items, which would be drafted by staff for introduction in the 2021-2022 biennium. Each committee may also approve “Priority Recommendations,” which may be developed into legislation depending on staff resources and other factors, and Standing Policy Recommendations. The total number of policy recommendations for each committee should not exceed 15.

Committee recommendations must be completed no later than May 22 for submission to NHMA member municipalities sufficiently in advance of the Legislative Policy Conference that floor policies may be submitted and that each member municipality may determine how to exercise its vote on the policy recommendations at the Legislative Policy Conference.

At the Legislative Policy Conference, scheduled for September 11, 2020, each member municipality may cast one vote. All policy recommendations must receive a 2/3 vote of those present and voting to be adopted. 

Create Change - Submit a Legislative Policy Proposal

Every NHMA legislative policy begins with a proposal submitted by a local official, board, or committee.  If there is a law affecting municipal government that you think needs to be fixed, or if you have an idea for how the functions of local government might be improved with legislation, this is your opportunity to make a change.  

If interested, complete this Legislative Policy Proposal Form to include a brief (one or two sentences) policy statement, a statement about the municipal interest served by the proposal and an explanation that describes the nature of the problem or concern from a municipal perspective and discusses the proposed action that is being advocated to address the problem.  Mail to NHMA, 25 Triangle Park Drive, Concord, NH  03301; or e-mail to governmentaffairs@nhmunicipal.org no later than the close of business on April 17, 2020.

Learn more about NHMA's 2021-2022 Legislative Policy Process in this Questions and Answers fact sheet.