Policy Setting Process

Our Advocacy Efforts Matter!  Your Voice Matters More!

Established in 1941 as a voluntary association of New Hampshire’s cities and towns, the New Hampshire Municipal Association has served as the primary legislative advocate for New Hampshire’s municipalities, representing its members at the state legislature and before numerous federal and state administrative agencies.

We are a unique advocacy organization in that we do not support or endorse any candidate or political party.  Our ability to maintain significant political relevance is tied directly to our advocacy efforts and the relationships we have cultivated over many years with state and municipal leaders, the New Hampshire Legislature, state agency officials and other stakeholder groups. 

As many municipal officials already know, our legislative work is a full-time, year-round job.  It is an ongoing process and staff members have already been working on laying the foundation for the next legislative biennium.  The success of NHMA’s legislative efforts, in large part, depends on you.  You work at the level of government that is closest to the citizen and you are uniquely situated to help legislators understand how pending legislation affects your city or town. 

Step One:  Get Involved – Volunteer for a Policy Committee

 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.

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, other governance and legal matters.
  • Infrastructure, Development, and Land Use – solid/hazardous waste, transportation, land use, environmental regulation, housing, utilities, code enforcement, economic development.

volunteer sign up

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.

There will be an organizational meeting for all committees on Friday April 1. After that, each committee will meet separately as many times as necessary to review the policy proposals assigned to it—typically three to five meetings, all held on either a Monday or Friday, between early April and the end of May.

The committee process will allow for in-depth review and discussion of policy suggestions so all aspects of each proposal, both positive and negative, will be examined. Based on that review, each committee will make recommendations for the adoption of legislative policies.

policy checklist

Once the committees complete their work, their policy recommendations will be sent to every municipal member of NHMA. Each municipality’s governing body will be encouraged to review the recommendations and establish positions on them. Members will also have an opportunity to submit floor policy proposals in advance of the Legislative Policy Conference in September.

At the Legislative Policy Conference, each member municipality is entitled to cast one vote on every policy recommendation submitted and on any floor proposals. Each policy proposal must receive a two-thirds affirmative vote of those present and voting in order to be adopted as an NHMA policy.

legislative policy process

Step 2:  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 through legislation, this is your opportunity to make a change.

Here is a Legislative Policy Proposal Form that can be used to submit a proposal for consideration. The deadline for submitting proposals is April 15, although earlier submission is encouraged. Please follow the instructions on the form for submitting your proposal.

We leave you, then, with two assignments, should you choose to accept them:

  • Contact the Government Affairs Staff (soon!) if you are interested in serving on a legislative policy committee (send us an email at governmentaffairs@nhmunicipal.org); and
  • Submit a legislative policy proposal if you have an issue that you would like to be considered as part of this year’s policy process. If you have a policy suggestion, it is not too early to send it in! Policy proposals may be submitted by a board or a local official from a member municipality.  Please use the form above and email to us at governmentaffairs@nhmunicipal.org.    

 

legislative policy 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.

policy statement

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.

DOWNLOAD 2021-2022 LEGISLATIVE POLICY POSITIONS

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.