Executive Director Message

Margaret M. L. Byrnes

The information contained in this article is not intended as legal advice and may no longer be accurate due to changes in the law. Consult NHMA's legal services or your municipal attorney.

Happy New Year!  Ringing in the new year also means the start of a new legislative session and a new year of training and education for local officials. Twenty twenty-two—being an even numbered year—also means a new NHMA legislative policy process is upon us. In this issue of Town & City, you will find details about the process and how you can get involved with setting
NHMA’s legislative policies for the next biennium; please also look out for email communications from us over the next few months.

Some of you may be familiar with the policy process, but the new year is a great opportunity to ensure that local officials have the facts about how NHMA advocates for its members. NHMA is an organization established by municipalities, for municipalities—back to its roots in 1941, when it was founded by local officials for the purpose of exchanging information and facilitating more efficient and effective local government. As such, our advocacy is based on the policies and principles created by our members, not by NHMA staff. Furthermore, NHMA’s advocacy is non-partisan and issue-focused. Municipal issues are not partisan, and they affect the everyday lives of New Hampshire citizens: roads, public safety, voting, vital records, trash disposal, library books—and the list goes on.

Over the next year, you can get involved in the process by serving on a legislative policy committee, submitting a policy proposal, or serving as your municipality’s voting delegate at the legislative policy conference next September. The committees review and vet both newly proposed policies—which any NHMA member municipality can submit—as well as NHMA’s current policies, to ultimately recommend a new set of proposed policies for the 2023-2024 biennium.

These proposed policies go to the floor of the legislative policy conference—a town meeting style event—with each member municipality given one voting delegate. All policies must receive a two-thirds majority vote to be adopted. These policies drive the positions that the government affairs staff take on bills throughout the biennium. We serve as your eyes, ears, and voices in the legislature hen you can’t be there—and push out timely and relevant updates throughout the legislative session in our Legislative Bulletin. But your voice matters the most. Even if you can’t get involved in the policy process this year, there are so many ways to engage and take advantage of NHMA’s services, including reading the Bulletin, submitting a letter or sending an email to a legislative committee on a bill that would affect your community, or talking to your own representative or senator directly about issues affecting local government. Our collective effort is the key to NHMA’s success.

Margaret ML Byrnes

Margaret serves as Executive Director and oversees all activities of the New Hampshire Municipal Association.