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.

In this issue of Town & City, we have included our 2022 Annual Report. Last year was another great year of serving our members, and we hope that members will take the time to review the report to get a sense for what NHMA is doing for you—and whether your municipality is taking full advantage of your membership services. If you want a more detailed explanation of your membership benefits, please check out our webinar from December 2022, describing NHMA’s full array of services—you can find the recording on our website in the webinar archive.

From unusual warmth to record-setting freezes atop Mt. Washington, 2023 is off to an inauspicious start. The majority of our members are in the midst of town meeting season. NHMA has just completed its annual Moderators Workshops, and we’re preparing for a new Local Officials Workshop series—and new edition of Knowing the Territory!

Here in Concord, we’re also in the midst of the legislative session.  At the time this edition goes to print, we will be getting closer to the date of “crossover,” a term that refers to the deadline each for chamber to act on a bill in order for it to cross over to the other chamber (March 30 for the Senate and April 6 for the House). This is an important but often misunderstood term. Only the bills that are recommended as Ought to Pass (or Ought to pass with Amendment) will “crossover” to the other chamber for a new public hearing. Because of this, there will be fewer hearings on bills than there were in the first half of the session. Because everything that crosses over will get another hearing in the other chamber, it is another opportunity for local officials to testify, submit written testimony, and speak to their legislators on important legislation.

But fewer public hearings does not mean less going on! By the time you are reading this, House Finance and its three divisions will be hard at work reviewing the governor's proposed budget and preparing for the arrival of HB 1 (the proposed state budget) and HB 2 (the budget "trailer bill)," which contains the policy changes and details that go along with the budget. It's also important to note that some of the bills tabled before crossover may show up as an amendment to HB 2 and will not have a second hearing in the other chamber.  And once the House passes HB 1 and HB 2, the Senate will engage in the same process as the House. Confused? Don’t worry about it! That’s what NHMA is for. Follow the legislative session by subscribing to our Legislative Bulletin and our live bill tracker for more information—or shoot us an email at govermentaffairs@nhmunicipal.org.

Warmest regards,

margaret byrnes

Margaret M.L. Byrnes, Executive Director