Legislative Update: We're Here to Recruit You!

Natch Greyes, Government Affairs Counsel

It’s time to plan for late winter and early spring. The weather will almost certainly be dreary, and you’ll be wanting an escape from the darkness that pervades winter. What about a handful of mini vacations to the warm offices of NHMA where you can spend the ugly morning hours with your friends and colleagues determining what NHMA will advocate for during the 2025-2026 legislative session?

NHMA is a non-partisan, non-profit organization with our policies set by our members – meaning you! And we need your help and guidance to ensure that we are advocating for policies that are vetted and embraced by the wide swath of our membership.

We represent all 234 cities and towns at the legislature, and we’d love the voice of all 234 to contribute to our policy setting process. The process begins, of course, with you volunteering to serve on a policy committee. These committees do the very important work of reviewing our existing policies and principles and make recommendations to the full policy conference. These committees are: (1) General Administration and Governance, (2) Finance and Revenue, and (3) Infrastructure, Development, and Land Use.

The General Administration and Governance policy committee’s subject areas include local authority and efficiency; right-to-know law; elections; labor and employment; and substance use, prevention and response. This is the perfect committee for those of you who care about changes to the right-to-know law, ranked choice voting and other election issues, employer-employee relations, and subjects such as cannabis legalization.

The Finance and Revenue policy committee’s subject areas include property taxes and related revenues; state aid and non-property tax revenues; the New Hampshire Retirement System (NHRS); and education funding. In other words, if you’re interested in municipal finance, the state retirement system, property taxation, or local option credits and exemptions, this is the committee that recommends policy for those areas.

The Infrastructure, Development, and Land Use committee’s subject areas include energy, environment, and sustainability; water resources protection, control, and management; solid waste management; housing; land use; information technology, communications, and cybersecurity; transportation; economic development, recovery, and vitality. If you care about infrastructure, housing and land use, energy policy, or landfills, this is the committee for you.

After each of these committees does its work over the course of three-to-five meetings in the spring, their recommendations are sent out to our full membership in preparation for the full policy conference. Over the course of the summer, we receive additional proposals from members and members consider the proposed changes to our legislative policies.  

policy process  Members of the Legislative Policy Committees met on April 1, 2022 for Organizational Day.

In September, everyone comes together for breakfast and the meeting of the full policy committee. Our aim is for all 234 members to send a representative to that conference. That conference is a one morning affair modeled after, unsurprisingly, a town meeting. A moderator (the chair of our board of directors) oversees the debate and discussion over the proposed changes to our legislative policies while our members make motions, including amendments, to decide what our legislative policies should be for the 2025 – 2026 legislative session. And the whole process STARTS WITH YOU!

While you consider your plans for the gnarly weather of early spring, consider how helpful your perspective on the issues facing municipalities could be for setting NHMA policy. We’ve championed local control since our inception not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because we recognize that New Hampshire is comprised of 234 unique communities, each with a little different flavor. There are many issues that unite us, but each community faces its own unique set of circumstances and deals with issues in its own way. That variety is the spice of life in the Granite State.

We want to be sure that we reflect that panoply of thought at the statehouse and we need your help to do it. We need you to volunteer to sit on our policy committees so that we get input from every part of the state. The challenges faced by the Lakes Region are different than those faced by the Seacoast. The North Country has different concerns than the Monadnock. The biggest cities and the littlest towns have different needs. By your voices combined, NHMA policies reflect the needs of all.

If you already know that you want to volunteer, reach out to us at 603-224-7447 or governmentaffairs@nhmunicipal.org. We’ll make sure to let you know when we schedule organization day and get your preference for committee assignment. If you need some time to think about it, that’s okay, too. We’ll be formally soliciting volunteers in a couple of months, but we wanted to make sure that this once-in-a-biennium volunteer opportunity was on your radar with plenty of time to spare.

natch greyes

Natch Greyes is the Government Affairs Counsel with the New Hampshire Municipal Association. He may be contacted at 603.224.7447 or at governmentaffairs@nhmunicipal.org.