Local governments do not operate in a vacuum. Legislative decisions in Springfield and Washington have a major impact on the fiscal health and stability of our municipalities and townships. These often well intentioned decisions create unfunded mandates upon local governments that increase the financial burden on our taxpayer constituents and/or interfere with the ability to efficiently manage our communities.
Protecting the collective interests of local governments creates the need to work cooperatively on legislative matters. The Northwest Municipal Conference has a long history of fulfilling this need for our member communities through a proactive approach to state and federal legislation. By combining individual concerns into a unified voice, the Conference has a proven track record of being a statewide leader in advocating the positions of our communities in the legislative arena.
In order to meet this need, the Conference’s efforts are directed by our Legislative Committee. Consisting of both elected and appointed local government officials, the NWMC Legislative Committee combines their collective talents to address the challenges and opportunities presented in our state and federal capitols. Supplementing the efforts of the Legislative Committee is the Conference staff with the Executive Director, Deputy Director and Policy Director actively representing our communities in Springfield. Their work is further supported through the use of a contract legislative consultant who maintains a constant presence in the state capitol.
The Legislative Committee engages a four pronged approach to legislative issues:
· Identify legislative issues that potentially affect our communities and taxpayers
· Analyze these legislative issues to determine the potential impacts
· Craft legislative solutions to these issues that benefit our communities and taxpayers
· Advocate for positive legislative solutions on behalf of local governments and our constituents
The Conference engages in several organized activities to facilitate our legislative efforts. At the beginning of each year’s legislative session, we host a brunch with our legislators to provide them with an early perspective of our legislative issues. We follow up at key points during the session with our annual Legislative Days in Springfield, where local government officials hit the capitol dome to communicate our most up to date legislative positions. At any point during session, our officials, staff and consultants can be found in Springfield directly addressing those issues that affect our communities.