2022 Legislative Priorities
MML Priority Process:
At the September 15th meeting of the MML Legislative Committee, the members of the committee unanimously recommended that the membership adopt two priorities for the 2022 legislative session. These items were formally adopted at the MML Fall Conference in October.
The recommended priorities are:
- Continue to advocate for the return and protection of municipal highway revenues, and
- Ensure municipalities have the option of creating their own Police Accountability Boards and Committees, following last year’s new law enforcement policy changes.
The Members of the committee also recommend one strategic initiative this year: climate change mitigation.
Priority #1 - Highway User Revenues:
We have been fighting this battle since HUR funding was cut following the 2008 recession. After persevering through almost a decade of severely diminished highway user revenue funding, mitigated somewhat by one-time grants along the way, 2018 legislation brought municipalities back to 85% of pre-recession levels; but only for five fiscal years. After fiscal year 2024 the law is set to return us back to the low levels we experienced only a few years ago.
During the 2021 General Assembly session, MML was successful in convincing the State Senate to remove that 2024 funding provision, which would have kept us from toppling over a fiscal cliff. Instead, we would stay at our current level of funding indefinitely. Unfortunately, we were competing with other state spending priorities, as well as high-profile issues and a virtual environment, and the House failed to act on the bill before the end of the session.
After a several-year process of educating legislators about the importance of HURs to municipalities, we believe the time is now to remove the sunset provision and fully and permanently restore municipal HURs. As a result, the Committee voted unanimously to again recommend the restoration of municipal Highway User Revenues as one of our two priorities.
Priority #2 - Police Accountability:
Part of the police reform suite of legislation that passed in 2021 requires each County to have a police accountability board and establish an administrative charging committee. The law does not, however, offer municipalities the option to establish their own Accountability Board and Charging Committees, despite their municipal police departments having autonomy from their county counterparts.
This year’s proposal would revise the state law relating to Police Accountability Boards and Administrative Charging Committees to give municipalities to option of creating their own Board and Committee.
Strategic Initiative - Climate Change:
While the League membership does not vote to adopt these issues, the committee felt they were important enough to warrant increased attention this year.
Strategic initiatives differ from legislative priorities in that MML does not actively seek sponsors to introduce a bill on a very specific issue. Instead, they are often used as an educational tool and a point of emphasis regardless whether or not legislation is introduced on the subject.
This year, for the second consecutive year, we have adopted climate change as a strategic initiative. With climate change impacting every corner of the State, through flooding, shore erosion, summer heatwaves, and more severe storms, the Legislative Committee is being asked to take a closer look at a broader range of environmental bills for their municipal impact every year. Adopting this strategic initiative enables us to approach climate change mitigation not just legislatively, but holistically.