NLC Membership Approves 2008 National Municipal Policy

Article excerpt

During the Congress of Cities in New Orleans, NLC's seven policy and advocacy committees met to discuss and take action on a wide variety of critical issues to the nation's cities, ranging from public safety to bridge safety, from tax reform to education reform. Culminating a year's work by committee members, all proposed policy amendments and resolutions were approved at the Annual Business Meeting by vote of the NLC membership. Several substantive discussions were held on the floor of the business meeting, resulting in some additions to the committee recommendations.

The resulting National Municipal Policy (NMP) is used to guide NLC's federal advocacy efforts. Policy amendments update standing policy positions, while resolutions on specific, timely matters remain in effect for one year. The complete, updated 2008 National Municipal Policy will be available on the NLC website in December.

A brief summary follows, highlighting some of the new positions in each chapter of the NMP. For further details on the approved changes or the policy process in general, contact the policy analyst listed for each issue area, or call the policy office at 202-626-3027.

Public Safety and Crime Prevention (PSCP)

The PSCP committee focused its attention on addressing how the federal government can assist municipalities in addressing local challenges related to violent crime and disaster preparedness and response.

Two policy amendments relate to prisoner reentry and domestic violence. Nine existing resolutions were recommended for renewal and two new resolutions were passed.

One new resolution addresses the federal government's role in assisting municipalities to prevent and combat violent crime; the additional resolution urges Congress to revise the Robert T. Stafford Act to enable municipalities to seek a declaration of disaster when a county is ineligible. (Staff contact: Melinda Glazer, glazer@nlc.org)

Transportation Infrastructure and Services (TIS)

The TIS committee was heavily engaged in surface transportation funding this year; a subcommittee focused specifically on reauthorization and policy recommendations will be developed next year.

Several policy amendments were passed, covering innovative transportation technologies, regional strategies for a seamless transportation system, dedicated funding for transportation enhancements and the potential use of customs duties to finance waterway and port operations and improvements.

In addition to renewing four resolutions set to expire this year, two new resolutions address road and bridge safety and increased federal funding for Amtrak. (Staff contact: Julia Pulidindi, pulidindi@nlc.org)

Energy, Environment and Natural Resources (EENR)

The EENR committee focused this year on developing and implementing an NLC Action Plan on Sustainability, but also produced a range of policy and resolutions.

A revised definition of sustainability will better frame the chapter's focus on the issue. Additional policy amendments encourage research into alternative options for managing nuclear waste and update the section on wetlands. Another amendment incorporates into permanent policy a current resolution opposing federal preemption related to the siting and permitting of energy infrastructure.

A new resolution concerns the threat of sea-level rise to the nation's cities, urging the federal government to begin researching the effects of this serious potential problem. …