NLC Policy Process Offers Members Chance to Shape Agendas

Article excerpt

Have you ever wanted to change the world; to shape the policies of the federal government to better serve your city and constituents? Have you ever wondered how you and your city could have a voice in shaping the message of the nation's cities?

Well, the Congress of Cities in San Antonio could be just the chance you've been waiting for. It will be a time when elected leaders will have the opportunity to help frame NLC's positions on key issues facing cities which the 105th Congress and the new administration will consider next January. It is in San Antonio that NLC's annual policy process comes together for final consideration, debate, amendments, and adoption. Any NLC member can make a difference.

During the year, over 1,000 NLC members serve on NLC's six Policy Committees. In March at the Congressional City Conference, Policy Committee members establish a policy development agenda for the year. In December during the Congress of Cities, each Policy Committee meets to thoroughly examine the resulting recommendations, and develop a report for consideration by the Resolutions Committee and ultimately by the membership at the Annual Business Meeting.

The process of adopting modifications to the National Municipal Policy at the Congress of Cities (COC) is three-fold:

1) the six Policy Committees meet to act upon the Steering Committees' recommendations for modifications to the NMP and resolutions;

2) the recommendations made by the six Policy Committees are reviewed by the Resolutions Committee which then submits recommendations for consideration by the full membership; and

3) at the Annual Business Meeting, the membership examines and votes on the proposed policy modifications, votes on resolutions, and approves the 1997 National Municipal Policy.

On Saturday, December 7, the six Policy Committees will convene. From 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., the Community and Economic Development (CED); Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources (EENR); and Finance, Administration, and Intergovernmental Relations (FAIR) Committees will meet. Then from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., the Human Development (HD), Transportation and Communications (T&C), and Public Safety and Crime Prevention (PSCP) Committees will conduct their meetings. All NLC members are welcome to attend these meetings. However, only members of each Policy Committee are eligible to vote on the policy recommendations under consideration by that committee. The full membership will have the opportunity to vote at the Annual Business Meeting.

Each Policy Committee will consider NMP amendments and modifications that can originate from several sources:

* Policy recommendations submitted by the Steering Committees-based on the policy agendas established last March, recommended changes were developed by the Steering Committees during their spring and fall meetings.

* Resolutions recommended by the Steering Committees--The Committees prepared new resolutions to address their policy agenda items or to cover emerging issues. Additionally, the Steering Committees evaluated the resolutions that are currently in effect which expire at this year's Congress of Cities to determine whether they recommend: 1) renewing the resolution for another year; 2) incorporating the resolution into the NMP; or 3) letting the resolution expire. …