By Stacey Levitt
As NLC's 89th Congress of Cities and Exposition drew to a close, NLC's voting delegates - representing more than 900 credentialed votes -- ratified changes to the organization's National Municipal Policy that will guide the organization's federal advocacy with Congress and the Administration for the year ahead.
In addition to renewing a resolution calling on the federal government to use a balanced approach to address the nation's federal budget deficit, the delegates voted to adopt resolutions that support economic growth and job creation in local communities, including comprehensive immigration reform, continued federal investments in water and transportation infrastructure, regional sustainability, public safety and broadband deployment.
Before voting on the policy positions, the delegates heard reports from the chairs of each of NLC's seven policy and advocacy committees on the important work they accomplished over the year, which served as the basis for the policy statements. This included meetings at NLC's conferences, as well as a joint Policy Forum in Nashville in July.
While delegates during the Annual Business Meeting adopted a majority of the policy proposals sent to them by NLC's Resolutions Committee on a voice vote, two resolutions were set aside during floor debate in the meeting for further discussion. In addition, one resolution was introduced at the meeting by petition and was subsequently adopted on a voice vote.
On behalf of NLC's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Local Officials constituency group, Greg Pettis, council member from Cathedral City, California, asked that two resolutions be set aside and made a motion that they be referred back to the Finance, Administration and Intergovernmental Relations Policy and Advocacy Committee for further study early next year. The motion was adopted.
The first resolution supporting marriage equality calls on Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act; the second calls on Congress to allow GLBT families to benefit from all family-focused tax advantages available to families of mixed-sex people.
Following Resolutions Committee action that sent a resolution involving the Safe Drinking Water exemption for hydraulic fracturing back to the Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Policy and Advocacy Committee (EENR) for further study, voting delegates properly appealed the Resolutions Committee's decision by filing a petition to have the matter considered during Saturday's business meeting. During the Business Meeting, EENR Vice Chair Matt Applebaum, mayor, Boulder, CO, presented this resolution to the delegates and asked for their support. After a spirited discussion of the issue, and multiple procedural votes, NLC membership adopted the resolution.
After delegates completed voting on the policy changes, the meeting concluded with the nomination of a new slate of board members and leadership, culminating with the confirmation of Avondale, AZ Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers as the new NLC president. In this capacity, Mayor Rogers, along with leadership and staff, will lead the organization in all advocacy efforts in 2013 as outlined in the National Municipal Policy.
To review a complete set of the changes to the National Municipal Policy that were adopted at the Conference, click here.