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Legislative Advocacy
General Assembly
A common bond between municipal leaders in Rhode Island is their desire to improve the quality of life in their communities. Sooner or later, however, local officials realize that much of what happens within their own borders is directed by others outside of their jurisdiction, primarily by the General Assembly.

This is why the League's fundamental role and primary mission is legislative advocacy of the collective interests of its membership before the Rhode Island General Assembly. To fulfill this mission, the League's program of legislative advocacy has, by necessity, become one which is extremely pro-active, responsibly re-active, highly visible, and very-time consuming.

Average Session Work
During an "average" session of the General Assembly, over 4,800 legislative bills are introduced and filed in the legislature's various committees for action. Each of these initiatives is analyzed by the League to determine whether the legislation impacts local government administration, finance, personnel, or regulatory authority. Those identified as having such an impact, an average of some 450 bills per session, are continuously tracked during the legislative session.

Primary sponsors of identified legislation are spoken to, either to indicate the League's support of their bill or to indicate the bill is problematic to local government interests. Effort is made, whenever possible, to suggest amendments to all such bills. If a bill represents something so onerous to local interests (e.g., compulsory binding arbitration of municipal employee labor contract impasses), the legislator is informed of the association's opposition to passage and the fact that it will openly oppose passage at any legislative committee hearing on the legislation.

In addition to the regular legislation, the League analyzes the state's budget and its articles to assess the budget's impact on existing aid programs and to ascertain whether the proposed budget creates any new mandates or initiatives that impact cities and towns.

Updates to Members
During the General Assembly session, the League continually keeps its membership informed of the legislature's activities through its Legislative Alerts, publications, and reports.

Needless to say, effective local government advocacy during any session of the General Assembly is extremely important and it requires a continuous presence, not only of League staff, but of local opinion, to be truly effective. The reality is that you cannot be an effective municipal leader today if you ignore the significant role played by the General Assembly (and other branches of state government) in regulating and funding the activities of local government.