Drafting Local Laws and Resolutions

Although town/city resolutions are non-binding legislation, it’s a good way to declare a stance on an issue in a formal way and to get the issue in front of active voters.  The wording should be simple, clear and stating a specific purpose or goal.  Getting multiple municipalities along a pipeline route to band together and place similar resolutions in place can begin to present a considerable block of opposition to influence elected officials and regulators.

» See the resolution passed at Cummington’s Town Meeting.

» Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) Joint Resolution
See the Joint Resolution here.

*“Why Resolutions are Important”, from NewPrioritiesNetwork.org

We’ve also found out another way to get a resolution up for a vote if your towns’ select-board is resistant to allowing it on the regular town meeting warrant.
In Massachusetts, town residents may call a Special Town Meeting WITHOUT approval of Select Board, if they get signatures from 20% of registered voters or a cap of 200  voters in larger towns.  Some towns may have special by-laws in place that would need to be researched, but it opens up avenues if you’re running into a roadblock with your town’s selectboard.
(Info from Citizens Guide to Town Meetings, published by Secy. Galvin’s office).

Some municipalities are looking to Rights-Based Resolutions and Ordinances to protect their towns. Since the legal weight of rights-based resolutions and ordinances often come under question, some municipalities have done so alongside a separate resolution to ban new pipelines, just to cover both bases.
» See Ashfield’s Community Rights Resolution.

» Boston Ordinance