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Board puts emphasis on health care, mandates, crime.

The NLC Board of Directors assessed progress on the 1993 Action Agenda, with particular emphasis on health care reform, crime, and reducing mandates, and initiated planning for the 1994 Action Agenda to guide the organization during the coming year.

Three policy committee chairs joined the Board during its meeting in Orlando to provide updates on key policy issues which, in part, reflected the 1993 Action Agenda and to recommend action in 1994 on emerging issues.

Human Development (HD) Policy Committee Chair Dorothy Inman-Crews, mayor of Tallahassee, Fla., reported on that committee's work on health care reform focusing primarily on the committee's positions supporting an employer mandate to finance health care reform and supporting the ultimate goal of a single payer system. (See related story on policy action at the NLC Annual Business Meeting.)

Transportation and Communications (T&C) Policy Committee Chair Sharon Priest, City Director of Little Rock, Arkansas, reported on that committee's work to begin to develop a new direction for communication policy. Priest told the Board that the T&C Committee had spent the past year examining the implications of emerging technologies that will establish the telecommunications "highway of tomorrow." She urged the Board to make telecommunications one of its action priorities in 1994 and to refer the report of the T&C Committee to all five policy committees in 1994 for their consideration.

The Board accepted the T&C Report and will include telecommunications as a potential priority when it meets in March 1994.

Finance, Administration and Intergovernmental Relations Committee Chair Greg Lashutka, Mayor of Columbus, Ohio, reported on his committee's work in the area of regionalism. Lashutka told the Board that the FAIR Committee believes that the manner in which municipal issues are framed and resolved within a regional perspective is a key element for the future of many of America's cities and towns. He recommended that the FAIR Committee be charged with pursuing this issue in more depth in 1994 with a goal of providing an interim report to the Board at its July 1994 meeting.

The Board accepted the FAIR Committee report and recommendations.

The Board also reviewed its current policy on unfunded mandates and heard a report from the FAIR Committee on a proposed amendment to the policy adding four general principles to clarify NLC's position on mandates. NLC's mandate preamble to the National Municipal Policy, which was adopted by the Board, the Resolutions Committee, and the general membership at the 1991 Congress of Cities states that NLC opposes federal mandates unless the National Municipal Policy specifically supports such as mandate. (See related story on policy action at the NLC Annual Business Meeting.)

The Board accepted the report affirming NLC's current policy on unfunded mandates and its current position supporting Congressional action to ease the burden of current and prospective federal mandates without identifying any one bill as the best approach. More than 30 bills have been introduced in Congress on the subject of unfunded mandates. The Board asked new NLC President Sharpe James to take the lead in bringing together the elected leadership of the state and local public interest groups to reach a consensus on viable federal legislation to respond to state and local concerns about unfunded mandates.

In response to a report on recent Congressional action on anti-crime legislation including enactment of the Brady bill, the Board asked NLC President James to coordinate NLC's response to different versions of the crime bills to ensure the most effective federal-local partnership to help cities fight crime. Board members expressed concern that the Senate-passed version of the crime bill could force spending cuts in other programs that indirectly help cities fight crime particularly Head Start and job training. Similarly, several Board members expressed reservations about the emphasis on enforcement by hiring more police officers and the lack of flexibility in the Congressional approaches.

In other business, the Board:

* initiated data gathering for the 1994 Action Agenda which will be developed by the new Board of Directors at its March 12 meeting in Washington, D.C. An Action Agenda ballot listing possible priorities was distributed to the Board, Advisory Council, and Policy Committees and will be published in an upcoming issue of Nation's Cities Weekly.

* received the report of the Advisory Council on Global Dollars, Local Sense and directed the staff to develop an implementation agenda based on that report.

* agreed to extend a Human Development Subcommittee on Youth, Education, and Families for an additional year as part of NLC's continuing 10-point agenda on Youth, Education, and Families.

* reviewed proposed guidelines for establishing and providing staff support to constituency groups and asked the staff to provide a more detailed report for action in March.

* adopted procedures for appointing NLC members to represent NLC in negotiated rule making processes.

Kansas City Will Host 1998 Congress of Cities

The NLC Board of Directors has selected Kansas City, Mo. as the site for the 1998 Congress of Cities. The dates for the conference are Thursday, December 3, through Sunday, December 6, 1998.

The city is currently working on a major expansion to its convention center which will more than double its size. That renovation will be completed in 1995.

Earlier this year, the Mayor and City Council unanimously adopted a resolution inviting NLC to hold its 1998 conference in Kansas City, "the heart of America." Kansas City Council members George Blackwood and Ken Bacchus presented the city's bid to the Board at its Orlando meeting and pledge the city's strong commitment to hosting the 1998 Congress of Cities.

Kansas City has never hosted an NLC Congress of Cities. Other confirmed sites for upcoming conferences are Minneapolis, December 1-4, 1994; Phoenix, November 29-December 2, 1995; San Antonio, December 7-10, 1996; and Philadelphia, December 4-7, 1997.
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Title Annotation:National League of Cities Board of Directors
Author:Baker, Denise
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Dec 13, 1993
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