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February 5, 2009

Town Meeting is fast approaching. No doubt debate will be as lively as ever on March 14th.

One of the things that will be on the ballot March 10 is SB2 also knows as Senate Bill 2 or RSA 40:13. Passage of SB2 replaces annual Town Meeting with a "deliberative session." The deliberative session is conducted much like Town Meeting with one important difference. During the deliberative session no final vote is taken on any article. Instead warrant articles are voted on using traditional ballots during all-day voting at the same time that town officials are elected.

Reasons not to pass SB2:
  • Attendance at deliberative sessions is considerably less then attendance at Town Meeting
  • Voters learn more about the issues at Town Meeting
  • Town budget increases more likely to be approved at Town Meeting (town service are funded and citizen needs are met)
  • Under SB2 small groups of attendees can effectively defeat warrant articles from appearing on the ballot by ammending articles so that the monitary line is $0 (zero)
  • Small town "flavor" is altered with passage of SB2
Reasons to pass SB2:
  • Voters unable to attend Town Meeting still able to vote on warrant articles
  • Voters turn out increases (larger percentage of voters deciding town issues)
  • Town spending decreases (large town budget increases more likely to be voted down)
  • More time to consider warrant articles prior to voting
  • Voting is "secret"

Links explaining the facts of SB2:

  • What is Senate Bill 2?
  • Chapter 39: Time for Holding Town Meetings and Warning Thereof
  • Chapter 40: Government of Town Meeting (See section 40:13)
  • What is SB2? - An excellent explanation at the Windham, NH official website.

Links from New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies (research concerning SB2 and it's impact on the voting process):

Pro SB2 links:

Anti-SB2 links:

Newspaper articles:

Radio Stories:

  • SB2 and Town Meeting (NHPR)
  • SB2 Towns Five Years Later (NHPR)
  • Municipalities, Cities, Regions: Governing Growth (NHPR)


  • Google link




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