Recent Changes to SB2

The bifurcated town meeting law, colloquially known as “SB2,” was intended to increase the number of voters participating in town meeting decisions by allowing residents to vote by ballot, rather than at a lengthy meeting.  Ironically, this law prompted by concern that only 10-20% of voters participated in town meetings created an alternative where the less than 3% who typically attend a deliberative session wield similar power.  When it became common to “amend” warrant articles at SB2 deliberative sessions by essentially deleting them – leaving only the words “to see…” the legislature sprang into action.  The new law, effective for 2011 town meetings, prohibits a deliberative session from amending warrant articles by deleting most of the words.  The new law is unlikely to cause much consternation among the dozen or so people who attend most deliberative sessions, because they are still free to render warrant articles meaningless by inserting a critical word (such as “not”), or by amending an appropriation to zero.

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