The Division of Local Mandates is another critical resource for cities and towns, lawmakers and the Courts. Enacted in 1980 as part of the Proposition 2 1/2 tax initiative, the Local Mandate Law gives the State Auditor's Office the authority to determine if a proposed or existing state mandate imposes any direct costs on a city or town and provide an analysis of the financial impact. Elected municipal leaders, appointed managers, school or educational collaborative officials, as well as lawmakers and legislative committees, may petition DLM for an opinion and request a cost impact analysis.

When the Auditor issues a mandate determination, the petitioner has several options for resolution:

  • Ask the local Representative or Senator to pursue state funding in order for the community to comply with the law or pursue local option language which gives the community the option of complying with the law.
  • Seek an exemption from the law in superior court. Only the courts can declare that a law is ineffective in any city, town or regional school district. The court does consider a DLM determination as primary evidence in these cases.
  • Get ten residents who pay taxes to file a class action suit in superior court to seek an exemption from complying with the law.

There are several exemptions and court decisions that guide DLM in determining if a law or regulation is an unfunded state mandate. See Division of Local Mandates Frequently Asked Questions for more information.