Massachusetts law about town meetings

A compilation of laws, rules, and web sources on Massachusetts town meeting law.

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Table of Contents


Updated guidance on holding meetings pursuant to the Act Extending Certain COVID-19 Measures, Mass. Attorney General, regarding St. 2022, c.107, which extended the provisions of COVID-19 Order #1, July 18, 2022.

Best bet

Citizen's guide to town meetings, Secretary of the Commonwealth (2008).
"This booklet outlines the forms and procedures used in Massachusetts Town Meetings."

Massachusetts laws

Massachusetts Constitution, Amendment LXXXIX 
Draws the distinction between cities and towns, and allows for home-rule charters.

MGL c.39, §§ 9-18 Municipal government; city government and town meetings

MGL c.43A Standard form of representative town meeting government

Rules of procedure

Most Massachusetts town meetings use one or both of the following:

Roberts Rules of Order

Town Meeting Time

Web sources

About town meeting, Lexington.
A nice explanation of how a representative town meeting works in one town.

Guide to citizens' petitions for town meetings by James Lampke, Hull Town Counsel, 2013.
A brief guide "intended to present in layman’s terms the process for citizens to petition Town Meeting."

Information about the town meeting process, Concord.  
An introduction to the open town meeting process in one town.

Massachusetts Moderators Association
Provides information for both moderators and the general public, including informational videos and downloadable materials.


Last updated: March 20, 2023

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