Functions of the Attorney General's Municipal Law Unit
Whenever a town adopts or amends its general by-laws or zoning by-laws, within 30 days of adjournment of town meeting, the Town Clerk is required to submit them to the Attorney General for review and approval. The Attorney General then has 90 days in which to decide whether the proposed amendments are consistent with the constitution and the laws of the Commonwealth. If the Attorney General finds an inconsistency between the proposed amendments and state law, the amendments or portions thereof will be disapproved. The Municipal Law Unit is responsible for undertaking this review and for issuing a written decision approving or disapproving by-law amendments. Under the law, the Municipal Law Unit is required to review bylaws for consistency with state law and may not take policy considerations into account.
Whenever a city or town seeks to adopt or amend its charter pursuant to the Home Rule Procedures Act (General Laws, Chapter 43B), the proposed charter or charter amendments must be submitted to the Attorney General for his opinion as to the consistency between the charter (or charter amendments) and state law. The Attorney General then has 28 days in which to make this determination. The Municipal Law Unit is responsible for undertaking this review and for issuing a written decision