Home Rule Message

Article IX of the New York State Constitution grants local governments certain rights with respect to the control of laws affecting property and affairs of local government. Section 40 of Article 5 of the New York State Statutes specifies the process that is required to enact specific laws that may have an impact on local government. The section of the law is entitled “Municipal Home Rule.”

When a bill is introduced in the Assembly or Senate, it is automatically reviewed by Home Rule Counsel in each house to determine whether a home rule message is required. In the case of the creation of public library districts, a home rule message in not generally required because libraries are deemed to be educational entities and therefore exempt by the state constitution from home rule message requirements.

However, that being said, local legislators introducing the bill may still require some indication that the legislation will not be opposed by local governments within their district. Thus they may require their own “home rule” message prior to introducing the bill. Each legislator determines where that message needs to come from. The format for the message, if required, varies from municipality to municipality. In some cases it may just be a letter from the Town Supervisor and in others it may be a formal resolution on the part of the Town Board.


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Last Updated: July 20, 2009 -- asm [created January 27, 2005]; for questions or comments, contact us