Parliamentary Law

Town meetings serve as the legislative component of local government in many communities throughout New England. Town meetings operate in accordance with rules of procedure established by general laws, local bylaws, and local customs and traditions. As part of their bylaws, many towns reference a standard parliamentary handbook to provide for most of their rules of procedure. Use of a standard handbook to supplement a few local rules of procedure defined in bylaws provides participants in town meeting with a complete framework that all can readily learn and understand.

The Massachusetts Moderators Association first published in 1962 a handbook of parliamentary law that focuses especially on the operation of those legislative bodies described, in very concise language, as town meetings. The bibliographic information for the current version of this standard parliamentary handbook is:

Johnson, Richard B.; Trustman, Benjamin A.; and Wadsworth, Charles Y. Town Meeting Time: A Handbook of Parliamentary Law, 3rd ed. Boston: Massachusetts Moderators Association, 2001.

Click here for information on ordering Town Meeting Time

Town Meeting Time is also available in many public libraries throughout Massachusetts.