Pandemic or not, local governments can’t afford to stand still. Social, business, and quality of life issues continue to crop up or evolve. Legislative acts must continue to respond and keep communities moving forward. Over the past year, several topics have surfaced as trends in ordinances across municipalities of all sizes and types.
Codifying during through the pandemic – and beyond
In 2020, the greatest trends for local government legislation tended to focus on urgent pandemic-related topics: face masks, virtual meetings for municipal governments, social distancing, and the like. And with the pandemic still widespread, those kinds of issues continue to be a primary legislative focus. But it’s also clear that matters stemming from the changes in our social lives and behaviors require attention as well.
Updating ordinances for business not-as-usual
Stay-at-home orders, social distancing, and other health concerns left businesses – particularly dining establishments – unable to provide their services as they always had. As a result, local governments started reviewing and altering zoning, parking, business hours, sidewalk space, and other ordinances to accommodate the “new normal” that COVID-19 brought with it.
Our Trending Legislation series looked at topics that related to some of these changes:
Refreshing municipal codes for life not-as-usual, too
Personal behaviors also changed during the pandemic. As people stayed home, they adopted new pets or spent more time with the ones they already had. Walking the dog became a popular pastime to get out of the house safely and enjoy some exercise with a companion. Folks also took new forms of entertainment into their own hands with personal firework displays skyrocketing in size and frequency, bordering on – and sometimes becoming – a real nuisance and safety concern. Once again, local governments sought to help with ordinances that both regulated and restricted these activities.
Related topics in our Trending Legislation series include:
Enacting ‘not everything is about the pandemic’ legislation
While the COVID health crisis still demands much focus, local legislators also know that its important to stay on top of other critical issues. Pre-pandemic, municipalities already had a legislative to-do list, and, as those in local government know, matters of community concern are always developing. Recent hot topics that have risen to the top have ranged from unmanned aircraft to marijuana use and sale to natural hair discrimination bans.
Recognizing these trends, the blogs that rounded out our series this year include:
- Drone Use Takes Off
- Electric Vehicles
- Our two-part series on marijuana:
Marijuana Legalization & Local Government and Cannabis & Zoning
- Hair Discrimination
- Social Hosting
More to come!
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