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Defining Special Districts

What is a Principal Act?

A "prinicpal act" is a state law - commonly a set of statutes - that authorizes a type of special purpose unit of local government to be established as a political subdivision of a state to provide limited and specific services within a geographic boundary.

Principal acts outline the governance structures of a type of special districts, limit the scope of public services a type of district can provide, set parameters for elections, may require a type of districts' board of directors to meet at a minimum frequency, and more.

Federal Definition of "Special District" vs. Principal Acts

NSDC's top federal priority is to federally define what a special district is to enhance federal government recognition and understanding of special districts as a class of local government. The definition was very carefully crafted to generally describe what a special district is across all 50 states. NSDC is committed to working with federal agencies including the White House Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Census Bureaus, and others, to understand the diversity of special district services across the states, and to recognize state prinicple acts to altogether grasp those differences.

Learn more about efforts to federally define "Special District"

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