ONLINE RECORDS AND DOCUMENTS


Introduction & Glossary


How the Suffolk County Legislature Works:

Each year, on the first business day in January, the Suffolk County Legislature meets at its Organizational Meeting. It is at this meeting that the Legislature elects its Presiding Officer and Deputy Presiding Officer. The election is decided by a majority vote of the entire membership. It is also at this meeting that the rules under which the Legislature will operate are adopted. The Clerk and Deputy Clerk of the Legislature and Counsel are also elected.

The Legislature holds General Meetings once or twice a month depending on the month and usually meets on a Tuesday. Meetings are held in Hauppauge with four meetings scheduled for Riverhead this year.

The session is called to order by the Presiding Officer at 9:30 a.m. In 2014 there will be four evening meetings beginning at 4:00 p.m. The roll is called to determine if a quorum is present (a majority of the 18 Legislators constitutes a quorum). The Legislature breaks between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Evening meetings do not have a break. At the beginning of General Meeting, the floor is opened up to members of the public where they are permitted three minutes to speak on any topic.

At 2:30 p.m. the Legislature conducts formal Public Hearings on scheduled local and charter laws. Prior to each of these formal hearings, the floor is opened to members of the public who wish to address the Legislature. Speakers are limited to three minutes each. During evening meetings the Legislature conducts formal public hearings at 6:30 p.m.

All resolutions and local laws to be submitted to the Legislature shall be filed with the Clerk of the Legislature by 1:00 p.m. at least three (3) business days prior to the meetings at which such resolutions and local laws are to be laid on the table.

A member of the Legislature may introduce a Home Rule Message by submitting same to the Clerk of the Legislature, no later than 1:00 p.m. at least three (3) business days preceding the next scheduled meeting. These resolutions and local laws are made available to all Legislators and to the County Executive. They are laid on the table, submitted for committee review, and the vote takes place at the next scheduled meeting of the Legislature.

Resolutions and Local Laws:

The passage of resolutions and local laws is by vote of a majority of the entire Legislature, except for special circumstances where 2/3 or 3/4 vote is required by law. A full roll call can be taken on any question when requested by a Legislator and must be taken on all resolutions authorizing the appropriation of money. (When a Certificate of Necessity is presented to the Clerk, the rules of the Legislature and the Charter require a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the total membership for adoption.)

Home Rule:

A Home Rule Message is a request by the County Legislature for specific legislation from the New York State Legislature concerning the property, affairs of government of the County of Suffolk. It is initiated by either the State Assembly and/or Senate. The certified form (called a Home Rule Request) must accompany certain state legislation in order for it to be voted on by either House. Special laws requiring a home rule message refer to legislation which in terms and effect applies to one or more, but not all, municipalities in the State. If, at the local level, a home rule request is endorsed by the County Executive, only a majority vote of the Legislature is necessary; however, if it is not endorsed by the County Executive, then at least two-thirds (2/3) of the Suffolk County Legislature must vote in the affirmative. An official Home Rule Message shall be deemed one submitted pursuant to, and in compliance with Section 40 of the NEW YORK MUNICIPAL HOME RULE LAW.

Other:

The County Legislature may give immediate consideration to any resolution that has received the approval of a majority of the membership of the primary committee to which it was assigned that pertains to the adoption of:

1. a local law with prior public hearing by County Legislature.
2. the annual capital program or capital expense
3. the annual capital budget, and
4. a home rule message

Legislative Committees:

There are 12 committees for 2014. The Chairperson of each committee is appointed by the Presiding Officer as deemed necessary.

Rules of the Legislature:

Each year, on the first business day in January, the Suffolk County Legislature meets at its Organizational Meeting and the rules under which the Legislature will operate are adopted. The full text of these rules are included under the Rules of Legislature section of the Website.