GUIDE TO THE SUFFOLK COUNTY LEGISLATURE A Message from the

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GUIDE TO THE SUFFOLK COUNTY LEGISLATURE A Message from the Powered By Docstoc
					                    2004 - 2005 GUIDE TO THE
                 SUFFOLK COUNTY LEGISLATURE
                                A Message from the Presiding Officer
                                    JOSEPH T. CARACAPPA
ELECTED BY HIS PEERS TO THE POSITION OF PRESIDING OFFICER OF THE SUFFOLK
COUNTY LEGISLATURE, JOE CARACAPPA HAS ASSUMED THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE
OFFICE WITH PRIDE AND DEDICATION TO THIS VITALLY IMPORTANT UNDERTAKING:

                                            I feel empowered by this vote      our annual budget, which is an
                                         of confidence not only to             issue of paramount importance
                                         perform my duties as Legislator       in the Presiding Officer’s list of
                                         of the 4th Legislative District but   responsibilities.
                                         to enthusiastically address the
                                                                                  We are here to reflect your
                                         additional responsibilities of
                                                                               needs and we sincerely welcome
                                         Presiding     Officer      -     an
                                                                               your input as we move through a
                                         assignment which I take very
                                                                               difficult and complex time in our
                                         seriously.
                                                                               history. You are very much part
                                            You, as the public, are always     of our decision making since it is
                                         encouraged to participate in the      you, the people, who inspire our
                                         processes         of       County     actions. We look forward to your
                                         government. You are welcome to        participation as we seek to
                                         contact my office at any time         ensure the highest possible
                                         should you have questions or          quality of life for the public.
                                         concerns relating to the initiation
                                         or progression of County                        Joseph T. Caracappa
                                         legislation or the development of                 Presiding Officer



                    Suffolk County Groundbreaking Legislation
1974: Law to buy development rights to protect             1998: Law to phase out pesticides on county-
      farmland                                                   owned property
1981: Law to require deposit on beverage containers        1998: Ban of MTBE in gasoline
1984: First ban on smoking in public places                2000: Well water testing prior to home purchase
1984: Establishment of Pine Barrens Zone                   2000: First ban on use of hand-held cell phones by
1984: Law requiring school buses to use safety belts             drivers
1985: Open Space Preservation Program Adopted              2001: Prescription drug reimbursement program
1986: Drinking Water Protection Program adopted                  for seniors
1987: First anti-sexual harassment statute to protect      2001: Living Wage law approved
                                                           2002: Expand veterans’ property tax exemption
      employees
                                                           2002: Restriction on placement of convicted
1988: Law limiting access of minors to cigarette                 sexual predators in County funded housing
      machines                                                   facility
1989: Vehicle seizure law for drunk drivers                2002: Site selection procedures for substance
1990: Prohibiting occupational licenses for "deadbeat"           abuse houses
      parents                                              2003: Ban on sale of ephedra products in Suffolk
1998: Greenways Program-open space preservation            2003: Ban on smoking in work places, restaurants
1998: Law establishing safe school zones                         and bars
Page 2


                         History of the Suffolk County Legislature
   The Suffolk County Legislature was established in January 1970, thus replacing the 200-year-old Board of
Supervisors. With the establishment of the Suffolk County Legislature, the county was divided into legislative
districts.
   Every two years, the residents of each of the 18 legislative districts elect a representative to the Legislature. After
each U.S. Census is tallied every ten years, the boundaries of the legislative districts may be redrawn according to
redistribution of population.


                                                                    How the Legislature Works
    Suffolk County Legislators                                    On the first business day in January of each year, the
                                                               Suffolk County Legislature holds an Organizational
  1st LD-Michael J. Caracciolo . . . . 852-3200
                                                               Meeting in Smithtown at the William H. Rogers
  2nd LD-Jay H. Schneiderman . . . . 852-8400                  Legislature Building. At this first meeting, legislators
  3rd LD-Peter O’Leary . . . . . . . . . . 852-1300            elect a presiding officer, a deputy presiding officer, the
  4th LD-Joseph T. Caracappa . . . . . 854-2700                clerk of the Legislature and the legislative counsel.
                                                               Each serves a one-year term. Terms can be consecutive.
  5th LD-Vivian Viloria-Fisher . . . . 854-1500                Additionally, at this meeting the Legislature sets the
  6th LD-Daniel P. Losquadro . . . . . 854-1600                calendar of regular meetings, designates depositories
  7th LD-Brian Foley . . . . . . . . . . . . 854-1400          and picks official county newspapers. New "Rules of
                                                               the Legislature" are also adopted.
  8th LD-William J. Lindsay . . . . . . 854-9611
  9th LD-Ricardo Montano . . . . . . . 853-3700                   Each legislative meeting to follow is called a
                                                               "general" meeting. This year, there are 14 general
  10th LD-Cameron Alden . . . . . . . . 854-0940               meetings. The legislators meet at either the William H.
  11th LD-Angie Carpenter . . . . . . . 854-4100               Rogers Building in Smithtown or at the Evans K.
  12th LD-Andrew A. Crecca . . . . . . 854-3735                Griffing County Center in Riverhead. Of the 14
  13th LD-Lynne C. Nowick . . . . . . 854-3900                 scheduled meetings, two are night meetings beginning
                                                               at 4 p.m. and the rest begin at 9:30 a.m.
  14th LD-David Bishop . . . . . . . . . 854-1100
                                                                 The public has the opportunity to address the
  15th LD-Elie Mystal . . . . . . . . . . . 854-1111
                                                               Legislature at the beginning of each meeting on any
  16th LD-Allan Binder . . . . . . . . . . 854-5100            topic. During public hearings, members of the public
  17th LD-Paul J. Tonna . . . . . . . . . 854-1900             may address the Legislature on specific resolutions on
  18th LD-Jon Cooper . . . . . . . . . . . 854-4500            the agenda. Members of the public are allowed to speak
                                                               for five minutes during public hearings.




                                          Legislative Committees
In 2004, there are 10 legislative committees. The chair, vice-chair and members of each committee are appointed
by the presiding officer. The two special committees formed by the presiding officers are entitled Ad Hoc on
Affordable Housing and Ad Hoc on Mandate Relief.
The 2004 committees are:

• Ways & Means and Consumer Protection                           • Parks & Cultural Affairs
• Veterans & Seniors                                             • Environment, Planning & Agriculture
• Public Safety & Public Information                             • Health & Human Services
• Public Works and Public Transportation                         • Budget & Finance
• Economic Development, Higher Education & Energy                • Rules
                                                                                                              Page 3


                                                           Presiding Officer
                             The Legislature, by a majority vote, elects a presiding officer at its Organizational
                             Meeting. The presiding officer presides over and acts as chairperson of all general
                             meetings of the Legislature and is empowered to call special sessions of the
                             Legislature. The presiding officer also assigns each Introductory Resolution to a
                             committee of the Legislature. It is the presiding officer’s exclusive responsibility to
                             name the various committees of the Legislature, define the responsibility of the
                             committee and appoint each of the committee chairpersons and members. The
                             presiding officer is also a member of several boards and commissions and has
                             jurisdiction over the legislature’s operating budget each year.
Joseph T. Caracappa


                Legislative Budget Review Office
The Legislature’s Budget Review Office provides analytical and oversight services
for the Suffolk County Legislature. The director and his/her staff of professional and
technical analysts determine the extent to which legislative polices are being
faithfully, efficiently and effectively implemented by administrative officials. The
office also reviews the performance of county departments and agencies, analyzes the
soundness of departmental budget requests, analyzes the county executive’s proposed
capital, operating and community college budgets and determines whether the county
has in place adequate plans, facilities and controls for an effective government. The
office also conducts various research projects requested by members of the
Legislature.                                                                                    James Spero


                                                    Counsel to the Legislature
                             The legislative counsel to the Suffolk County Legislature performs many different
                             functions. Included among them are:

                                      • Drafting legislation and legal opinions for members of the Legislature
                                      • Attending committee and general meetings
                                      • Managing outside counsel in connection with litigation by or against the
                                        County Legislature
                                      • Providing legal advice to the clerk of the Legislature and the Office of
                                        Budget Review
     Mea Knapp

                        Clerk of the Legislature
The clerk of the Legislature and his/her staff are responsible for:
        •   Maintaining the records of all legislative proceedings
        •   Forwarding all approved resolutions to the proper departments
        •   Keeping records of all approved Local Laws
        •   Maintaining records assigned to the Legislature
The clerk of the Legislature, as well as the chief deputy clerk and the deputy clerk,
are elected by the Legislature at the annual Organizational Meeting held the first
business day in January.
                                                                                               Henry Barton
                        HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW

                                                                    Legislator or Constituent Idea
              Powers of the Legislature
According to the Suffolk County Charter, the Suffolk County
Legislature has the power to:
                                                                   Introductory Resolution Drafted
      A)   Organize, alter and abolish any unit of county
           government or transfer any function or duty from one
           such unit to another.                                          Filed with Clerk
                                                                          of the Legislature
      B)   Make appropriations, levy taxes and incur
           indebtedness for the purpose of carrying out any of
           the powers and duties conferred or imposed on the             Laid on the Table
           county or any officer, board, commission or other            at General Meeting
           authority.

      C)   Investigate the performance of any of the functions,      Assigned to a Committee
           offices or departments of Suffolk County.                   by Presiding Officer

      D)   Fix the amount of bond to be given to any official or
           employee of the county.                                       Public Hearing Set
                                                                        for General Meeting



                                       Public Hearing Closed         Public Hearing Recessed



                                        Committee Votes on           Public Hearing Continued
                                           Legislation               at Next General Meeting


If Tabled, Stays in Committee         If Approved, on General
                                                                          Legislation Fails
   Until Approved or Failed               Meeting Agenda



                                    Adopted at General Meeting



                                    Legislation Goes to County
                                     Executive for Signature

    If Vetoed, Goes Back                                              If Signed, Filed with the
        to Legislature                                                    Secretary of State


  If Approved by 2/3 Vote,
                                                                          Becomes a Law
      Becomes a Law