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.
Call to Order
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 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 p.m. at least 3 business days prior to the meetings at which such resolutions and local laws are to be laid on the table.
Home Rule Message
A member of the Legislature may introduce a Home Rule Message by submitting same to the Clerk of the Legislature, no later than 1 p.m. at least 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.
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:
- A local law with prior public hearing by county legislature
- The annual capital program or capital expense
- The annual capital budget
- A home rule message
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.