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.

General Meetings

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.   

Public Hearings

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

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.