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Posted on: March 16, 2020

Legislature to Suspend Public Portion, Reschedule Public Hearings

Coronavirus changes to March 17 GM

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. – In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order and to protect the public from the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Suffolk County Legislature is suspending the public portion of tomorrow’s general meeting at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge and rescheduling public hearings for the end of April.

The 13 public hearings on tomorrow’s agenda will be rescheduled for April 28 at 2 p.m. in Riverhead, and no public portion will be held. In addition, the legislature building will be closed to the public. Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order 202.1 issued March 12, municipalities may close meetings to the public so long as the public is able to watch or listen and the meeting is recorded and later transcribed. Tomorrow’s meeting will be video-streamed live at www.scnylegislature.us. The building closure does not apply to members of the media.

“We have to do our part to stop the spread of this illness and protect the public, our vulnerable populations, and our healthcare system. Since social distancing is the best way to do that, we have decided to limit the number of people coming into our legislative building tomorrow,” said Presiding Officer Rob Calarco. “The legislature must convene because Suffolk County must continue its day-to-day operations, but it is just not worth the risk to have members of the public sitting in close quarters and speaking into the same microphones when there are numerous ways to participate in the legislative process from home by watching our livestream and submitting testimony in writing.”

Those who wish to testify on agenda items may send testimony in writing to be added to the record and distributed to legislators. Testimony may be emailed to clerk.legislature@suffolkcountyny.gov or mailed to the attention of the Clerk’s Office at the Suffolk County Legislature, William H. Rogers Building, 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Smithtown, NY 11787.

Presentations and distribution of proclamations have been postponed, and staff will be limited as per state guidance that local governments reduce the on-site workforce by 50 percent.

Additionally, lawmakers at tomorrow’s meeting will consider a procedural motion to allow legislators who are not physically present to cast votes and participate via teleconference pursuant to Executive Order 202.1, which also authorizes meetings to be held remotely by conference call or similar service. If the measure is approved, it may be implemented for the rest of the meeting and for any other meetings that occur during the term of the Executive Order.

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