Glossary

Bill: A bill may take two different forms: a simple resolution that proposes to affect the operation of government, or in the alternative, it may represent a proposed local law to regulate the behavior or activities of individuals and other legal entities. When a “bill” is filed with the Clerk of the Legislature and introduced for at a General Meeting, it is termed (LOT) - an acronym meaning “laid on the table”.

Campaign Finance: In New York State, for most offices, candidates must either spend their own money to run, or get others to donate money to help pay for the race. Candidates, political parties and political action committees are required to publicly disclose from whom they raise campaign contributions and how they spent it.

Certificate of Necessity: A time-sensitive request presented by the County Executive at a General Meeting of the County Legislature. If the case can be made demonstrating a need for immediate con¬sideration of a resolution, the action also known as a CN, may be permitted to bypass a Committee review process, and proceed to a vote, subject to a two-thirds (2/3) approval of the body for adoption.

Clerk of the Legislature:The Clerk is the chief administrator for the Suffolk County Legislature. The Clerk’s responsibilities include maintaining records of all documents produced and meetings held. It is the Clerk’s responsibility to have all approved laws and resolutions executed correctly and filed with the Executive branch of County government as well as the State of New York.

Community Support Initiative Grants: A legislative grant awarded to not-for-profit agencies to underwrite certain expenses for a variety of community programs including human services, health, economic development, or downtown revitalization. To qualify, an agency must demonstrate a suitable public benefit related to the principal mission statement of the agency. Previously called a member item grant.

Contracts: In the context of this site, contracts are the agreements used to procure the goods and services needed by the county from private vendors, ranging from sundry items like office paper to large, complex construction projects like a county jail or sewer treatment plant.

County Executive: The County Executive is the Chief Executive of the county, and is responsible for preparing the operating budget, administering over the various departments and divisions of the Executive Branch, and executing and enforcing state and local laws.

Deputy Presiding Officer: In the absence of the Presiding Officer of the County Legislature, exercises the powers, duties and functions of the Presiding Officer at the meeting over which he or she is called to preside.

FOIL: Acronym for the "Freedom of Information Law" that allows members of the public to access public records and documents for review.

General Meeting: General Meetings are conducted 14 times a year in the Legislative Auditorium in Smithtown or in Riverhead as scheduled. Public hearings are held on proposed laws, and resolutions regarding the final disposition of bills are voted on at these meetings.

Home Rule Message: This is a request for legislation from the New York State Legislature to the local government concerning property, affairs, or government of the local municipality. It may be requested by the State Assembly and/or the Senate. A Home Rule request must accompany the proposed State legislation in order for it to be voted on by either House.

IR: The acronym for “introductory resolution”. Each resolution is assigned a number which corresponds to it when it was introduced during a yearly session of the legislature. The number is used to identify a particular resolution as it passes through the legislative process.

Legislator: A person elected to make laws. In Suffolk County legislators are elected to represent a portion of the general population. There are currently eighteen legislative districts represented at General Meetings of the Suffolk County Legislature.

Legislative Committee: There are currently eleven standing committees. The leadership (chair and vice-chair) and members are selected by the Presiding Officer. Each committee specializes in a certain subject area. Prior to being referred to the full legislature for action, committees review proposed actions and bills, hear from experts on pertinent subjects, listen to testimony from concerned citizens and members vote preference on bills.

Lobbyist: A person who is paid to influence public decision making.

Local Law: Generally speaking, a local law regulates the behavior of citizens or entities within Suffolk County. The process for adoption requires two public hearings, one held by the Legislature before an assigned committee may pass it, and one held by the County Executive before he/ she may sign it. A law requires a simple majority affirmative vote of the Legislature for passage, and becomes law upon a filing with the New York State Secretary of State.

Member Item Grants: Please refer to Community Support Initiative Grants.

Presiding Officer: A legislator who is elected by his/her peers at the annual organization meeting of the full legislature. The P.O. has specific powers and duties to preside over all meetings of the legislature calls the body to order, directs a call of the roll, acts as a voting member of all committees, and generally, conducts business in a manner prescribed by the adopted rules of the legislature.

Procedural Motion: A resolution of the County Legislature, not subject to the approval of the County Executive, which deals with an internal legislative matter.

Sponsor: A bill’s sponsor is the member of the Legislature who is responsible for the bill’s introduction.

Suffolk County Legislature: The Suffolk County Legislature consists of eighteen representatives, each who are elected to serve a two year term in office. A legislator represents an area in the county called a legislative district. The legislature is responsible for providing for public safety and general welfare of residents. It is empowered to organize, alter or abolish any unit of County government; to investigate the performance of any function, office or department of Suffolk County government, and to make appropriations, levy taxes and incur indebtedness for the purpose of carrying out any of the powers and duties conferred or imposed on the County or any Officer, Board, Commission or other authority.

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