PETITION: ” A Proposed Ban on Memorializing Resolutions is Undemocratic”
VIEW: Attend next session of the legislature to speak on Wednesday, February 15 at 7:00 pm (arrive at 6:45 pm)
READ: Resolution No. 32 of February 15, 2017 “Amending The Rules Of Order To Prohibit Memorializing Resolutions”
By Rebecca Martin
WHAT IS A MEMORIALIZING RESOLUTION?
A memorializing resolution does not set forth policy or law. Instead, it creates text to cause people to remember. It is a tool to both educate and in this case, to remind us of our principles and values.
So why would members of the Ulster County Legislature want to “prohibit” this critical tool? In our opinion, it is incredibly short sited and potentially damaging to county governance.
“County Legislature Chairman Ken Ronk, R-Wallkill, said he has agreed to co-sponsor a resolution (#32 of 2017) introduced by Legislator Richard Parete to change the body’s rules by banning any resolution in which legislators aren’t taking action on issues directly under their control. Parete has repeatedly referred to these as a “waste of time.”
Such a ban is rare in legislative bodies. Memorializing resolutions state a legislative body’s position on an issue that may be outside its purview without taking direct action. However, they represent a significant opportunity for regional leadership and intergovernmental relationships.
In the past few years, the Ulster County Legislature has passed three memorializing resolutions on the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline and one on the proposed anchorages of crude oil on the Hudson River. In the last year, the legislature has been unanimous in its support of these statements, which add to the voice of an entire region that stands against these potentially hazardous projects.
Citing the recent use of memorializing resolutions as a “mockery” by the democrats, Chairman Ronk pointed to Legislator Jonathan Heppner’s (D-Woodstock) resolution opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as having not being relevant to county business. With approximately 20,000 residents now relying on the ACA for their healthcare coverage and the potential loss of $3 million in federal Medicaid funding, this is certainly the business of Ulster County.
Furthermore, do we want to lose the ability to take a stand on things that could severely impact our environment, such as pipelines and anchorages, without adding to the voices in the region who oppose them?”
District 7 Legislator Jennifer Schwartz Berky regarding the proposed ban on memorializing resolutions by the UC Legislature:
Please sign our PETITION and plan to attend the next session of the legislature Wednesday, February 15 at 7:00 pm to speak out on this proposed ban. Citizens who wish to speak should arrive early at 6:45 pm to sign in be prepared to speak no longer than 3 minutes. Address: Legislature Chambers, 6th Floor, Ulster County Office Building, 244 Fair Street, Kingston, NY 12401.