VIDEO: UC Laws and Rules Committee Discuss Prohibiting Memorializing Resolutions. Legislative Session Postponed to Wednesday Due to Snow.

Last evening, the Ulster County Legislature Laws and Rules Committee had their monthly meeting with one of the items being to discuss Resolution No. 91  “Amending The Rules Of Order To Prohibit Memorializing Resolutions”.  It passed through committee by a 4 / 3 vote.  We filmed the meeting thanks to The Kingston News (brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org) so that you can see the debate from last night. We also took the liberty to note the legislator’s districts and localities they represent in the case that one of the members represents you and you wish to contact them directly.

Due to today’s snowstorm, the regular legislative session that was to be for this evening was moved to tomorrow night, Wednesday, March 15th at 7:00pm in Legislative Chambers (6th Floor) of the Ulster County Building located at 244 Fair Street in Kingston.  Residents can sign-up to speak when they arrive.

We ask citizens consider coming to speak tomorrow in opposition of the Ulster County Legislature banning memorializing resolutions.  Please keep comments respectful, succinct and no longer than three (3) minutes in length.

In the case that the meeting is moved again, we’ll send out an update.

 

VIEW
Ulster County Legislature Laws and Rules Committee Meeting
Video from Tuesday, March 13, 2017

0:20  – 1:33
Legislator Kevin Roberts
, Laws and Rules Committee Chair
District No. 12  (Town of Plattekill)
Republican, Conservative, Independence, Reform
* Introduces amendments to the Resolution No. 91.

Legislator Ken Ronk
District No. 13  (Town of Shawangunk)
Republican, Conservative, Independence, Reform
* Introduces amendments to the resolution. Legislator Parete seconds motion.

2:00 – 2:40
Legislator Hector Rodriguez
District No. 20  (Town of New Paltz, Village of New Paltz)
Democrat, Working Families
“These changes are a vague attempt at putting lipstick on a pig…we’ll be duking this out on the floor every step of the way.”

4:00 – 4:19
Legislator David Donaldson
District No. 6  (City of Kingston)
Democrat, Working Families
“I agree with hector on it. It is lipstick on a pig. I will this.”

4:20 – 5:19
Legislator Ken Ronk
Explains that prohibiting a ban doesn’t impact the public’s voice.

5:20 – 5:30
Amendment to Resolution No. 91 passes by a 4/3 vote.

5:38
Legislator Richard Parete
District No. 18  (Town of Hurley, Town of Marbletown)
Republican, Working Families, Independence, Reform
“Memorializing Resolutions have become a divisive tool to discuss national issues. Everyone I have spoken to says  “Maybe memorializing resolutions aren’t the best tools.””

NOTE from KC.org:  Letters at times are effective and useful, but they do not require public debate or stands taken by an elected body. They also should not ever take the place of a memorializing resolution process. 

8:10 – 10:55
Legislator Hector Rodriguez
“In my 14 years on the legislature, memorializing resolutions has never prevented any of us from doing our job. They give a sense of the body, and even spoken to in Robert’s Rules of Order – that’s how deep it goes. Memorializing resolutions have an impact. Our actions have helped the NYS Legislature create laws, as they often start on a local level. They are not clogging up the legislature as suggested.”

10:56 – 11:27
Legislator’s Ken Ronk
“I’ll vote no on this tonight if you can show me how a letter signed by twenty-three legislators doesn’t do all of the things you just said, I’ll vote no tonight.”
VIEW  Legislator Ronk’s challenge.

11:28 – 11:45
Legislator Hector Rodriguez
“Because as a legislator, we put forward a resolution. It is more powerful than a letter. We have to vote on it, placing it on the public record of the legislature.”

12:01 – 15:20
Legislator David Donaldson
“They may cut into our time, but I wouldn’t do away from them.  People want to hear where we stand at times on issues that are important to them. That’s what they want and that’s what I must represent.”

15:22 – 17:23
Legislator Ken Ronk
“If it were up to me, I would stay as long as necessary to get my work done on the legislature. In the last year, I have seen a few members of the Democratic caucus offer overtly political memorializing resolutions which serve to only polarize legislators to one side or the other on issues we have no control over.  I have long been a supporter of memorializing resolutions. I have been against this resolution until came up again no.  It’s gotten out of hand being used as a political tool.”

NOTE:  Ronk admits that he is in favor of a ban on memorializing resolutions due to a handful of Democratic members “using them as a political tool” in his opinion.  The public’s concern of such a ban limiting the speech of their elected officials and their own is never addressed.

18:09- 19:52
Legislator Richard Parete
“I truly hope this resolution passes. My father said it perfectly the other day. Memorializing resolutions are somewhat lazy. Legislators only bicker and fight debating them. We should go out and speak to our 22 colleagues, meet senators, congressman. That’s how democracy works. If this passes, 90% of the legislature will eventually say that we should have done this years ago.  I’ll work until 2 am, too. It’s not about silencing democracy. Memorializing resolutions enables lazy people. It’s a win/win for everyone if this passes.”


19:55 – 21:28
Legislator Hector Rodriguez
“We do our homework, each and every one of us.”

21:42 – 23:39
Legislator David Donaldson
“Constituents want to know where we stand and memorializing resolutions are useful for that reason.”

23:40 – 27:07
Legislator Chris Allen
District 2 (Town of Saugerties, Village of Saugerties)
Democrat, Republican, Green, Working Families, Independence
“The intent of a letter having the same impact as a memorializing resolution is not true.  This is a template that legislators follow. They are going to read this, see the work, read the same language as professional lawmakers and respond. I have never written one partisan word in any of the memorializing resolutions I have created. I’ve asked for minimal help, so for it to be suggested that legislators are lazy that’s disingenuous or delusional.”

27:09 – 28:09
Legislator Ken Ronk
“I sent a letter to Governor Cuomo asking for funding for the Belleayre project before the memorializing resolution was sent to him. I was called by his office where they reported that the Governor received my letter and that funds in the amount of $3 million were allocated.  It was approved even before they received our memorializing resolution.”

NOTE:  In most cases, letters can be sent by the approval of the majority.  Executive branches, such as Mayor or County Executive, have the authority to send letters at their discretion but they do not make laws. Only the legislative branches do.

28:15 – 29:10
Legislator Chris Allen
“Susan Zimet changed the law with a memorializing resolution,  making it necessary to mark rail cars when they are carrying radioactive materials.  That began  here with the Ulster County Legislature.”

29:12 – 30:40
Legislator Richard Parete
“We are part timers with full-time jobs.  We are here to county work. “


30:42 – 31:31
Legislator Hector Rodriguez
“Debate and discussion is part of a larger conversation and a memorializing resolution helps in making that so.  They haven’t diminished my ability to do my job.  I am really hopeful that we will keep this as a part of our arsenal.”

31:32 – 33:29
Rebecca Martin, KingstonCitizens.org
“I’d like to request to include in your thought process the public, and how memorializing resolutions act as a way to engage public debate which is something I’m not hearing in your discussion tonight (of those supportive of a ban). Citizens appreciate proclamations and letters as a tool, but memorializing resolutions are different. They give us (the public) a chance to voice in and to be a part of the decision-making process.”

33:33 – 34:40
Legislator David Donaldson
“Memorializing resolutions bring people out in larger numbers. Almost every time.”


34:41 – 35:56
Legislator Ken Ronk
“We offer unfettered public comment.”


35:57 – 36:46
Rebecca MartinKingstonCitizens.org
“In your discussion tonight, the concerns made by the public is not being properly addressed in considering a ban.  Memorializing resolution is an important tool for us.”

36:48 – 38:03
Ilona Ross, Citizen
“I’m wondering if a ban on memorializing resolutions is meant to be a muzzle on your colleagues?”

38:04 – 38:07
Legislator David Donaldson
“I believe that is the purpose.”


38:08 – 38:33
Legislator Richard Parete
Explains the County Executive and Governor writing letters.

NOTEAs mentioned before, there is a big difference between executive and legislative branches in government. Letters from the legislature can be sent when approved by the majority.  Executive branches, such as Mayor or County Executive, have the authority to send letters at their discretion.

 

38:34 – 41:51
Ilona Ross, Citizen
“Does the County Executive have the authority to submit memorializing resolutions? “ and discussion with Legislator Craig LopezDistrict No. 14  (Town of Shawangunk, Town of Wawarsing). Republican, Conservative, Independence

 

41:52 – 42:38
Legislator David Donaldson
Suggests that a ban will ‘muzzle’ legislators. That although there are some who misuse them, it doesn’t warrant a ban.

42:39 – 43:12
Vote to pass a resolution to prohibit memorializing resolutions passes through committee, 4/3.

5 thoughts on “VIDEO: UC Laws and Rules Committee Discuss Prohibiting Memorializing Resolutions. Legislative Session Postponed to Wednesday Due to Snow.

  1. I am quite disheartened that the ban was upheld in this discussion and vote. There was nothing in the defense of the ban that seemed profound enough to ban the resolutions.
    I am also deeply concerned that any mention of partisanship or politics(sadly used as if it is a curse word) is the motive of dozens and dozens of citizens who wish to preserve the Memorializing resolution.
    Is it possible to limit the amount of resolutions allowed by a community or possible to streamline a communities way of writing one up? Our legislature must work for and with us. With such unfair decisions, we will be forced to take up permanent protest at the foot of the legislatures offices in order to have our will heard. The citizens of our county want the ability to have these resolutions. I urge our legislators to remember that the root of the word politics is a group of people. That is our will.

    • The passing of this resolution through committee brings it to the floor to vote. Tomorrow night’s meeting, if it is not postponed again due to snow, is a first reading. The second reading will be held on April 18th. We encourage citizens to come to speak during public comment for both meetings, and to call their legislator’s and ask them to please reject this ban.

      I do hope having video will help citizens to form new testimony. There is much here that can and should be debated.

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