Tell Ulster County Legislature That A Proposed Ban on Memorializing Resolutions is Undemocratic.

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

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.

4 thoughts on “Tell Ulster County Legislature That A Proposed Ban on Memorializing Resolutions is Undemocratic.”

  1. I am disappointed in the legislature for proposing this motion. It is a sign both of ignorance of the power of the legislature and the power of the people. I think they want to keep the people ignorant and compliant. And I hear no opinions from the people in the legislature about the effects of this proposal. Shame on you!!!

    • I am afraid we are going to have to fight for this one, strategically – as it appears the votes are currently there to approve prohibiting memorializing resolutions. We are thinking it through- and will share a plan to work with the citizens in the month ahead. Stay tuned, and thanks for your support.

  2. Dear Ulster County Legislators:

    I’d like to offer my profound appreciation and gratitude to this body for your Resolution #426 of October 18, 2016 which condemned the Transpacific Partnership free trade agreement. Thanks to your action, and similar actions from dozens of governmental bodies across the nation,and the objections of millions of citizens across the nation, we are not saddled with a Trade agreement that would only benefit the corporate elite of the world.
    Your action recognized that a trade agreement negotiated in secret with only the input of international corporations (5 or 6 hundred of them) could only benefit those corporations, and not the interests of American workers or American citizens.
    I pray that you will continue to be vigilant in the protection of America, and the people of Orange County from corporate predators and looters.

    You may easily understand my concern, therefore, about Resolution No. 32: “Amending The Rules Of Order To Prohibit Memorializing Resolutions”.

    Our forebears fought and died for the right to empower their own democratically elected legislatures. That a Legislative Body elected by the people, and representing those people, would choose to not to exercise that vested power to its fullest is baffling to me.
    In our democracy, what overriding reason can there be for silencing voice of the people? The Ulster County Legislature has a sacred obligation to speak, whether merely expressing the gratitude of the community for the contributions of individual citizens, or speaking to State or National issues.

    Charles Davenport
    Wappingers Falls, NY


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