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Legislature continues reforms to increase public participation in legislative process

In the wake of recent concerns by Legislators over the lack of constituent attendance at legislative public hearings, Erie County Legislator Ted Morton and Legislature Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo announce that the Legislature approved a reform measure (10-0) requiring legislative public hearings be held no earlier than 6 p.m. on weekdays.


“With many public hearings by the County Executive and Legislature occurring in the middle of the work day, members of the public are unable to attend, which is denying them the ability to voice their opinion on everything from the county budget to new additions to the county’s agricultural districts. Making this rule change pushes these hearings into the evening and is a common sense, good government practice,” said Legislator Morton.


“Often times there is little to no participation at our public hearings, which are an important part of the process. To ensure we are working for the people of Erie County we to need to best accommodate constituents. Based on extremely low participation in the past, I believe changing the public hearings to the evening will increase the amount of speakers in attendance,” said Majority Leader Lorigo.


The rule change, which was also cosponsored by Chairman John Mills, will take immediate effect. The Legislators also encourage the County Executive and all offices and departments to enact similar policies.


The Legislature also accepts written comment for all public hearings. Residents who are unable to attend the hearing but wish to voice their opinion can do so by writing to the Clerk of the Legislature at 92 Franklin St., Fourth Floor, Buffalo, NY 14202.