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September 2017 Column - Good government requires compromise


OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS

Erie County Legislature Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo has submitted a law that protects Erie County Cold War veterans’ property tax exemption.


As I sit here enjoying the unseasonably warm fall we’re having, I can’t help but reflect on the last year.  Since the 2016 presidential campaign, it feels like the people in this country have...

On October 11, Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo, Chairman of the Legislature's Finance and Management Committee, joined Henry Wojtaszek, President/CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming, Thurman Thomas, Hall of Fame former...

Crews are replacing a cross culvert on Eastwood Road in the Town of Marilla. The road is closed between Williston Road and East Blood Road, expected to reopen on Oct. 27, 2017, or when work is complete. Detour is...

Leydecker Road (CR 364), in the Town of West Seneca, will be restricted from Seneca Street to East and West Road, starting on Monday, October 9 to allow for bridge deck repairs.  Restriction is expected...

Prior to any good law or proposal being finalized there is often the need to compromise. The Erie County Legislature is currently addressing two proposals that many feel are good policies, but are facing obstacles in the finer details.  Despite those obstacles, I am optimistic they will be approved for the good of our community. 

 

Last week, the County Executive vetoed the “Made in America Act” which would require county contracts over $10,000 go to companies that only use American-made products. The law, while benefitting American-made products, does allow for exceptions.  As a result, it received overwhelming support in the Legislature. I supported the law because I believe it would help our local economy and American businesses. The Legislature will host a veto override vote after this column goes to print, but I am hopeful we can move forward to support economic development and strengthen our local economy.

 

Another law currently under consideration is “The Dental Law.” I authored this law, which requires the country of origin be disclosed before a dental device, such as a crown, is implanted.  I believe this is good public policy and a common sense approach to dentistry. The FDA already strongly recommends disclosure, but does not require it. As a result, the policy is rarely followed. The law would improve transparency and help protect the health of patients. Coincidentally, I actually had my first crown implanted recently, and I am thankful my dentist disclosed the information prior to the procedure.

 

When I first announced the law it received overwhelming support from dental labs, dentists and residents. Unfortunately, an association of dentists has attacked the proposal, creating its own narrative that misrepresents the purpose and text of the law. I have spoken with members of the association privately and during a Legislature Health & Human Services Committee meeting.  Initially, the dentists were completely unwilling to work with me, but the committee discussion seemed to indicate the possibility for a compromise to be reached.  While I am only one vote out of eleven, I believe in the legislative process, and plan to work with all interested parties to craft a law that everyone can support.  I am also hopeful that the law will spread further than Erie County, maybe even a national level.  The task may be more daunting than I originally anticipated, but it has to start somewhere, and I’m willing to do the work.

 

Discussing compromise and the good of the community will continue when I join Mambrino King Wine and Coffee Bar to lead its “Talk on Tap” event at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27. Join us for a great discussion and enjoyable evening at this unique establishment. I look forward to discussing some topics where I’d like to hear feedback and also seeing where the discussion goes. Mambrino King is located at 720 Main St. near Pine Street.

 

If you have any comments on this law or another county issue, please contact my office at 858-8922 or email joseph.lorigo@erie.gov