BLOG: County Legislature’s final meeting of the year; Sex offender trailer bill approved but Levy will veto

12/21/2010 9:48 AM |

5 p.m.

I’m taking off to attend to some other orders of business. Thanks for following. It was fun, and we’ll try doing this again in the new year. Leave a comment below if there’s something else you’d like to see from us when we do these types of live blogs in the future.

Check out the site later tonight and tomorrow for more on the sex offender bill and the legislation regarding energy drinks.

4:30 p.m.

This just in: County Executive Steve Levy will veto the sex offender trailer bill. Levy spokesperson Mark Smith just sent the following statement:

“We will veto. Mr. Lindsay’s concept of creating undisclosed sites for housing homeless sex offenders will undoubtedly wind up in court, leading to no real resolution for months if not for years. The voucher system solves this housing problem immediately.”

4:22 p.m.

A Charter Law to “discourage speculative revenues and ensure balanced budgets” failed on a 9-9 split vote. The bill was pitched out of legislators’ concerns over some of the estimates County Executive Steve Levy included in his 2011 budget.

4:10 p.m.

Legislators who voted against the sex offender bill: Kennedy, Nowick, Horsley, Gregory, Stern, D’Amaro and Barraga. Legislator Romaine said earlier this month he believed he had the support of 10 legislators. Even though 10 would have passed it, I’d be curious to see who changed their mind recently to get that number up to 11.

4:05 p.m.

The approval of the homeless sex offender bill is big news, especially in Riverhead.

Under the current program, all homeless sex offenders in Suffolk County who receive assistance from DSS are housed in  trailers in Riverside and Westhampton, which do not have running water, cooking facilities or showers. The state has notified the county that the trailers are not up to code, and several sex offenders have filed a lawsuit protesting the conditions there.

3:58 p.m.

A bill directing the county Department of Social Services to enter into an agreement with a private company to house the homeless sex offenders currently living in a Riverside trailer in small shelters scattered throughout the county was approved 11-7.

3:57 p.m.

Legislator Romaine has called for a vote on sex offender trailers …

3:50  p.m.

The Legislature approved a bill to sell the naming rights to the Central Islip stadium where the long Island Ducks play to Bethpage Federal Credit Union. The bank just sent over a statement:

Bethpage Federal Credit Union is pleased to announce a deal with Suffolk County to acquire the naming rights to the Suffolk County Sports Complex.  The Long Island Ducks’ home field will now be called Bethpage Ballpark.  The deal, which was presented on December 14 to the Suffolk County Legislature’s Public Works Committee, received full Legislative approval today and will give Bethpage naming rights to the complex through 2015, with a renewal option for an additional five years.

“Bethpage opened four new branch locations in Long Island in 2010 and our expansion plans over the next three to four years will be concentrated in Suffolk County with 10 new branches,” said Bethpage President and CEO Kirk Kordeleski.  “Partnering with Suffolk County and the Long Island Ducks is very much aligned with the Bethpage brand and centers on our commitment to our members and the community.”

3:48

The hearing on energy drinks was recessed. Should be interesting to see how this vote shakes out when role is actually called. A hearing on legislation that would require restaurants that do not accept checks and credit cards to display “cash only” signs was recessed with no comment.

3:38

Despite having the support of eight legislators who cosponsored this bill to ban the sale of energy drinks to teens, nobody from the public has spoken out in support of it at today’s hearing.



VERA CHINESE PHOTO | Energy drinks that can be found in most convenience stores in Suffolk County are the subject of a county law that, if approved, would ban the sale of the drinks to people under the age of 19.



3:31

Presiding officer Bill Lindsay: “I’ll tell you what, I don’t feel very energized right now.”

3:25 p.m.

“I don’t like telling 18-and-19-year-olds what they can and can’t do,” said Legislator Jack Eddington, who likened energy drinks as an alternative to coffee. “They can fight in a war, but they can’t buy an energy drink? Where are our priorities.”

This bill is for standard energy drinks, not the type of energy beverage that has alcohol in it. Alcoholic energy drinks have been banned in four states.

3:20 p.m.

Ken Meyer of Clare Rose is the third person to speak out on the energy drink bill.

“You gotta educate rather than legislate,” he said.

The energy drink bill, which was sponsored by Legislator Lynne Nowick (R-St. James), is the first of its kind in the nation.

Anyone under 19 years of age would not be allowed to purchase an energy drink if the bill is passed.

3:10 p.m.

The Legislature is currently hearing public comments on a bill to ban the sale of energy drinks to teens. The first speaker is a soft drink union rep speaking out against the law.

3:05 p.m.

The Legislature has taken a brief recess to celebrate the fact that it is Minority Leader Dan Losquadro’s final meeting. Mr. Losquadro is headed to Albany next month, where he will be sworn in as 1st District Assemblyman. The Shoreham Republican served seven years in the Legislature.

2:50 p.m.

A hearing is currently being heard on a bill that would ban the sale of tattoo equipment to unlicensed tattoo artists.

2:30

The public hearings have begun after a two-hour lunch break. Earlier today the Legislature voted to strip County Executive Steve Levy of his ability to approve new hires who work for the other five countywide elected officials. Newsday has the story.

Times/Review web editor Grant Parpan will provide live coverage of today’s final Suffolk County Legislature meeting of 2010. Check in for frequent updates throughout the afternoon from the meeting, which will include hearings on an energy drink ban for teens, a bill to force store closures on Thanksgiving Day and legislation that would require restaurants that do not accept checks and credit cards to display “cash only” signs. The legislature will also discuss a fare increase to fund a pilot program for Sunday bus service today.

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