Recap: Suffolk County Legislature meeting

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06/21/2011 6:15 AM |

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | The Suffolk County Legislature meeting in Riverhead.

Times/Review reporter Jennifer Gustavson reported in real time from Tuesday’s Suffolk County Legislature meeting. Check back tomorrow morning for full coverage.

10:52 a.m. Public comment portion now underway. Wading River residents speaking in favor of open space acquisition of Zoumas property in Wading River.

11:12 a.m. Civil rights advocates opposing a proposed new law that would require identification for prepaid cell phone purchases.

11:16 a.m. Civil rights advocacy groups say law unfairly targets immigrant communities.

11:20 a.m. Third District Legislator Kate Browning, who is sponsoring the proposed legislation, has said bill is needed to help law enforcement solve crimes.

11:22 a.m. Amol Sinha, director of the Suffolk County chapter for the New York Civil Liberties Union, lists  groups that oppose the prepaid cell phone identification requirement, including Long Island Immigrant Alliance, Eastern Long Island NAACP and Neighbors in Support of Immigrants.

11:34 a.m. Public comment portion ends. The Suffolk County Legislature is now voting on resolutions. Coming up: prepaid cell phone identification requirements and limiting restraint of pets outdoors.

11:58 a.m. Legislators now discussing a bill to “provide for fair and equitable distribution of public safety sales and compensating use tax revenues.”

12:26 p.m. Legislators are expected to vote on prepaid cell phone bill after lunch break; tables Ed Romaine’s “limiting restraint of pets outdoors” bill and will schedule a new public hearing.

12:29 p.m. Meeting recessed for lunch and is expected to resume at 2:30 p.m.

2:33 p.m. The public hearing portion of the Legislature meeting is about to get started. Eleven people have already signed up for the hearing on a proposed law to ban the retail sale of puppies by pet stores in the county unless the animals are obtained from shelters, rescue organizations or local breeders.

2:35 p.m. What do you think about the proposal to ban the sales of dogs that come from puppy mills? Comment here or email me at [email protected]

3:19 p.m. Eliminating financial disclosure requirements for Farmland Committee members is now being discussed by the Legislature.

3:47 p.m. Public hearing on propose law to ban puppy mill dog sales in Suffolk County now underway. About 28 people are expected to address the Legislature. Each person gets five minutes to speak.

3:48 p.m. Brookhaven Town Animal Shelter Director Dori Scofield says she supports the bill.

4:00 p.m. Legislator Cooper says professional breeders do not sell dogs to pet stores.

4:02 p.m. Stony Brook resident says she was horrified to find out her puppy from a Calverton breeder was originally purchased from a puppy mill in Iowa and attempted to “save” the puppy’s mother but wasn’t able to.

4:21 p.m. Wainscott-based Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons representatives say they took in over 200 discarded puppy mill dogs this year.

4:32 p.m. Chief Roy Gross of the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Animals describes how SCPA was able to shut down the former Yuppy Puppy in downtown Port Jefferson. A customer received a discount because the dog was sick and the pet store put the deal in writing. Chief Gross described the written contract as “the smoking gun.”

4:45 p.m. Huntington pet store owner said he opposes the bill and believes it won’t solve the nation’s puppy mill problem.

4:51 p.m. Huntington pet store owner says he receives his puppies from the mid-west because local breeders won’t sell to him.

4:53 p.m. From one of readers who is in favor of the ban: “There are so many reasons to be in favor of this ban!  With so many dogs having to be destroyed due to overpopulation, allowing puppy mills to indiscriminately breed as many dogs as they can purely for
monetary gain sickens me.”

5:14 p.m. Legis. Cooper reminds pet store owners the bill addresses the “horrific conditions mother dogs face in puppy mills” and not about the condition of their stores.

5:24 p.m. Pet store owners here say they get their puppies from Missouri but don’t believe they come from puppy mills. Animal rights advocates in the audience yell out several times through out the meeting; told to quiet down by Presiding Officer William Lindsay.

5:30 p.m. Nearly three hours of testimony on the proposed puppy mill ban is now wrapping up.

5:41 p.m. Check back tomorrow morning for story on the proposed puppy mill ban, but continue to follow us here tonight for the rest of the Suffolk County Legislature meeting. Votes on prepaid cell phone registration requirements, funding for county health centers and open space acquisition in Wading River up later.

5:51 p.m. On the first day of summer, the Legislature approves a snow/ice removal law for commercial vehicles by a 13-5 vote.

5:57 p.m. Prepaid cell phone registration requirement vote up next.

6:07 p.m. Legislature Ricardo Montano questions the process of notifying businesses of new law if it passes; The bill’s sponsor, Legis. Kate Browning, says she believes an agreement can be made with the Suffolk County Police Department because the “carriers obviously don’t want to do it.”

6:09 p.m. Consumers currently do not have to submit identification to purchase prepaid cell phones. Ms. Browning has said this bill, which would require two forms of identification, will help law enforcement solve crimes.

6:12 p.m. What do you think about stores requiring consumer’s identification for prepaid cell phone purchases? Comment here or email [email protected].

6:29 p.m. Legis. Thomas Barraga says he won’t support the bill because domestic violence victims rely on obtaining prepaid cell phones to make emergency calls.

6:37 p.m. Legis. Vivian Viloria-Fisher sharing personal stories and says she can’t support the bill because it would deny “vulnerable people” from accessing a phone.

7:04 p.m. Prepaid cell phone registration requirements bill fails 7-11.

7:07 p.m. Legislators Ed Romaine, Ricardo Montano, Thomas Cilmi, Thomas Barraga, Lynne Nowick, Wayne Horsley, DuWayne Gregory, Steven Stern, Dou D’Amaro, Jon Cooper and Vivian Viloria-Fisher oppose.

7:30 p.m. Legislature approves to move forward with planning to purchase the Zoumas property in Wading River for preservation by a 17-1 vote with Legis. Thomas Barraga opposing. Check back tomorrow morning for full story. County Health Center vote coming up.

8:02 p.m. The Legislature unanimously approves a bill to have each county health center share aid cuts in an effort to keep other health centers that were slated to close remain open.