About the Legislature
In the mid-1960s the Supreme Court to the United States handed down an important decision establishing the “one man-one vote” principle. Based on this historic action, in 1967 the 29-member Monroe County Legislature became this County’s chief lawmaking body, replacing the 43-member Board of Supervisors which had been in existence for 145 years.
The men and women who represent you in the Legislature are responsible for developing the laws and policies that affect the lives of over 710,000 residents, including over 230,000 in the City of Rochester.
Each legislator represents a district of approximately 25,000 people. Since most legislators are also employed in the private sector of our community or own small businesses, many have two full-time jobs. However, as a citizen-representative each legislator brings a unique perspective and special expertise from his or her own profession and geographic area.
At the start of each meeting of the Legislature and legislative committees, a public forum is held to receive comments from citizens who have specific interests or opinions to express on important issues facing our community. You can sign up to speak by calling 585 753-1950.
The growth and success of our county lies in the hands of your elected representatives. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about county government or any level of government please feel free to contact us at any time.
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Established on February 23, 1821 from parts of neighboring Genesee and Ontario Counties, the county was named after United States President James Monroe. The first meeting of the 43 member Board of Supervisors took place on May 8, 1821, and the first County Manager was appointed by the Board in 1936. The Monroe County Charter became effective in 1967 creating the 29 member County Legislature which replaced the Board of Supervisors. In 1980, the Charter was amended to provide for the direct election of a County Executive for a four-year term beginning in 1984.
How does the Legislative Process in Monroe County Work?
- A Monroe County Legislator or the County Executive gets an idea based on local needs, countywide needs or information from constituents. These ideas or matters of county business are put in writing over the signature of the Legislator or County Executive. These communications can seek to create new laws, amend or repeal existing laws, provide authorization or funding for county projects and programs or simply request information.
- The communication is submitted to the Clerk of the Legislature for processing. the President of the Legislature refers the communication to one or more of the nine standing committees of the Legislature. The communication becomes known as a Referral and is given a number and printed.
- The Referral is placed on the agenda of the standing committee(s) to which it has been assigned. The Referral must be moved and seconded in committee in order to be considered. The Referral is discussed and then either voted on, referred to the County Administration for more information, tabled or filed.
- If the Referral receives a majority of votes in committee it is then sent to the full Monroe County Legislature for consideration. Again, the Referral must first be moved and seconded. Once it is introduced, the 29 members of the Legislature have an opportunity to discuss the Referral. Legislators may offer amendments to the Referral at this time. The Referral is then either adopted by the Legislature, tabled or sent back to committee for more information. Most Referrals require a simple majority of 15 votes in order to be adopted, however, if the Referral requires bonding authority then a two-thirds majority (20 votes) is required.
- If the Referral is passed by the full Legislature, it is henceforth known as a Resolution of the Legislature or a Local Law and receives a number. Resolutions and Local Law are sent to the County Executive for approval. If the County Executive Vetoes a Resolution or local Law which required a simple majority to be adopted it may still go into effect provided that three-fifths (18) of the 29 Legislators vote to Override the Veto. A Veto Override of a Resolution or Local Law which required a two-thirds majority to be adopted demands a vote of three-fourths (22) of the entire Legislature.