Suffolk Legislature to Weigh Ensuring Translation Services for Non-English Population at April 24 Meeting

Another issues to be discussed include Assisting Health Officials in Creating Human Trafficking Education Material, Prohibiting Sale of Sparkling Devices, Amending Social Host Law to Include Illegal Drugs, Approving Funds for Walking Path.

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The Suffolk County Legislature in session.

Photo by: Office of Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory.

Hauppauge, NY - April 24, 2018 - Members of the Suffolk County Legislature are expected to consider codifying an existing county policy that requires county agencies to provide services directly to the public to translate all of the documents into the six most common non –English Languages at their April 24 meeting at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge. Each County Agency will be required to publish a “language access plan” within 60 days of the effective date. The meeting begins at 4 p.m. with public hearings at 6:30 p.m.
“This is just common sense,” said Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory. “Anything we can do to make it easier for residents to understand how to get done what they need to do and to access the services they need should be required procedure.”
Languages will be chosen by referencing the most recent US Census data and the county will be required to provide interpretation services for individuals in their primary language. The plan would be updated every two years and will provide information on how services are provided, including services to the visually and hearing impaired, the titles of translated documents and what languages they have been translated into, the number of “public contact positions in the agency and the number of fully bilingual employees in public contact positions and the languages they speak,” a uniform training plan for agency employees and identifying a language access coordinator at the agency to monitor compliance. 
Legislators will also consider directing the Department of Health Services to develop educational materials for doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals on the front lines that provides information on human trafficking, questions to ask individuals who are suspected of being at risk for human trafficking and the resources available to assist victims. If approved the Department of Health Services will have up to 180 days from the effective date to develop and distribute the materials to health professionals and institutions throughout the county. 
Lawmakers will also weigh:
  • prohibiting the sale sparkling devices that are ground-based or hand-held and produce a shower of white, gold or colored sparks as their primary Pyrotechnic effect;
  • updating the County’s Social Host Law to include the prohibition of drug use including, but not limited to marijuana, heroin, hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, anabolic steroids and cocaine by minors;
  • appropriating $60,000 in connection with creating a walking path and fencing at the Old Field Farm County Park to further public access;
  • confirming the appointment of Geraldine Hart, County Commissioner of Suffolk County Police Department
  • authorizing the appraisal of a 3.42 acre parcel in the compatible growth area for the Pine Barrens that is adjacent to county and town-owned parkland under the Suffolk County Drinking Water Protection Programs. 
Legislators have also scheduled several public hearings on local and charter laws, including:
  • requiring that prior to using funds obtained through the Asset Forfeiture process exceeding $3,500, a department such as Police, Probation, Sheriff or District Attorney would be required to have the expenditure approved by the Public Safety Committee and full Legislature in Executive Session if requested and prohibits agencies from using Asset Forfeiture funds to pay for overtime, compensation or salaries unless mandated by federal or state law. The law also amends the Suffolk County Code that requires the County Executive and Presiding Officer to jointly approve attendance at conferences and seminars;
  • amending the requirements for contract agencies to allow for agencies to come to an agreement with the county and extend a contract beyond its initial one year term for additional one year periods and allows for a change in the contract amount and the contract agency may file an attestation that their status has not changed from the prior year;
  • amending the Charter Law to require the annual adoption of the following year’s operating budget at least seven calendar days prior to Election Day;
  • limiting fee increases proposed in future recommended budgets to no more than 2% over the previous fiscal year and restricts the Legislature’s ability to adopt a budget that increases revenue from an existing County fee by more than 2% without the adoption of a stand-alone resolution that must receive a 2/3 vote of the Legislature;
  • requiring net neutrality principles by internet service providers contracting with the county;
  • imposing limitations on campaign contributions from County contractors and public employee unions to County elected officials and candidates seeking County office;
  • creating a fund balance policy for the discretionary part of the general fund to ensure that year over year there will be adequate fiscal resources to meet expenditure needs and funding for the County’s debt, pension and tax stabilization reserve funds.
For additional information, visit or contact Fran Evans at (631)853-5499.