On January 6th, a resolution on term limits was on the Multi Services Committee agenda. It proposed a term limit of two 4 year terms for County Executive and three 4 year terms for legislators. A motion to entertain the resolution was made but never received a second. Without a second, the resolution died in committee. Legislator John Burin has proposed a new resolution with a change that will allow the item to be brought up again by the legislature. The change is for the County Executive term limit to be changed from two terms to three. The change was needed in order for the item to be put back before the legislature. The rules of the legislature state that if a resolution is voted down or in this case dies in committee, it cannot be brought back before the legislature for one year. This change in the resolution will allow it the chance to be brought back for a second time. The Chairman of the legislature has sent the new term limit proposal back the the Term Limit Review  Committee. They will hold meetings and hopefully will send it back to the legislature for action.

“We had hoped to bring this issue to the voters for a public referendum and let them make the decision on whether or not they wanted term limits for county officials,” Strange said.  “We have learned that state law prohibits a public vote on issues such as this, therefore the legislature would have the determining vote to impose these limits.”

According to research by the legislature’s attorney, a referendum can only be held when the purpose for which the referendum is called is authorized by Statute. The list of mandatory referendum issues are listed in Municipal Home Rule Law section 23.  The list of permissive referendum issues are listed in MHRL section 24.  There are numerous court cases (most significantly the Bloomberg case) that held that term limits are not permitted to be put the the voters by referendum.

What many legislators are asking for, is for this resolution to be voted out of committee and allow a floor vote of the full legislature to occur on this proposal.

Although it was Legislator Strange’s preference to allow the public vote on the term limit proposal, as a legislator, Strange would vote for the term limit resolution if it gets to the floor. “I believe that there is widespread public support for this proposal and therefore I will support it and vote for it’s passage,” Strange said.
The Term Limit Review Committee of the Chemung County Legislature will hold public meetings on the following dates at 3:45 pm in the Conference Room (Room 510) of the Legislative Chambers located in the Hazlett Building (5th floor), 203 Lake Street, Elmira, New York:
  • Tuesday, February 25, 2020
  • Tuesday, March 3, 2020
  • Tuesday March 10, 2020
  • Tuesday, March 17, 2020
  • Tuesday, March 24, 2020
  • Tuesday, March 31, 2020