Creation of the Nassau County Legislature
On April 14, 1993, United States District Court Judge Arthur D. Spatt ruled the Board of Supervisors form of local government unconstitutional based on the fact that it did not represent one person, one vote.
On June 30, 1993, Judge Spatt directed the Board of Supervisors to appoint a commission on Government Revision (CGR). This 17-member commission formed to make recommendations to the Board for a new legislative body.
The CGR worked diligently at public hearings and work sessions, allowing residents to present their comments. The CGR formulated proposed revisions to the Nassau County Charter that sought to delineate the structure and powers of the new legislature. Those revisions included: redefining the role of the County Executive; creating an independent budget review office; changing the fiscal year and budget review process; and strengthening the code of ethics.
The commission also proposed a map consisting of 19 legislative districts and adopted it on May 24, 1994. The formation of the legislature changed the system of government in Nassau County for the first time in 100 years, increasing representation and mandating two minority districts. The first election for the legislature took place in November 1995 and the historic first session began on January 1, 1996.
The Committee System
The Nassau County Legislature is based on a committee system, consisting of 15 committees. Issues are assigned to a committee for review and consideration. Upon approval, issues move to the Rules Committee for further review. If approved, issues are placed on the calendar of the Nassau County Legislature at full session where it is voted on by all 19 legislators. The public is invited to attend and observe all committee meetings. Public comment is welcomed at full sessions of the legislature.