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Suffolk County legislators to take up videoconferencing issue

Suffolk County Legis. Susan Berland (D-Dix Hills).

Suffolk County Legis. Susan Berland (D-Dix Hills). Credit: James Escher

Suffolk County legislators next week will seek public comment on whether they should be allowed to videoconference into legislative meetings after Legis. Susan Berland (D-Dix Hills) sought to Skype into meetings while on vacation this year.

A public hearing scheduled for Wednesday comes months after legislators formed an ad hoc committee to discuss changing legislative rules to permit public participation via videoconferencing.

The issue arose in August, when Berland asked to participate in legislative committee meetings from a public library near her Key West, Florida, vacation home.

Berland said she had the legal right to represent her constituents via Skype. But key legislative officials, including Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Copiague) and legislative counsel Sarah Simpson, said the legislature lacked the technology and rules to allow it.

Berland ended up videoconferencing into the meetings to watch, but was not allowed to participate.

The public hearing is at 6 p.m. in the Hauppauge legislative auditorium.

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