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Westchester County Legislature proposes changes to term length for members

According to documents, legislators said the change is necessary because it's costly to hold elections every two years, it would reduce the amount of campaigning and fundraising necessary to run for office and allow lawmakers more time to see their policies through.

Jonathan Gordon

Jun 6, 2024, 8:39 PM

Updated 16 days ago

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A proposal before the Westchester County Legislature would change the length a lawmaker can serve from two to four years at a time. The law would keep the current term limits in place by changing the language from six two-year terms to 12 consecutive years.
According to documents, legislators said the change is necessary because it's costly to hold elections every two years, it would reduce the amount of campaigning and fundraising necessary to run for office and allow lawmakers more time to see their policies through.
According to the proposal, voters would have to give the final OK through a mandatory ballot referendum in November. If that passes, the change would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2025, at the same time New York State's plan to move most local elections to even years would begin. New York State's law is facing several lawsuits, which if delayed, would also delay this county change.
A spokesperson for the Westchester Board of Legislators told News 12 in a statement:
"The Board of Legislators is consistently working to find ways to be more efficient, aligning Westchester with norms of other counties in New York. We are excited about this bipartisan proposal to change the term length from two to four years without increasing the term limit. Doing so would alleviate the costs associated with coordinating and administering elections for taxpayers, as well as allow Legislators to keep their focus on the needs of their constituents and addressing complex issues in their districts. Rather than perpetually campaigning, Legislators will be able to focus on crafting legislation, delivering resources, and allow their priority to shift away from politics and back to the reason they were elected in the first place, to more adequately represent the needs of all Westchester residents."
In July 2020, Westchester County Executive George Latimer signed term limit legislation reducing the previous three-term limit of 12 years for his position down to two terms of eight years total.
The board will hold a public hearing on the proposal on Monday, June 17.


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