Buffalo Common Council Summary: Week of January 18, 2021

Buffalo Common Council Summary: Week of January 18, 2021

Date: January 22, 2021

By Orlando Dickson |

Each week, PPG summarizes important takeaways from the major Buffalo Common Council meetings. We also include information from Council meetings related to our Community Agenda items.

This week the Common Council held two sessions: A Caucus Meeting and a Regular Meeting. A Caucus Meeting is where members from a specific political party – in Buffalo's case, the Democratic Party – meet, but official voting on issues does not occur. A Regular Meeting is the Common Council's primary meeting, where the body makes official decisions on issues.

During the Regular Meeting, Common Council announced they would receive a report from the Buffalo Police Advisory Board at the Police Oversight Committee Meeting on January 25. Black Love Resists in the Rust Executive Director Phylicia Brown, Courtney Friedline of Buffalo Citizens for Council Accountability, and PPG Policy Fellow Miles Gresham are also scheduled to speak at the Police Oversight Committee Meeting.

The Council adopted a letter Councilmember Rivera penned to Senators Kennedy and Ryan seeking assistance in ensuring the COVID-19 vaccine is readily available throughout the City of Buffalo. The letter also asked the senators to include the Common Council in the vaccine's distribution conversations.

Common Council announced it would discuss two significant issues at the next Legislation Committee Meeting: the school safety program, and an ordinance amendment about the hazardous operation of motor vehicles. Councilmembers Bollman and Nowakowski drafted legislation that will make it a violation of law to operate an ATV in city parks and will require $50,000 minimum coverage insurance on all ATVs. The Common Council will also mandate ATV riders wear a helmet. Additionally, the ATV legislation will install fines of up to $2,500 and seizure of the ATV as punishment for violating the law.

Councilmember Scanlon wants to seek a change in the law from state legislators that would cease ticketing car theft victims for leaving vehicles running during the winter months. The Common Council will also ask Buffalo Police at the Police Oversight Committee Meeting to use their discretion to cease ticketing for that violation until New York changes the law.

Councilmember Wyatt wants to have a public hearing on racism as a public threat, and the Common Council adopted the hearing. The idea for the hearing came from the African American Health Equity Task Force. The Common Council scheduled the hearing to take place at the community development meeting next week.

Need more than just a summary? Contact us at info@ppgbuffalo.org, or find full meeting information and schedules here: http://buffalony.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx