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As the legislative body, the Council makes and passes the laws governing the city. The Council has passed landmark legislation on designated smoking areas in public places, campaign finance, anti-apartheid, solid-waste recycling and restrictions on assault weapons. Legislation pending in the Council is called an Introduction, often abbreviated to “Intro” or “Int”, and is assigned a number. When an Introduction is signed by the Mayor it becomes a Local Law and is assigned a new number.
The Committee System
Most of the Council’s legislative work is done in committee. It is there that proposed legislation is initially debated and the members of other government branches and the public are given a chance to comment.
Each Council Member serves on at least three of the Council’s standing committees, sub- and select committees and panels. The standing committees must meet at least once a month unless the Charter mandates otherwise. Committee assignments are made by the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections and voted on by the entire Council.
Most Council hearings are held in the Council Chambers or the adjoining Committee Room in City Hall. Hearings are also held in the Hearing Room on the 16th Floor of 250 Broadway. Meetings of the entire Council, referred to as Stated Meetings, are held twice a month at City Hall. A weekly schedule of Council hearings is available in the Council’s Office of Communications in City Hall.
The Speaker of the Council, Christine Quinn, the Majority Leader, the Minority Leader, and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio are ex-officio members of all committee.
View a list of current committees
The Council Speaker
The Council Speaker, is elected by the Council members and is primarily responsible for obtaining a consensus on major issues.
The representative for the position of Minority Leader is elected from among the party with the next largest representation.
The Rules of the Council
The City Council is governed by a body of rules
Download the Rules of the Council (in PDF)
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