From the Morning Memo:

Late last week, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz vetoed legislation that would require Erie County to purchase American-made products for contracts of $10,000 or more, saying he had a number of significant issues with the bill that made it impossible for him to sign it into law.

First, he questioned whether the county, as a sub-division of the state, even had the power to pass such a bill. Poloncarz said he plans to seek the attorney general’s opinion on that issue.

Poloncarz also said the language in the legislation was far too ambiguous, leaving the county vulnerable to lawsuits. He said phrases like “goods or materials” and “substantially-made” were left undefined.

“I support the principle,” Poloncarz said. “I think that’s what people need to understand is I support the principle of Made in America. My father was a steelworker. I watched Chinese steel destroy the American steel industry so I support the principle.”

The bill’s author, Repulican County Legislator Ted Morton, said he hoped his colleagues would help him override the veto. He said not only did the measure originally pass by a 9-1 vote, but it was reviewed by attorneys prior to its passage and found to be legally sound.

“The state and federal government have enacted or pursued similar provisions,” Morton said. “I’ll continue to push this law to make sure we support our local manufacturers and local workers. I appreciate the outpouring of support offered by the business community, Erie County residents and local unions, who all support this law. We should promote American products and help American workers.”

Poloncarz said it would be wiser for the Legislature to work with his office to tighten the bill than for lawmakers to try to override the veto. He said an override won’t matter if the attorney general deems the legislation unconstitutional.

The county executive also said it’s too late for the law, which needs to be passed by the general public by referendum, to be on November’s ballot, so he believes it makes more sense for everybody to take their time working on it to get it right.