The Erie County Legislature Democratic Caucus today blocked and amended a controversial resolution offered by Legislator Joseph Lorigo that called for a public hearing on Erie County’s role in accepting refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.

The amendment struck offensive language from the original Lorigo resolution and changes reference to a public hearing and instead authorized an informational session where focus shifts to expert testimony and information and away from a forum that had the potential to become volatile.

The compromise amendment followed hours of negotiating between minority and majority legislators, and clearly softened the harsh tone of the original resolution, which led to the gathering of hundreds of protesters opposed to the resolution outside Erie County Hall immediately before the start of the legislative session.

“We worked together in an effort to calm the fears of Erie County residents with the help of activists throughout the community in order to foster an environment of understanding rather than fear,” said Erie County Legislator Patrick B. Burke (D-Buffalo).

While Legislator Lorigo opposed the amendment to his resolution, he did support final passage of the resolution as amended.