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State Senate Democrats use bizarre maneuver to start passing bills
Buffalo News ^

Posted on 06/30/2009 3:44:32 PM PDT by Chet 99

Updated: 06/30/09 01:48 PM State Senate Democrats use bizarre maneuver to start passing bills

ALBANY — In a bizarre twist, Senate Democrats claimed this afternoon they have established a quorum when a Republican senator — on his way to a lounge adjacent to the chamber — was counted as present for the purposes of holding a legal session.

The Democrats quickly gaveled in and started passing a long list of stalled bills submitted by Gov. David A. Paterson.

"I think it's fraud," said Sen. Frank Padavan, a Queens Republican, who the Democrats counted as present for the noon-time session.

Padavan said the hallway was blocked by cameras and reporters, so he cut through the Senate chamber to get to a lounge off the Senate floor where food and drinks are provided free for the legislators.

"I walked through before session began," Padavan said.

But Democrats said the journal clerk, the official who checks in lawmakers, saw Padavan and recorded him as present. Senate rules state that a lawmaker not in his chair is recorded as voting yes. As a result, they claim Padavan gave the Democrats not only the quorum but also the 32 votes needed to pass the bills that have been stalled for weeks.

Down the hall from the chamber, Republican lawyers scurried into meetings to discuss the sudden developments. A short time later, the Republicans said they will go to court later this afternoon to contest the votes taken by the Democrats.

Sen. Pedro Espada, a Bronx Democrat elected June 8 as Senate president during the coup, said Padavan talked to the governor and assured him he was not in the chamber at the start of session.

Paterson sent mixed messages, saying at one point he thought the Senate action was legal. Later, though, he said he would not sign the bills because he thought the passage of the bills, still going on at 1:30pm, was not legal. He is planning to call another special session tonight at 7 p.m.

"I would demand an apology from Malcolm Smith for putting this institution through an additional day of shame,'' Espada said of the person he and Republicans claim was deposed as Senate president and majority leader on June 8.

Padavan said he had been cutting through the back of the chamber to get a can of Coke.

The latest developments come after the two sides had met briefly this morning in their first real session since June 8 — but without taking any action. The meeting took place after an appeals court judge declined to issue a stay of a ruling Monday by a state judge ordering the warring factions to meet in a single session. After the request for the stay failed, Senate Republicans filed into the chamber 10 minutes after Democrats had gaveled in.

The sides already were due back in court this afternoon to argue a procedural matter, even before the Democrats latest parliamentary maneuver. If there is not a political resolution, lawyers were predicting the case — with its many constitutional issues — might not be a quick one for the courts to resolve.

After Republicans took their seats for this morning's initial session, a surprised-looking Sen. Malcolm Smith, who the Democrats claim is the Senate president, sought to recess the chamber. But the maneuver was blocked by Republicans. A huddle between Smith and Sen. Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republicans who claims the majority leader's post following the June 8 coup, ended with Skelos addressing the chamber.

Skelos, likely for legal reasons, twice said the Republicans were in the chamber to abide by the governor's special session call but do not recognize the lawmaker — Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins — that Democrats had in the presiding officer's chair for the session. The Republicans said only Skelos or Sen. Pedro Espada, the Bronx Democrat they installed on June 8 as Senate president, can select the occupant of the presiding officer's chair.

"We do not believe you are appropriately standing there as presiding officer," Skelos said to the lawmaker.

Skelos also took Sen. John Sampson, the Democrats' new conference leader, up on his offer from Monday to stop private meetings over the leadership spat and hold a public session. Later, Republicans had said they would be in the Capitol room at 1 p.m. for the session — but that was before Democrats claimed Padavan as part of their quorum and started voting on bills.

A number of laws face a midnight deadline for extension or they expire, including the Power for Jobs program, which supplies nearly 600 companies and not-for-profits with low-cost power. Republicans say Paterson has discretionary pots of funding from the state budget that he can tap to keep the program running, a claim the governor's office denies.

Today's developments came a day after Supreme Court Judge Joseph Teresi ordered an end to separate sessions the Republicans and Democrats have held over the past week. With neither side recognizing the other's leadership claims, the dueling sessions led to no bills being passed because — with a 31-31 tie in the chamber — neither side had the 32 members present for a quorum.

Republicans believed they had the right to an automatic stay, but an appellate division judge, Bernard J. Malone Jr., declined the stay request, forcing the Republicans to come to the chamber this morning. He ordered the sides to submit papers by 3 p.m. to the full appellate division panel. That will only pertain to the stay request, which would decide, for instance, whether the Republicans have to show up for future special sessions called by Paterson.

The merits of the case — Republicans claim the courts do not have the jurisdiction to get involved in the internal workings of a separate branch of government — are potentially days away from being argued.

The sides have been engaged in parliamentary combat since June 8, when two Democrats joined with 30 Republicans to wrestle control of the chamber from the Democrats, who took over the Senate in January after 70 years of GOP dominance.

Uncertain is how long the court battles — including the new one over today's votes by Democrats — could take. Paterson, who called for the special session this morning, has scrubbed his trip to Buffalo today for an announcement by Yahoo about moving a facility to the region.

TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: New York
KEYWORDS: albany; ny; quorum

1 posted on 06/30/2009 3:44:32 PM PDT by Chet 99
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To: Chet 99

Taking their lead from Nancy “Banana Republic” Pelosi.

When the USHOR passes “bills” that don’t even exist in any one form, and that no one has read, why not count “present” people who are obviously not on hand to legislate but instead are running to the crapper, etc.?

2 posted on 06/30/2009 3:47:26 PM PDT by pogo101
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To: Chet 99

The childishness of these New York liberals is beyond belief. First they lock up the legislature with padlocks and then they count some as present via a bathroom break.


Yet people will still vote for them, which speaks volumes.

3 posted on 06/30/2009 3:48:08 PM PDT by CaspersGh0sts
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To: tioga; neverdem; pogo101


With sadness.

But, to read the “news media” this was a “god thing” .... Right?

4 posted on 06/30/2009 3:49:54 PM PDT by Robert A Cook PE (I can only donate monthly, but socialists' ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: Chet 99

What in the hell game do these Democrats think they are playing? This is lawsuit time.

5 posted on 06/30/2009 3:50:11 PM PDT by Maelstorm (Sarah Palin 2012 (Who else in the GOP is man enough?))
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To: Chet 99

This has got to be the poster child for political stupidity / futility. For years people have focused on Italy and Taiwan for fractious politics, but now we have one of our very own! Congratulations to the Empire State of New York - boy what a mark you are making!

6 posted on 06/30/2009 3:57:49 PM PDT by SES1066 (Cycling to conserve, Conservative to save, Saving to Retire, will Retire to Cycle.)
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To: Chet 99

It just doesn’t matter. Upstate folks will rightly be upset, and want to “throw all the bums out” - and they likely will do so next election. Meanwhile, the NY City politicians involved will all come back, based solely on pork, patronage, special interests, and race. This episode will simply give more power to downstate pols.

7 posted on 06/30/2009 4:22:33 PM PDT by PGR88
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To: pogo101

We are no longer a great nation because we are no longer represented but ruled over. The Rats have power and the believe that they can literally do anything they want and to hell with rules and laws and the Constitution.

8 posted on 06/30/2009 5:04:34 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Socialism is the belief that most people are better off if everyone was equally poor and miserable.)
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To: Chet 99

Well, you’re witnessing history unfolding before your eyes. It’s the post democracy America.

9 posted on 06/30/2009 5:31:40 PM PDT by Entrepreneur (The environmental movement is filled with watermelons - green on the outside, red on the inside)
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To: Entrepreneur
Last Days of the Republic
10 posted on 06/30/2009 5:36:25 PM PDT by Max in Utah (A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within.)
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To: neverdem; The Mayor

NY ping

11 posted on 06/30/2009 7:13:28 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Chet 99; metmom; neverdem

This is an absolute joke.
I will be running commercials on WBEN starting tomorrow morning.

12 posted on 06/30/2009 9:01:58 PM PDT by The Mayor ( In Gods works we see His hand; in His Word we hear His heart)
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To: The Mayor

Good. Maybe you can wake up some in Buffalo to this nonsense.

If only we could convince the cities to go more conservative.

13 posted on 07/01/2009 8:49:19 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: The Mayor

Imagine, Democrats cheating...AGAIN!

Why anyone would vote for these lunatics is beyond me.

14 posted on 07/01/2009 8:57:08 AM PDT by kcvl
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To: The Mayor; Chet 99; neverdem

It’s on now.

Caffeine Fix Sets New York Legislature in Partisan Frenzy

15 posted on 07/01/2009 2:50:41 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: metmom

thanks, bfl

16 posted on 07/01/2009 7:06:15 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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