Skip to comments.Assembly Democrats refuse to accept Senate Democrat bills
Posted on 07/01/2009 6:07:19 PM PDT by Chet 99
07/01/09 03:04 PM Assembly Democrats refuse to accept Senate Democrat bills By Tom Precious
ALBANY - Assembly Democrats have refused to accept more than 100 bills that Senate Democrats insist they legally passed on Tuesday in a session that Republicans say was illegal in the first place.
Gov. David Paterson has already said he will not sign the bills if sent to him, but the Assembly has the ability to block them from even being transmitted to his office � saving him some political grief.
At issue are about 125 bills Senate Democrats say were legally approved Tuesday when a Republican senator, cutting through the back of the chamber on a short-cut to get a Coke, suddenly provided the quorum they have been missing for three weeks to vote on legislation. Democrats say a member only has to be spotted in the chamber to be counted as present.
Republicans insist the Democrats are playing fast and loose with the rules. The senator, Frank Padavan of Queens, assured Paterson that he was not in the chamber to provide a quorum so the bills could be voted on.
The bills include an extension of the Power for Jobs program, a low-cost energy effort to companies and not-for-profit entities, such as hospitals. More than 100 groups in Western New York are enrolled in the program.
Officials with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver did not return repeated calls for comment today.
The house that passes a bill first controls the timing of when it is sent to the governor for consideration. In this case, the Assembly passed all 125 of the contested bills before it ended its 2009 session last week.
The Senate sent the bills to the Assembly on Tuesday, soon after they passed in the contested session, according to Shelley Mayer, counsel to the Senate Democrats. But the Assembly journal clerks officer refused to accept them. "I think they are wrong on the law," Mayer said of the Assembly's decision. "It is not within (their) authority to determine whether we had a quorum."
"That being said, we'll continue talking," she said.
"It's my understanding the Assembly is not going to accept them," Sen. Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republican, said of word he received from his lawyers about the fate of the bills in the Assembly.
Assembly Democrats are worried, sources say, that the manner in which the bills were passed could open up the state to litigation from anyone wishing to kill one of the measures. Additionally, there were several bond measures � including a $200 million one for a new Buffalo school construction program � that legislative lawyers believe could present problems at the time of borrowing given the legal cloud over the way in which the bills were approved.
The governor at first said he thought the bills passed legally. But he later reversed himself after talking with Padavan.
"The governor will not sign the bills," Peter Kauffmann, a Paterson spokesman, repeated again this morning.
Democrats say the Assembly should accept the bills and send them anyway. If the governor doesn't want to sign them, he can do nothing and they become law in 10 days.
If he vetoes them, though, that could present major problems, especially for local governments relying on measures to permit them to continue collecting surcharges on sales taxes. A veto would force dozens of counties, including several in Western New York, to reconvene their legislatures and again approve home rule messages to continue local sales tax surcharges.
And, given the ongoing mess in the Senate, there would be no guarantee those home rule messages would be accepted.
Today's gridlock included what was to be a public negotiating session between Senate Republicans and Democrats. But only Sen. Pedro Espada, the Bronx Democrat who joined with Republicans in the June 8 coup that made him Senate president, and Skelos, who was made majority leader, turned out for the session. They showed a movie � some of it shot with a portable video camera � of the June 8 coup that they insist proves the validity of the takeover.
For their part, Senate Democrats say they will be happy to show up tomorrow for a public session, according to Sen. John Sampson, the new Democratic conference leader. The Brooklyn Democrat held a news conference on a law that expired last night that gave control of the New York City school system to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. His aides sought to limit the questioning to the New York City matter.
Both sides are due back in session at 3 p.m. today for another extraordinary session ordered by Paterson. The governor has been calling the sessions every day for a week to try to force the sides to resolve their war.
Both sides can agree on one thing: the Paterson strategy is not working.
The factions are also back in court today, or at least a new round of legal papers. Republicans are trying to oust the Democratic-appointed Senate Secretary, Angelo Aponte, for a host of reasons, including what they say was his potentially illegal re-writing of the official journal of the Senate to delete any reference to the June 8 coup.
Approve the damn bills...if this idiot couldn’t find a coke machine anywhere else then the heck with em. Besides if these are bills pushed through by the rats, they will push NY over the edge with Kalifornia something I would enjoy.
Someday these idiots will figure out that low tax states run by conservatives like Texas aren’t handing out IOU’s.
Let em eat cake!
Looks like the NY legislature is just as FUBAR as California’s.
Time for the people of New York to call for a special election and replace every single Democratic Senator that refuses to participate.