Wheels Continue to Spin
July 6th, 2009

Spending the Fourth of July in Albany doesn’t seem to have hastened legislators towards reaching a power-sharing deal. State senators spent their brief time in the chamber together over the weekend being as cordial as possible and talking about a potential agreement. But today all that good will seemed to be out the window.

The argument is the same as it has been for the last three weeks. Democrats want a short-term solution that would allow for the chamber to quickly address outstanding bills. The Republicans want a long-term agreement that would last for a year or more.

Democrats told Gov. David Paterson today that Republicans are refusing to come to a short-term agreement that would allow the chamber to vote on important legislation. Democrats want Paterson to be a “team player” and focus his ire on the Republicans as he attacks the “do-nothing” Senate while he tours the state this week.

Senators again held a brief faux session. And the four amigos hinted that they are trying to come up with their own solution to end the impasse. Whatever they have been working on might be more clear by Thursday.

In the meantime, Assemblyman Michael Gianaris and good government groups including Citizen’s Union of the City of New York (the Gotham Gazette is published by its sister organization Citizens Union Foundation) and Common Cause New York came to Albany to put forward an alternate solution. They proposed that Paterson name a lieutenant governor. The LG gets to break tie votes in the chamber in certain situations.
New York hasn’t had an LG since Gov. Eliot Spitzer stepped down and Paterson took his place. There is no provision in the state law that allows the LG to be replaced. However, the groups argue that a measure in the Public Officers Law allows the governor to fill positions that have become vacant.

Paterson’s office put out a supportive statement. I want to thank Assemblyman Gianaris, Citizens Union and Common Cause for working to try to find a way to break the impasse in the Senate. The issues they raised in their letter have been under review for some time by my Counsel. I look forward to working with these groups and others to find a way to end the stalemate and get the Senate back to work.

Senate Democrats put out various statements backing the idea and daring the Republicans to challenge a potential Paterson nomination. They said a challenge by Republicans would be “contributing to the gridlock.”

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo slammed the idea as ” not constitutional.”

By on July 6, 2009, 4:34 pm
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