Oops, They Did it Again
June 24th, 2011
The New York Senate adjourned late tonight without having accomplished…well any number of things. They did not vote on any of the session-ending package that includes rent laws, they didn’t vote on a health exchange bill that is mandated to be in place by the federal government and perhaps biggest of all they didn’t vote on same-sex marriage legislation.
The halls were stacked with chanting, sweating protesters and state troopers watching them. Lobbyists paced the halls, shirts unbuttoned, no ties, some in jeans–a rare sight in Albany–their travel wardrobes sufficiently exhausted.”They used to say it can’t get any worse,” said Tenant advocate Michael McKee who was more than ready to leave Albany. “They don’t say that anymore. They expect it will get worse.” And it did.
Democratic senators were in the dark. They expected to vote on a health care exchange bill, livery cab legislation backed by Bloomberg, legislation giving SUNY and CUNY more control over their tuition, “the big ugly” and same-sex marriage. But according to sources Republicans fell apart while conferencing the Assembly’s health care exchange legislation. The official line was that bills were still not printed and wouldn’t be ready until 3 or 5 AM. Democratic senators were shocked. It was announced the senate would reconvene at 10 am on Friday.
Sen. Kevin Parker called it “surreal” as he and Sen. Eric Adams sat watching the room empty. Last Friday Republicans abruptly ended session in a tantrum before taking a vote on a rent extender and then returned only minutes later to pass it. Some Democrats thought perhaps the same thing would happen.
Parker, who had voted against the first temporary rent extender with a number of other Democratic legislators and were lambasted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo for being irresponsible and jeopardizing their constituents, quickly realized Republicans were leaving without passing the oh-so-important extender. “Is the governor going to call us reckless and irresponsible again?”
“They would have called us dysfunctional, all sorts of things if we had done anything like this last year,” said Adams. The already frayed relationship between the governor and black and Latino legislators was showing even more signs of wear.
Parker however was optimistic that the cause of the hold up was Cuomo pressing for stronger rent reforms. His logic being that tenant advocates were the only ones with anything to lose. The property tax has already been agreed to by Cuomo and Republicans and rent, Parker reasoned could still be a major sticking point. But at this point all it is, is hope. Democrats are in the dark.
Sen. Tom Libous said that Republicans might conference same-sex marriage on Friday. I asked Sen. Marty Golden, as he made his way out of the chamber, when he expected a vote on the livery cab legislation. “Its still fluid,” he said. ‘Does that mean it will come to a vote tomorrow?’ I asked. “Its still fluid,” he replied with a smile.By David King on June 24, 2011, 12:21 am
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