NY Senate a bunch of idiots

Chimera
06-23-2009, 06:44 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/nyregion/24albany.html?_r=1&hp


In Albany, Separate Senate Sessions for Each Party
By DANNY HAKIM and JEREMY W. PETERS

ALBANY ***8212;Republicans and Democrats attempted to hold separate Senate sessions at the same time on Tuesday, leaving the Capitol in confusion and bickering as members of both parties shouted over each other on the Senate floor, and each party claimed it was in control.

Though Democrats had entered the Senate chamber through a back hallway just before 12:30 p.m. and locked the doors ***8212; much to the surprise of Republicans ***8212; Republicans moved ahead with plans for their own session and began calling for votes on bills as Democrats sat silent in protest.

Exactly who was in control of the Senate ***8212; or whether any of the procedural action the Republicans had taken was legally valid ***8212; was unclear. Democrats were successful in blocking Republicans from taking control of the Senate gavel, which remained firmly in the hands of Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Westchester County, who was guarded by sergeants-at-arms on both sides.

By late in the afternoon, Democrats were considering action on a number of bills that dealt with subjects as varied as a low-cost electrical power for businesses and authorizing bonds for New York City. But one hotly contested issue was notably absent from the list: legislation that would extend the mayor***8217;s authority to control New York City schools.

The governor called a second Senate session for Wednesday. Among the bills he asked be considered is one that would legalize same-sex marriage. It is unclear if the bill has enough support to pass, however. And with the legal validity of any action the Senate takes now in question, it is also unknown whether a vote on that bill ***8212; or any bill ***8212; would even be meaningful.

Shortly after Republicans walked onto the Senate floor on Tuesday afternoon, their leader, Dean G. Skelos, called the chamber to order and asked one of the Senate Republicans***8217; deputy leaders, George H. Winner Jr., to ***8220;take the podium.***8221; Mr. Winner, who was standing at the front of the chamber, attempted to climb the stairs that lead to the podium where the presiding officer stands but was stopped by a Senate guard.

***8220;Senator Skelos,***8221; Mr. Winner responded, ***8220;I have been instructed by the sergeant-at-arms not to take the podium.***8221; Mr. Winner then walked to a desk in front of the podium, called the Senate to order from there and began calling votes on a list of bills. Since Democrats sat silent and did not voice any objections, Mr. Winner claimed that each bill passed by a vote of 62 to 0.

Then, at 3 p.m., Democrats called their session to order, following a proclamation issued on Monday by Gov. David A. Paterson to convene an extraordinary session. Mr. Paterson had hoped his move would help settle the leadership dispute, but control of the Senate seemed more in doubt than ever on Tuesday.

At times, the simultaneous proceedings grew heated. When Mr. Winner banged his gavel and called a Democrat, Ruth Hassell-Thompson, out of order for standing and speaking to a colleague, she whipped around in fury. The Democratic leader had already said the chamber was standing ***8220;at ease,***8221; or on a break.

***8220;Don***8217;t you dare tell me I***8217;m out of order,***8221; Ms. Hassell-Thompson, who represents parts of the Bronx and Westchester County and with a tall, wide-shouldered frame is one of the more imposing figures in the Democratic conference, shouted at Mr. Winner, several times.

***8220;Easy, Ruth,***8221; a Democratic colleague called out.

At the same time, Mr. Skelos was trying to speak from the Senate floor, but Kevin S. Parker, a hot-tempered Brooklyn Democrat who is under indictment on charges that he attacked a newspaper photographer, stood up, faced Mr. Skelos and began talking loudly while keeping an eye on Mr. Skelos.

Mr. Skelos had been complaining that the Senate***8217;s staff would not provide them with the bill "jackets" ***8212; the official bills used to conduct Senate business.

***8220;If they were actually in charge, they would have the bill jackets,***8221; Mr. Parker bellowed while Republicans tried to silence him. ***8220;We***8217;re at ease!***8221;

Seeing Mr. Parker, a few other Democrats moved between him and Mr. Skelos. ***8220;Calm down,***8221; Senator John L. Sampson, the leader of the Democratic caucus, said aloud. The legitimacy of the votes taken is certain to be disputed by Democrats, who will claim that the Republican session was out of order because Republicans were not in control of the chamber. But Republicans claim that they are in fact in control. They argue that a vote on June 8, in which two Democrats joined 30 Republicans to oust Malcolm A. Smith as majority leader, left Mr. Skelos, a Long Island Republican, and Pedro Espada Jr., a Bronx Democrat, as co-leaders of the chamber.

One of the dissident Democrats, Hiram Monserrate of Queens, later switched his allegiance back to the Democratic Party, leaving the Senate evenly split at 31 to 31.

In the two weeks since Mr. Monserrate***8217;s switch, Democrats and Republicans have been unable to agree on a way to share power.

***8220;At this point, they refuse to enter into an operating agreement,***8221; Senator Eric T. Schneiderman, a Democrat who represents the Upper West Side, told reporters just before he and his fellow Democrats sneaked into the chamber. ***8220;We hope that they will come back to the table, and that we***8217;ll be able to agree on rules. Our view is that we cannot ignore the people***8217;s business that the governor is calling us back to do.***8221;

Republicans seemed just as caught off guard as the rest of the Capitol when the Democrats came in at 12:30 p.m. As news of the Democrats***8217; move spread, some Republican staff members rushed to the Senate chamber and peered in through the windows to watch the Democrats congregating inside.

Senator Winner, a Republican from central New York, described the Democrats***8217; move as unnecessary and possibly against the law.

***8220;It seems to me somewhat petulant and or illegal to lock the doors,***8221; Mr. Winner said.

The outer doors to the chamber were kept locked by the sergeant-at-arms of the Senate, but some reporters were able to gain access through a back door.

When asked why the Democrats had entered the chamber, Senator Smith, the Democratic leader, said, ***8220;We***8217;re getting ready for the special session,***8221; adding, ***8220;We***8217;re going through some procedures.***8221;

Democratic senators seemed somewhat amused by the situation. Senator Craig M. Johnson, a Long Island Democrat, even took pictures of reporters who assembled in the gallery. The only way in to the locked chamber was through the office of Senator Espada, the turncoat Democrat whose defection created the deadlock.

Shortly after the Democrats entered the chamber, Mr. Espada and Mr. Skelos hurried into the governor***8217;s office on the second floor of the Capitol and spoke briefly to reporters. Mr. Espada said he was willing to accept binding arbitration as a way to resolve the leadership dispute.

***8220;The Democratic senators have refused to respond in any significant way to embrace our reforms,***8221; said Mr. Espada, who joined with Republicans two weeks ago to vote to displace Mr. Smith as majority leader and install himself as president of the Senate and Mr. Skelos as the new majority leader. Democrats have rejected that vote as illegitimate.

But a showdown on the Senate floor seemed likely. Democrats insisted they would not recognize a Republican leader, and Republicans were planning to move forward with their 2 p.m. session.

Austin Shafran, a spokesman for the Democrats, said the Republicans***8217; call for a 2 p.m. session was a way to preempt the governor***8217;s 3 p.m. session.

***8220;This is a way to preserve the special session,***8221; he said, referring to the Democrats***8217; maneuver.

Governor Paterson rejected an appeal from the State Senate on Monday to delay a special session, as leaders in that deadlocked chamber continued to negotiate toward a power-sharing agreement.

Mr. Paterson was hoping that by using his authority to call all 62 senators back to work on Tuesday, he would force the feuding parties to come to an accommodation and end a stalemate that has halted work in the Senate for more than two weeks.

The Senate was left in its first 31-to-31 tie after Republicans orchestrated a coup earlier this month and installed Mr. Espada as the Senate***8217;s president. The Democratic caucus has refused to return to the chamber during the last two weeks unless Republicans accept a power-sharing arrangement.

Lawmakers balked at the governor***8217;s attempts to intercede by drafting former Lt. Gov. Stan Lundine, a Democrat, and John R. Dunne, a Republican former state senator, to act as mediators.

The sides had appeared to make progress in their own negotiations on Monday. Leaders from both sides met with the governor Monday afternoon and asked him to delay his call for a special session until Wednesday to give the sides more time to talk.

***8220;I told them no,***8221; Mr. Paterson said. ***8220;The people***8217;s business has been delayed long enough. We have to get to completing this session***8217;s agenda, and it is important for us to continue and finish that job.***8221;


cliffs
-2 democrats switched sides to republicans
-there was a 32-30 majority for republicans
-voted one of the switchers to senate president
-the other one switched back
-now there is a 31-31 split
-both sides say they have majority
-fighting like children
-WHO THE **** ELECTS THESE IDIOTS?!?

Fool
06-23-2009, 06:45 PM
WHO THE **** ELECTS THESE IDIOTS?!?

New Yorkers

TheVoiceOfReason
06-23-2009, 06:50 PM
Zing!

SharpShooter
06-23-2009, 06:52 PM
******s should be shot in the ****ing face.