Monday, June 22, 2009

Governor declares emergency session for NY Senate

Governor declares emergency session for NY Senate
By Chris Michaud
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gov. David Paterson on Sunday ordered a special session for New York's state senate in an effort to end a two-week deadlock that has left major legislation, including the state's budget, unresolved.
"Government has been inoperable because of a political battle," Paterson told a news conference. "The Senate has been unable to deliberate, has refused any outside intervention ... has rarely met and only in acrimonious circumstances," he said, calling its conduct "laughable."
"I will call the New York State Senate ... into extraordinary session on Tuesday," said Paterson, who said he was acting with the authority of the state's constitution.
Monday is the last day of the legislative session before summer recess, and the governor also offered two former state officials, one Republican and one Democrat, to mediate, but added that if no agreement is reached, "we will go into extraordinary session" on Tuesday.
Paterson also announced that the chief judge of the Court of Appeals, Jonathan Lippman, had made himself available to preside over the Senate, if both parties approve.
And he threatened that if senators did not cooperate with the order, he would convene a special session every single day until they do, including weekends and holidays.
"There will be no tolerance for noncompliance to this order," added Paterson, who has no authority over the senate when in session, but is authorized to compel it to be in session.
A New York state judge on Tuesday dismissed a case brought by New York Senate Democrats against their Republican colleagues, challenging the legality of a Republican-led coup that began the stalemate.
Republicans had won a leadership vote by 32 votes to 30 after persuading two dissident Democrats to vote with them. The Democrats immediately challenged the validity of the vote and one defector returned to the Democratic fold, leaving the Senate evenly divided at 31 votes each.
Senator Pedro Espada, the Democrat who remained aligned with the Senate Republicans, was elected Senate president.
Democrats won control of the New York Senate in November, their first majority in the chamber in 40 years.
The legal standoff has left unresolved a series of bills on issues including New York City's budget, pension reform and gay marriage.
(Editing by Patricia Zengerle)

Source: Reuters

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