The special Senate session called to order by Gov. David Paterson Tuesday morning was adjourned almost as soon as it began.
A five-judge appellate division panel has scheduled a hearing this afternoon on the Republicans’ efforts to block a judge’s order that they have to attend sessions called by the governor.
An appeals court judge refused to stay that order Tuesday, leading to the brief session. Thus no progress was made as the fates of several key bills hang in the balance — one of which designates mayoral control of the city’s public schools.
In a dramatic slap in the face to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senate Democrats said Monday that they are unwilling to allow a vote on mayoral control of the school system before it expires at midnight.
“Maybe it’s time they just stopped all this craziness and all their ‘meshugas’ and come and do the people’s business,” Bloomberg said Monday.
Republicans in the Senate support mayoral control, and said if it isn’t on the calendar they will not go into session.
Senators have been squabbling for three weeks over which coalition, Democrats or Republicans, should take the lead in Albany. Both parties have previously defied Paterson, as well as state Supreme Court judges by refusing to hold a so-called “productive” special session.
Once inside the chamber Tuesday, Democrats seized the reigns of the lectern, gaining procedural control of the senate.
“Having reached a quorum, I would ask that we instruct the secretary to read the unexcused absentees,” said Democratic Sen. Malcolm Smith.
Paterson said last Saturday evening that Jonathan Lippman, chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, would act as the senate’s presiding officer until the chaos is resolved.
But Republicans, who do not agree with Lippman’s appointment, fought unsuccessfully to boycott the session before ultimately sitting it out.
“We do not believe that you are appropriately standing there as the presiding officer,” Rep. Dean Skelos said. “The designation of the presiding officer should be made by Senator Espada or myself.”