Paterson Forces Special Senate Session

Paterson has ordered the warring New York State Senate back to work

The New York's Senate failed to end its two-week power standoff on Monday's final day of the regular session, prompting Gov. David Paterson to order senators into special sessions starting Tuesday.

In a brief news conference Monday, Paterson said he declined a request by the leaders of the Republican and Democratic conferences in the Senate to delay a special session by 24 hours.

"The people's business has been delayed long enough," he said.

He  ordered the Senate to convene at 3 p.m. Tuesday and take up 55 pieces of legislation. He said "the Senate will go back to work tomorrow," adding that he'll call all senators to work every day, including weekends until all the work is done.

Pending measures include authorizing local governments to raise municipal taxes needed for budgets due as early as July 1, extending mayoral control of New York City schools and continuing to provide lower-cost energy to companies in exchange for job growth.

Earlier Monday, senators who have been caught in a power struggle that has gridlocked the chamber for two weeks discussed a temporary power-sharing arrangement.

The deal would rotate presidents of the Senate and create two equal floor leaders instead of a single majority leader.

Sen. Jeffrey Klein, of the Bronx, said both sides would discuss the plan with Gov. Paterson.

Klein and Sen. Pedro Espada, elected Senate president by a coalition dominated by Republicans, had asked Paterson for another 24 hours to try and work out an agreement before heading back to session.  The chamber is currently split 31-31.

Meanwhile, a new Siena poll out today shows that maybe Paterson would want the senators to continue their circus in Albany. As the bumbling continues, the governor has been able to at least talk tough, and the poll showed a slight bump in Paterson's popularity for the first time in months. But overall, nearly two-thirds of state voters surveyed think New York is headed in the wrong direction.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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