Paterson Orders Senate to Weekend Session

Word of the deal comes as warring sides again hold separate sessions

Gov. David Paterson has called an extraordinary session of the New York Senate for tomorrow afternoon -- carrying out a threat to haul in the squabbling lawmakers everyday, including weekends and July 4, until their legislative duties are complete.

The session is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday.  Paterson said that the only thing Dems and Republicans seem to agree on is that they wanted the weekend off.

The move comes as lawmakers again held separate, worthless sessions today -- gaveling in and out in a matter of minutes.

Leaders from both sides said they expect to reach a power-sharing deal this weekend.

The Democratic and Republican factions -- currently split 31-31 -- said they are inching closer to a power-sharing deal that would get the stymied chamber back into a real session by Monday.

Details of the evolving agreement were held in close secrecy, with few staff members privy to even a broad outline, the New York Times reported.

On Monday, Paterson began ordering the Senate back to work, citing his constitutional right to call a special session. Paterson also began withholding pay and per diems as days passed with no legislative action accomplished.

For nearly three weeks, bills have been left untouched, some in danger of expiring as Democrats and Republicans fight to control the chamber.  Among the legislation Gov. Paterson wants debated is the issue of gay marriage.

Paterson has given daily news conferences lambasting the Senate -- calling their 18 day leadership dispute "farcical." 

"This is a crisis of governance," he said.

Sen. Pedro Espada, the dissident Democrat at the center of the crisis, said yesterday that both sides are "embarrassed" over the leadership squabble.

He told NY1 that Democrats and Republicans have "put down their armors and their swords and are really talking to each other in a respectful way."

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