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Legislature Usurps NYS Constitution for Pork.

July 21, 2010

Danny Panzella
Candidate NYS 63rd Assembly

In a press release on July 21st Governor Paterson announced that he has revoked the proclamations for extraordinary session he issued on January 17, 2010 and June 26, 2010. The legislature has been using the special session as a parliamentary game to avoid finishing the budget, so they can pass emergency spending bills filled with pork.

“This is a silly charade, and the idea that the Legislature has been in extraordinary session for the last 185 days – ostensibly to discuss ‘Race to the Top’ legislation – is absurd. The Legislature has a duty to finish the budget and address other critical matters before the State, and I will exercise my constitutional authority to bring them all back to Albany, even if it is an election year.” said Governor Paterson.  Governor Paterson will convene a new extraordinary session of the Legislature pursuant to his authority under Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution should he deem such an action necessary in the coming weeks.

The New York State Constitution: Article IV, Section 3 gives the Governor legal authority “to convene the legislature, or the senate only, on extraordinary occasions.” On June 27th the Governor attempted to call an extraordinary session to force the legislature to finish the budget, but the Legislature claimed that they remain in the extraordinary session convened by the Governor on January 18, 2010. They assert that the Governor cannot convene a new session until the previous one has been adjourned.

During 120 of the 185 days the Legislature has been in special session, they have been unprepared to accomplish any State business. The Senate and Assembly chambers have been virtually empty and no quorums were established to transact any business, with no session lasting more than two minutes according to the Governors office.

“It is plainly obvious from the facts here that these so-called ‘sessions’ are a charade designed to nullify the Governor’s authority under the Constitution. The Legislature wishes to arrogate for itself the right simply to disregard future gubernatorial calls for extraordinary session by deliberately claiming to continue a prior extraordinary session,” Peter J. Kiernan, Counsel to the Governor, said.

When will the Legislature stop playing games at the behest of the Senate and Assembly leadership? When will they step up and finish the job they should have completed on April 1st? The legislature seems to be intentionally forcing a crisis so they can push unread emergency spending bills through that are filled with funding for pet projects and lobby groups. It is time the Legislature gets back to work for the people of New York State.

* Editors note: Since this writing Gov. David Paterson said July 23rd that he would call lawmakers back to the capital on Wednesday July 28th to try to complete the state budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year, which started April 1st.  Paterson vowed to keep lawmakers in town until a deal is reached.

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