Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No Marriage Vote Today in New York Senate As Power Stalemate Continues

Today's second extraordinary session in the New York Senate ended with a convening of only the Democrats, Sen. Jeff Klein stating that any bill voted on would be moot without the Republicans and then adjourning.

The legality of the extraordinary sessions have been called into question.

Thanks to NG Blog, we have video:

Elizabeth Benjamin of the Daily News reports:
Klein noted that while the state Constitution does give the governor the power to call just the Senate (but not, interestingly, just the Assembly) in for an extraordinary session, the only way such a move would be "valid" is if the Senate was only approving gubernatorial appointments - the lone responsibility is has that the lower house does not.

"If we are taking up legislation, we need the Assembly here as well," Klein said, pointing out for the history buffs in the room that the ability for the governor to call just the Senate in was added in 1821 by none other than Martin Van Buren.

And so, the Senate adjourned. Asked what happens now, Secretary of the Senate Angelo Aponte (still around and in control of the chamber, despite the Senate GOP's attempt to strip him of that power), replied:

"Now the governor's people are basically going to have to call both houses in, and when they do that, what we pass here will be legal."
Empire State Pride Agenda's Alan van Capelle released a statement:

"State Senators need to know that it is unacceptable to leave Albany without voting on and passing the marriage bill. Marriage equality is not a partisan issue and should never be used as a political football in the current situation that has caused complete gridlock in the state capitol. Thousands of New York families expect and need Senators to immediately figure out a way to work together and start doing the people’s business. We expect that marriage will be at the top of the agenda when the stalemate is over and the Senate resumes its business, but only when we are certain that any such vote taken by the Senate is valid and not subject to legal challenge. The bill must be handled respectfully and given its due debate so that Senators can vote their conscience on this vitally important issue."

In the end, though this is all ridiculous, it's better they didn't vote on the marriage equality bill, because forever after such a vote, opponents would call into question the validity of its passing.

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