Senate Democrats and Republicans are following Gov. David Paterson’s call to hold a special session this afternoon after he threatened Wednesday to take them to court if they go home.
The sides were meeting this morning behind closed doors to continue discussions on whether the Senate leadership battle can be resolved to end a nearly three-week leadership dispute.
Paterson threatened to take the sides to court after Senate Democrats initially refused to re-enter the chamber because they claimed Paterson’s call of a special session was illegal.
But late Wednesday night Paterson issued a statement saying the sides will agree to meet in session today, the first time since the June 8 leadership coup that they’ll meet in the same session.
“The leadership from both the Republicans and Democrats has notified my office that they will attend (today’s) extraordinary session,” Paterson said.
“By complying with their constitutionally mandated obligations, there will be no need to seek a court order tomorrow. However, I will continue to use every power at my disposal to ensure that the Senate gets back to the people’s business.”
Paterson has asked lawmakers to take up 10 pieces of legislation today, including reforms to the state pension system, allowing the city of Peekskill to impose a tax on real property deeds and extending for two years the mortgage recording tax in Yonkers.
Since Tuesday Paterson has called special sessions, only to have the sessions blow up. On Tuesday, the sides held the dueling sessions, which led to chaos and nothing being accomplished. On Wednesday, only Senate Democrats entered the chamber and they gaveled in and out with taking any action.
The Senate has been deadlocked at 31-31. Republicans and two dissident Democrats voted out the Democratic majority June 8, but one Democrat, Sen. Hiram Monserrate, D-Queens, has rejoined the Democratic conference, leading to the gridlock.
Paterson has threatened to strip pay and stipends from senators until the Senate settles its leadership fight.
His strong attacks on senators have led to a war of words between him and senators in his own party. Senators have blamed Paterson for botching the special sessions by not also calling back the state Assembly, which they say is required by law.
“The one making a mockery of this whole situation is the governor,” Sen. Martin Malave Dilan, D-Brooklyn, said Wednesday. “And the level of incompetence in the second floor is unbelievable. They have no idea what they are doing.”